Muguruza, Kontaveit and Raducanu fail to survive day 4 of Australian Open
(Tennis news) Day 4 of the 2022 Australian Open has been the most cruel one yet with the women’s draw suffering the most. Garbine Muguruza, Anett Kontaveit and Emma Raducanu faltered in their second round matches as they were the highest ranked casualties of the day. In the men’s side it was all over for Diego Schwartzman, Andy Murray and Grigor Dimitrov. The mixed doubles event was flagged off today.
In women’s singles, 2021 US Open winner Emma Raducanu could not hold a 3-0 lead in the opening set against Danka Kovinić who took the set 6-4. In the second set, with a strong backhand and slice forehand combination the 19 year old took the second set to level the scores. In the deciding set, Kovinić won a crucial point in the 6th game by breaking Raducanu’s serve with a backhand lob as it cost the teenager the match. Kovinić defeated Raducanu 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.
Muguruza could not serve well against Alize Cornet as she suffered a straight set defeat in the second round. The Spaniard faced 10 breakpoints in the opening set but did defend 9 of them as one service break gave away the lead to Cornet who won all of her service games to take the set. In the second set, the 31 year old broke serve with a forehand cross court passing shot to take a 3-2 lead on serve and broke the world number 3 in the final game. Cornet defeated Muguruza 6-3, 6-3.
Anett Kontaveit could not bring in her late 2021 form against Clara Tauson who was playing in the Australian Open for the first time. The 19 year old had 20 winners and if there was a loose ball it did not stand a chance to be returned back into her side of the court. Tuson’s backhand swing also went back as far as possible and then like a golf shot put full force into the racket while connecting with the ball. Tauson defeated Kontaveit 6-2, 6-4.
In men’s singles, Taro Daniel entered the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time as he beat Andy Murray in a three setter match. Daniel had a brilliant net play against the former world number one and saved 9 of his 11 breakpoints on serve. Murray also hit 49 unforced errors as compared to 21 by Daniel. Daniel defeated Murray 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.
Benoit Paire got his third victory over Grigor Dimitrov in a battle of old gen players. The pair had last met 6 years ago at Tokyo in which the Frenchmen prevailed. Paire had been out of form in the last season but found his charm at the right time for the season opener against the Bulgarian. The match had 97 winners and 90 unforced errors as both players took risks in most of the rallies. Paire defeated Dimitrov 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(4-7), 7-6(7-2).
Christopher O'Connell took out the big guns against Diego Schwartzman as the Argentine faced a similar situation last year at Melbourne. Schwartzman has now been knocked out in the second round for 2 consecutive years by a player outside the top 100 at the Australian Open. O'Connell had received a wildcard to play the major and had beaten Hugo Gaston in the opening match. The Australian attacked with his strokes as Schwartzman played it safe and paid the price. O'Connell defeated Schwartzman 7-6(8-6), 6-4, 6-4.
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.
Felicano Lopez extends Grand Slam record at 2022 Australian Open
(Tennis news) Spain has been producing resilient warriors on the ATP tour since the past two decades. The players have been standing strong on clay, grass and hardcourts with their longevity. The Spaniards have been known for playing it rough and from the baseline such as David Ferrer, Rafael Nadal, Carlos Moya, Juan Carlos Ferrero and the latest sensation Carlos Alcaraz.
The most common trait in all these players is that they have been lifting trophies playing from the baseline and their sheer power is one of the abilities. These players slid through the clay courts with dirt on their sleeves. One of the players who slides but at the net has been Feliciano Lopez, he is one of the last remaining players on tour to still practice the serve and volley.
In a time where everyone is a baseliner, Lopez has continued to use the serve and volley. The 40 year old has the record for most Masters 1000 event appearances, he played his 139th event in Indian Wells last year. Now at the 2022 Australian Open, he played his 79th consecutive Grand Slam event which dates back to the 2002 Roland Garros.
Lopez has played 178 Grand Slam singles matches and has won 98 of them. He lost in the first round of the ongoing Australian Open and his last victory at a major came here a year ago. The left hander also passed 500 wins last year on tour and became the 55th player in the history to achieve this feat. Unlike his country mates who have been struggling at grass, he has won 4 titles and two runner up trophies in singles on grass.
Lopez has also found success in doubles where he won the Roland Garros title in 2016 with Marc Lopez and also reached the finals of the US Open with him the next year. In 2019, Lopez went on to win the singles and doubles title at Queen’s club as it showed how much the sport meant to him.
In the Davis Cup held last year, the veteran was up against Andrey Rublev in the match against Russia. Lopez did not back down to the Russian’s blasting groundstrokes and won him over with a classic display of serve and volley. The world number 5 could not get through Lopez’s volley as the senior kept stretching on court to take the points and win the match.
Lopez has been playing on tour since 1997 which is the year before Roger Federer turned professional. A handful of players are left on tour who were born in the 80’s and still in the top 100 as the tour calendar contains a lot of traveling and grueling matches but players like these make the game special as they have seen how the style has changed over the years, Lopez has managed to keep his style and has kept the art alive.
Kerber, Kvitova and Isner knocked in opening round of Australian Open
(Tennis news) The first two day have not been kind to the seeds as they kept the trend on day 2 of the 2022 Australian Open. Multiple Grand Slam winners Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber made their way out of Melbourne in the first round of the event. In the men’s field, it was a bad start to the season for John Isner, Ugo Humbert and Nikoloz Basilashvili.
In men’s singles, Andy Murray has been playing a couple of stretched matches as he played a four hour match against Basilashvili. Both the players had been involved in a three hour battle a few days ago at Sydney and it was the former world number who again held on for a win. Murray totally outplayed Basilashvili in the opening set but in the second the 29 year old began his ball bashing technique to set up another marathon match. The Georgian even played a few deft dropshots which Murray had done earlier, the 3 time Grand Slam winner had his chances beaten to a pulp by Basilashvili in the fourth set. Murray defeated Basilashvili 6-1, 3-6, 6-4, 6-7(5-7), 6-4.
When two servers meet, there is not much movement on the court but there are a lot of first serves which take up all the heat. It was an all American meeting between John Isner and Maxime Cressy as it was also their first career meeting. The 36 year old has not been able to win matches lately and the streak continued in the 1st round as Cressy had the extra boost in the final set. The match saw 70 aces by the players and 20 double faults by the 24 year old who also won two service games more than the 6 foot 11 inch player. Cressy defeated Isner 7-6(7-2), 7-5, 6-7(4-7), 6-7(4-7), 6-4.
In another court there was a similar French battle and it was the senior this time who took the next gen in the 1st round. Richard Gasquet waved his magic backhand for his first victory at the event in four years and will face another next gen player Botic van de Zandschulp in the second round. Gasquet defeated Ugo Humbert 3-6, 7-6(7-4), 7-6(7-3), 6-3.
In women’s singles, Kaia Kanepi could not have imagined her match in any other way as she beat Kerber in 70 minutes. The 2016 champion was never strong enough against Kanepi who played from the baseline and never did rush a point to enter the second round. Kanepi defeated Kerber 6-4, 6-3.
It was the end of the road for another Grand Slam winner as Petra Kvitova was hit by Romanian storms. Sorana Cirstea had to pull out tough shots in the beginning of both sets but after that it was a smooth run against Kvitova. Cirstea reached the fourth round in 2017 and has not won more than 2 matches since then. Cirstea defeated Kvitova 6-2, 6-2
The next gen in the women’s field did not have as much luck as their male counterparts. Leylah Fernandez joined other top seeds in making an early exit of the season opener. Fernandez lost three breakpoints as she lost the first set in a close encounter in which both the players had long rallies but in the second set, Maddison Inglis took the first four games to open a huge lead in the match and over her opponent’s mind. From there it was game over for the 2021 US Open runner up who lifted her hands in disappointment after losing the match. Inglis defeated Fernandez 6-4, 6-2.
Norrie, Gauff and Fognini fall in opening day of Australian Open
(Tennis news) Day 1 of the 2022 Australian Open saw quite a few seeded players making their exit. The highest seeded player to fall was Cameron Norrie, the 12th seed had it tough against Next Gen player Sebastian Korda while 18th seed Cori Gauff was knocked out by Wang Qiang.
Cameron Norrie was nowhere near his best as he lost the first two sets in an hour and failed to take a single game in the second set. Korda kept hitting winners as Norrie’s court movement was also hampered, there was no ray of light for the British number one as the youngster did not shy away from taking chances in almost all the rallies. Korda kept coming forward to finish the points and only had some issues in the third set where Norrie put in some volleys which delayed the result of the match. Korda defeated Norrie 6-3, 6-0, 6-4.
“It wasn't easy. I didn't get a lot of preparation, didn't get any matches under my belt,” Korda said in his post-match press conference after he was forced to withdraw from the Adelaide International 1 in the first week of the season due to testing positive for Covid-19. “But I am just super happy with the way I came out. I stuck with my tactics. They worked really well and I am really comfortable on these courts.”
Fabio Fognini failed to find his touch against Tallon Griekspoor in the opening round. Griekspoor did see some half hearted winners from Fognini who could not hit most of the balls on the other side of the court. Griekspoor entered the main draw at Melbourne for the second time in his career and it was his second victory at Grand Slams. The 25 year old will next face Pablo Carreno Busta as it will be tough against the Spaniard who has been in form this year. Griekspoor defeated Fognini 6-1, 6-4, 6-4.
Feliciano Lopez played a record 79th consecutive Grand Slam at Melbourne, the 40 year old lost to John Millman in the 1st round. Millman was quick to find space around the net as Lopez is one of the last players to fully rely on the classic serve and volley. Millman moved well around the court while finding the lines even with his backhand and had sublime control when hitting winners from the net. Millman defeated Lopez 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5.
Cori Gauff made her first early exit at a Grand Slam in two years when she was shocked by Wang Qiang in straight sets. Wang secured her first victory in over 6 months as she took advantage of an error-stricken game by the teenager. Gauff had 38 unforced errors which mostly contributed to the former world number 12 taking 6 consecutive games from the end of the first to the second. Even though it looked like the American could have staged a comeback when saving a few match points but it was not happening this time. Wang defeated Gauff 6-4, 6-2.
Sofia Kenin also had her luck give up on her as she was up against Madison Keys in the first round. Sofia had won the title at Melbourne two years ago but it was all over right on the first day for the former champion. Keys was too powerful around the court as no amount of sprints could cover certain groundstrokes she unleashed. The 12th seed has been struggling with a foot injury and coming back on tour after being infected with Covid. Keys defeated Kenin 7-6 (7-2), 7-5.
Paula Baodsa captures third career title at Sydney
(Tennis news) Paula Badosa set her priorities for the big ones in Australia when she won the Sydney Tennis Classic beating Barbora Krejcikova in the final. Krejcikova had played the match of her life against Anett Kontaveit in the semifinal but could not draw much inspiration for the championship match. Badosa on the other hand had a much straightforward semifinal against Daria Kasatkina.
Badosa had tough opponents on her way to the final as she faced Jelena Ostapenko in the opening match, Belinda Bencic in the quarterfinals and also played one match more than Krejcikova. All of the opponents of the 2021 Indian Wells champion faced were in the top 50 while Krejcikova’s real test came in the semifinal against Kontaveit which took 2 and half hours.
The world number 9 had a 2-0 head to head record against Krejcikova, both the victories coming last year. The Spaniard started well by taking the first two games and broke serve thrice to win the first set comfortably. In the second set, the world number 4 took the first two games and the rallies were getting shorter as she found her target in no time while Badosa had no chances to take.
In the deciding set, the momentum kept shifting each game as both players broke serve once but could get a lead at point of the set. In the tiebreak, it was Badosa who took the lead with her defensive shield proving to be a tough one to break. She was leading 5-2 and Krejcikova tried to repeat the semifinal drama but could not get much time, Badosa lost the next two points but won the next point to get herself a championship point. With a strong backhand down the line, the 24 year old made it 3 out of 3 in WTA finals as well as a third victory over the 2021 Roland Garros champion.
"Of course winning the title gives me a lot of confidence, especially with the level I have played this week," Badosa said. "Of course I am tired. I play Monday. I will have to fly tonight, so let's see how I recover. But I will try to give my best there. I'm playing at a high level. Let's see. I'm looking forward to it."
Both players have a chance to play again at the Australian Open quarterfinals, the 26 year old would want to add more majors after her victory in Paris last year. While Badosa is still looking for a first Grand Slam title win and the victory at Sydney is certainly going to pump her up when she plays at Melbourne.
Mirza-Kichenok to open against Zidansek-Juvan in Australian Open
Melbourne, Jan 16 (Tennis News) Veteran Indian tennis player Sania Mirza and her Ukrainian partner Nadiia Kichenok have been seeded 12th in the women's doubles event of the Australian Open and have been pitted against Slovenia's strong singles players Kaja Juvan and Tamara Zidansek.
Sania and Kichekon have entered the first Grand Slam of the season after reaching the semifinals of the first Adelaide WTA event and making a first round exit from the second.
Zidansek is ranked 29th in the world in the singles chart while Juvan is also a top-100 player at number 89.
In the men's doubles, 41-year-old Rohan Bopanna and his French partner Edouard Roger-Vasselin have been placed in the bottom half of the draw where they will play against wild card pair of Indonesia's Christopher Rungkat and Philippines' Treat Huey in their first round match.
The mixed doubles draw has not been made as yet and it is highly unlikely that Bopanna and Mirza would enter together since their combined ranking won't be enough to enter the event as a team.
No Indian player could make the singles main draw with Yuki Bhambri, Ramkumar Ramanathan, Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Ankita Rain falling in the qualifiers.
Also Read : Tie break thrillers continue to take the spotlight in Australia
News Source : PTI
Australian Open 2022: Medvedev and Sabalenka leading the next gen attack
(Tennis news) After more than 120 days since the last Grand Slam, the 2022 season is ready for the Australian Open to take place at Melbourne. At the beginning of every year, there are new expectations from the next gen to take over the older generation and there are few players who will look to take over the trophy from the seniors.
Daniil Medvedev had beaten Novak Djokovic at the 2021 US Open final and Djokovic had beaten Medvedev in the final of Australia at the start of the year. This year, the Serbian is currently playing against the Australian government as he needs a victory to compete in the main draw. Meanwhile the Russian will be keen to add a second major to his pocket but will be facing a challenge from the rest of the rising stars. Alexander Zverev has not won a major title yet, he has won everything else including the Olympic gold and can join Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal in winning all the major titles in the sport.
Nadal won the Melbourne Summer Set which was his first title at Australia in 13 years, his first title was the 2009 Australian Open. The Spaniard was beaten by Stefanos Tsistsipas in the quarterfinal last year and the Greek player will also be in line to get his first big title. Most of the next gen players have not played any matches so far, the players who have started with year in form would be Felix Auger Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov. The two Canadians have shown how much they grew as players and would be willing to do the same at Melbourne. Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner would also play till the final days of the event as they had a good run last year.
In the women’s singles, Ashleigh Barty will be aiming for a third Grand Slam overall and a first at home. While the Australian has her targets, Aryna Sabalenka can set a sight at a first major as well as the top ranking when she plays next week. Sabalenka reached the semifinals of the last two Grand Slams, the 23 year old can steal the thunder from Barty and it would be daring to do it in front of the home crowd. In the top 10 rankings, all the players are below 30 years and a few made their debuts in the single digit platform. Barbora Krejcikova took the Roland Garros by storm by winning the singles and doubles trophy; Krejcikova takes on Paula Badosa who is yet another debutant in the top 10 and certainly one of them to watch out.
Naomi Osaka will also make her return and if she is in form then there is no doubt about her taking home her 5th major. The Japanese player issued a walkover in the semifinal at Melbourne Summer Set a few days ago but is expected to play at the event. The Australian Open is set to start from January 17 and the audience would want to wear their seat belts as its going to be a bumpy start to the year.
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
Monfils retires at Adelaide International 2, Rinderknech upsets Khachanov
(Tennis news) Gael Monfils injured his neck in the quarterfinal match against Thiago Monteiro, Monfils retired in the beginning of the third set. The Frenchmen had won the title at Adelaide International 1 but his title chase came to an unfortunate end as Monteiro reached the quarterfinals.
Monfils was in form with his defensive skills forming a major part of the match and it even inspired Monteiro who came up with his own skills to give the crowd so much entertainment from two sets. Monteiro’s backhand was looking steady and improved court coverage as the match went on. Monfils' forehand looked stable and his backhand was a bit off in the second set but his legs were working perfectly. His injury caused a major let down before the Australian Open as there is 4 days left, ther world number 19 is expected to recover just in time for the Grand Slam. Monteiro defeated Monfils 6-7(2-7), 6-3, 1-0 retired.
It was not at all bad news for France as Arthur Rinderknech delivered a shock defeat to Karen Khachanov. Rinderknech only had two break points in the match and it proved to be the most vital breakthrough in the match, the Russian had five of them in which he only won one. The 26 year old took advantage of Khachanov’s total dependence to stay in the baseline and took 16 points at the net. Khachanov’s forehand could not bring in the thunder as his athleticism is not the strongest trait. Rinderknech defeated Khachanov 7-6(9-7), 7-5.
Marin Cilic played well by mixing his usual aggression and net play to defeat Tommy Paul in three sets. Cilic set the tune by taking the first set but was forced for the decider as Paul did everything he could in the second set. Paul was serving like a precision machine and hit winners while minimising unforced errors as he took the set while giving away 2 games. In the decider, Cilic came at the net to finish the points quickly as he came 6 times and won each time. Cilic defeated Paul 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.
Cilic will face the winner between Aleksandar Vukic or Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis for a place in the final as the Croatian is the senior most player left in the draw. Rinderknech will face Corentin Moutet or Monteiro for a place in the final. Although Cilic now seems to be the favourite to win his 21st title, the rising stars have taken out some heavy hitters and can do more at Adelaide International 2.
Yuki goes down in Australian Open qualifiers, no Indian in singles main draw
Melbourne, Jan 13 (Tennis News) Indian tennis player Yuki Bhambri suffered a straight sets defeat to Czech Republic's Tomas Machac in the Australian Open qualifiers here on Thursday, meaning the year's first Grand Slam will have no Indian participation in the singles main draw.
Bhambri lost his second round qualifying match 1-6 3-6.
Machac has a career high ATP singles ranking of 131 achieved on November 8 2021. He also has a career high doubles ranking of 470 achieved on November 1 2021.
On Tuesday, comeback man Bhambri had impressed with his attacking net play in a straight sets win but Ramkumar Ramanathan's 23rd attempt at cracking the singles main draw of a grand slam had ended in a first round defeat at the Australian Open qualifiers.
In the women's singles, Ankita Raina, ranked 203, was blown away by 120th ranked Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko 6-1, 6-0 in just 50 minutes.
Also Read : Emma Raducanu falls in opening match at Sydney Tennis Classic
News Source : PTI
Last week's performers, Bopanna and Sania bite dust in Adelaide-2 event
Adelaide, Jan 11 (Tennis News) Veteran Indian tennis players Sania Mirza and Rohan Boapnna, who enjoyed good runs on the Pro circuit last week, bowed out of the second Adelaide ATP and WTA events after first round defeats with their respective partners, here on Tuesday.
Sania and Ukrainian Nadiia Kichenok, the second seeds, lost the opening round of the WTA 250 event 3-6 3-6 to Czech pair of Tereza Martincova and Marketa Vondrousova in 61 minutes.
They had reached the semifinals last week.
At the men's event, Bopanna and his French partner Edouard Roger-Vasselin lost their first round 4-6 6-3 3-10 in 69 minutes to Americans Steve Johnson and Austin Krajicek, who served extremely well and handled returns smartly.
Bopanna had won the men's doubles with compatriot Ramkumar Ramanathan.
Bopanna made too many errors in the Super Tie-Breaker, in which they fell behind 1-6 from where it was extremely tough to make a comeback.
Both Bopanna and Sania will now play at the season's first Grand Slam, the Australian Open.
Also Read : Goffin and Fognini celebrate comeback with victories at Sydney
News Source : PTI
Goffin and Fognini celebrate comeback with victories at Sydney
(Tennis news) The Sydney Tennis Classic along with the Adelaide International 2 will be the final tournaments before the 2022 Australian Open. Both the events started on 10th January and the finals will be held 5 days later as players get to play for one last time before the opening Grand Slam.
David Goffin brushed off his 6 match losing streak which started in May with a win over Facundo Bagnis in the first round at Sydney Tennis Classic. The Belgian moved well around the court for somebody who had been affected with knee injury last season, Goffin’s court coverage helped him to win the longer rallies. It was a contest of the baseliners and the 8th seed did not look out of control at any point of the match as the Argentine had a few forehand winners which were classy but could not construct points like Goffin. Goffin defeated Bagnis 6-4, 6-4.
Fabio Fognini recorded his first victory in over three months when he played against Daniel Altmaier in the first round. The Italian started hitting winners in the first 60 seconds of the match, Altmaier’s one handed backhand did wow the crowds at times and it looked a bit similar to that of former player Sam Groth. Altmaier was consistently serving well and had 9 aces but could not execute final touches especially at the net where he lost all 7 points.
Fognini was completely controlling the groundstrokes from the baseline and had issues with the youngster’s backhand which on a few occasions completely stumped the Italian. The 23 year old did seem to take control in the second set but his net play caused him to lose the lead as Fognini got his 387th career win on tour. Fognini defeated Altmaier 6-3, 7-5.
Wildcard Jordan Thompson tried his luck at Sydney after exiting early at Adelaide and it worked. Thompson was seen sporting long hair and a moustache which seemed perfectly apt at home. He took some time to settle in the court against Marcos Giron and got his first break after 20 minutes with a backhand winner that made sure it had contact with the line. Giron kept the Australian busy at the baseline as he made sure not to hurry through the points as Thompson took the chances. The first set ended when Giron finally hit a forehand wide and in the second set there was no change from Giron.
Thompson began playing more aggressively as he opened up a 4-2 lead and even kept changing his tactics. He often played the long rallies with Giron but with a slice followed up with a heavy groundstroke ensured that Giron remained clueless at the net. The world number 73 will see how far his luck goes as he will face Reily Opelka in the next round. Thompson defeated Giron 6-4, 6-2.
Sofia exits early at Sydney Tennis Classic, Kvitova wins marathon match
(Tennis news) The first day of Sydney Tennis Classic WTA 500 was like a transverse wave as the singles matches did not have a single sporting element missing. The tour in January is packed with events at Adelaide and Sydney as players get busy at the start of the season. The 2022 Australian Open will be starting in 6 days as players have already soaked in the heat at the ongoing events.
Sofia Kenin was the highest ranked player to make an exit on the first day of the Sydney Tennis Classic. The American was up against Daria Kasatkina who had reached the semifinals at Adelaide two days ago. The world number 12 looked a bit off in the middle of the first set as she could not convert two breakpoints at 3-2 and then lost three successive games to give the Russian the lead.
After winning the first set, Kasatkina made a huge leap ahead by bageling Kenin as she knocked out the 8th seed in an hour. Kasatkina saved all the 7 breakpoints in the match and converted four out five to give herself a confidence boost ahead of the season opening Grand Slam. Kasatkina defeated Kenin 6-4, 6-0.
Anett Kontaveit made sure she reminded the Melbourne audience how she ended last season with a straight set win over Zhang Shuai. Kontaveit began her first match of the season with a full stretched backhand and forehand shot in the opening rally. The world number 7 had her first serves come out hot as Zhang only won 4 points out of 35 as Kontaveit kept her aggressiveness full on for the match.
Kontaveit was pouncing on Zhang’s second serve as a single breakpoint was enough for the Estonian to take the set. In the second set, things turned even worse for the 32 year old as she could only win one point out of 16 first serves and lost nine of her 12 second serves. Kontaveit took more risks and it gave her 4 breakpoints in which she lost two but was enough to progress to the next round. Kontaveit defeated Zhang 6-3, 6-3.
Petra Kvitova had a devastating start to the season when she was beaten in the opening round at Adelaide. Kvitova was on her way to another early exit against Arantxa Rus and saved two match points in a match that lasted for three hours. The two left handers hit a total of 16 double faults of which 8 came in the second and Kvitova accounted for 5 of them.
Rus was completely ahead of Kvitova in the first set as it looked like the Dutch player was in full control. In the second set, Kvitova was the one on top of the waves as she had a 4-2 lead until the storm shook her out of the game and it was 4 all. Kvitova who was 7 months older to her opponent used her forehand to unarm Rus and took the match to the decider. In the final set, Rus had two match points at 5-4 but could not get that one point as Kvitova got three consecutive games to end the ordeal. Kvitova defeated Rus 3-6, 7-6(7-4), 7-5.
Yuki Bhambri returns to big stage in style, moves to 2nd round of Aussie Open Qualifiers
Melbourne, Jan 11 (Tennis News) Comeback-man Yuki Bhambri impressed with his match sharpness and attacking net play as the Indian progressed to the second round of Australian Open qualifiers with a comfortable straight set win over Joao Domingues, here on Tuesday.
Bhambri, who returned to the Grand Slam stage after 2018 US Open due to knee injury, beat his 248th ranked Portuguese rival 6-4 6-2 in just 68 minutes.
The 29-year-old Indian's serve looked decent and he played smartly as he charged the net to keep the points short.
He struggled to rein in his unforced errors in the beginning but earned his first breakpoint in the third game with a forehand winner after a long rally. Domigues served a double fault to hand the Indian first break of the match.
Bhambri served the next game at love with an ace to open up a 3-1 lead as Domingues also tried to charge to the net but Bhambri's powerful strokes pushed him back.
Bhambri fought off two break points on his serve in the sixth game. At deuce he pulled off a perfectly placed backhand slice and then dispatched up a half-volley for a 4-2 lead.
After getting one more break on account of his rival's unforced errors, Bhambri came out serving for the set but dropped the serve when his miscued overhead smash went out.
He wasn't in the position to play that shot but went for it, anticipating that lob would land in, behind him near the alley.
The Indian claimed the set when he served again.
In the second set too, it was Bhambri who got the first break as he led 4-2. He then served out the match without any fuss.
Ramkumar Ramanathan and Ankita Raina will also play their first rounds later in the day.
Also Read : Safiullin, Evans among the best players from the 2022 ATP Cup
News Source : PTI
Ashleigh Barty secures two podium finishes at Adelaide International 1
(Tennis news) Ashleigh Barty started the 2022 season with the singles and doubles title at Adelaide International 1. The world number 1 was playing after a gap of three months, she last played at US Open in September. At Adelaide, Barty only dropped a single set against Cori Gauff in the third round and was the only match in which she played for more than 90 minutes.
Barty was expected to win the final when she faced Elena Rybakina who beat Barty’s doubles partner Storm Sanders in the third round. Rybakina had beaten Shelby Rogers in the quarterfinal and looked in good form on her way to the championship match. Both players started well in the match as the Australian made her opponent cover a lot of ground in most of the rallies which Rybakina covered. In the 7th game, Barty broke Rybakina’s serve and then secured the first set.
In the second set, Barty took the first four games as Rybakina could not hold her serve even though she had 6 aces. The 22 year old only lost one point on her first serve in the set but only had 8 of them and lost 11 points out of 17 on her second serve. Barty was consistent on both her serves in the first and second set. She could not do much when Rybakina’s first serve was in but her returns in the second serve cleared the air. Barty defeated Rybakina 6-3, 6-2.
"I feel good leading up to an Australian Open like I have every year," Barty said. "Each and every preparation is unique, each and every preparation is different. So we take it for what comes and what it is, move on, try and do the best that we can in every opportunity, whether that's here in Adelaide or it's in Melbourne.
"It has absolutely no effect on the way that I prepare or the way I'm thinking leading forward just because it's a Grand Slam. Doesn't change for us. We look forward, we do what we can, then we see how we go."
In the doubles final, Barty and Sanders beat Andreja Klepac and Darija Jurak Schreiber in straight sets. Barty and Sanders last played as a pair in the Tokyo Olympics where they lost in the quarterfinal, it was also Barty’s 200th doubles win and is two wins away to make it 300th win in singles. The Aussie pair defeated Andreja and Darija 6-1, 6-4.
All eyes on Yuki, Ramkumar at Australian Open qualifiers
Melbourne, Jan 9 (Tennis News) India will keenly watch Yuki Bhambri's progress after his return to competitive tennis at the Australian Open Qualifiers while compatriot Ramkumar Ramanathan will enter the competition after a confidence-boosting maiden title triumph on the ATP Tour.
Bhambri, 29, lost invaluable three years due to a troubling knee but in a few tournaments that he has played going into the fresh season, the talented Delhi player seems ready for the grind yet again.
The close fight he had had against Aljaz Bedene in March was a testimony that he is ready for top flight tennis but his return came to halt again due to the same knee issue.
He began again in November, competing on the Challenger and ITF circuit and won a doubles titles with Saketh Myneni in Gurugram.
In the tune-up event for the first Grand Slam, Yuki tied up with old partner Michael Venus but lost first round in Melbourne at the ATP event.
He has got a decent draw as he has been pitted against Portugal's Joao Domingues, ranked 248 and clearing first round should not be an issue for Yuki. A good show at Melbourne Park will set the tone for him in the 2022 season.
In 22 attempts so far, Ramkumar has not yet succeeded in cracking the singles main draw of a Grand Slam and it's time that he breaks the losing trend. He will be up against Italian Gian Moroni, ranked 197.
Ramkumar has enjoyed fantastic results going into Australian Open. He has just won his maiden ATP doubles title in Adelaide with compatriot Rohan Bopanna and also won his maiden singles Challenger title in Manama, Bahrain in November.
His booming serve, a big heart to fight and nicely developed serve-and-volley game is there, just that he needs to put everything together at the big stage.
"It's amazing feeling to win my first ATP Title With Bopsy (Bopanna). A great week ended on a high note, always lived for these moments. Thankful to almighty God for all his blessings,"Ramkumar told PTI.
"I'll surely keep it going and give my best as always. I learnt a lot of things from Bopsy and Scott Davidoff (Bopanna's coach) who was part of our team. We combined well and didn't lose even one service game all week." Another Indian in the qualifying is Prajnesh Gunneswaran, who will open his campaign against Colombian Daniel Galan, ranked almost 100 places above him at 120.
In the women's singles, Ankita Raina will clash with Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko, ranked 118.
Also Read : Bopanna and Ramkumar win Adelaide International with upset win over top seeds.
News Sources : PTI
Bopanna and Ramkumar win Adelaide International with upset win over top seeds
Melbourne, Jan 9 (Tennis News) Teaming up for the first-time on the ATP Tour, India's Rohan Bopanna and Ramkumar Ramanathan won the Adelaide International doubles trophy with a hard-fought 7-6 (6) 6-1 win over top seeds Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo here on Sunday.
Bopanna's excellent service returns at crucial times and Ramkumar's all-round game tilted the match in their favour.
In the one hour and 21 minutes contest, the Indians saved all the four break points they faced and broke their rivals twice.
It was Bopanna's 20th ATP doubles title and first for Ramkumar, who was playing only in his second summit clash at this level, having ended a runner-up at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in 2018.
"When Ramkumar is serving by your side, you can finish the point early, so that was an advantage," said Bopanna.
Asked how different it was playing with Ramkumar than another compatriot and left-handed Divij Sharan, Bopanan said, "With Divij, we had to create a point, ensure that first volley opportunity is taken while with Ram, the point can be finished early.
"I am surprised not many Indians entered this event. If anyone had landed here, would have entered the field since not many players were there." Bopanna and Ramkumar will split USD 18700 as prize money and earned 250 ranking points each.
The win would be a huge confidence booster for Ramkumar ahead of the Australian Open Qualifiers, where he will aim to make the singles main draw of a Grand Slam once again.
After saving an early breakpoint, Bopanna and Ramkumar upped their game. In the seventh game, when Melo served at 30-0, Bopanna's unreturnable service on the right of the Dodig and later a crushing forehand winner made it 30-all but the Brazilian eventually held.
Bopanna then saved another breakpoint and converted the deciding deuce point to make it 4-4.
Serving to stay afloat in the set at 5-6, the Indian pair was up 40-30 when Dodig created a winner on Bopanna's serve that whizzed past Ramkumar on his right but the big-serving Coorgi hit an ace to drag it to a tie-breaker.
At 6-6, Bopanna found a service return winner on Melo's serve to earn their second set point and converted with his booming serve.
It was one-way traffic in the second set with the Indians dominating all through.
Also Read : LSpain beats Poland to reach finals for second time of ATP Cup
News Sources : PTI
Iga Swiatek continues stern title defence at Adelaide International 1
(Tennis news) Iga Swiatek slided through the courts in her match against Leylah Fernandez in the fourth round of the Adelaide International 1. Swiatek beat the 2021 US Open runner up in a contest where both of them were showing off court coverage as Fernandez relied on her speed and Swiatek had speed as well as the sliding skill. Fernandez could only win one game in the first set although it took 40 minutes to get over but the second took over 20 mins as Swiatek hit an inside out forehand across an exhausted teenager. Swiatek defeated Fernandez 6-1, 6-2.
"I felt really confident. I'm pretty happy that I could finish it really quickly and I didn't let go of focus.I was in the mood, and that was great because I was pretty stressed since and was playing against a younger girl, which is pretty new for me. She's pretty talented and she's a Grand Slam finalist, so I knew it was going to be tricky" Swiatek said.
Victoria Azarenka set up a battle of heavy groundstrokes against Swiatek as she beat Priscilla Hon in the fourth round. Azarenka pushed her groundstrokes towards Priscilla but she was returning the ball well, the momentum was with Azarenka but there were moments of doubt in the second set. Priscilla had beaten Petra Kvitova in the previous match and stirred up troubles for Azarenka later on. Priscilla could only trouble her opponent and could not get ahead of her at any point in the match. Azarenka defeated Priscilla 6-3, 7-5.
"I felt like I played well, but there were some occasions where I got myself into trouble with hesitation. I have to give it to Priscilla; she really defended well and got me into that mode of not committing fully, but I'm glad that I was able to finish strong," Azarenka said.
Azarenka also marched into the semifinal with Paula Badosa in the doubles. The pair defeated Ulrikke Eikeri and Anna Blinkova in straight sets and had beaten top seeds Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara in the opening match. Ashleigh Barty and Stormy Sanders received a walkover against Fernandez and Erin Routliffe in the other quarterfinal match. 3rd seeds Darija Jurak and Andreja Klepac are now the favourites to win the title but will face hard hitting from Azarenka and Badosa for a place in the final.
Novak Djokovic moved to quarantine hotel after being denied entry into Australia
(Tennis news) Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic has been moved to a quarantine hotel in Melbourne after being denied entry into the country when his visa was cancelled by border force officials at Melbourne airport. The 20 time Grand Slam winner was forced to stay at the airport overnight and was told he would be removed from the country later on Thursday. Djokovic’s injunction request against the visa cancellation was listed for hearing at 4pm (0500 GMT) in the Federal Circuit and Family Court.
In a televised media briefing, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said “There are no special cases, rules are rules. We will continue to make the right decisions when it comes to securing Australian borders in relation to this pandemic. Our strong border policies have been critical to Australia having one of the lowest death rates in the world from COVID, we are continuing to be vigilant.” On Wednesday, Prime Minister Morrison had reiterated that Djokovic would be “on the next plane home” if his evidence for a COVID-19 exemption proved to be unsatisfactory.
The saga has gained international and political interest with the Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic claiming harassment of its star player. Vucic said “I just finished a phone conversation with Novak Djokovic. I told our Novak that the whole of Serbia is with him, and that our authorities are taking all measures to stop the harassment of the best tennis player in the world in the shortest possible period. In accordance with all norms of international public law, Serbia will fight for Novak Djokovic, for justice and truth."
The 34 year old announced on Tuesday that he would be travelling to Australia on an "exemption permission" but was held in isolation upon arrival after attempting to enter the country on a visa that did not allow medical exemptions for those unvaccinated against COVID-19. An Australian Border Force statement read: "The ABF can confirm that Mr Djokovic failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to Australia, and his visa has been subsequently cancelled. Non-citizens who do not hold a valid visa on entry or who have had their visa cancelled will be detained and removed from Australia. The ABF can confirm Mr Djokovic had access to his phone."
Djokovic has won the Australian Open nine times, including the last three years. The 34 year old was hoping to surpass Roger Federar and Rafael Nadal by winning his 21st career Grand Slam title at the start of the tennis calendar but as things stand, the prospect looks unlikely.
World No. 18 Karatsev is the headline of the 4th Tata Open Maharashtra
(Tennis news) Defending champ Vesely and India’s Bhambri receive direct entry into single main draw for the Tata Open held in Pune. World number 18 Aslan Karatsev and defending champion Jiri Vesely will be eyeing the title alongside seven other Top-100 players as South Asia’s only ATP Tour tournament Tata Open Maharashtra gears up for a much-awaited comeback with an action-packed fourth edition, scheduled at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune from January 31 to February 6.
The Tata Open is one of Asia’s longest running tennis tournaments and will be in its 26th year, as they will return after a year’s break due to COVID-19 pandemic. The Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA) will be hosting the prestigious tournament, which is sponsored by Tata Group, in association with the Government of Maharashtra.
The 28-year-old Russian Karatsev had a phenomenal 2021, he became the first-ever player to reach the semi-finals on Grand Slam debut in Australia, bagged two singles titles and his highlight of last year would be defeating tennis great Novak Djokovic, he also went to win the mixed-doubles silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics. Hailed as Russia’s “secret weapon” by teammate and World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev during their team’s 2021 ATP Cup triumph, Karatsev will be eager to carry forward a sensational run and make his mark on debut at Tata Open Maharashtra and by winning this prestigious tournament.
“We are thrilled to announce the return of this prestigious tournament. It has a rich legacy of having top players from across the world participating in it and the upcoming edition will be a testament of the same tradition. Despite the challenges and the pandemic, we are glad to see such a good response with players coming from the world over. We promise to bring yet another edition with a high-voltage action for the fans,” said Prashant Sutar, Tournament Director of Tata Open Maharashtra.
With a stiff cut off at 149, the country’s premier ATP 250 event will also witness some of the experienced names as well as promising young guns from the tennis world such as Australia’s John Millman, Portugal’s best tennis player of all time Joao Sousa and teenage sensation Lorenzo Musetti.
The 19-year-old Musetti made the headlines last year when he became the youngest player to break into the Top-100. In his short career so far, the young Italian star has impressed everyone with his consistent match-winning performances against the Top-10 players including Stan Wawrinka, Grigor Dimitrov and Kei Nishikori. India’s Yuki Bhambri will also kickstart his campaign in the main draw with a protected ranking. After recovering from an injury, Bhambri is currently preparing for the upcoming Australian Open.
Czech Republic star Jiri Vesely, who ended his 5-year long wait for a singles title in the last edition, will be presenting a strong challenge on his comeback into the city. Former Youth Olympics champion Kamil Majchrzak, Moldova’s first-ever ATP singles title winner Radu Albot and World No. 62 Gianluca Mager are the other notable names from the acceptance list.
The qualifying draws will take place on January 30 and 31.
“We had worked really hard to bring back this tournament. I would like to thank all the stakeholders for their continuous support, throughout. We are aware of the challenges ahead but we are ready to tackle them all, strategically. MSLTA have successfully conducted a few tournaments recently and I believe we can pull this off too. Safety of the players as well as others involved is of prime importance to us and, as organisers, we will not compromise on that. We will be strictly following the government’s Covid-19 guidelines to bring yet another successful edition,” MSLTA Secretary Sunder Iyer said.
Novak Djokovic confirms participation in 2022 Australian Open
(Tennis news) After more than a month of suspense, Novak Djokovic has finally confirmed that he will be playing at the 2022 Australian Open. Djokovic’s status has been under the scanner over the past few weeks as many players were withdrawing from injury but in his case it was a complicated scenario. News broke out a few hours ago about the medical exemption he received to play at the Grand Slam.
The world number 1 two years ago had publicly stated that he wouldn’t want to be forced to take the vaccine inorder to travel. Although since the pandemic, people have been encouraged to take the vaccine as it is one’s wish to finally take the shot or not and it is a personal choice. The travelling restrictions are there globally and the vaccination has been acting like a pass which confirms that the individual is abiding by the rules set by the lawmakers.
The organisers have said that there is no special treatment the Serbian received as due process was followed inorder to confirm his participation. "Fair and independent protocols were established for assessing medical exemption applications that will enable us to ensure Australian Open 2022 is safe and enjoyable for everyone," Tournament director Craig Tiley said. "Central to this process was that the decisions were made by independent medical experts and that every applicant was given due consideration."
Djokovic had tested positive two years ago when he organised an exhibition event at Zadar, Croatia. For a person who has already been affected by the pandemic, it should be easier to understand as to why the orgainsers stressed upon the vaccination. Taking the shot is a personal choice until it involves the public, no person should be put in danger just because of a personal decision. When the individual can pose a risk to other players then his personal reservations are not justifiable.
There has been criticism regarding the decision, if Djokovic can talk about the exemption then the audience will be able to get a clearer picture. Australia has been struggling to control the pandemic especially in the present situation as they have crossed the 5 lakh mark. When a place is affected by a pandemic then a top tennis star who has been private about his vaccination status gets allowed to participate is obviously not a very welcoming decision. Again only if Djokovic can explain on what conditions did he receive an exemption then it will be confirmed but until then there will be an angry audience especially in Australia.
The 20 time Grand Slam winner will be aiming for his 10th Australian Open title and 21st overall. Things will unfold in the next few days as the event will start on 17th January and Djokovic will be expecting hostility from the crowd but he will play as he has his own targets to achieve.
Rafael Nadal set to make comeback at Melbourne Summer Set
(Tennis news) The first week of the ATP tour has three events happening at the same time as the fans see the top players in all the three. The ATP Cup started 4 days ago, Adelaide International started yesterday and the Melbourne Summer Set is set to start from today. Many players in the draw will be making their comeback after a few weeks gap as Andy Murray, Kei Nishikori, Benoit Paire and David Goffin will need some Australian support. There are also top ranked players who will be playing as it will help them for the opening Grand Slam of the year which is only 13 days away. Here are the top three players to watch out for in the event.
The Spaniard hasn’t had much success at Melbourne but is coming back after a couple of months. Nadal will be hungry to start the season strong and a title win will fuel his confidence for the 2022 Australian Open. The 20 time Grand Slam winner will play his first match against the winner of Ricardas Berankis and Marcus Giron. Nadal has a run till the final where he can face Goffin, Murray or Dimitrov and the Spaniard last won a hardcourt title two years ago.
The serve machine has improved a lot in the hardcourts as seen in the last season. Opelka will try to set the tone at Melbourne with his first serves and boring back his hardcourt form just from last year. The American will face the winner of two qualifiers in the fourth round and has chances of playing against Kevin Anderson or Paire in the quarterfinals. He last won a title two years ago on this surface and reached his maiden Masters 1000 final last year.
Dimitrov rolled back the times when he played the previous season. The Bulgarian has played well in Australia over the past few years and needs to bring in the energy for some good starts to the season. Dimitrov also has the possibility of facing Murray in his opening match but once that is cleared up then he will only face tough ones in the end. Dimitrov last won a hardcourt title four years ago but last year he showed glimpses at Indian Wells. The world number 28 last played at Paris Masters 2 months ago and now will need to slide in through Melbourne.
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.
Sports in 2022: Here's what to look forward to
New Delhi, Jan 1 (Sports News) The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over but the world seems to be adapting to a life with the dreaded virus and as this churning continues, sports is set to be a major source of joy in 2022 with several big events lined up.
Here is a look at some of the extravaganzas that will be keenly anticipated in India and across the world apart from the usual roster of annual tournaments like the tennis Grand Slams and the badminton calendar.
CRICKET: ====== India's tour of South Africa (December 26 to January 23): An engrossing Test series is currently underway in which India have made a winning start. The three-match rubber will be followed by as many ODIs in which India will get to see K L Rahul assume the leadership role for the first time after a hamstring injury ruled Rohit Sharma out.
ICC Under-19 Men's ODI World Cup in the West Indies (January 15 to February 5): Delhi batter Yash Dhull would be leading the Indian Colts as they look to add a fifth title to the nation's kitty. A total of 16 teams will fight it out over 48 matches in the premier age group showpiece.
ICC Women's ODI World Cup in New Zealand (March 4 to April 3): India would be a contender in the mega-event which was postponed for a year because of the pandemic. It would be a swansong for 39-year-old India skipper Mithali Raj, who would be aiming to leave the big stage with a bang after a stellar career during which she has been nothing short of a trailblazer for women's cricket in India.
ICC Men's T20 World Cup in Australia (October 16 to November 13): Just a year after Australia were crowned world champions for the first time in this format, they would be defending the crown on home turf. For the Indian team, it would be an opportunity to redeem itself after a shambolic preliminary-round exit from the tournament last year.
MULTISPORTS: ========== Winter Olympics in Beijing, China (February 4 to 20): Mired in political controversies due to China's not so flattering human rights image, the Games have already been diplomatically boycotted by superpowers like the US and Britain among others. The athletes, on their part, would try to ensure that their performances remain the focus despite the political drama that is expected to unfold on the sidelines.
For India, who have never won a medal at the winter extravaganza, skier Arif Khan would be the one to watch out for having become the first from the country to qualify in two events -- Slalom and Giant Slalom.
Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England (July 28 to August 8): A happy hunting ground for Indian athletes, the CWG would be a shade less joyful for the contingent this time with shooting not part of the competition roster. It remains to be seen how India copes with the absence of the sport that has contributed 135 medals, including 63 gold, to the country's tally since making its debut in 1966.
Asian Games in Hangzhou, China (September 10 to 25): India registered its best ever Games performance in the previous edition in 2018 and would be expected to only do better in the backdrop of a stellar Olympic performance.
FOOTBALL: ======= AFC Asian Women's Cup in India (January 20 to February 6): It would be a huge step forward for women's football as the country hosts the premier regional tournament for the first time since 1979. The Indians have decent history to inspire themselves as they have been runners up twice in the event, in 1979 and 1983.
FIFA Under-17 Women's World Cup in India (October 11 to 30): Another ground-breaking tournament for women's football in the country, which was originally planned for 2021 but had to be postponed due to COVID-19. Spain are the defending champions and the Indians would be eyeing to produce some decent performances to raise the profile of the sport in the country.
FIFA Men's World Cup in Qatar (November 21 to December 18): The first World Cup to be played in the Arab world is set to be a winter event with Qatar's punishing summer making it impossible for matches to be held during the usual June-July window. Already under a cloud over allegations of corruption in the bidding process and working conditions of labour engaged for infrastructure development, it remains to be seen whether the quality of football alone would be able to ensure the focus remains on sport.
ATHLETICS: ======= IAAF World Championships in Eugene, USA (July 15 to 24): Another marquee competition that was postponed to this year because of the pandemic. Anju Bobby George remains the only Indian medallist at this biggie with a 2003 long jump bronze and India would be hoping that Olympic gold-grabber Neeraj Chopra's javelin would clinch another landmark medal at this year's world championships.
HOCKEY: ====== FIH Women's World Cup in Spain and The Netherlands (July 1 to 24): The Indian women's hockey team has raised the bar significantly with a gutsy fourth-place finish at the Tokyo Olympics. Rani Rampal and her teammates would be keenly watched as they look to build on the positives of that performance. Their best at a World Cup was a fourth-place finish at the 1974 edition and they had managed to claim the eighth position in the previous edition in England.
SWIMMING: ======== FINA World Aquatics Championship in Fukuoka, Japan (May 1 to 29): The biennial event is an umbrella competition for swimming, diving, high diving, open water swimming, artistic swimming, and water polo. India is not much of a challenger on the medal front but competitors from the country would still look to make a mark by improving their timings.
Also Read : Five sporting events that you should look forward to in 2022
News Source : PTI
Novak Djokovic looking to keep next gen waiting in 2022 season
(Tennis news) Novak Djokovic is on the edge of breaking more records in the 2022 season. Djokovic will not be playing at the ATP Cup and will be eager to make his return at the 2022 Australian Open. He has played 62 matches this year and only lost 7 of them including a 27-1 record at the Grand Slams.
Djokovic’s 2021 season was a constant reminder that the next gen will have to pull off a near impossible stunt to take the Grand Slam titles away from the big three. The Serbian won his record 9th Australian Open for a hat trick of victories at Melbourne. Djokovic had an early exit at Monte Carlo as Daniel Evans handed him the first defeat of the season, at Belgrade it was a semifinal exit and Aslan Karatsev did not hesitate in a three setter match.
The world number 1 then met his arch rival Rafael Nadal at Rome in the final as it took almost 3 hours when Nadal finally lifted the trophy. It was the Spaniard’s 28th victory over Djokovic and was trailing by one in their career head to head meetings. Djokovic then got a second chance at home as he won his second title of the season, at Roland Garros the 34 year old became the first man to defeat Nadal twice at the event. Djokovic recorded his 30th victory over the king of clay and went on to win the title after losing the first two sets against Stefanos Tstisipas.
Djokovic then moved on to grass as he was one Grand Slam away from equalling Roger Federer and Nadal’s record of 20 titles. Although he looked a bit hungover from clay madness as he dropped the first set in the opening round against world number 253 Jack Draper but did not drop a set after that until the final. The record books had to be edited as Djokovic won his 20th major.
Djokovic was aiming to repeat Steffi Graf’s Golden Slam in 1988, his hopes took a huge hit when Alexander Zverev defeated him in the semifinals of the Tokyo Olympics. The 20 time major winner was visibly upset in his bronze medal match, even throwing the racquet at one point as the pressure took a toll on the champion. His next stop was at US Open, he got the Tokyo revenge over Zverev in the semifinals but Daniil Medvedev got his for the Australian Open loss. Medvedev played so well that even Djokovic’s cheeky smile disappeared and he lost the opportunity to be in the likes of Rod Laver who was the last one to win a calendar slam four decades back.
Djokovic got the final laugh over Medvedev at Paris Masters but his all year charm was turned to dust at the US Open. Although he was on top this year, the pressure has affected him to the extent that he was in tears in the middle of the match against Medvedev in the final at US Open. The record breaking run came to an end which clearly devastated Djokovic, a similar picture was painted earlier when Federer lost the Melbourne final to Nadal in 2009 as it moved the Swiss player to tears.
The 2022 season has mainly two targets. The first one is to stop the big three from winning any more Grand Slams and the second is for the big three to win a few more until they bid farewell from the game. A few more heartbreaking victories can hurt the big three more than any physical injury as the next gen will be focused on starting a new era and the time has come.
Sinner and Berrettini boost Italy's chances of maiden title at ATP Cup
(Tennis news) The third edition of the ATP Cup is due to start from January 1st 2022 as the 16 teams have been divided into four groups. Former champions Serbia will be without Novak Djokovic as defending champions Russia are also without Andrey Rublev, Aslan Karatsev and Evgeny Donskoy. There are strong chances for the third time that a team will get its maiden trophy. Italy seems to be one of the favourites as they have their top players participating. Here are the top four teams to watch out for at the season opening tournament.
Italy: Group B
The strongest team in the event has four players in top 40 including two players in the top 10 and a doubles player ranked in the top 25. Among the top three ranked singles players, the oldest is Lorenzo Sonego who is 26 as the youngest is Jannik Sinner aged 20. Sinner and Matteo Berrettini will be leading the attack in singles as Simone Bolelli can team up with Sonego or Fabio Fognini for the final blow in doubles.
They can run into trouble against Daniil Medvedev when they play against Russia other than that Italy can finish as table toppers or can come second behind Russia. Group B will be one of the most competitive as compared to the rest of the groups as France and Australia will take every opportunity they get.
Great Britain: Group C
Britain has a complete set up for singles and doubles as they have seasoned players to stir up trouble. Cameron Norrie alongside Daniel Evans will be on the singles front while Joe Salisbury and Jamie Murray will be up for the doubles matches. Norrie has been the top player on his team this season and if the matches go till the decider then their doubles pair are also capable of making a comeback.
They can face tough competition from Germany as Alexander Zverev will be making the move in singles, Canada can pose problems with Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov forming a match winning singles combination. Britain will also be facing the US team which can field Taylor Fritz and out of form John Isner in their attack; they also have doubles multiple Grand Slam winner Rajeev Ram and next gen star Brandon Nakashima.
Spain: Group A
Spain will be playing without their hero Rafael Nadal but has Tokyo Olympics Bronze medalist and world number 20 Pablo Carreno Busta who is ranked just one below Roberto Bautista Agut. Their singles squad looks to be sorted but the doubles pair will have to be tested as youngsters Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Pedro Martinez will have to provide support for the team.
The seniors in the team will have to do double duty as it will get tiring but if their singles matches go well then the workload will vanish. They will be up against Chile in the opening match as Spain will also play against Norway and Serbia.
Argentina: Group D
The team has the oldest players on their side with their youngest player being 29 years old. Diego Schwartzman and Federico Delbonis can be in the singles tie as Federico Coria can also walk in for crucial points. Their senior most player, Maximo Gonzalez aged 38 will be working his magic in doubles with Andres Molteni, the team has work to do but has the strongest chance to top Group D.
Argentina will be facing Greece, Poland and Georgia as their doubles pair will hold the final call on crucial matches. Stefanos Tsitsipas will be on top of Greece as Hubert Hurkacz will do the same for Poland but both the players don’t have enough support and experience like Argentina. The 2022 season will start in grand fashion as 16 countries will battle with each other and one will walk away with the trophy after 9 days of combat on court.
Novak Djokovic and Andrey Rublev withdraw from ATP Cup
(Tennis news) The ATP Cup groups and list of players were released on Wednesday as the latest updates saw many changes take place. Novak Djokovic will not be playing the event along with Andrey Rublev. Rublev had tested positive for COVID-19 a few days ago and will need to complete isolation before he comes back to court as even Rafael Nadal and Denis Shapovalov had also tested positive after playing the Abu Dhabi exhibition event.
Djokovic had beaten Rafael Nadal in the final of the inaugural edition last year. The world number one last played at the Nitto ATP Finals where he lost in the semifinals to Alexander Zverev who went on to win for a second time. Djokovic had a record breaking year by reaching the finals of the four Grand Slams and losing only at the US Open to give Daniil Medvedev his first major.
The Serbian is expected to play at the 2022 Australian Open as the vaccination rules keep him in doubt. Meanwhile at the ATP Cup, Serbia will be led by Dusan Lajovic as the team will find it tough without its top player. Things have got tougher for defending champions Russia as Andrey Rublev, Aslan Karatsev and Evgeny Donskoy have pulled out of the event; Daniil Medvdev will lead the field along with Roman Safiullin and Evgeny Karlovskiy.
“We have all been giving our best in the past days,” said Lajovic. “I'm looking forward to competing with these guys together by my side. Obviously, there are some tactical differences and pressure-wise, but at the end of the day, you've got to go out there, play your match and try to win.”
Meanwhile Andrey Rublev said, "I want to share some news with you. I am currently in Barcelona and unfortunately tested positive for COVID-19. I have minimal symptoms. I am in isolation and following all the protocols under the supervision of doctors. As you know, I am fully vaccinated and was preparing for tournaments -- ATP Cup and Australian Open. Now I have to recover and I will go to Melbourne only when it will be safe for everyone. I am very upset and concerned about what is happening. I will return to the court as soon as possible," added the world number 5
Russia were the strongest team this year as they also won the Davis Cup a few weeks back. Rublev had reached four finals this year including his first final in a Masters 1000 as he did it twice. The Russian had reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open earlier this year which was his third consecutive last eight appearance after the US Open and Roland Garros last year.
Austria will not be playing this time with the withdrawal of Dominic Thiem and Dennis Novak as France will be a replacement. Austria had lost both the matches it played this year as in the previous edition it played three matches and won one. France this year lost their first match but won the second one against Austria, last year they won their first two matches and lost the third match to South Africa.
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.
Dominic Thiem adds more woes with withdrawal from 2022 Australian Open
(Tennis news) Dominic Thiem has announced that he won't be taking part in the 2022 Australian Open. Thiem has been battling with a wrist injury since June this year, he had last played at Mallorca where retiring midway in the opening match against Adrian Mannarino. He has only played 18 matches this season and will see his ranking drop once he comes back in action at the end of next month.
"As you all know, I came back home to Austria to recover after the hard practice sessions I had in Dubai and the slight setback in my preparation. I am now feeling well again, my wrist is in optimal conditions and I am practicing normally with a very good intensity", said Thiem.
"After the short holidays, my team and I have assessed all matters and we have decided to make some changes to my initial tournament schedule: I will start the season in South America at the Cordoba Open in Argentina, end of January, and therefore I will not play this year at the Australian Open in Melbourne, a city that I love and where I have great memories of unforgettable matches in front of amazing crowds. I will miss the Australian fans but I will be back in 2023.”
The 2020 US Open champion will miss the Australian Open for the first time since making his debut in 2014. He had reached the finals last year by defeating Alexander Zverev and Rafael Nadal on the way, Novak Djokovic defeated Thiem in the final as the Serbian came back from a 2-1 set deficit in a four hour match. Thiem’s absence will also mean Austria taking a backseat at the ATP Cup as World number 119 Dennis Novak will be leading the team.
The 28 year old also won his first Grand Slam last year at the US Open and at Roland Garros he reached the quarterfinals to cap off the year as the world number 3. His current rank is 15 which will see a further fall after the first three three weeks in January. He was playing his 10th year on tour this season and failed to reach a final including a shock first round exit at Roland Garros.
Thiem has now joined Roger Federer, Milos Raonic, Stan Wawrinka as the list continues to grow for the 2022 Australian Open. Nadal so far has not given statements about missing the Slam although he tested positive a few days back. There are also questions looming about Novak Djokovic’s participation especially regarding the vaccination rules for the players entering the event. The 2022 Australian Open is set to start from 17th January as the next gen players will again play in a similar situation like the 2021 US Open.
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
Andy Murray receives wildcard for 2022 Australian Open
(Tennis news) Andy Murray is back in the Australian Open after two years, he last played in 2019 where he lost the opening round to Roberto Bautista Agut in a four hour marathon. Murray will be playing the Australian Open for the 14th time next year and is 2 victories away from 50 career wins at the first Grand Slam of the year.
“I’m really excited to be back playing at the Australian Open and grateful to Craig and the team for the opportunity," Murray said in a statement. "I’ve had some great times in Australia playing in front of the amazing crowds and I can’t wait to step back out on court at Melbourne Park.”
The 34 year old had one of his best streaks here a decade ago as from 2010 to 2016 he reached the finals 5 times and reached the quarterfinal and semifinal once. The Scot reached two consecutive finals twice in 2010,11 and in 2015,16; Novak Djokovic defeated him in four of the five finals while Roger Federer defeated him in the 2010 final.
Murray has been making a comeback since his hip surgery which almost brought down the curtains in his career after the 2019 event. The three time Grand Slam winner has shown strength in the toughest phase of his career as currently only Djokovic out of the big four has not suffered major injuries so far. Murray, Nadal and Federer are recovering from injuries as Federer won’t be seen in action this time.
More wildcards will be announced soon by the organizers as the five time finalist did have some convincing victories this year. He defeated Jannik Sinner, Hubert Hurkacz, Carlos Alcaraz and the list will grow next year. Murray played 29 matches this year same as Rafael Nadal and won 15 of them as Nadal had 24 wins. Nine more victories will give Murray 700 career wins which is the fourth most amongst active players after the big three.
The former world number one has never defeated Djokovic in five of their meetings at Australia, but has defeated Federer once and Nadal twice in which the Spaniard retired hurt in the second meeting. He has not faced Nadal for over 5 years, Federer for 6 years and Djokovic in 4 years and maybe the 2022 Australian Open can bring the old days back which can inspire the new gen even more.
Cori Gauff on her way to win majors in singles and doubles
(Tennis news) Cori Gauff also known as Coco Gauff is one the top teenagers on tour. Although Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez hogged the limelight at the US Open this year, Coco has been on the tour since 2019. The teenager is the third highest ranked American behind Sofia Kenin and Jessica Pegula.
Gauff is the youngest player to be ranked in the current top 200, she is currently ranked 22 and is 14 victories away from 100 career wins. Although not a very tall player, her serve can reach speeds of 180 km/ hour and has a flat backhand which changes the angle even at high speeds. The 17 year old has a powerful forehand but it is not as consistent as her backhand, she is quick in between rallies. She hit some unplayable lobs during the Australian Open this year that showcased her prowess.
The young prodigy has been a consistent player on tour, she won her second career title this year at Emilia Romagna Open along with her third doubles title partnering with Catherine Mcnally. She defeated Amanda Anisimova in the quarterfinals and only dropped a set while winning the title. Gauff is also improving her game at the nets as she and Mcnally reached the final of the US Open losing to Samantha Stosur and Shuai Zhang. The American pair did not drop a set on their way to the final and showed that they can win big titles even though both are teenagers.
Gauff reached the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam in singles for the first time at Roland Garros this year. She beat Ons Jabeur in straight sets, Jennifier Brady until Brady retired hurt after losing the first set 6-1. The young American has played 50 matches this year and won 36 of them. It will be interesting to see how she handles the pressure at the 2022 Australian Open as now there are a handful of teenagers who can reach the end stages of any major.
The WTA tour has not had a consistent champion on tour for years except for Serena Williams. Naomi Osaka is expected to come back to Australia as she has been winning a Grand Slam since 2018. There are 4, 5 players who will win multiple slams next year but they will have to watch out for hungry young players who are expanding their trophy cabinet. Gauff knows what it takes and how stressful it is but she can adapt to these conditions.
Also read: Jurgen Melzer, Viktor Troicki bid farewell to the sport this year
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.”
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.
Jannik Sinner seeking to enter the top five in ATP rankings in 2022 season
(Tennis news) Jannik Sinner is the current youngest player in the top ten as he is only 20 years old and in his third year on the ATP tour. The Italian had a rapid rise to the top this year with four titles in five finals all coming on hard courts. Sinner started the season with a title at Melbourne 1 defeating Karen Khachanov in the semifinals, in the next two events he made first round exits. He will be expected to stage some upset at the 2022 Australian Open.
Sinner had never progressed beyond the fourth in Masters 1000 until this year when he made the finals at Miami defeating Khachanov for the second time this year and beat Roberto Bautista Agut in the semifinals. In the finals he lost to Hubert Hurkacz and at Barcelona he reached the semifinals by beating Andrey Rublev in straight sets. In the next 7 events, he did not progress beyond the fourth round until his title win at Washington where he beat four Americans on the way.
Sinner’s next title came at the Sofia Open where he was the defending champion. In the finals he defeated Gael Monfils for the second time in a row as he had beaten the Frenchmen at the US Open. Sinner then didn't drop for the second consecutive to win a title at Antwerp and went on to reach the semifinals at Vienna which projected him to career best ranking of 9.
Sinner was expected to play at the Nitto ATP Finals but a first round loss at the Paris Masters put him in the backseat. He then got a chance at his hometown when fellowmen Matteo Berrettini was injured and Sinner got off to a winning start as the crowd went berserk in his match against Hurkacz.
Sinner’s strokes are always on the offensive and hit flat with incredible force that causes him to master the hardcourts. Sinner has proven that even with very little experience, he can beat the elite players and with more practice can perform well in high pressure matches. The match against Carlos Alcaraz at Paris was supposed to be a trailer for what the rivalry holds in the future. Sinner is quick around the court and can also stretch to hit impressive winners.
Sinner is yet to make an impression at Grand Slams, he reached the quarter final stage at Roland Garros last year and that has been his only appearance at that level so far. He has only played at 8 Grand Slams so far but has many competitors aside him. Now with the top ten entry, Sinner will try to transfer his hardcourts supremacy into the Grand Slams as three of the four Grand Slams are held in fast moving courts. Sinner will need to progress deeper at the majors as he can then have a crack at the top five of the rankings.
Thiem and Nadal cast doubts over 2022 Australian Open participation
(Tennis news) The 2022 Australian Open may have more absentees as the latest updates about Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem added doubts about their participation. Nadal has tested positive after playing at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition event in Abu Dhabi last week. The Spaniard was playing after a gap of almost 3 months, he played two matches last week against Andy Murray and Denis Shapovalov. Although he lost both the matches, Nadal was looking in shape and is now doubtful about participating in the year’s first Grand Slam.
Nadal has been playing the Australian Open since 2004 and has only missed it twice since then. He did not play in 2006 and 2013, his only title here came in 2009 while defeating Roger Federer in the final. This year, Nadal had lost in the quarter final stage to Stefanos Tsitsipas and lost to Thiem in the same round last year.
“The idea is to go there and try my best there in Australia, being 100% honest, I can’t guarantee it," Nadal said. “I need to speak with my team. It's been more than six months since the last real official match. Things are difficult and I accept that I was able to compete in both matches and even had my chances, so if we put that in perspective it’s a very positive thing.
“I went through this process unfortunately a lot of times in my tennis career but I need to practice and I need to be healthy enough to go through this process. If that happens, I’m confident that I will be back."
Meanwhile Dominic Thiem also announced that he will be missing the ATP Cup and Sydney Tennis Classic next month. His absence will be a big loss for Austria, Thiem had injured his wrist this year and was out of tour for six months. Six months back he failed to record a win at Roland Garros for the first time in his career and broke his streak of winning at least one title every season since 2015.
"I caught a cold while I was in Dubai and was unable to practice last week. I will therefore not be in the physical condition to be able to compete in the ATP Cup and Sydney ATP 250. After not competing for the last six months I cannot take the risk of coming back too early and picking up a further injury. My aim is still to play the Australian Open, but we will make a final decision on my participation by the end of December,” said Thiem.
Thiem has been featuring in the Australian Open since 2014 and reached the final last year as he lost to Novak Djokovic after taking the first two sets. The 28 year old will look to add to his US Open win last year when he comes back on tour in 2022.
Jennifer Brady confirms absence for 2022 Australian Open
(Tennis news) Jennifer Brady has confirmed that she won’t be able to play the 2022 Australian Open as she hasn’t recovered from an injury. Brady was last seen playing in August at Cincinnati where she retired in the third round against Jelena Ostapenko due to a foot injury. The world number 25 reached the final of a Grand Slam for the first time this year at the Australian Open but lost to Naomi Osaka in straight sets.
Brady made her debut at the Grand Slams when she qualified for the 2017 Australian Open and reached the fourth round by defeating Heather Watson and Elena Vesnina on the way. She reached the fourth round at the US Open the same year and could only win one game as she lost to the then world number one Karolina Pliskova.
Brady went past the third round of a Grand Slam at the US Open last year as she reached the semifinals losing to Osaka in three sets. Brady had reached her career high ranking of 13 in February this season after which it dropped to 25 as she reached the fourth round once in the next 8 events. She played 25 matches this year and needs nine more victories for 250 career wins.
Brady also reached the semifinals of the Australian two years in the women’s doubles with Alison Riske where they lost to Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic. Brady also reached the quarterfinals last year partnering with Caroline Dolehide as the Australian Open remains the Slam where she has found the most wins. Brady won her first doubles title with Ashleigh Barty at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix WTA 500 in a tense three setter final against the American pair of Bethanie Mattek Sands and Desirae Krawczyk.
Brady will be joining Karolina Pliskova, Serena Williams and Bianca Andreescu as the players on the WTA tour who will be missing out on the opening Grand Slam of the year. The US Open this year also saw many withdrawals on tour as the injuries kept piling on, the ATP Cup has also contributed to a tight packed schedule for the players.
Brady's injury update was tweeted by the Australian Open officials as there are questions over Dominic Thiem and Rafael Nadal’s participation. Brady has not announced when she will return on the tour, the 26 year old currently is the fourth highest ranked American on the WTA tour. Her rankings will drop as she is set to miss a few of the starting events in the next season.
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.
Juan Martin del Potro expected to make comeback in 2022 season
(Tennis news) Juan Martin del Potro announced through social media that he was hoping to make a comeback on tour in the 2022 season. He last played in 2019 and has been recovering from knee injury. Del Potro has had multiple surgeries on his knee and wrist which has caused multiple breaks in his career.
"I’ve been training really hard. Some days are better than others, but always with the hope of coming back to compete early next year," Del Potro said. "It would be very special to come back to Buenos Aires and then play in Rio. As you can imagine, I’m giving my all every day so we can meet again very soon. I’ll keep you all updated with my progress. Take care.”
Del Potro's best moment on tour came in 2009 at the US Open. He became the first to defeat Roger Federer and Rafeal Nadal during the same Grand Slam. Del Potro was then 20 years old as he defeated Nadal in straight sets in the semifinal and in the final against five time defending champion Federer. Federer was only two points away from winning the title in the fourth set but Del Potro came back to win his first and only Grand Slam title. Del Potro is the only man outside the big four to win a major since the 2005 Australian Open till the 2014 Australian Open where Stan Wawrinka broke the streak. Del Potro again reached the finals at the US Open in 2018 where he lost to Novak Djokovic.
Del Potro has been one of the hardest hitters of the ball on tour. His forehands are known to reach speeds of almost 190 km/ hour and at an average of around 140 km/hour. He uses the eastern grip for his forehand and hits it flat without much wrist use. His height and long arms allows him to hit the ball even harder, he can hit hard forehands multiple times in a rally and his on the run shot has been compared to Fernando González. González is known to have one of the best forehands in tennis history as it was often used to hit powerful winners.
The Argentine is 6 feet 6 inches tall which gives him fast first serves and good reach while picking up a dropshot. His backhand is much slower than his forehand which exposes his weakness although it was much stronger in his early days before the wrist surgeries which limited the movement.
Del Potro was last seen playing in 2019 at London at Cinch Championships, he issued a walkover in the second round after falling at the net in the previous match against Denis Shapovalov. He had to undergo surgery on his right knee since then has not played a match on tour. He last won a title in 2018 at Indian wells for his first Masters 1000 title as he defeated Federer in the final.
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.
Hebert and Mahut receive doubles honors as Karatsev wins improved player
(Tennis news) The ATP announced the winners in two more categories on Wednesday as Aslan Karatsev won the most improved player of the year award and the doubles pair of Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut won the Fans’ Favorite doubles team.
Aslan Karatsev had a breakthrough season by becoming the first man in the Open Era to reach a semifinal on his Grand Slam debut at the Australian Open. He started the year ranked 112 and reached his career best of 15 in November, he is currently ranked 18. Karatsev won titles at Moscow and Dubai, he also reached the finals at Belgrade. Karatsev had won 34 matches this year and reached the third round at the US Open. He last played at the Davis Cup, partnering with Karen Khachanov against Germany in the doubles match and last played a singles match at Paris Masters 1000 where lost the opening match to Sebastian Korda.
Karatsev had immense success in singles but in doubles he was ranked 422 at the start of the season and now is ranked 91. He won the doubles title at Doha with Andrey Rublev and the pair reached the finals at Indian Wells.
“I am really happy to win this award,” Karatsev said. “It means a lot to me and I am really happy to get this. Thank you very much.”
The doubles pair of Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut won the Fans’ Favorite doubles team of the year award. The pair had reached 5 finals this year, they won three of them including the Nitto ATP finals and the Roland Garros title. They became the eighth pair to complete the career by winning the 2019 Australian Open and have been playing together since 2015.
“Just want to thank all of you who voted for us,” said Mahut. “Winning on the court is a personal accomplishment, but receiving the Fans’ Favorite Award is a different kind of pride. Pierre-Hugues and I are very touched and hope to share some great moments next year together and with you. Thanks again and see you next year.”
Herbert added: “It’s the first time we've won this award. We had an amazing year and we’re so happy and so proud about it. We hope to be back next year, enjoying on the court and on the ATP Tour.”
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.
Fabio Fognini and Benoit Paire looking to end title drought next season
(Tennis news) The 2021 season saw a lot of next gen players taking the centre stage as the older players struggled to get their form on court. There have been some players who have had a poor run this season which saw their rankings drop and though they are expected to hit back the critics next season, it is a sign of the dominance of the latest sensations on court. Given below are some of the players who couldn't get their mojo up and working.
Fabio Fognini: Italy
The 34 year old is the second oldest in the list but has won the most titles among the four. This season, he finished with 22 wins and 22 losses, his last title came 2 years ago at Monte Carlo Masters 1000. The Italian team was the runner up in the ATP Cup where Fognini won two matches out of four, he lost to Denis Novak of Austria who was ranked 100 at the time. Fognini began the year ranked 17 and ended the season ranked 37. He is known for his comebacks at the Grand Slams and usually has a powerful groundstroke with minor movement but his on court behaviour has been known to create issues. He was the world number 9 two years ago which remains his best till date.
Benoit Paire: France
Paire is known for his backhand drop shots which has a great amount of spin and his powerful forehand return of serve which has been measured upto 183 km/ hour. He has a huge swing for his forehand and a very unorthodox style of play, he is known to play it too casually sometimes. Paire won his last title in 2019 at Lyon and reached the finals at Auckland last year, but this year he hasn't been able to progress beyond the quarterfinals. Paire has played 43 matches this year in which he won 13 of them and was ranked at 28 at the start of the year, now he is in 46th position.
Adrian Mannarino: France
The only left hander in the list, Mannarino has a shorter swing than Fognini in his forehand but is also known for his backhand dropshots from the baseline. Mannarino most famous dropshot was in 2017 at Rome against Pablo Cuevas where he hit a backhand drop shot from the baseline which made a bounce on the other side of the court and spun back into his own court. Mannarino is a crafty left hander, his best finish this year came at Mallorca where he reached the semifinals. His first title came 2 years ago and then reached a final last year which was his 9th career runner up finish. This year he won 14 matches out of the 40 played which resulted in his ranking drop from 34 in the start of the year to 71 by the end of the season.
Grigor Dimitrov: Bulgaria
The only one handed backhand player in the list, Dimitrov played 42 matches this season in which he won 24 of them. His best run came at the Indian Wells where he reached the semifinals defeating Daniil Medvedev in the fourth round. Dimitrov started the year by reaching three consecutive quarterfinals, at the Australian Open he defeated Dominic Thiem in the fourth round even bageling the world number in the third set. After that his best winning streak was 2 matches for a few months until in San Diego and Indian Wells where he reached back to back semifinals. The Bulgarian last won a title in 2017 at the Nitto ATP Finals and last reached a final three years back at Rotterdam. Dimitrov started the year with a ranking of 19 and now is 28th, his career best ranking of 3 came four years back.
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.
Aslan Karatsev is the latest addition to the Russian powerhouse
(Tennis news) Aslan Karatsev had three tour level victories before playing this year and now he has ended with 37 career wins. He started the season at No. 112 in the rankings and is currently ranked 18. The 28-year-old Russian created a sensation by reaching the semifinals of the Australian Open as a qualifier, becoming the first man in the open era to reach the last four in a Grand Slam debut. He defeated Diego Schwartzman, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Grigor Dimitrov on his way to the semifinal where he lost to Novak Djokovic.
Karatsev is a right hander with a two handed backhand, his aggressive style makes him lethal in hardcourts. Since he is a risk taker in most of the matches the unforced errors are winners are more. Karatsev hits the ball flat but hard down the court and at times finishes with a well set up volley. He takes the ball on the rise and does not give the opponent much time to move around the court. Karatsev is not the fastest mover on the court but has groundstrokes from both the ends which can give him winners.
While winning the title in Dubai, Karatsev earned his second top 10 win when he defeated Andrey Rublev in the semifinals. His biggest win came at Belgrade where he defeated Novak Djokovic to reach the final and lost in the final to Matteo Berrettini. He also beat Daniil Medvedev in their only career meeting at Rome Masters 1000 in the third round, Karatsev had a 16-3 win/loss record on hard courts in the first quarter of the season. In the next 12 events, he failed to reach the quarterfinals until at San Diego where lost to Dimitorv in the last eight and then won at Moscow defeating Marin Cilic in the final.
Karatsev is nominated in the most improved player of the year along with Carlos Alcaraz, Cameron Norrie and Casper Ruud. Karatsev is the oldest of the four as he is 28 but along with two singles titles and a runner up, he also won one doubles title at Doha along with a runner up finish in Indian Wells all with Andrey Rublev. The ATP cup was also won by Russia where Karatsev played in the doubles but lost all the three matches he played.
Karatsev is currently playing doubles at the Davis Cup for Russia and has won all the three matches he has played so far with Rublev. Russia will be playing against Germany today in the semifinals of the Davis Cup and will look to win a third title. It has been a great year for Russian tennis fans as there are two players in the top five and a total of four players in the top 30.
Nominees announced for this season’s ATP awards, Casper Ruud leading with two nominations
(Tennis news) The tennis season is now fully centered around the Davis Cup which is into its final stages. It is time to celebrate the top athletes of the year as the ATP awards have stated the nominees in each category. Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are the big missing names in the nominees as of now as there are still other categories coming up later this month. The coach of the year will be a little hard to decide as all the nominees have achieved personal milestones in the past twelve months and the coaches will be proud of their results.
Comeback Player of the Year: The player who has come back after a serious injury and has been one among the top players on the ATP Tour. Andy Murray had won it in 2019 and Vasek Pospisil won it last year. This year Murray again has a strong chance to take the title.
Thanasi Kokkinakis, Mackenzie McDonald, Andy Murray, Jack Sock
Most Improved Player of the Year: Players who have gained a significant increase in their rankings by the season end and have played well throughout the year. Andrey Rublev won the award last year and this year Ruud, Carlos Alcaraz are the favourites to win.
Carlos Alcaraz, Aslan Karatsev, Cameron Norrie, Casper Ruud
Newcomer of the Year: On among the Next Gen ATP players who are inside the top 100 and were the highlight of the season. Alcaraz had won it last year, this year Jenson Brooksby and Brandon Nakashima look to be the favourites.
Sebastian Baez, Jenson Brooksby, Juan Manuel Cerundolo, Hugo Gaston, Brandon Nakashima
Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award: The award is for the player who has maintained high standards of professionalism and competed with respect and fairness against his opponents. Nadal is the three time defending winner of the title and has won it a total of four times.
Felix Auger-Aliassime, Rafael Nadal, Casper Ruud, Frances Tiafoe
Coach of the Year: The award is voted by coaches on tour and it describes the coach who has helped his player achieve great performances in the season. Hubert won his first Masters 1000 title this year alongside Norrie, Ruud has won five titles this year, Medvedev won his first Grand Slam of the year and Alcaraz won the next Gen ATP which gave him a perfect end to the season.
Craig Boynton: Hubert Hurkacz, Gilles Cervara: Daniil Medvedev, Juan Carlos Ferrero: Carlos Alcaraz, Facundo Lugones: Cameron Norrie, Christian Ruud: Casper Ruud.
Also read: Women’s Tennis Association suspends all tournaments in China amidst Peng Shuai
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.
Alexander Zverev claims his second ATP Finals title after defeating Daniil Medvedev
(Tennis news) Germany’s Alexander Zverev defeated reigning champion Daniil Medvedev 6-4 6-4 to win the ATP Finals title for the second time in four years, having previously won his first title at London's O2 in 2018. It was an upset by all means as the Russian was a heavy favourite to win this clash after defeating Zverev in their last five meetings.
The third seed had already defeated World Number 1 Novak Djokovic on Saturday and needed a flawless display against Medvedev to ensure a straight sets victory. By doing so, Zverev became the fourth player to defeat the top two players in the world in the semi-finals and finals of the season ending tournament and the first since Andre Agassi in 1990. Zverev had already faced Medvedev in Turin where the Russian defeated the 24 year old in a lengthy three set match but a repeat of such a result was not on the cards as Zverev took an early break in both the sets.
Such was his display that Zverev only dropped four points on serve in the first set and won 83% of first serve points, wrapping up the win with a fitting ace. Moreover, the fixture was an indication of what the next generation has in store as it was the first time since 2005 that the finalists were 25 years old or younger. The German has already won six titles of the year including an Olympic gold and said “I had to play one of my best matches, I'm super thrilled and super happy right now. There is no better way to end the season than to win here."
Despite not being as prestigious as the Grand Slams, the ATP Finals have always been a good indicator of future major champions as it features the eight leading male players of the year with the likes of Alexander Zverev, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas possibly the next generation trio who can replicate the incredible achievements of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Medvedev said as much that Zverev has the potential to become a Grand Slam champion, “He is a great player who is capable of beating anybody so he definitely can win a Grand Slam, it's just obvious, but he's not the only one and that's where it gets tough” hinting at Tsitsipas. "Is he capable? Yes. Is he going to do it? We never know,” Medvedev concluded.
Garbine Muguruza records perfect finish to the season with Akron WTA Finals title
(Tennis news) Garbine Muguruza had lost her first match of the week to former world number 1 Karolina Pliskova and dropped a set behind rival Barbora Krejcikova, but now Muguruza has come back to life to fly through the last eight sets of the tournament, breaking Kontaveit’s 12 match winning streak as it pushed her to second place in the round robin and repeated the feat in the final.
Muguruza first played in the event in 2015 and went on to reach the semifinals where she lost to Agnieszka Radwańska. Since then she has qualified in 2016, 2017 and after a 3 year gap came back to win the title. She is currently ranked three and could not have finished the season any better. Anett Kontaveit will be disappointed as she had a stellar winning streak cooking up right before the event. She was one of the favourites to win the event, both the times she lost in straight sets to Muguruza.
Muguruza finished the year with 38 victories in 54 matches and two title wins. It was the perfect stage to defeat Kontaveit as she had beaten Muguruza in the previous event they entered. In the Kremlin Cup they played in the quarterfinals as Kontaveit dropped only two games enroute to a title win. Kontaveit ended the season with 45 victories in 60 matches and had won four titles all of which came under 4 weeks. Kontaveit reached her third consecutive WTA final and has won the first two while losing this one.
"The last couple of years, I didn't play the same way I played before," Muguruza said. "But I didn't play bad tennis, either. I was just here, there, not going into the deep rounds at Grand Slams that made the difference. I always felt I had tennis. I was just not putting the battle together.
"I don't even know when the tournaments in Australia are starting yet," Kontaveit said with a laugh. "I really have to first look into that, then start taking it back week by week and just plan the pre-season.
In doubles, Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova won their first year end title as they beat Hsieh Su-wei and Elise Mertens. Barbora and Katerina had reached the finals in their debut in 2018, this time they made sure to return with a trophy in hand. They were undefeated throughout the event and dropped only four games when they faced Mertens and Hsieh in the round robin stage.
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.
Novak Djokovic aiming to end season on a winning note at Nitto ATP Finals
(Tennis news) The 51st edition of the ATP Year end finals will be up and running from tomorrow as the top eight players battle for the prestigious crown. The event is held at Turin for the first time until 2025 after being in London since 2009. Hubert Hurkacz and Casper Ruud will be making their debuts this year as they grabbed the final spots a few weeks back. Hurkacz is the only player who has less than 40 match wins this season as he has 36 wins in 56 matches. Novak Djokovic at 34 will be the oldest player in the draw this year and Casper Ruud who is 22 is the youngest.
This year there are no left handers for the first time since 2018 as Rafael Nadal is out with injury and Cameron Norrie is the second alternate. The event will be played in Pala Alpitour arena with 65 percent of the capacity as the players will enjoy the spectators presence as it was not there last year. Here are the top four players to watch out for as the event begins tomorrow.
Djokovic will be keen to win a record 6th title and tie with Roger Federer for most number of titles. The Serbian is fresh off from winning a record 6th Paris title where he defeated Daniil Medvedev in the final, Djokovic can also become the oldest man to win the title since Federer won it when he was 30 in 2011. The Serbian last won here in 2015 which was the last of his four consecutive wins and is the only man to have done it. He lost to Dominic Thiem last year at the semifinals but this year his form has made him invincible on court.
Medvedev at present has the highest chances of stopping Djokovic even though he lost to him in the finals at Paris. He is the defending champion and did not lose a match last year as he defeated Djokovic in the round robin stage and went on to beat Thiem for the title. Medvedev will be eager to become the first player in 6 years to defend a title at the event. He will look to add to his US Open victory to end the year with yet another trophy.
The 2018 champion is the only player this year to have won two Masters 1000 titles and has the joint highest number of wins this season along with Stefanos Tsitsipas as they both have won 55 matches. Zverev celebrated his 300th career win last month and has had a season worth remembering. Zverev has all the machinery to become a champion.
The Greek god had won the title in 2019 which was his first appearance at the event. Tsitsipas won his first Masters 1000 title this year at Monte Carlo and also reached the finals of a Grand Slam for the first time at the French Open. Tsitsipas retired in his opening match at the Paris Masters due to a long term right arm injury and hopefully is hundred percent fit when he plays at Turin.
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.
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.
Our goal is to create future champions in the sport of Taekwondo for India - Vinay Kumar Singh, Peace Taekwondo Academy
Taekwondo was first introduced in India in 1975 but despite the martial art being around for nearly half a century, it isn’t considered a “mainstream” sport by any means. However, taekwondo athletes in the country have been letting their achievements do the talking and are going strength to strength in promoting the sport amongst the masses. Since the last seven years, Peace Taekwondo Academy has been grooming talented athletes at the grassroots to become future champions in the discipline and have made significant strides to achieve their goals.
To know more about Taekwondo in India, Mr. Vinay Kumar Singh, owner of Peace Taekwondo Academy spoke exclusively to SPOGO about the objectives, achievements of the academy, getting support from sports authorities and government, rising stars and the common difficulties faced by athletes pursuing the sport.
Q1) When was this Peace Taekwondo Academy started and how long did it take for the project to gain momentum?
We started Peace Taekwondo Academy in November 2014 at Malviya Nagar, Delhi. We will be celebrating 7 successful years of our existence on the 10th of November next month.
Q2) What are the objectives that the Peace Taekwondo Academy tries to achieve on a long term basis?
Our long term objective, which has been our only objective since inception, is to get an Olympic medal for India in Taekwondo. One of our star athletes, Kashish Malik, was in the National Team for Asian Qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Unfortunately, the Indian Taekwondo Team wasn’t allowed to participate in the Asian Qualifiers because of Covid reasons.
Q3) What would you say are some of the academy's best achievements?
1) Highest World Taekwondo Ranking of 25 achieved by Aman Kadiyan of the academy in the Males, Under 54kg weight category. Result published: 28th October 2021.
Majority of our athletes are top rankers. Details below:
Radha Bhati (All India Rank 1); Sonia Bhardwaj (All India Rank 2) in the Female, under 46kg
Anisha Aswal (All India Rank 1) in the Female, under 49kg
Kashish Malik (All India Rank 1) in the Female, under 57kg
Sonam Rawal (All India Rank 1) in the Female, under 62kg
Aman Kadiyan (All India Rank 1) in the Male, Under 54kg
Shivam Tyagi (All India Rank 3) in the Male, Under 58kg
Shivansh Tyagi (All India Rank 1) in the Male, Under 74kg
2) Aman Kadiyan and Shivam Tyagi represented India in the World Taekwondo Grand Slam Champions Series. This was the first time Indian athletes were representing the nation at the Grand Slam.
3) Quarter finalist at 2018 Jakarta Asian Games, Indonesia. Kashish Malik in the Female, under 57kg
4) Gold & Bronze medal from the 2019 South Asian Games, Kathmandu, Nepal. Gold won by Kashish Malik in the Female, under 57kg and Bronze won by Radha Bhati in the Female, under 46kg.
5) Athletes from the academy have represented India in Asian Championship, Asian Games, South Asian Games, World Universiade, and World Championships.
Also read: Winning a medal at the 2024 Paris Paralympics is my ultimate objective - Indian para-shuttler Nehal Gupta
Q4) Do you get adequate support from other sports authorities and the government?
Majority of the support has come from private bodies and NGOs. Our top athletes are supported by organizations like Go Sports Foundation, Virat Kohli Foundation, Welspun Group, JCB through Lady Bamford Charitable Trust. We also have our own NGO - Peace Sports Trust which supports the athletes. We have officially written to both the Central Government and State Government but there has been no response so far. We are hopeful that with major achievements at International level, the government will reach out to us to extend its support.
Q5) Who are some of your athletes that our audience should look out for in the upcoming competitions?
We have created so many champions in the last so many years in Taekwondo, but Aman Kadiyan, Kashish Malik, Radha Bhati, Sonia, Anisha, Shivam Tyagi, Sonam Rawal are some of our top performers that you should look out for.
Q6) What are the most common difficulties your athletes have faced and how do you help them?
1) Taekwondo is an Olympic Sport but it is still not recognized in the list of priority sports published by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (Government of India). The recognition is long due, the athletes and the entire taekwondo fraternity is at great loss because of this. Their certificate carries no value at government offices.
2) No major championship or league tournaments at National level. If this happens, our athletes will get a lot of exposure.
3) The support system, especially the financial support is almost nonexistent or lacking. Except for a few athletes, the majority are self-funded. Self-funding cannot be a long term solution. Majority of the athletes collapse because of this.
4) Lack of proper infrastructure and training venues.
5) Lack of professionalism at all levels.
6) Rewards and recognition
7) Athletes need support in terms of Sports nutrition, Physiotherapy, Sports Psychology, Video analysis.
We literally have no/zero intervention in what the Government or the national federation is doing to lift the level of the sport in the county. Maybe once we have brought a major medal for India (like an Olympic medal) things will start falling in place. Mary Kom was a five times World Champion still no one knew her. She got one Bronze medal from the London 2012 Olympics and people started recognizing her. Same goes with Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu or any other sports person in India. The national federations (irrespective of who is leading it) must have a national calendar and a roadmap. They must have pre-defined goals and targets they want to achieve over a period of time through the federation or athletes. They must sell their vision and results which is not happening currently.
There is a dearth of quality championships both at the grassroots and at the elite level. The athletes need exposure which they cannot get at their academies alone. The elite athletes and line 2 athletes must also have a proper support system. Right now it is all happening from their own pocket. This is not a self-sustainable model and will collapse in the long run.
The sporting ecosystem, especially that of taekwondo in India must imbibe professionalism and values at the core of whatever they are doing and this should be done at all levels. Whatever is done must be measured. The good initiatives or results must be rewarded and the bad ones must go through a root cause analysis. Everyone from top to bottom must realize that it is a collective and collaborative effort that will yield the result.
Lastly, athletes need to be loved and they must equally spread love and peace through sport.
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
Unvaccinated tennis stars will be allowed to compete at the Australian Open after fulfilling two weeks hard quarantine and regular testing
(Tennis news) Unvaccinated players are set to be granted a visa for participation at the Australian Open, provided they fulfill two weeks of hard quarantine at a hotel and undergo regular testing throughout the duration of the event. This update comes after political leaders from federal and state governments had stated last week that players who have not received two doses of a recognized vaccine will not be allowed to compete at the first Grand Slam of the year.
Reports by the New York Times and Melbourne’s The Age newspaper revealed leaked contents of an email from WTA to its Players Council which revealed that only unvaccinated players will be made to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. The email reportedly said “We feel the need to reach out to you all to clear up false and misleading information that has recently been spread by other parties about the conditions that players will be forced to endure at next year's Australian Open. We have been communicating regularly with... the Tennis Australia team in recent months and they shared some good news with us on our Players Council call last Friday so that you know the facts."
The conditions for the players are set to improve significantly as the state of Victoria will achieve a 90% vaccination target of the adult population by the end of next month. Tennis Australia has been working with the government to ensure the protocols are in place before players are expected to arrive from December 1st. A statement said “Everyone has been buoyed by the easing of restrictions over the past week. We are optimistic that we can hold the Australian Open as close to pre-pandemic conditions as possible."
Sports Minister of Victoria state Martin Pakula has reassured that a decision would be made about the requirements of unvaccinated players well in advance to ensure they can make the necessary preparations for the Grand Slam tournament. Pakula said “The main point still to be resolved between the tournament organisers and government is the question whether unvaccinated foreign nationals will be allowed into Australia at all and, if so, under what circumstances.”
Australia is set to reopen its international borders for the first time in 18 months starting next month on a state by state basis, depending on the vaccination rates. Visitors who are fully vaccinated will be subjected to fewer restrictions. Earlier this year, the US Open required all spectators to show proof of at least one vaccination jab with no compulsory vaccination for players. However, both the men and women’s tour have recommended players to get the two jabs but have not enforced it as a rule.
The decision to allow unvaccinated players to participate in the Australian Open will come as a boost for Novak Djokovic’s hopes to participate in the Grand Slam as the Serbian has previously advocated that taking a vaccine should be a personal choice and he would be a doubt for the tournament if compulsory vaccination is required.
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.
The race to be world number one, next gen seeks new possibility
(Tennis news) To become the world number one in any sport is a challenge in itself, to be crowned the best of the best and to sit on top is an accomplishment for every athlete. In tennis, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have shared the world number one ranking for a long time. The last time the four of them were not on top was in 2003 when Andy Roddick was the world number one.
This year Daniil Medvedev became the world number two as the last time the big four were not in the number two position was in 2005 when Lleyton Hewitt was number two. Medvedev has a golden chance to secure the world number one ranking if he manages to perform well in the Paris Masters and the year end Championships. Alexander Zverev also has a chance but not this year as he has to cover a huge lead to end up first, he has been one of the most consistent players over the years.
The Grand Slams have been slipping past the veterans as the next gen have been getting their hands on the trophy. Consistency is what keeps the big three on top as Andy Murray is still yet to come back to his old self, age is something that no matter how hard they control it will eventually catch up. This year the injury toll was on the rise and it showed how the curtains will fall for the former champions soon but the next gen should not wait for these players to step out of the game. This year, Djokovic went into the time machine to reach the final of all four slams but there were three different finalists and next year this might not be the case.
With the entry of new players the next gen will need to bring in the consistency card in order to reach the top ranking. In the current set of players, Dominic Thiem has been efficient in clay as well as Stefanos Tsitsipas as Medvedev has been brilliant in hardcourts. Zverev has struggled at the Grand Slams, something which he will need to look upon as the other three have reached the finals and also won slams except Tsitsipas.
The next gen should be able to play similar to the big three like how they used to play in their prime. Playing well in the slams as well as the tournaments and getting enough rest as the calendar is getting hectic year by year. They have to be careful with the injuries as it affects the career of any young player and can even end one’s career. With the year coming to an end, there are huge possibilities in 2022 as the next gen is proficient in stopping records and now they can get to know how to make them.
Novak Djokovic unsure about participating at the Australian Open 2022
(Tennis news) Twenty time Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic has revealed that he’s unsure about playing at the Australian Open 2022 claiming that things are “not good at all” Down Under. The Serbian has already confirmed he will be playing at the Paris Masters, ATP Finals and Davis Cup Finals.
The World Number 1 has not participated in a tournament since Daniil Medvedev defeated Djokovic in the US Open final. The 34 year old revealed that he started training on Monday after an extended break from the sport. “I started training today, It's been a long time since I last trained with a racket. Admittedly, I trained my fitness, but I have only just started tennis. Today I was Olga's sparring partner. I am preparing her, and we will see what kind of work I do as sparring when she goes to the next tournament" said Djokovic.
Djokovic has been particularly private about his vaccination status, a factor that will be of importance with respect to the Australian Open. He has previously pointed out that it’s against the law in Serbia to enquire about personal medical details. “I will not reveal my status whether I have been vaccinated or not," Djokovic said. "It is a private matter and according to our law, whoever asks you, you can in some way charge him for asking you. That is an immoderate question."
“I still don't know if I will play in Melbourne," Djokovic stressed. "I don't know what my schedule will be. There is too much speculation. The media speculates a lot and that bothered me a lot. I didn't advertise too much because everyone made some assumptions based on what I said a year ago. One and the same thing is going on and there is a lot of division in the society, not only in sports, but in the whole society, between those who have not been vaccinated and those who have been vaccinated and that's really scary."
There were a plethora of watertight rules at the 2021 Australian Open that annoyed a lot of tennis players including Novak Djokovic. Several of them were forced to quarantine for 14 days without any training, a factor which affected their fitness and form. Djokovic has urged players to unite and be involved in the decision making process before stringent rules are in place before the next edition of the Australian Open.
“The main problem is that if you are on a plane with a person who is positive, whether you are vaccinated or not, you automatically have to go to the room for 14 days," Novak Djokovic said. "That happened to Viktor Troicki in January this year. Not only him, but also 70 players had to be quarantined. I talked to a lot of players and that is something that everyone has a bad memory of," he added. "I would like the players to unite a little more, whether through PTPA or something independent or through ATP or WTA, just so that in some way we are relevant in some decision-making process. Now, I feel like the players aren’t wondering about anything at all."
The Serbian has reiterated that he does not expect much to change in the Australian Open 2022 compared to last year. He has revealed that his manager is in touch with the Federation of Australia about the latest ongoings. “I do not believe that the conditions will change much in relation to what we already know," Djokovic said. "As was the case this year, there will be plenty of restrictions. What I heard from my manager, who is in direct contact with people from the Federation of Australia, is that they are trying to improve conditions for everyone. Both for those who have been vaccinated and for those who have not."
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.
Cameron Norrie set to enter top twenty rankings, reaches semifinal at Indian Wells
(Tennis news) Cameron Norrie reached the semifinals of a Masters 1000 event for the first time at the ongoing Indian Wells tournament. The left hander has picked up 46 wins on tour this season and is set to become the British number one with entry into the top twenty rankings.
Cameron will overtake Daniel Evans who is currently ranked 22 in the world. He has been a rising star for British tennis as he only made his professional debut four years ago and has already been breaking new grounds. This year, Cameron won his first title at Los Cabos and also reached the finals of the Master 500 event at Queens in addition to three other runner up finishes.
Cameron is known for his court coverage and has a full swing forehand as compared to a minimal swing backhand. With Andy Murray struggling with injury, he can become the new British sensation in the sport as Daniel Evans has already turned 31. Norrie is currently placed 11th in the race for the year end championships and has chances to qualify for the event if he performs well in Indian Wells and Paris Masters.
The 26 year old is currently ranked 26th in the world and will be third left hander in the top twenty after Rafael Nadal and Denis Shapovalov. Norrie will face Grigor Dimitrov in the semifinals at Indian Wells and has a chance against the Bulgarian, Norrie finished runner up at the previous tournament in San Diego and will find it tough against Dimitrov who defeated Daniil Medvedev on the way to the semifinal.
With the rise of youngsters on tour, it has been a great year for the sport. Norrie is one among many who are predicted to make a mark at the Grand Slams in the next two, three years. Norrie has reached the third round of all the grand Slams, he reached the third round for the first time at the US Open last year and this year has reached the third round at the first three slams. This is his fourth year on tour and he has already made an impression on tour, he bageled Diego Schwartzman in the quarterfinals which was a thumping victory and a warning signal to opponents.
US Open champion Emma Raducanu withdraws from Kremlin Cup
(Tennis news) Emma Raducanu has withdrawn from the Kremlin Cup which is due to begin from October 18th to 24th in Moscow citing “tournament schedule change” as the reason behind her last minute decision. Raducanu has only played one game since her victory at Flushing Meadows, a second round clash against Aliaksandra Sasnovich which resulted in a defeat at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells.
The 18 year old British tennis player announced on Thursday that she will be unavailable to participate in the tournament this year and is looking forward to returning to the WTA Tour in the “next couple of weeks”. In a statement, Raducanu said “Unfortunately I've had to make a tournament schedule change and won't be able to play Moscow this year, but I hope to compete there and in front of the Russian fans next year. I look forward to returning to the tour in the next couple of weeks”.
The World Number 22 is slowly adjusting to life as a Grand Slam champion and recently said that she needs to “cut herself some slack” after her 6-2 6-4 defeat to Sasnovich at the Indian Wells. "I'm kind of glad that what happened today happened so I can learn and take it as a lesson. So going forward, I'll just have more experience banked. I think it's going to take me time to adjust really to what's going on. I mean, I'm still so new to everything. I mean, I'm 18 years old. I need to cut myself some slack."
Raducanu recently split with Andrew Richardson, weeks after her incredible victory at the US Open. After losing to Aliaksandra Sasnovich, the 18 year old said “I’d love to have someone with great experience right now by my side so if any experienced coaches are out there looking, you know where to find me.” Former British tennis player Jeremy Bates helped the young star at the BNP Paribas Open but is unlikely to be Richardson’s full time replacement, particularly after Raducanu’s early exit. As things stand, Argentina’s Carlos Rodriguez, who previously coached Belgium’s Justine Henin seems most likely to be the new coach.
Raducanu was due to play in the Transylvania Open and at the Upper Austria Ladies in Linz from 6 November. It remains to be seen if the rest of her foreseeable schedule will change as well after her withdrawal from the Kremlin Cup.
Grigor Dimitrov struggling with his form on tour, drops out of top twenty in rankings
(Tennis news) Grigor Dimitrov is currently ranked 28th in the world and is one of the most athletic players on tour. Dimitrov has played 35 matches this year so far while winning 20 of them, he has a similar playing style like Roger Federer and has an elegant backhand just like him.
Dimitrov has been one among many who have been in the shadows because of the dominance of the big four. His best performance in the last two years came at the 2019 US Open where he defeated Roger Federer for the first time to reach the semifinals. Since then Dimitrov has failed to reach any final of any tournament and this year reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open beating Dominic Thiem on the way.
Dimitrov had reached the last four at San Diego Open which was his only last four appearance this year. He last reached a final of a tournament in 2018 at Rotterdam where he lost to Federer and last won a title in 2017 which was the Nitto ATP Finals. Since then Dimitrov has struggled with his form, even though he has been reaching the last eight in few of the tournaments it has been tough for him to shine at the big stage.
Dimitrov is currently playing at the Indian Wells and has reached the fourth round for the first time. He is one of the most talented players on tour but has always struggled with consistency throughout his career, with the next gen winning Grand Slams and slowly taking over the game will be causing trouble to the generation who are in the middle. Dimitrov turned 30 this year although he is much younger than the big three, he has to prove himself against the next generation. Given his talent he can do much more for sure and there is still a lot left in him.
Dimitorv has a single handed backhand which is fast and has an effective slice but the best part in his game is his athleticism and the ability to stretch. He has been known to perform trickshots at the net but will have to step up and start winning titles again. With his experience, he can dominate the game and still has time to capture a Grand Slam as he knows what it takes, having come close on many occasions. Dimitrov will face Daniil Medvedev in his next match at Indian Wells, looking at Medvedev he will know that opportunities are taken by force in this sport.
Looking back at Rafael Nadal’s record breaking run at the 2020 French Open
(Tennis news) The 2020 French Open was played from September to October instead of its usual schedule due to the pandemic. Rafael Nadal had won the last three editions and was looking for a 13th title here and 20th Grand Slam overall. Roger Federer was leading the list with 20 Slams, Nadal had 19 and Novak Djokovic came in third with 17 slams.
Nadal had lost in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open to Dominic Thiem in four sets and was looking to win his first title of the year after winning two slams the previous year. Nadal recorded two bagels in the first four matches and faced stiff competition in the quarterfinals from Jannik Sinner as the first set went till tiebreak. In the semifinals he faced Diego Schwartzman and had lost to him for the first time at Rome, the first two sets went in favour of Nadal and in the third set a tie break was needed in which the Spaniard prevailed to head into the final for a 13th time.
Nadal and Djokovic were meeting at Roland Garros for the seventh time. Djokovic had handed Nadal his second defeat at the French Open when they met last time five years ago and had beaten Nadal at the ATP finals in the beginning of the year. Beating Nadal at the French Open has been one of the most difficult tasks in the sport since 2005 and Djokovic was the favourite to do so.
Nadal began his title defense by taking the first six games as he recorded his third bagel of the tournament and went on to win the next two to take his 13th French Open and join Federer with 20 Grand Slams. Nadal had not dropped a set while winning the title and did it for the fourth time and the first time since the 2017 French Open. This has been Nadal’s last slam till date and is currently recovering from an injury in his left foot having played three slams this year.
Nadal will be 36 next year and is still the favourite to win the French Open. Given his record at the Slam in the past 16 years there is little chance anyone can topple the “King of clay” other than Djokovic as even Federer has failed in multiple attempts even at his prime he could not defeat Nadal at Roland Garros. The left hander undoubtedly is the best when it comes to the clay surface and the French Open has his name written all over, Nadal has every chance to take the crown in 2022.
Emma Raducanu falls in opening match at Indian Wells, Leylah Fernandez marches on
(Tennis news) In women’s singles, US Open champion Emma Raducanu lost in straight sets to Aliaksandra Sasnovich. Aliaksandra played clean shots as she had only four unforced errors after taking the first set in half an hour. In the second set, Raducanu looked to take the match to the decider with a 4-2 lead but Aliaksandra came back and took the next four games to send the newly crowned Grand Slam champion packing at Indian Wells. Aliaksandra defeated Raducanu 6-2, 6-4.
Leylah Annie Fernandez secured a hard hitting victory in her debut at Indian Wells. Leylah was in her usual aggressive mode as she took the first five games of the match to stun Alizé Cornet who managed two games in the first set. The story was no different in the second set as Leylah continued to punish the ball and her opponent to take the second set. Leylah finished with 24 winners and 26 unforced errors. Leylah defeated Cornet 6-2, 6-3.
Irina-Camelia Begu played top level tennis to upset Jil Teichmann for a second time in a row. Begu had last defeated Teichmann at the French Open last year in three sets but this time beat her in two sets. Begu only conceded a single game in the final set to complete a satisfying victory over the 31st seed. Teichmann defeated Begu 7-5, 6-1.
In men’s singles, Andy Murray was at his best when he took on Adrian Mannarino as there were dropshots, quick volleyes and the trademark lob by Murray. Murray took the first set in 40 mins and finished the match with a late drop shot from the backhand to set up a clash against teenager Carlos Alcaraz Garfia. Murray defeated Adrian 6-3, 6-2.
In a match filled with booming forehands and volleys, John Millman knocked out wildcard Jack Sock in a three set heavyweight battle. Sock had his powerful forehand which was the key to him winning points but Millman’s defense was equally good which took the match to the decider. The final set saw Sock break Millman’s serve early on the set but Millman came back with class and had the final laugh. Millman defeated Sock 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.
Jenson Brooksby played rocket forehands and backhands to beat qualifier Cem İlkel in two sets. Brooksby had a few roars whenever he unleashed fast ones across Cem, his backhand was steady along with the forehand. Cem tried to play aggressive but could not match Brooksby raw strength with the racquet. Brooksby defeated Cem 7-6(7-5), 6-4.
In men’s doubles, there was a battle of regular singles players as Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson defeated Diego Schwartzman and Llyod Harris 6-3, 6-7(7-2), 10-7.
Second seeds Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram had to struggle against a much lower ranked pair of Cameron Norrie and Luke Saville as the match went till the decider. In the final set Joe and Rajeev came close to an embarrassing defeat but won the match as Joe is in contention for a third consecutive title after the US Open and San Diego Open.
In women’s doubles, teenagers Leylah Fernandez and Cori Gauff were ruthless against Renata Voráčová and Irina-Camelia Begu in their opening match as they only lost a game in each set. Leylah and Cori defeated Renata and Begu 6-1, 6-1.
Top seeds and this year’s French Open doubles champion, Barbora Krejčíková and Kateřina Siniaková had a tough time in the first set against Jil Teichmann and Viktorija Golubic as they raced off to win the final two sets. Barbora and Kateřina defeated Teichmann and Golubic 6-7(6-8), 6-2, 10-2.
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
Kim Clijsters returning after a decade, Emma Raducanu keen to make a mark again at Indian Wells
(Tennis news) The Indian Wells will be looking to welcome back action in the women’s field as the last few months have seen teenagers taking over the majors. The recently concluded US Open saw future stars battling for their maiden Grand Slams and this time almost all the top players will be present in the last 1000 series event in the WTA tour.
Pliskova is the top seed in the absence of Ashleigh Barty and Aryna Sabalenka at Indian Wells. Her best performance came in 16,17 where she reached the semifinals and has reached the quarterfinals in the past two editions. Pliskova had reached the quarterfinals of the US Open losing to Maria Sakkari in straight sets and hasn’t been played ever since. She has secured the qualification for the year end championships.
Swiatek is making her entry into the main draw for the first time this year. She last played at the Ostrava Open a week ago and had reached the last four while losing to Sakkari. She won the title in Rome beating Pliskova in the final and did not drop a set while winning at Adelaide. She will be looking to qualify for the year end championships as she is currently placed seventh.
Elina has been featuring in the Indian Wells since 2013 and had reached the semifinals in the previous edition losing to eventual champion Bianca Andreescu. She played at Chicago three days ago while reaching the quarterfinals and will be in form when she plays here. Elina narrowly lost to Leylah Fernandez in the quarterfinals of the US Open as she will now look to gain points here and qualify for the year end championships where she is currently placed 12th.
Emma might still be in her US Open dream as she received a wild card to play at Indian Wells. The teenager has not won a tour title although she has a Grand Slam with her and would be even more special to win here at one of the most prestigious Masters 1000 events. She is currently ranked 22 and has a tiny bit of a chance to come close to qualifying for the year end championships. It will be her first 1000 points event and can give the audience another shock here just like did in Flushing Meadows where she did not drop a single set on the way to winning the title.
Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev heading the field at Indian Wells
(Tennis news) The Indian Wells will begin from tomorrow and there are plenty of players waiting to get their hands on the trophy. The top seeds will be the favourite but with the recent results anything can happen and a new champion is waiting in line to step in court and deliver. With only a month to go, players will hope to end the year with good rankings and collect maximum points.
The US Open champion stunned Novak Djokovic for a first Grand Slam title, Medvedev has four Masters 1000 titles and won his fourth one this year at Toronto. He has not progressed beyond the third at Indian Wells but 12 of his 13 career titles have come in hard courts and this year’s progression will put him in the top spot. Medvedev is two victories short of 50 victories in a season and his personal best of 59 victories came in 2018.
Tsitsipas is the only player this season with 50 plus match wins, the Greek god won his first Masters 1000 title this year at Monte Carlo. He has never progressed beyond the second round here and will look to win shrug off his US Open performance where he lost in the third round to Carlos Alcaraz. Tsitsipas has reached the quarterfinals of all the Master 1000 events except at Madrid where he lost in the fourth round.
Zverev is the only player to win two Masters 1000 crowns this year and will look to add a third one. He won in Cincinnati and in Madrid where he defeated Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinal in straight sets. Zverev beat Djokovic at the Tokyo Olympics singles semifinals to deny him a chance for the Gold medal although he lost to Djokovic at the US Open in a tight five set contest. Zverev’s best performance at Indian Wells came five years ago where he reached the fourth round and lost to Nadal after missing a forehand volley on matchpoint. He will look to be the first person since Nadal in 2018 to win three Masters 1000 in a season.
Rublev is yet to win a Master 1000 title but reached the finals at Monte Carlo and Cinicinnati. The Russian had a shock defeat in the semifinals of the San Diego Open to Cameron Norrie and will now look to win his crown here. He has not progressed beyond the third round at Indian Wells although has been playing well this season and with a great win here will ensure his place at the World Tour Finals.
Indian Wells back on tour after a year, first time champion confirmed in men’s draw this time
(Tennis news) The Indian Wells tournament will begin from 7th October as it usually is played in the month of March. It always is the first Masters 1000 event of the year but this time due to the pandemic has become the second last event of the year. It is one the most watched and attended events after the four Grand Slams. It's the first time since 2000 when any of the big three were not featured in the tournament. The men’s and women’s draw will be finalised once the qualifiers are over tomorrow.
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have won the title every year from 2004 till now except in 2010 when Ivan Ljubicic won the title, 2018 when Juan Martin Del Potro captured the crown and in 2019 when Dominic Thiem secured his Masters 1000 title. This time there will be no former champions playing as Djokovic withdrew from the event a few days earlier, which means that there will be a first time winner.
In the women’s event, Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka will not be featuring this time. Emma Raducunu and Leylah Fernandez will be making their debut in the event and will be playing for the first time since the US Open. Former champions like Victoria Azarenka, Simona Halep and defending champion Bianca Andreescu will also be playing, making the women’s event as competitive as ever.
The Indian Wells was not held last year due to the pandemic as it was the first time that the event was cancelled since its inception in 1976. Nadal is the only left hander to win the tournament in the last 20 years and he last won it in 2013, in the women’s field the last left hander to win the event was Martina Navratilova in 1991 and is the only one.
Federer and Djokovic have won the most singles crown in the men’s field with five titles. In the women’s field nine players have the title twice but in the current players only Victoria Azarenka, Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters have won it twice. There have been three different champions in the last three editions in the men’s field and seven different champions in the women’s field.
Wildcard Kim Clijsters is playing the event for the first time in 10 years and she had last won it in 2005. Andy Murray and Jack Sock are the other prominent wild card entries. Carlos Alcaraz, Sebastian Korda, Lorenzo Musetti and Jenson Brooksby along with Coco Gauff, Iga Swiatek and Barbora Krejcikova are all making their debut at the event this time.
Aslan Karatsev knocks out Hubert Hurkacz at the San Diego Open
(Tennis news) Aslan Karatsev had a giant killing run from the start of the year as he became the first man to reach the semifinals of a Grand Slam in his debut. He had come through the qualifiers in the Australian Open and defeated Diego Schwartzman, Félix Auger-Aliassime, Grigor Dimitrov on the way to the semifinals where he lost to Novak Djokovic. His run didn't stop there as he went on to win the Dubai Open and defeated Djokovic in the semifinals in his home turf at the Belgrade Open in Serbia.
After his performance at the Belgrade Open, he slumped to poor form which saw him failing to advance to the quarterfinals in the next 11 tournaments. In the San Diego Open, Aslan beat in form Hubert Hurkacz in a three set contest which lasted for two and half hours. Hubert started well by taking the first set but an aggressive Aslan kept hitting the ball harder than his opponent. Aslan took the next two sets as the match looked more predictable towards the end and defeated Hubert 5-7, 6-4, 6-2.
Rising star Casper Ruud was in relentless pursuit for a win against Andy Murray as the rallies were long and gruelling. Ruud took the first set after finally managing to break Murray as both of them did not seem to give in at any point of time. In the second set Ruud managed to take a 3-0 lead as the crowd started engaging more with every rally as both were playing from the baseline. Ruud defeated Murray 7-5, 6-4.
Denis Shapovalov found answers from the net as well as the baseline as Taylor Fritz kept attacking Denis. Fritz came at the net multiple times in the opening set but could not keep the ball away from Denis who covered the court effortlessly and took the first set with a running winner across Fritz at the net. In the second set, Fritz played from the back of the court which clearly was not a good idea as Denis raced to take the second set with powerful forehands. Denis defeated Fritz 7-6(9-7), 6-2.
Grigor Dimitrov lost only two games against August Holmgren in his fourth round match up as he will be facing Aslan in the quarterfinals and will look to avenge his Australian Open defeat earlier this year. Dimitrov was a sight to watch against Holmgren as he cooked up great shots to give the 901 ranked player a free tennis lesson, Holmgren hit the ball hard but was not fast enough for Dimitrov as he was too good at every point simply showing his experience and agility on court. Dimitrov defeated Holmgren 6-1, 6-1.
Cameron Norrie saved a handful of set points in the first set and came back from 2-5 down to take the first set in a tiebreaker against Daniel Evans. Evans failed to capture the set after multiple set points and faced the forehand wrath of Norrie. In the second set, Norrie broke Evans as Evans missed an easy backhand volley in the eighth game to give Norrie the advantage and then Norrie served out the match to set up a clash with Denis in a battle of left handers in the quarterfinal. 7-6(7-3), 6-3.
'Everest Twins' hit a high on the Swiss Alps, aim to keep climbing
Chennai, Oct 1 (Sports news) Tashi and Nungshi Malik, the first twin sisters to climb the Mount Everest together, are on a high after having summited two 4,000 m (13,000 ft) peaks in the Swiss Alps as part of the Switzerland 100 per cent Women Peak Challenge. The duo termed it as an out of the world experience and aim to continue conquering more peaks in future.
"Well, we just completed our expedition. We did three mountains - Allalinhorn (13,212 ft), Breithorn (13,662 ft) and Riffelhorn (9603 ft) in three days and we were absolutely stoked.
"We had only dreamt about it ourselves, but to finally make it to Switzerland and to successfully summit with a women- only team for this 100 per cent Women's Peak Challenge was truly an out of this world experience for us. It went very well, we must say," the duo known as the 'Everest Twins" told PTI in an interaction from Switzerland.
The Malik sisters from Dehradun are the first siblings and twins to climb the Seven Summits, to reach the North and South Poles, and complete the Adventurers Grand Slam and Three Poles Challenge.
They have several accomplishments in mountaineering which came after standing on the summit of Mount Rudugaira in the Indian Himalayas. It made them change their perspective.
"We started when we were 18, it was absolutely by default. We had no idea we would be climbers. But standing on the summit of our first big mountain- the Mt Rudugaira in the Indian Himalayas truly changed our perspective on what women and girls can do and it felt very empowering being on the top.
"After that day, we knew this was a passion waiting to be discovered and we've never looked back since," the duo said.
Nungshi said the notion that mountaineering is a male preserve was changing with more women setting records.
"...Mountaineering is generally viewed as a male preserve and women taking it up has been looked down upon. But, I think slowly the trend is changing as more and more women are setting records in the climbing space to show that we can also do it well.
"Recently, there has been a spurt of enthusiasm with more and more people wanting to take up adventure sports including mountaineering." She said right now, across the world, women adventurers only comprise 15 per cent of the total adventurers globally.
"But we are hoping this number will rise in the next decade or so since people are now becoming more aware of how powerful this sport is," Nungshi said.
"And there are probably newer avenues that are opening up for some of us like this 100 pe cent Women Peak Challenge/ It is a great initiative that Switzerland Tourism has taken up to encourage more women to come outdoors and climb the peaks together in women only teaks." She said out of the seven summits, the one in North America 00 Mount McKinley was one of the tougher climbs because it was very technical.
"There are no sherpas on the mountain, so you are doing everything yourself and it is for only professional climbers. That climb really set the tone for us climbing extreme peaks which require a different skill altogether," she added.
Mountaineering is an expensive sport, Nunghsi said, adding: "having set so many world records, we still face so many challenges when it comes to financing our trip." Asked how they sustain themselves amid the challenges, Nungshi said, "As of now, Tash and I deliver a lot of motivational talks where we get a large amount of our revenue and we have a few ambassadorial contracts with gear manufacturing companies." Asked how much the pandemic disrupted their mountaineering and participation in other events, Nungshi said, "We've been homebound for almost a year-and-half and couldn't climb much. I think it's been a tough year for everyone and it certainly affected us too because we were so used to travelling and being on the road.
"So Switzerland was almost a saviour. It feels surreal to be able to travel without a mask because who would have thought that, within a year, post the pandemic you would be able to achieve something like that. For us, this in particular has been a game changer in that sense," she added.
Mountaineering requires a basic level of fitness and the duo try to train for at least a month before embarking on expeditions.
"For expeditions, we have to make sure that our endurance is up because we have to climb for almost 8 to 10 hours; so we never compromise on training and keeping ourselves fit. We also keep ourselves mentally strong with yoga and meditation," Nungshi added.
Also Read : Sports Ministry to launch nationwide Clean India Programme
News Source : PTI
Andy Murray given wildcard entry into the main draw at Indian Wells
(Tennis news) British tennis player Andy Murray will be making his first appearance at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells since 2017 after the three time Grand Slam champion was given a wildcard entry into the main draw of the prestigious California based tournament. Murray reached the quarter-finals of the Moselle Open and suffered a straight set defeat to Norway’s Casper Ruud at the San Diego Open on Thursday.
Fellow former World Number 1 and four time Grand Slam champion Kim Clijsters was also given a wildcard entry as she makes her comeback in tennis. The mother of three gave credit to Andy Murray’s resilience and desire to succeed in tennis after recovering from a hip surgery as a source of motivation.
Despite not being a Grand Slam, the BNP Paribas Open is one of the most prestigious tournaments on the tennis calendar and is usually held in March but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. US Open winner Emma Raducanu was also given a wildcard entry for the tournament earlier this week while Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Ashleigh Barty, Serena and Venus Williams are set to miss out.
Top four players who can qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals for the first time
(Tennis news) The Nitto ATP finals will be held from November second week which will feature the top 8 players in the world. With the Sofia and San Diego Open going on, the players will look to capitalize on the two Masters 1000 series which will bring them closer to the top 8 rankings. There are a few players who have the chance to make it to the tournament for the first time.
Hubert won the Moselles Open in singles and doubles, he has won three titles this year and looks in great form. Hubert is currently in 7th position in the race for the year end championships and so far will not have trouble qualifying. All of his titles have come in hard courts and will be an added advantage for the polish number one. On his way to winning a first Masters 1000 title at Miami he recorded successive wins over Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev. His game does not allow him to commit many unforced errors and has excellent control at the net.
Casper is having the best year in his career as he has won four titles and all of them have come on clay. He has won 43 matches with 12 losses and recently played in the Laver Cup where he defeated Reilly Opelka in straight sets. He had reached the quarterfinals in Toronto and Cincinnati where he lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev respectively. Casper had reached the last four in Madrid and Monte Carlo while defeating two top 10 players on the way. He won three successive titles in the month of July with a winning streak of fourteen matches which ended at Toronto. He is currently in 8th position to qualify for the Tour finals.
Jannik has won two titles this year both in hardcourts and reached the finals in Miami Masters 1000 losing to Hubert in two sets. He has defeated Gael Monfils in the US Open and Andrey Rublev at Barcelona, he has an attacking game as he is always looking for winners. Jannik last played in the US Open reaching the fourth round, he has already qualified for the ATP next Gen where he is the defending champion. Jannik had won the first title of the year at Melbourne where he defeated Karen Khachanov in a marathon semifinal which involved two tie breaks.
He is the youngest player in the race for the Tour Finals and along with Jannik has qualified for the ATP next Gen with his record breaking performance at the US Open. The 21 year old has progressed to the fourth round in all Slams except the French Open this year and has two runner up finishes. He had defeated Roger Federer at the Halle Open and has four wins over top ten players this year. Felix has shown great composure while playing at the Grand Slams and will be needing the same when he qualifies in the final tournament of the year.
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.
Reilly Opelka enters the top twenty rankings for the first time
(Tennis news) Reilly Opelka has been one of the top servers in the past three years along with his country mate John Isner. Opelka is the joint tallest tennis player along with Ivo Karlovic standing at 6 feet 11 inches and both are one of the fastest servers in the court. Opelka turned professional in 2015 and won his first title in 2019 at the New York Open, a Masters 250 tournament but that year saw Opelka finish second in most number aces as he served 1,014 aces in 48 matches.
Opelka’s height has naturally given him a strong serve, his average first serve is around 205 km/hour and given his stature it is tough to return balls from that angle. He also comes to the net very often and has quick reflexes combined with huge reach in both forehand and backhand.
Opelka has won two titles so far as his second title came last year at the Delray Beach Open and will now look to win a Masters 1000 or 500 title. Both his titles have come in hard courts considering his style of play which is suited on fast courts as opposed to clay where there is a lot of sliding and the ball moves slow. Opelka’s movement around the court is a little slower considering the height but his forehands and serve have been his strengths as it comes from a towering position and fierce speed.
Opelka is currently the highest ranked American, two places above John Isner who is ranked 21 in the world and Opelka is currently ranked third in the number of aces this year as he is two aces behind John Isner with 664 aces. His serve has been exceptional and has helped him beat higher ranked opponents and trouble them especially on hard courts. He has performed well in clay courts too as he reached the last four in Rome and reached the third round of French Open this year.
Opelka had two major milestones this year as he reached the semifinals in Rome until he was beaten by eventual champion Rafael Nadal in straight sets which was the first time Opelka reached the last four in a Masters 1000. Opelka then bettered his record by beating Stefanos Tsitsipas, Roberto Bautista Agut and Grigor Dimitrov on the way to the final where he lost to Daniil Medvedev at the Toronto Open.
Opelka will look to emulate Isner’s and Jack Sock’s record of reaching the top ten of the rankings. Both Sock and Isner have been ranked number eight which is the highest by an American in the past 9 years. Mardy Fish was ranked number seven in 2011 and Andy Roddick on top in 2003 which has not been repeated ever since. Opelka reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time in this year’s US Open as he lost to Lloyd Harris as he lost his chance for a quarterfinal berth but gained entry into the top twenty of the rankings for the first time. Opelka is now ranked 19 in the world which is also his career best ranking considering the performances this year.
To climb into the top ten rankings would require improvements in all aspects of the game and considering he is only 24 years old, Opelka will have a lot to look forward to in the coming months as there are still two Masters 1000 coming up. Opelka was last seen playing the Laver Cup while representing team world, he played the singles losing to Casper Ruud. While there are a handful of tournaments left in the tennis season the American number one has a lot to do.
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
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."
Virat Kohli joins Hyperice as athlete-investor, global brand ambassador
New Delhi, Sep 16 (Sports news) Hyperice on Thursday said Indian cricketer Virat Kohli has partnered with the global wellness brand as an 'athlete-investor' and brand ambassador.
Through the partnership, Kohli will work collaboratively with Hyperice to further accelerate the wellness category as it begins its expansion into India and continues its growth throughout the globe, a statement said.
However, financial details of the partnership were not disclosed.
"Virat Kohli joins an unmatched list of elite global athlete-investors, including global football superstar Erling Haaland, 4-time tennis Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka, Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes, NBA Star Ja Morant and PGA Tour champion Rickie Fowler," it added.
A Hyperice spokesperson said India is one of the company's top three expansion markets.
"India is one of our top three expansion markets, so we are putting significant resources toward growing the category in India. Hyperice is approaching a billion dollar valuation, and we believe Virat's involvement in our global expansion will play a significant role in helping increase our valuation," the spokesperson told PTI.
Hyperice is a high-performance wellness brand that aims to serve a broad audience of athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and anyone looking to combat the impact that sport and daily life have on their minds and bodies.
"Consumers across the country will have access to our wellness technology products through Croma and on the Hyperice India website. Hyperice is rapidly expanding in countries throughout the globe and views India as a priority market for further expansion," the spokesperson said.
Hyperice is strategically building its business locally and views the relationship with Virat Kohli as a massive growth accelerator, the spokesperson added.
"Virat is one of the most prolific cricketers around the world and we are honored to have him join Team Hyperice.
"We are on a mission to help everyone move and live better, and Virat is key to helping us elevate the importance of both mental and physical wellness for all people - both on and off the field," Jim Huether, CEO of Hyperice, said in the statement.
Founded in 2010 by Anthony Katz, Hyperice has numerous product lines and categories including Hypervolt (percussion line), Normatec (dynamic air compression), Vyper and Hypersphere (vibration), Venom (thermal technology), Core by Hyperice (mind technology) and Hyperice X (contrast therapy).
"Hyperice has provided me with a suite of innovative products that have continuously helped me optimise my performance and recovery, so it was a no-brainer for me to join the team as both an investor and ambassador.
"Hyperice is on a mission to help people move better around the world, and I look forward to helping tell their story in my home country of India and beyond," Kohli said.
Also read: BCCI announce Virat Kohli to step down as captain of India's T20I side after the ICC Men's T20 World Cup
News source: PTI
Davis Cup: Indian players need to give their all against Finland
Espoo (Finland), Sep 16 (Tennis news) India's singles players will need to back their talent with some killer instinct for the team to emerge victorious against a reasonably strong Finland in the Davis Cup World Group I tie, starting here on Friday.
Prajnesh Guneswaran and Ramkumar Ramanathan have the experience of playing the big matches.
They have rubbed shoulders with better players but it's time for them to move forward from playing mere close matches. They need to deliver that knockout punch that will take India to the next year's Qualifiers.
If Ramkumar can play the same way he competed against 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic in the previous tie against Croatia and does not miss the chances he gets, India will have a very good chance in the tie.
As the second-best ranked player from India, Ramkumar will be up against Finland's number one player Emil Ruusuvuori, who is placed 74 in the world, on the opening day of the tie.
If Ramkumar takes the court first and puts India on board, that will be a huge result for the visitors and take the pressure off Prajnesh (ranked 165) who will most likely compete against Otto Virtanen (ranked 419).
Prajnesh too gets close to wins with his talent but has the tendency of giving up advantageous positions, like the one against Borna Coric in the last tie against Croatia.
Maybe it's pressure of playing for the flag but the left-hander from Chennai insists it is not the case.
"Matches against good players are always close if I'm playing well. I have won matches against good players being in the lead and I have also lost matches being in the lead. That's just the way they go," Prajnesh told PTI.
"Matches which are closely fought can go either way. There is no pressure of playing for India that influences me...Sometimes there's more pressure, other times that's less.
"Again, just depends on how well I cope on that particular day," he added.
India considered the doubles point in their pocket till the time Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi competed together but now things have changed.
Rohan Bopanna (44) has immense experience of the big stage and he needs to use all of that to shepherd the team with Divij Sharan (86) since their opponents -- Henri Kontinen (ranked 46) and Harri Heliovaara (ranked 76) -- will be a tough nut to crack.
Bopanna and Sharan have played only one tie together, winning against Italy in March 2019.
Most of 40-year-old Bopanna's doubles wins have come either with either Paes or Saketh Myneni.
It remains to be seen if captain Rohit Rajpal fields Bopanna with Sharan or Myneni, who is the fifth member of the squad.
Kontinen has played three of the four Grand Slams this year with Edouard Roger-Vasselin but paired with Heliovaara at the US Open, probably to get ready for this tie.
They had a decent first round before losing in a close three-set match.
Non-playing captain Rohit Rajpal feels that the conditions are not entirely in the favour of the hosts since the low bounce of the courts will benefit the Indian players, who can play the chip-and-charge game to counter their rivals.
Also Read : Low bounce, not-so-fast court surprises Indian Davis Cup team in Finland
News Source : PTI
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
Daniil Medvedev does the impossible against Novak Djokovic at the US Open final, Emma Raducanu captures first Grand Slam in style
(Tennis news): The final slam of the year never had any shortage of records or entertainment as the tournament came to an end with the last match being the Men’s Singles. The Men and Women’s Singles saw first time Grand Slam champions as the last two weeks saw the younger generation hogging the limelight.
In Men’s Singles, Daniil Medvedev won his first Grand Slam in the most extraordinary way possible and did it when it mattered the most. Medvedev was just better than Novak Djokovic in the final and has marked an important day in the history of tennis. Medvedev's service helped him against the Serbian, Djokovic dropped the first set but it looked like his usual games and a comeback was expected but Medvedev simply decided to continue.
Medvedev’s serve looked in trouble as he double faulted in his first championship point as the crowd started cheering for Djokovic. The Russian made sure the chants did not affect him as he served out the match and just fell on the court when he won the final point. Medvedev defeated Djokovic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.
In Women’s Singles, Emma Raducanu picked up her first Grand Slam in a record second appearance as she beat Leylah Annie Fernandez in a full packed Arthur Ashe Stadium. Emma did not drop a set in the tournament and looked super confident right from the start of the match as she became the first qualifier ever to win a Grand Slam title.
Emma relied on quality shotmaking and placement as Leylah was unable to pick up momentum in both the sets. The 18 year old did not slow at any point and always had the upper hand over Leylah as she won the title to end the week with a remarkable performance. Emma defeated Leylah 6-4, 6-3.
In Women’s Doubles, Samantha Stosur and Zhang Shuai defeated tennagers Caty McNally and Cori Gauff in a match between two generations. The match saw Caty and Cori lifting up the crowd set as they took the second set with wild celebrations. Stosur and Shuai finally delivered in the end as they captured the title in under 2 hours. Stosur and Shuai defeated Cori and Mcnally 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
In Mixed Doubles, Joe Salisbury and Desirae Krawczyk captured the title as they beat Marcelo Arévalo and Giuliana Olmos in straight sets. The first saw them holding their serves till the 11th game as Joe and Desirae finally broke the serve and it was all needed to win the set. In the second set Joe and Desirae broke serve in the very first game as it proved to be a major breakthrough for the pair. Joe had earlier won the doubles title with Rajeev Ram and followed it up with a win in the mixed doubles too. Joe and Desirae defeated Giuliana and Marcelo 7-5, 6-2.
Also read: Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram win doubles title at the US Open, Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev reach summit clash
Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram win doubles title at the US Open, Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev reach summit clash
(Tennis news): In Men’s Singles, Daniil Medvedev proved why he is the world number 2 as outsmarted Felix Auger Aliassime in the semifinals of the US Open. Medvedev has been finishing matches quickly in the tournament so far and the semifinal was no different. Felix started well as he came into the net and picked up a few points in the first set but Medvedev was always a step ahead.
In the second set Felix gave his best shot as he raked up a 5-2 lead and even had a set point at 5-4 even as Medvedev slowly started coming back. Medvedev took the second set as he reeled off the final five games and the third set saw Felix making an exit from his best ever performance in a Grand Slam. Medvedev defeated Felix 6-4, 7-5, 6-2
Novak Djokovic beat Alexander Zverev for the third time this year to reach the finals of the US Open. Djokovic made sure what happened in Tokyo stayed in Tokyo as he did not let his guard down and kept fighting till the last point. Djokovic repeatedly came into the net to outplay Zverev, Zverev then could not get the ball past him. Although Djokovic won the match it certainly brought out some great rallies from the players. Djokovic defeated Zverev 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.
Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray have been exchanging the world number one ranking since 2004. The last time someone outside the big four became world number was in 2003 when Andy Roddick was on top and Daniil Medvedev has a chance to topple Djokovic if he manages to stop him in the final.
Djokovic is reaching the finals of all the Slams for the second time as he did it first in 2015. The last Calendar Slam was achieved by Steffi Graf in 1988 and in the Men’s field by Rod Laver in 1969. Djokovic will be under pressure as he is going to break many records when he steps on the court against Medvedev, but he has excelled in times like these and acts quick in times of crisis.
Djokovic is the hot favourite to win the Championship as Medvedev continues to spearhead the next generation against the big three. Medvedev has it in him to stage an upset and if he does it will be one to be remembered for ages. Whatever the result is on Monday it will be historic and a landmark in the sport.
In Men’s Doubles, Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury won the title as they defeated Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares 3-6, 6-2, 6-2. Rajeev and Joe did not let the first set defeat wear them down as they played aggressively against the error free pair of Jamie and Bruno.
Rajeev and Joe won the Australian Open last year and also reached the final this time. They will look to compete in the year end Championships but for now will celebrate the victory here.
In Women’s Doubles, the pair of Caty McNally and Cori Gauff have reached the finals and will play against Samantha Stosur and Zhang Shuai. Cori and Caty received a walkover in the semifinals against Luisa Stefani and Gabriela Dabrowski. Meanwhile Samantha and Zhang defeated Desirae Krawczyk and Alexa Guarachi 6-2, 7-5 to make it to the finals.
Caty and Cori upset top seeds Hsieh Su-wei and Elise Mertens in the quarterfinals, Cori is only 17 years old and Caty is 19 as Samantha is 37 years old and Zhang is 32. The US Open is indeed an entrance for future superstars as many veterans made their breakthroughs at New York. Samantha Stosur won the Singles title in 2011 and the doubles title in 2005 and it will be interesting to see how they perform against the teenagers given their success at the Singles this time. The Women’s Singles and doubles final will take place tomorrow.
In Mixed Doubles, Giuliana Olmos and Marcelo Arévalo will face Joe Salisbury and Desirae Krawczyk in the championship match. Giuliana and Marcelo defeated Max Purcell and Dayana Yastremska 4-6, 6-4, 10-6 in the semifinals and will expect to have a tough fight against Joe and Desirae. Joe and Desirae defeated Jessica Pegula and Austin Krajicek 7-6(7-2), 6-4 to save some energy for the finals. The finals will be played today.
Also read: Teenagers Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez into the finals of the US Open
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
Canadians Felix Auger Aliassime and Leylah Fernandez into the semifinals at the US Open
(Tennis news): In Men’s Singles, Felix Auger-Aliassime did not have to break much sweat in his quarterfinal match against Carlos Alcaraz Garfia. Alcaraz retired in the second set due to a right adductor injury, Alcaraz had spent over 7 and half hours in his last two matches. Meanwhile Felix has spent 14 hours in five matches this year at the US Open, he played well in the first set as his serves were under control and also came into the net to finish points quickly.
Felix is the first player born in the 2000’s to make it into the semifinals of a Men’s Grand Slam and is also the first Canadian man to make the last four in the US Open. Although he did not expect the match to finish in this way, Felix has been in good form this year. As for Alcaraz his campaign ended in painful fashion and will look to comeback stronger, he could not produce his magic often in the match as he bids farewell to the final Slam of the year. Felix defeated Alcaraz 6-3, 3-1 (retired hurt).
Daniil Medvedev reached the semifinals for the third consecutive time at the US Open as he overcame Dutch qualifier Botic van de Zandschulp in four sets. Medvedev dropped a set for the first time as he had straight set victories till the fourth round, he played his usual self in the first two sets, even served and volleyed a couple of times. The first two sets were wrapped up quickly until Botic took control in the third set but Medvedev didn’t let that affect his performance as he came back to take the fourth and advance into the semifinals. Medvedev defeated Botic 6-3, 6-0, 4-6, 7-5.
In Women’s Singles, Leylah Annie Fernandez continued her giant killing run as she beat Elina Svitolina in the quarterfinals. Elina had won the Singles bronze in the Tokyo Olympics and was looking to make her second semifinal in the US Open after 2019. Leylah’s groundstrokes were no match for Svitolina, Leylah also returned the ball somehow no matter where and how hard Svitolina hit it. Both of them had powerful groundstrokes but Leylah also covered the court like a machine even at the end moments of the match.
In the final set it was 5 all in the tie break, Leylah then hit a banana like forehand which hit the net cord as Svitolina approached it and it was match point for Leylah as she apologised to Svitolina who couldn’t believe it. Svitolina then hit a backhand long to send Leylah into the semifinals. Leylah defeated Svitolina 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(7-5). Two Candians are into the semifinals of the US Open for the first time in the Open era.
In Men’s Doubles, Bruno Soares and Jamie Murray had a close call in the first set as they defeated Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos 6-7(7-5), 6-4, 6-4 in the quarterfinals . Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson made a surprising entry into the semifinals as they defeated Horia Tecău and Kevin Krawietz 6-2, 7-6(7-5).
In Women’s Doubles, American pair of Caty McNally and Coco Gauff did not make it look like an upset as they defeated Andreja Klepač and Darija Jurak 6-4, 6-4 in the fourth round. Caty and Gauff will face top seeds Hsieh Su-wei and Elise Mertens who seem to be the favourites to take the title. Zhang Shuai and Samantha Stosur defeated Caroline Dolehide and Storm Sanders 6-2, 6-3 in the quarterfinals. Zhang and Samantha have not lost a set so far in the tournament.
In Mixed Doubles, Joe Salisbury and Desirae Krawczyk overcame Sander Gillé and Demi Schuurs in the quarterfinal as the match swung in both the teams favour until the final set tiebreak. The first two sets saw the teams dominating each other until the tiebreak finally ended in favour of Joe and Desirae. Joe and Desirae defeated Sander and Demi 6-1, 1-6, 10-7.
Giuliana Olmos and Marcelo Arévalo defeated Marcelo Demoliner and Ellen Pérez 3-6, 6-3, 10-4. Olmos and Arévalo only committed 8 unforced errors as they kept the defensive mode throughout the quarterfinal.
Also read: Emma Raducanu breezes past Shelby Rogers at the US Open, Matteo Berrettini seeks Wimbeldon revenge against Novak Djokovic
Bopanna-Dodig pair goes down fighting in US Open
New York, Sep 7 (Tennis news) Veteran Indian tennis player Rohan Bopanna and his Croatian partner Ivan Dodig fought their hearts out before losing their men's doubles third round to fourth seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury at the US Open here.
Bopanna and Dodig, seeded 13th, lost 7-6(4) 4-6 6-7(3) to the Australian Open runners-up in a gruelling contest that lasted two hours and 30 minutes on Monday night.
With this defeat, India's challenge has ended at the last Grand Slam of the season.
Also read: Emma Raducanu breezes past Shelby Rogers at the US Open, Matteo Berrettini seeks Wimbeldon revenge against Novak Djokovic
Sania Mirza lost her both women's doubles and mixed doubles first rounds and Ankita Raina also lost in the women's doubles.
Prajnesh Gunneswaran, Sumit Nagal and Ramkumar Ramanathan could not not qualify for the singles main draw, falling in the Qualifiers.
News source: PTI
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
Novak Djokovic four victories away from making history at the US Open, Leylah Fernandez knocks out Angelique Kerber in fourth round clash
(Tennis news): In Men’s Singles, Novak Djokovic shook off a slow start to secure victory over former US Open finalist Kei Nishikori. Nishikori took control in the first set as Djokovic made few unforced errors in crucial stages, but after losing the first set Djokovic made sure the audience will have to wait to see him lose as he progressed into the fourth round. Djokovic defeated Nishikori 7-6(7-4), 6-3, 6-2.
Carlos Alcaraz Garfia continued to scale new heights as he beat Peter Gojowczyk in another five set contest to progress into the quarterfinals. Alcaraz is the youngest Grand Slam quarter finalist since 1990 and will look to create more milestones ahead. Both the players had a good start as they started with a set apiece, Gojowczyk then took the third set for a two set lead as Alcaraz looked in danger. Alcaraz responded sharply as he gave no chances to Gojowczyk in the next two sets to steer the match in his favour. Alcaraz defeated Gojowczyk 5-7, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, 6-0.
Botic van de Zandschulp from the Netherlands is another player who is seen making great progress in this year’s US Open. He has battled through the qualifiers and has so far 5 career victories all of which have come this year. Zandschulp had taken out eighth seed Casper Ruud in the second round and in his biggest career win defeated Diego Schwartzman in the fourth round. In his four hour battle against Diego, Zandschulp was on fire from the start and took the first two sets. Diego, under pressure fought hard and took the next two and was the favourite to win the final set. Zandschulp crushed the hopes of the world number 14 to progress into the quarterfinals. Zandschulp defeated Diego 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 5-7, 6-1.
In Women’s Singles, Leylah Annie Fernandez took on another US Open champion and the result was the same as the previous round. Angelique Kerber could only delay her fate as Leylah proved to be too good for her. In the first set Kerber played her usual self and took the first set but in the next set the teenager shot back by winning the second through a tie breaker. In the final set Leylah gave away no chances to Kerber as she cruised into the quarter finals. Leylah defeated Kerber 4-6, 7-6(7-5). 6-2.
Shelby Rogers secured a huge win as she overcame World number 1 Ashleigh Barty in a final set thriller. The first set saw Rogers taking the lead with a defensive play and tried to land the shots in the court, in the second set Barty played even more aggressively as she used her serve and netplay to force the match into a decider. In the final set Barty looked promising with a 5-2 lead until Rogers turned into a gladiator and fought back with mighty force as it came to a tiebreaker. In the tiebreak both the players were on level with five points each until Rogers took two points as the crowd could not believe what they had just witnessed. Rogers defeated Barty 6-2, 1-6, 7-6(7-5).
In Men’s Doubles, Rohan Bopanna and Ivan Dodig had mid match hiccups as they outplayed Arthur Rinderknech and Hugo Nys in a three set second round clash. Bopanna and Dodig defeated Rinderknech and Hugo 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. Jack Sock and Neal Skupski started their campaign with a thumping win over Filip Krajinović and Laslo Đere in the first round, Sock and Skupski defeated Krajinović and Laslo 6-2, 6-3.
In Women’s Doubles, Luisa Stefani and Gabriela Dabrowski had a tight second round clash against Shelby Rogers and Petra Martić as it took two and half hours to secure a victory. Stefani and Dabrowski defeated Rogers and Petra 6-4, 6-7(7-5), 7-6(7-3). Top seeds Elise Mertens and Hsieh Su-wei had an relatively easy second round as they defeated Ulrikke Eikeri and Elixane Lechemia 6-4, 6-2.
In Mixed Doubles, Giuliana Olmos and Marcelo Arévalo caused an uproar as they took out top seeds Nicole Melichar-Martinez and Ivan Dodig in the fourth round. Olmos and Marcelo defeated Nicole and Dodig 7-5, 3-6, 10-5. Jessica Pegula and Austin Krajicek had to struggle in the beginning as they defeated the Japanese pair of Ena Shibahara and Ben McLachlan 7-6(7-1), 6-3.
Also read: Carlos Alcaraz and Leylah Fernandez lead with huge victories at the US Open
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
Novak Djokovoc hits few minor bumps against Debutant in the US Open, Maxime Cressy upsets Pablo Carreño Busta
(Tennis news): In the US Open Men’s Singles, Novak Djokovic started off his historic run with minor setbacks as teenager Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune made an impact on his Grand Slam debut. Djokovic wasted no time as made the moves from the very beginning but was outsmarted by Holger at times who gave his everything as he shocked the crowd by taking the second set. Djokovic carried on even though the crowd was not on his side and went on to take the next two sets for victory as Holger had cramps in the final moments of the match. The score line read 6-1, 6-7 (7-5) , 6-2, 6-1.
Tokyo Olympics Gold medalist, Alexander Zverev sailed smoothly over Sam Querrey as he began his quest for a first Grand Slam and the man who is the top bet in stopping Djokovic. Zverev played an error free game and had a top notch serve over the match which helped him seal the match. Zverev beat Querrey 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 in over an hour and forty minutes.
Pablo Carreño Busta made a shock exit as he was defeated by Maxime Cressy in a five set thriller. Maxime played it like old times as he attacked the net relentlessly and it worked against Carreno Busta who had defeated Djokovic in the Bronze medal playoff. Maxime did not let anything stop him as he was almost out of contention in the fifth set tiebreak fighting off four match points for victory. After 3 and half hours and a total of 123 winners, Maxime took the match with the scoreboard reading 5-7, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (9-7).
In Women’s Singles, Ashleigh Barty blasted off in her opening match against Vera Zvonareva who had reached the finals here 11 years ago. Barty had no issues in the first set but in the second set had to showcase her best and even saved a set point as she looked to win her second slam of the year. Barty won the match with a score of 6-1, 7-6 (9-7).
2019 US Open champion, Bianca Andreescu was tested to the limit as she battled her way across Viktorija Golubic. Golubic after losing the first set managed to take the second to take the match into the decisive set. The final set had an interesting fact as both the players won 36 points and Golubic was playing it safe but Andreescu went in for the kill by playing in attacking mode and finishing off the match. Andreescu recorded a 7-5, 4-6, 7-5 victory over Golubic.
Karolína Plíšková sprinted towards the finish line in her match against Caty McNally. Karolína set the tone from the beginning as she kept firing winners across Caty who was unable to counter them. Karolina will be trying to carry the same attacking style into the second round of the US Open. The final scoreboard read 6-3, 6-4.
Also read: Stefanos Tsitsipas survives Murray scare in the 1st round of US Open, Madison knocked out by Sloane Stephens
Stefanos Tsitsipas survives Murray scare in the 1st round of US Open, Madison knocked out by Sloane Stephens
(Tennis news): The final Grand Slam of the year saw two former champions bow out in the first round in Men’s Singles. Stefanos Tsitsipas somehow scraped through Andy Murray who is racing against time after his hip surgery two years back. Murray showed the power and dominance of the big four as he made Tsitsipas sweat every point, Murray took the first set as the crowd witnessed the vintage Murray lobs grabbing the spotlight. Tsitsipas fought back in the second set to seal it in a tiebreaker but Murray again took a lead as he won the third set. The match was evenly poised till the fourth set until Tsitsipas blew the lid in the fifth set as his forehand dictated the final hours of the match signalling victory for Tsitsipas. The match saw Tsitsipas hitting 67 winners and 19 aces showing how aggressive he had to be to beat the former champion.
Another former champion, Marin Cilic had to pull out from the match in the deciding set against Philipp Kohlschreiber due to a medical issue. The physical wear out was clearly visible after the first two sets, Cilic started just fine from the blocks as his powerful groundstrokes helped him take the first two sets as fired 47 winners across Kohlschreiber who just couldn’t withstand the force. But Cilic couldn't continue as the next two sets saw him slowing down and eventually issuing a walkover in the final set.
Carlos Alcaraz Garfia is having a dream run this season as the 18-year-old defeated Cameron Norrie in straight sets in the 1st round. Alcaraz showed patience as he waited for Norrie to make an error as the rallies were long and Alcaraz kept the ball in play. It paid him off as he secured a victory in under 2 hours. Alcaraz has made his debut in all of the four Grand Slams this year.
Daniil Medvedev secured his 200th career win over Richard Gasquet in the 1st round. Medvedev looked on from right from the start and had no trouble dispatching his groundstrokes on the court against Gasquet. Gasquet struggled to find shots that could match Medvedev’s tempo as Medvedev closed the match with a resounding win.
Four years ago in the US Open Sloane Stephens edged out Madison Keys for a maiden Grand Slam title in the Women’s Singles. The same result occurred in the 1st round as Stephens came out on top to knock out Madison. Stephens had a dream start as she took the first set with relative ease but in the second set, Madison produced a massacre as she did not give a hint of opportunity to Stephens. The third set saw both the players racing for victory but Stephens found answers to Madison’s powerful groundstrokes and proved it with a win.
Naomi Osaka was brutal in her return to the Grand Slam after the French Open as she left no stone unturned on the course of her victory against Marie Bouzkova. Osaka showed no signs of rustiness as she swept across her opponent 6-4, 6-1 in an hour and 30 minutes.
17-year-old Cori Gauff had a rough start to her US Open campaign as she won her match against Magda Linette in three sets. Gauff struggled to land her shots in as Linette took the first set but Gauff came back as she found her rhythm in the next two sets to proceed to the second round.
Simona Halep found little trouble while defeating Camila Giorgi in her opening match, Halep served her way across the first set as Giorgi simply couldn’t send the ball across the net. In the second set, Giorgi proved why she was a threat as she came back in form to tackle Halep who struggled in between but finally found a way past her opponent in a tiebreak.
Also read: Naomi Osaka waiting to fire her best shot, looks for a second major title this year
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
Mirza-McHale reach finals in Cleveland
Cleveland, Aug 28 (Tennis News) Ace Indian tennis player Sania Mirza and her American partner Christina McHale sailed into the women's doubles final of the 'Tennis in the Land' tournament with a straight-set win over Ulrikke Eikeri and Catherine Harrison here.
Mirza and McHale took one hour and 23 minutes to defeat the Norwegian-American pair 7-6 (5) 6-2 in the semifinals of the WTA 250 tournament on Friday.
Also read: Novak Djokovic aims to break multiple records, 21st Grand Slam on sight
The unseeded Indian-American pair will battle it out for the top honours with top seeds Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara of Japan in the summit clash.
Mirza and McHale had notched comprehensive wins without dropping a set in their previous two games.
News source: PTI
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
A new chapter is beginning to unfold with the next generation of tennis stars hungrier than ever
(Tennis news): In every sport there are moments where a new generation of players take over, the baton is exchanged as the young ones carry legacy forward. In tennis since the late 90s, the William sisters started dominating the Women’s tour, Roger Federer came into the frame in 2003, Rafael Nadal came in 2005 and Novak Djkovic in 2008 and since then these players have taken the sport to new heights. The matches have been nothing short of epic, the courts have seen rallies that brought the spectators to their feet and for over two decades, these athletes have shown extraordinary skills that have kept them on the top of the game for so long.
Only few sports have seen athletes dominating for so long in the international era, Sachin Tendulkar, Carl Lewis, Peter Gade, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo to name a few. It takes years of dedication and hardwork to excel in the field for such a long time, it is even tougher to deal with it when they start ageing. It's only a matter of years when we see some legends of the game retire and watch others script history.
Last year’s US Open saw history in the making as Dominic Thiem became the first male player born in the 90’s to win a Grand Slam title, he finally broke the jinx as it was time for the young stars to shine and take the spotlight. This year, Novak Djokovic has won all the Grand Slams but has faced tough competitions from the younger players. He was outmatched by Alexander Zverev in the Tokyo Olympics Semifinals and will now have to wait three more years for the prestigious Gold. He left Tokyo without a medal after losing in the Bronze medal playoff Djokovic lost to Pablo Carreño Busta.
The 2021 season has seen 6 Masters 1000 tournaments take place, Rafael Nadal was the oldest winner aged 35 as the second oldest is Daniil Medvedev aged 25. Five of the tournaments were won by players born in the 90’s and one was won by Nadal. All the finalists were also born in the 90’s except in Rome where Djokovic lost to Nadal. Times like these are inevitable and happen in every field, although it had not happened in tennis for a very long time.
Also read: Ashleigh Barty back in the US Open, aiming to win her 2nd Major this year
The new generation players have come out in top form in recent times, with Thiem leading with a Grand Slam title, Daniil Medvedev is a two time finalist, Alexander Zverev is a Olympic champion, Stefanos Tsitsipas is also Grand Slam finalist. They have led the younger players and have played some great matches against their idols which brings in the question of who’s next. Who will set the benchmark now, who will lead the force and what new records will be made. Reily Opelka has served his way into the top 25 Singles ranking with a semifinal finish in Rome and a runner up in Toronto Open. Pete Sampras set the bars high when he finished with 14 slams but now records are tumbling in every slam. Serve and volley are not used as much anymore as trickshots and power are winning matches now.
Alexander Zverev has a great return percentage with a steady backhand and he is also very athletic when it comes to drop shops and volleys. Daniil Medvedev is 6 feet 6 inches but his movements on court don't reflect his height as he is very swift and has an unorthodox style in his forehand and backhand, he can cause real damage as he is also mentally tough. Medvedev was booed multiple times last year in the US Open but faced it like a true champion and even said that it's because of the crowd’s behaviour he won certain matches. Tsitsipas reached the finals of the French Open and is expected to strike when he enters the court next week. Andrey Rublev is also a major contender who can use his extremely powerful groundstrokes to finish off points especially in the hardcourt, Nick Kyrgios has had a poor show in recent events but can produce magic when in form.
In the Women’s competition, Naomi Osaka has won four Grand Slams and will turn 24 in two months. She is the defending champion and won her first major title here, Ashleigh Barty also looks to continue her great season forward as she looks to win her second major and 6th title this year. Barbora Krejčíková is having one of the best seasons in Singles ever, she started this year with a ranking of 65 and now is ranked 9th. Barbora won her first Singles Grand Slam by capturing the French Open along with the Doubles title and also won the mixed doubles title in the Australian Open.
The US Open starts from August 30th and many top players have pulled out as injuries have made them rest for now. As older players also take more time to recover, their future endeavours look doubtful. The younger ones look fitter than ever and ready to write a new chapter in the game.
Interesting fact: This is the first time in 24 years that neither Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Venus Williams are not featuring in a Grand Slam draw.
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.
US Open to include mental health support for players
(Tennis news): US Open has become the first Grand Slam to focus on mental health services for the players on a major scale with specialised teams. USTA (United States Tennis Association) mental health initiative will include mental health providers and quiet rooms. It is headed by the Mount Sinai Health System who will have expert medical officers, sports psychiatrists and former player Mardy Fish on their team. Their team will also have Stacey Allaste who is the Chief Executive of USTA and the US Open Tournament Director and other tournament officials. The pandemic has affected the sport as well as the players, especially the mental health issues and the latest initiative will try to tackle them.
Mental health has been widely discussed on the tour since Naomi Osaka left the French Open after victory in the 1st round, she took part in the on court interview but skipped the post match news conference. It resulted in the tournament organisers giving her a warning that she could be expelled and was fined $15,000 by Roland Garros. She withdrew from the tournament before her 2nd round match and stated that she had to protect her mental wellbeing. The tournament invited a lot of criticism from players and the fans but the organisers cited article III H of the Code of Conduct. Failure to follow certain protocols or duties result in affecting the tournament as it also involves other players being treated equally. When one individual is exempted from certain duties it calls for unfair treatment on other players.
It is routine that every player should attend the post match session after a match is over, there have been many instances where players have had arguments in the past with the reporters as sometimes sensitive questions pop up and land in a controversy. It does bring news as the players discuss their plans or what difficulties they face and is a player’s duty to address them. It also brings in a lot of attraction for the tournament and revenue as it is an important aspect of the sport. A lot of sports have post match conferences including Cricket, Basketball and also Football.
Also read: Mental health taking a toll on athletes as Osaka leaves press conference in tears in Cincinnati
Mental health in the sporting field has been a recent topic as only physical injuries were the concerns earlier. It is important that both the aspects should be taken care of so that the performance and their career won't be affected. It is not the first time that an athlete has openly talked about mental health, Michael Phelps opened up about being depressed after every Olympics and how it affected him and even made him think suicide. Former England Batsmen Jonathan Trott had anxiety battles during the 2013-14 Ashes series which caused him to retire from the game. The most recent being American Gymnast Simone Biles in the Tokyo Olympics, she withdrew from several team events due to her mental health.
Wrestler Vinesh Phogat recently talked about how Indians praise overseas athletes talking about mental health but fail to acknowledge it when it happens in the country. Former Indian footballer Gouramangi Singh also talked about how mental health is currently being openly talked about and the changes taking place over the years.
While it is important to protect one’s well being, it can be done without affecting the other individual or group. The pressure on being top of their game can affect the mental health of the players, it is important that players actively seek medical attention when in need. They also face pressure in their personal life as there have been many instances where their behaviour outside the field has affected their image or the sport they play. They can produce superhuman qualities in the ground but outside they face the same battles every being comes across.
This year, there have been a lot of advancements in the field of mental health. With the US Open starting this initiative, it can bring a lot of change and will help the athletes stay healthy on tour. The challenges will be present at first but will set an example for other events and sports as it is a major event in Tennis. It attracts millions of people around the globe and can be a doorway for other Grand Slams to follow through. It is a great change to the sport and will be exciting to see the players going through with it. The final Grand Slam starts in five days with the qualifiers going on now.
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.
Injuries piling up this season as Rafael Nadal becomes latest casualty
(Tennis news): Rafael Nadal won't be seen on court until next year as he is still recovering from a foot injury. He is joined by Roger Federer and Dominic Thiem as the players who won’t be playing the remainder of 2021 season. This is the second consecutive time Nadal and Federer won't feature in the year end slam. Nadal played 29 matches this season winning 24 of them and failed to defend his French Open title as he lost to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. Djokovic became the first man to beat Nadal twice in French Open and the first man to defeat him in the Semifinals.
Also read: Benoit Paire continues to impress in Cincinnati, Ashleigh Barty shines bright with a stellar performance
In the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarterfinals. The Spaniard won two titles this year, both in clay courts. Nadal won the Barcelona Open Masters 500 beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Final and a Masters 1000 title in Rome beating Novak Djokovic in the final. Nadal has also won the US Open four times with his last one coming 2 years ago when he defeated Daniil Medvedev in the final. He also missed last year’s US Open due to the pandemic. Nadal completed the career Grand slam when won the US Open in 2010. The 35 year old will look to come back next year and achieve more milestones.
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.
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.
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.
Injured Rafael Nadal pulls of Toronto Open, as Novak Djokovic withdraws from Cincinnati Masters
Toronto (Tennis news): Rafael Nadal has pulled out from the Toronto Open due to a foot injury, it will be a major crisis as the US Open is only two weeks away. His withdrawal ensured lucky loser Feliciano Lopez taking his place in the draw where he will be facing Lloyd Harris. Stefano Tsitsipas overcame Ugo Humbert in a three set marathon in which the second set tiebreak needed 18 points to decide the winner. Benoit Paire sailed smoothly as he won in straight sets against Mackenzie McDonald in round 64 and next will face Diego Schwartzman. In round of 32, Karen Khachanov will face his compatriot Aslan Karatsev which will prove to be a mouth watering clash. Reilly Opelka continued his fine form as he beat Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 6-4 and had earlier beaten Nick Kyrgios in the first match.
In the Women’s Singles, Bianca Andreescu started her title defence by beating Harriet Dart as she had to struggle in between as Harriet stretched it till the deciding set. Garbiñe Muguruza is out of the tournament as Kateřina Siniaková came out as the winner in the final set even after being bageled in the second set.
In Men’s Doubles Ivan Dodig and Rohan Bopanna defeated the pair of Fabio Fognini and Lorenzo Sonego, they will face Simone Bolelli and Máximo González in the round of 16.
In the Women’s doubles Ellen Perez and Květa Peschke continued their winning run as they will face next Jeļena Ostapenko and Dayana Yastremska in the round of 16.
Also read: Reilly Opelka overcomes Nick Kyrgios in opening match, Garbiñe Muguruza to start her campaign today
With Nadal out in Toronto it has raised concerns as Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the Cincinnati Masters which starts on 15th August. Djokovic’s last match was the Bronze medal playoff in the Tokyo Olympics and is resting after winning three Grand Slams this year. Roger Federer has also pulled out of the Cincinnati Masters as he is down with a knee injury. There is only one Tournament just before the US Open that is the Winston-Salem Open which ends 2 days before the US Open, Cincinnati is the last Masters 1000 before the US Open. The big three will look to come back in form and compete in the year end Grand Slam as the tennis season is slowly coming to an end.
Reilly Opelka overcomes Nick Kyrgios in opening match, Garbiñe Muguruza to start her campaign today
Toronto (Tennis news): The National Bank Open which started yesterday saw Nick Kyrgios poor form in the tournament as he failed to win his opening match for a third consecutive time here. He was beaten by Reilly Opelka in three sets and the big server will face the athletic Grigor Dimitrov. Lloyd Harris, the Washington Open champion, will face Rafael Nadal tomorrow for the second consecutive time as Nadal will be looking for revenge. Top seed Daniil Medvedev will be facing the crafty Alexander Bublik in his opening match today and Bublik will try to stage an upset.
Also read: Rafael Nadal looking for a Hatrick in Toronto, chases record Masters 1000 title
Kei Nishikori will also start his campaign against Miomir Kecmanović today and will look to continue his incredible comeback into the tour. Third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas will have a challenging opening round as he will face frenchmen Ugo Humbert who earlier defeated Lorenzo Sonego in straight sets.
In the Women’s Singles, Océane Dodin made headlines as she defeated 14th seed Karolína Muchová in her opening match and she is set to face teenager Amanda Anisimova in her next match. Garbiñe Muguruza the 5th seed will start her campaign against former Grand Slam doubles champion Kateřina Siniaková who overcame Jeļena Ostapenko in her first match and the defending Champion Bianca Andreescu will face Harriet Dart from Great Britain in her first match.
In Men’s Doubles Ivan Dodig and Rohan Bopanna will face the Italian pair of Fabio Fognini and Lorenzo Sonego in their opening round. Russian duo Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov will face second seeds Colombians Robert Farah and Juan Sebastián Cabal in the round of 16. The Russians have started playing doubles consistently quite recently.
In the Women’s Doubles, Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff lost to Elena Rybakina and Elena Rybakina in their first match. Ellen Perez and her 46 year old partner Květa Peschke seem to be in form after they reached the semifinals of the Silicon Valley Classic Open and they will be facing Lyudmyla Kichenok and Makoto Ninomiya in the round of 32.
Tennis player Sumit Nagal to face Denis Istomin in opening round at Tokyo Olympics
Tokyo, Jul 22 (Tennis news) Indian tennis player Sumit Nagal will face Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin in the opening round of the men's singles event at the Tokyo Olympics, starting here on Friday.
Nagal, who qualified for the Games last week after large-scale withdrawals, was pitted against the lower-ranked Uzbek in the draw on Thursday.
A first-round win for the 23-year-old Indian, ranked 160, could see him face second-seeded Russia's Daniil Medvedev, who takes on Alexander Bublik in his opening round match.
In women's doubles, six-time Grand Slam champion Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina will lock horns with the Kichenok twins -- Nadiia and Lyudmyla -- of Ukraine in the opening round.
Interestingly, Mirza had paired up with Nadiia after returning from her maternity leave to win the Hobart Open last year.
Also read: AITA Secretary General Anil Dhupar rues Bopanna and Mirza comments on social media, calls it inappropriate and misleading
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
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)
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
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
A Grand-Slam weekend for Verstappen
In Motorsports news, Max Verstappen wins in Austria a second consecutive time and extends his 18-point lead to 32 against Lewis. He not only won the race but with pole, fastest lap and victory, having led every lap he earned his first-ever grand slam weekend. The stands were overflowing with Dutch fans wearing orange shirts supporting Max and they couldn't be more thrilled to see Verstappen ease to victory.
The Red Bull driver had no real threats unlike the Styrian GP. Championship contender Hamilton had made his way up to P2 and then suffered from aerodynamic damage because of which he had to let Bottas and Norris through, ending his own race at P4 just outside of the podium.
Lando Norris delivered a spectacular performance, he managed to land a career-best and a front row start qualifying in P2, missing out on P1 by a mere 0.04s from Max Verstappen. What is it about him and the Red Bull Ring? He scored his maiden podium here in 2020 and managed to do it again on merit alone in 2021, despite having served a 5-second time penalty for easing Perez off-track Norris came in third. The penalty however cost him second place.
Also read: A recap of The 2021 Formula 1 season so far!
Sergio Perez had a disastrous race after having the turn 4 incident with Norris. Perez ended up off the track and rejoined at P10, from there he made up 5 place but received two 5 second penalties for pushing Leclerc off the track twice.The 10 seconds cost the Mexican P5 resulting in Sainz moving up a place.
Mr. Saturday, George Russel drove his Williams to the limit and managed to put his car on P9 for the race start, giving the team their first appearance in Q3 since 2018. Sadly he couldn’t score any points on Sunday. Esteban Ocon’s race came to a halt on lap 1 as his car got caught between two others and was forced to retire. Multiple penalties were given out to drivers on Sunday with some even getting penalized twice. There were many nail-biting moments throughout the weekend.
After the intense triple header, the drivers and the teams will get some much needed downtime. The next race to look forward to is ofcourse the 2021 British Grand Prix at Silverstone on July 16-18. It will hold the first ever sprint race qualifying for Formula 1 on Saturday.
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
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
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.
Women's cricket needs media support: Indian cricketer Mithali Raj
Mumbai, Jun 1 India Test and ODI captain Mithali Raj on Monday said women's cricket needs media support to promote the game and personally she had never felt the necessity to forgo a press conference. Mithali made the remarks in the wake of a controversy involving 23-year-old Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka, who withdrew from the ongoing French Open, after refusing to take part in the post-match media conferences.
"Well, I think it is tough to be in quarantine for any athlete. But, I think getting into a tournament, we do not feel that. Personally I have not felt that I should forgo a press conference because women's cricket right now, where it stands, it needs media support," Mithali said when specifically asked about the topic.
Mithali was addressing a virtual press-conference ahead of the team's tour to England alongside head coach Ramesh Powar.
"And it is important for players also to try and help in the growth of a sport. So, we need to try and promote the sport," added the 38-year-old, who has several records to her name.
Osaka had decided to boycott press conferences during the ongoing Grand Slam - a move that had drawn flak - as he felt that the nature of questioning was often damaging to her mental health. New source PTI
Our dream of winning the tennis Grand Slams can come true if the right sponsorship and training is provided - Anil Dhupar, Secretary General of AITA
Over the years, India has produced some outstanding tennis players. From Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupati, Sania Mirza, Vijay Amritraj and Rohan Bopanna to name a few, the sport has surged in popularity with India’s talent making its mark on the global stage. While the next generation aspires to accomplish greater heights, we’re delving into the world of tennis in India to see what’s in store for the future.
In an exclusive interview with SPOGO, Mr. Anil Dhupar, Secretary General of the All India Tennis Association speaks about the impact of COVID-19 on tennis in India, grassroot development, overcoming challenges, mental health and the future of tennis in the country.
Q 1) The COVID pandemic has disrupted sports around the world, how much of an impact has it had on AITA’s plans?
Ans: The pandemic has really made a lot of impact. After the first wave, we started a theme called ‘Return of Tennis’ which started on November 16th. Even though all the states in India were unable to conduct all the tournaments because of the restrictions given by the local government, we really did a good job at organizing all the tournaments at the junior, nationals, and international level with a prize money of 15,000 USD. Things were going on pretty well until the 2nd wave but since April onwards everything has stopped. There is no tennis, all academies are closed and it’s making a big impact on the junior players who could not be sent to the World Group Qualifying, the wheelchair team which was due to play for the first time in Portugal and similarly there were innumerable sectors that were affected in India. It has definitely impacted India more than other countries, especially in Europe.
Q 2) What is AITA doing at the grassroot level to promote tennis, especially in tier 2 and 3 cities?
Ans: We are conducting almost 600 tournaments in a year for the juniors. The junior category is from 10 years old to 12, 14, 16 and 18 years of age. These are All India Ranked Tournaments and the 12 and 14 year old juniors are sent to participate in the Asia/Oceania group. A child who is representing India is holding the flag as early as at the age of 12. We have the world’s finest scheme for junior tennis players known as the Talent Series Tennis Tournament which is organized for all age groups. When they become well versed with the tournament structure they progress to the Championship Series, Super Series and National Series. That’s how aspiring tennis players are promoted and it helps them develop into a good player. For the first time, we have started a national coaching camp in Delhi this January for 24 participants each amongst boys and girls from different states for a duration of 21 days. Unfortunately things have come to an end right now due to the pandemic.
Q 3) What are the biggest challenges that Indian tennis players face? How can those challenges be overcome?
Ans: There are multiple challenges that are faced by Indian tennis players. We need to have many more national and international tournaments in India which require money and sponsorship, either by corporates, state government or central government so that when Indian tennis players participate, they can get good points. We need to upgrade the tournament structure and have a series of international tournaments even at the junior level from grade 1 to 5. It is absolutely necessary for high ranked tournaments to be played in India so that tennis players in the country get ATP points to play across the world. Tennis is an expensive game and it needs sponsorship for players to travel and compete around the world. Sponsors need to support tennis as a sport and the government must support tournaments and despite the fact that they have started doing it, it's not to the extent that is required. There needs to be more tournaments for all categories. Having tournaments in India will help players save money that would be spent on travelling and would help get entry at the larger tournaments around the world.
Q 4) How is AITA grooming upcoming stars so that they can be competitive at the highest level?
Ans: A lot of tennis academies have come up around the country and there are many coaches that are certified by AITA. The benefits of that are that tennis players at the junior level are properly trained and even senior players are getting the best coaching facilities. We are still insisting to have many more in the years to come. There also has to be a willingness to come up in the grid and progress from the top 300, 200 to 100 in the world. Just like any other sport, passion is very important, not just for tennis players at the junior level but also parents. Parents need to be patient and supportive. We are conducting coaching camps, tournaments and are trying to get our junior players to participate in the Asia/Oceania group to give them more opportunities to participate and know where they stand as players. Even during the COVID times, we get 400 to 500 entries for the Nationals so the participation has grown and the desire to excel is now a part of the upcoming tennis players. That’s very important.
Q 5) Despite the fact that tennis is a physically demanding sport, how important of a role does mental health play?
Ans: It does play a very important role in every sport, especially in tennis. According to me, physical and mental strength is what determines a win or a loss. When two players contest a game they are at par in terms of physical strength but when they know which point to play in which fashion it makes all the difference. We have seen a lot of players losing a game from a winning position owing to the level of their mental toughness. They lose their mental toughness at some of the matches and lose the game. Mental toughness is very important and therefore many courses are brought into place in many academies including ours to make a child mentally tough. A child needs a physical trainer and a coach but along with it guidance on mental health and fitness is also very important.Therefore we have brought in some of the courses in this regard. Indeed mental fitness is equally as important as physical fitness.
Q 6) What needs to be done to get Indians to not just compete at the highest level such as Grand Slams or Olympics but also win?
Ans: It's a dream for all of us. In Europe there are about thirty to forty countries wherein the tennis circuit is still active and in full swing despite the pandemic. Naturally, the players hailing from these countries benefit from playing many more tournaments, spending a very little amount and gaining a large number of points. It Is very difficult for Indians as they have to travel extensively which a lot of people are not able to. We have a lot of talent to exploit but we need support, specially from corporate for grooming players. The dream of entering and winning Grand slams would definitely come true when we invest a lot of energy, money and corporate support as only then an Indian player will be able to do well at such levels.
Q 7) What do you envision as the future of tennis in India?
Ans: I think the future of tennis in India is fantastic. It's a game that has recently picked up as there were not many takers of the game earlier but today all towns and states across India are doing very well. We have a policy of registering players for junior, senior, men, women as well as the wheelchair categories. We have a system of registration and when you see it you will find that more and more players are joining the sport. My vision would be to create a system where a tennis player is not deprived of playing any tournament and his talent is exploited along with taking great care of it. We would like to go to the World Group as we did in the Fed Cup, the Billie Jean King Cup for the first time and we went into the World group this time. This can go on even in the junior levels, the junior Davis Cup and the Davis Cup. However, this will be only possible when all our players do well physically and mentally and are put into the right areas of playing the game. The biggest challenge for the All India Tennis Association today is where and when to start tennis and what kind of tennis as right now we don't have any clue from any corner of the state or anywhere else where tennis or any other game can be started. Hence once the pandemic is over, we are all geared up and will do our best to put our children on the roll and I'm sure this thing will help them in their future endeavors.
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
Indian tennis players Ankita Raina and Ramkumar Samanathan bow out of French Open Qualifiers
Paris, May 26 Ankita Raina's yet another attempt to qualify for the singles main draw of a Grand Slam failed as she bowed out of the French Open Qualifiers with a second-round defeat, here on Wednesday.
Ankita, up against higher-ranked German Greet Minnen, could win only two games in the entire match that lasted one hour and 21 minutes.
The 125th ranked Indian could convert only one of the three break points and eventually lost 2-6 0-6.
It was Ankita's seventh attempt to crack the singles main draw of a major. She had reached the final round of the Australian Open qualifying event early this year, falling at the final stage.
Ramkumar Ramanathan also crashed out with a tame 1-6 2-6 defeat against Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin.
Sumit Nagal is now the only Indian left in fray for a main draw berth. He will take on Alejandro Tabilo in his second round. New source PTI
Indian tennis player Ankita Raina bows out of French Open Qualifiers
Paris, May 26 Ankita Raina's yet another attempt to qualify for the singles main draw of a Grand Slam failed as she bowed out of the French Open Qualifiers with a second-round defeat, here on Wednesday.
Ankita, up against higher-ranked German Greet Minnen, could win only two games in the entire match that lasted one hour and 21 minutes.
The 125th ranked Indian could convert only one of the three break points and eventually lost 2-6 0-6.
It was Ankita's seventh attempt to crack the singles main draw of a major. She had reached the final round of the Australian Open qualifying event early this year, falling at the final stage.
Later Wednesday, Ramkumar Ramanathan and Sumit Nagal will take court for their respective men's singles second round matches. 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.
I am drawing inspiration from Federer, says shooter Mairaj ahead of Olympics
Olympic-bound tennis ace Sania included in TOPS after gap of four years
Bopanna bows out of mixed doubles, India's campaign ends in Aus Open.
6-member Indian judoka team to feature in Tel Aviv Grand Slam
New Delhi, Feb 11 (PTI) Indian judokas will aim to secure Olympic rankings points when a six-member team heads to Israel to participate in the Tel Aviv Grand Slam, scheduled to be held from February 18 to 20.
With less than six months left for the Tokyo Olympics, which will start on July 23, the tournament will provide Indian judokas a chance to pocket vital ranking points in their bid to qualify for the Games.
The Indian team consists of five players -- three men and two female -- and a coach.
The players are Avtar Singh (men's 100kg), Vijay Yadav (men's 60kg), Jasleen Singh Saini (men's 66kg), Shushila Devi (women's 48kg) and Tulika Mann (women's 78kg). They will be accompanied by chief coach Jiwan Sharma.
The same five judokas had represented India at the Budapest Grand Slam in October last year.
Saini, who is a part of the government's Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) developmental group, is upbeat about his participation in the event.
"All of us have medal expectations from this tournament, players are in their peak condition," he said in a release issued by the Sports Authority of India.
Saini, with 850 points (the most by an Indian), is currently in with a chance of earning a continental quota for the Olympics, but he is looking forward to winning a medal in the tournament as it will give him direct entry to the Tokyo Games.
"Last year, there were a lot of problems because of the coronavirus pandemic and the suspension of tournaments. But the government has supported us and has been sending us to play tournaments," he added.
A total of 512 athletes from 73 countries will be seen in action in the tournament.
After the Israel event, the Indian judokas are due to participate in Grand Slams to be held in Uzbekistan and Georgia in March, which are both Olympic ranking tournaments.