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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Our aim is to increase participation and grow the sport - Prasad Kapre, CEO at touchtennis India
In India, where sporting infrastructure has been a perennial problem combined with the population, tennis has always been regarded as a rich man’s sport. After all, having access to a tennis court is not for the ordinary public and hiring a coach to teach the nuances of the game makes it quite an inaccessible sport to many. However, touchtennis is a wonderful alternative as a modified version of tennis played on a compact court with foam balls and shorter racquets. Not only does it solve the problem of space constraints but will soon become much more accessible in schools, events and housing societies.
In this exclusive interview with SPOGO, Mr. Prasad Kapre, CEO at touchtennis India speaks about the potential of the sport in the country, various initiatives planned by the organization, navigating the COVID-19 situation, overcoming challenges, future goals and more!
Q 1) As CEO of touchtennis India please share some insights on the popularity of the sport in the country, its growth and potential?
touchtennis is a very new sport and we have just launched the sport in India last year. Due to the pandemic we could not conduct many events but the activities we did in our base at Pune turned out to be successful as many people were interested and wanted to take up the sport. Once the educational institutions and offices are back, we are planning to organize school summer camps and hold league events with rankings for the adults in 2022. We are also planning to do demos in housing societies.
The game is ideal for Indian scenarios because we don't have many open areas and touchtennis does not take much space. We also lack sports facilities but the sport doesn't require specialized equipment so there is a lot of potential in the country for all age groups.
Q 2) What are the various initiatives that touchtennis India is undertaking to popularize the sport in the country?
The initiative which we have already planned is a school activation program once the schools in bigger cities start their offline class where we will give them demos. We will also start the after school program and summer school break activities as we are hoping that there won't be any more lockdowns. For the corporate employees, we will be focusing mainly on the women employees as now most of the organizations are trying to engage the women force towards health and sports. We feel that there is a lot of potential for women in the corporate sector and their participation will enhance the potential in the sport.
Q 3) What are some of your upcoming events planned in India? How are you navigating the COVID-19 situations to make them happen?
We are coordinating with schools now, as precautions we take necessary measures by sanitizing the rackets and courts but when we are in schools, we follow the school norms of social distancing, not having too many children on the court and many other things. We don’t have a specific safety protocol but tag along with the organization's health and safety protocols which we as a group tend to follow.
Q 4) What are some of the challenges that you have faced as CEO of touchtennis India? How did you overcome them?
The first and foremost challenge we faced is that not too many Indians have played tennis per se, so tennis is a very new sport for a lot of people as they are wary of whether they can pick it up as a recreational sport or not. A lot of people tend to follow tennis and try to pick up the sport by watching it but not too many people have actually played the sport. The second challenge we faced is that touchtennis is a recreational sport. As of now there isn’t a career path or it is played professionally as many parents tend to ask us ‘what's the future for my son in this sport’ so these are some of the challenges we face. In my defence I would say this is the perfect sport for the age group of 6-12 to pick up the nuances of tennis as the playing time is more and you tend to develop the cognitive skills of tennis and if you're good at touchtennis then you will indirectly be good at tennis.
Q 5) Do you believe that touchtennis in India can become as popular as mainstream tennis one day? If yes, what needs to be done to make that happen?
We're not really competing with mainstream tennis as such. More than the popularity, we want participation. The idea is to make it a people's game. We want it to be a mass participative game for which we have a nice inbuilt system that is followed globally as touchtennis is very popular in Western Europe and North America. They have a very well developed league system and ranking games. We also have our own leaderboard because everybody wants to be seen and get that recognition. Everybody wants to unleash the Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal within them. The plan is to organise more and more events where people participate and there is a healthy competition but in a recreational way. You're not really playing for money but for the recognition and the bragging rights against your friends or colleagues. That is where we see it catching up with the young and middle age audience. The two things we are going to do in the next couple of years is the proliferation of our leagues and our ranking tournaments.
Q 6) What are your long term goals as CEO of touchtennis India? How do you plan to accomplish them?
The long term goal is to make sure that touchtennis reaches every corner of India in the next 10 years. The plan is to find the right partners once we develop a holistic business model around because right now we are doing everything like going to schools for demos, running training centers ourselves but as an organisation we have limitations and can only do certain things. I wouldn't call them franchises but they need to believe in touchtennis and that they can really work on it. We will empower them, dwell them and help them to grow touchtennis in their own area depending on their capacity. That is what we are concentrating on, to grow the sport.
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.
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.
India to host Denmark on grass courts in Delhi
New Delhi, Dec 19 (Tennis News) India will host Denmark on grass courts at the Delhi Gymkhana Club in a bio-security bubble in the Davis Cup World Group I tie on March 4-5 next year, AITA sources confirmed on Sunday.
The Indian team management after consulting the players decided to have the matches on grass courts, where the Danish players won't be comfortable.
"A home tie means that you can create conditions that suit your players. The players and the management felt that Indian team will be stronger on grass courts against Denmark players since they are more used to playing on slow hard courts and clay courts," an AITA source privy to the developments told PTI.
The PTI had reported on December 9 that hosting the tie on grass courts is a possibility.
India's top-ranked singles player Ramkumar Ramanathan, of late, has developed a decent serve and volley game and comeback-man Yuki Bhambri is also comfortable playing on grass courts.
The other Indian singles players Sumit Nagal and Prajnesh Gunneswaran are not grass court players but still they are more experienced on grass than their Danish rivals.
"There is no grass court left at the DLTA, so the matches will be held at the Delhi Gymkhana Club," the source added.
The International Tennis Federation wants the tie to be held in bio-secure environment, so a bubble will be created for the players and the officials.
The source said the fans will be allowed to watch the matches but proximity with the players won't be allowed, keeping in mind the health safety of all involved.
However, media will be allowed to interact with the players.
"The players will not allowed to meet with the fans and go outside but the players can speak with the media following certain protocols," the source added.
India have got a home tie after three years and Delhi will host Davis Cup matches after more than five years.
The last time Delhi had Davis Cup matches was in September 2016 when Rafael Nadal led Spain had blanked India 5-0 in the World Group Play-off round at the DLTA.
The March 4-5 tie will be first between India and Denmark since September 1984 when India won 3-2 at Aarhus.
The two teams have not clashed much as the only other time they played was in 1927 when Denmark whitewashed India 5-0 in the quarterfinal in Copenhagen.
Also Read : Hyderabad Strikers to meet Mumbai Leon Army in TPL final
News Source : PTI
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.
Rafael Nadal wins Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award for the fifth time
(Tennis news) The ATP year awards came to an end with the final award winner being Rafael Nadal who won the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship for the fourth consecutive time. He first won it in 2010 and then has been the winner since 2018. Nadal played 29 matches this year and won titles at Rome and Barcelona.
Nadal last played at Washington after which he ended the season early in August. He is currently recovering from a foot injury, the Spaniard will be seen in action in the first week of January at Melbourne. This year marked his 20th year on tour with his entry coming as a teeanger, he even won the ATP newcomer award in 2003 and 2 years later he won the most improved player of the year title.
“I can’t be happier to receive the Sportsmanship Award one more time from my colleagues on the Tour,” Nadal said. “It means a lot to me, so thanks a lot to every player that thinks that I am the right one to receive this award.
"Honestly, it means a lot to me because I try to always be correct on court. Thanks for believing in me and I wish all the very best for the 2022 season to all my colleagues on the Tour and I hope to see you soon.”
The ATP also announced the best tournaments of the year from the 250, 500 and Masters 1000 series. Qatar ExxonMobil Open was the winner in the 250 series, having won the title in 2015, 2017 and 2019. It is held in Doha at the start of the year and is played on hardcourts. Roger Federer has won it thrice with Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray winning it twice. Nadal has won the singles title once and has been a winner in doubles on four occasions.
The Erste Bank Open which has been held since 1974 won the best event in the 500 series for the first time. It is held at Vienna in October and is played on hardcourts; Alexander Zverev won the title as there have been 7 different winners in as many years. Andy Murray has won the title twice with his last title coming 2016 and Djokovic’s lone win came 14 years back. Federer had won the 2002, 2003 in which he also won the doubles in 2003.
The BNP Paribas Open also known as Indian Wells Open since it is played at Indian Wells garden. It is the first event among the nine Masters 1000 series as it is held in March but this year it was held in October due to the pandemic. It has been winning the title since 2014 except in 2020 as the event was not held for the first time because of the pandemic. Federer and Djokovic lead with 5 titles each. Nadal has won the singles event thrice and the doubles event twice with Marc Lopez.
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.
India may pose grass court or fast hard court challenge for Denmark
New Delhi, Dec 9 (Tennis news) India will host Denmark either on grass courts or fast hard courts for their next Davis Cup World Group I tie in March next year with top player Yuki Bhambri set to resume national duty.
The process to identify the venue and surface for the tie began on Thursday with the All India Tennis Association (AITA) reaching out to players to know their preferred surface and potential state associations which could host the matches on March 4-5 next year.
Since Denmark players are used to playing more on slow hard courts and clay courts, India would like to create conditions that help them in home tie. Yuki plays well on grass and Ramkumar Ramanathan too of late is playing well with serve and volley style.
Also, Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Sumit Nagal may not be better at playing on grass courts than Yuki and Ramkumar but both of them are still better than Denmark players when it comes to playing on grass or fast hard courts.
"It seems we will settle on either grass courts or fast hard courts. Yuki is our top player and he loves to play on grass," said a source, who is privy to the discussions.
If the tie is held on grass, the likely options would be Delhi, Chandigarh Jaipur and Lucknow and if the players choose to play on fast hard court, Indore will be hot favourite to host the match.
India were handed a home tie after three years after the draw pitted them against Denmark for the World Group I tie.
AITA Secretary General Anil Dhupar said captain Rohit Rajpal is discussing the issue with the players.
"We will know in two days' time where we are going to host this tie. Once we know the players' choice for surface, we will see which venue would be best for the purpose," Dhupar told PTI from Indore.
"I feel Delhi will host matches since Delhi has not hosted any big event in recent past. They must be keen to have this tie," said an AITA official.
The Karnataka association is hosting two Challenger events, so it is highly unlikely that the tie will be held in Bengaluru but an official said they can still "consider".
It will be the first tie between the two nations since September 1984 when India won 3-2 at Aarhus.
The two teams have not clashed much as the only other time they played was in 1927 when Denmark whitewashed India 5-0 in the quarterfinal in Copenhagen.
Also Read : Rafael Nadal and Domnic Thiem look to start strong in 2022 season
News Source : PTI
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
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
Croatia blanks Australia in Davis Cup opener, Spain in trouble as Carlos Alcaraz tests positive
(Tennis news) Marin Cilic led the Croatian team as he took out Alex De Minaur to give a major boost to their victory as they secured their points with a 3-0 victory. Croatia got off to a flying start as world number 276 Borna Gojo beat Alexei Popyrin who was 200 places above him and defeated him in straight sets. It was then followed by Cilic handing out a three set defeat to Minaur as the youngster had a poor run since July. The top doubles pair of Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic completed a white wash as they beat Minaur and John Peers. Croatia is up against Hungary in their next match.
Croatia defeated Australia (3-0)
Borna Gojo defeated Alexei Popyrin 7-6, 7-5, Marin Cilic defeated Alex de Minaur 6-1, 5-7, 6-4, Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic defeated Minaur and John Peers 6-3, 6-1.
Sweden too had a good start as they too won all the three matches against Canada. Brothers Mikael Ymer and Elias Ymer won their singles matches to give Sweden the lead. The doubles pair of Robert Lindstedt and Andre Goransson completed the final bout as they ended the match with a sweet victory, Sweden can enter the quarterfinals if they beat Kazakhstan in their next match.
Sweden defeated Canada (3-0)
Elias defeated Steven Diez 6-4, 6-2, Mikael defeated Vasek Pospisil 6-4, 6-4, Lindstedt and Goransson defeated Pospisil and Brayden Schnur 7-6 (7-5), 6-4.
France had a shocking start but managed to record victory over Czech Republic in their opening match. Richard Gasquet suffered a straight set loss to debutant Tomas Machac as Czech gained an early lead. Adrian Mannarino put the 10 time champion back on track as he beat Jiri Vesely to make the scores level and the Nitto ATP Finals champions Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut overcame a set deficit to complete the win. France will next face Great Britain on 27th November.
France defeated Czech Republic (2-1)
Machac defeated Gasquet 7-6 (7-3), 6-2, Mannarino defeated Vesely 6-7(1-7), 6-4, 6-2, Herbert and Mahut defeated Machac and Jiri Lehecka 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Defending champions Spain took another hit at their title defence as Carlos Alcaraz tested positive resulting in his withdrawal. He is the third player to withdraw as he joins Rafael Nadal and Roberto Bautista Agut. World number 60 Pedro Martinez Portero will be the replacement for Carlos as Spain will take on Ecuador in their opening tie.
Daniil Medvedev leading a strong Russian team at the Davis Cup
(Tennis news) With the end of the ATP season, the Davis Cup will be starting today as players get ready to represent their countries on court. It will be held in Madrid, Innsbruck and Turin with a total of 6 groups where each group will comprise three countries, it will be a round robin format at first and then will proceed to the knockout stages. The final is scheduled to be held in Madrid. The event is being held after a year’s gap due to the COVID-19 pandemic which cancelled last year’s event, in 2019 Spain defeated Canada in the final to win their 6th title.
Each tie will consist of two singles and one doubles match and it will be best of three sets. The top players are expected to play as defending champion Spain will be without Rafael Nadal although Carlos Alacarz will be making his debut for the team along with Jannik Sinner who will play for Italy.
At the top of the singles for Britain is Cameron Norrie, the 26 year old is 12th in the World Rankings after winning the ATP Masters 1000 in the Indian Wells. The left-hander had made an unbelievable comeback from two sets to beat Roberto Bautista Agut on his Davis Cup debut in 2018. If Norrie can live up to his potential, he will lead the attack along with world number 25 Dan Evans, doubles specialist Joe Salisbury who made the doubles at the ATP Finals in Turin and Neal Skupski.
Russia has one of the top players in their team as Daniil Medvedev will spearhead the attack along with Andrey Rublev, Karen Khachanov, Aslan Karatsev and Evan Donskoy. Khachanov and Karatsev have not been in top form in recent months which means Medvedev along with Rublev will be expected to bring crucial points in singles. The team had won the ATP Cup at the start of the season.
USA will open their tie with tough competitors Italy as both the teams have the top players. Sinner, Fabio Fognini, Lorenzo Sonego and Lorenzo Musetti will battle against John Isner, Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock in addition to Rajeev Ram in the doubles match.
Colombia made their entry after defeating Argentina as doubles pair of Robert Farah and Juan Sebastian Cabal will lead the attack as the singles players are all ranked out of the top 100 and their experience is also very limited. There will be three matches as each group will start out their day in respective venues.
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.
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.
All four Semifinal spots booked at Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals
(Tennis news) Sebastian Baez had only played a single tour level match this year before coming at Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals but the 111th ranked player booked his entry into the last four with a resounding victory over Hugo Gaston. Gaston along with Juan Manuel Cerundolo finished as the only players who lost all three matches in the group stage as they ended their run at the event. Baez was in his own flow as he finished points in quick manner as Paris hero Gaston could not bring in the magic he had a week ago. Baez defeated Gaston 4-3(7-2), 4-2, 4-2.
Carlos Alcaraz proceeded to the semi final while only losing a set in three matches as he beat Juan Manuel Cerundolo in four sets. Alcaraz was at his best from the first rally as he hit booming forehands to take the first two sets under 30 minutes as he only dropped a single game in the first two sets. Juan came to life in the third set as his forehand caused Alcaraz to make unforced errors and made him drop his first set of the event while Juan kept coming at him.
In the final set, Juan carried his form from the previous set and took the match to a tie breaker where Alcaraz brought in his heavy groundstrokes to finish the final group stage with a victory. With this win, Alcaraz became the youngest player to earn 30 tour level wins in a season since Rafael Nadal who had 30 tour wins in 2004. Alcaraz defeated Juan 4-0, 4-1, 2-4, 4-3(7-3).
Sebastian Korda joined Alcaraz as the two players who have remained unbeaten at the group stage with a victory over Lorenzo Musetti. Korda has so far dropped two sets in the event, all of which came in his first match against Hugo Gaston. In the final group stage match, Korda topped group B with a straight set win over Musetti as the Italian ended his chances for a last four finish. Korda was in full attacking mode as his motto was to make Musetti scramble for every point and did from the baseline as well as from the net. Korda defeated Musetti 4-2, 4-3(7-4), 4-2.
Brandon Nakashima finished second in group A behind Alcaraz when he beat Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune to book the semifinal spot. Nakashima overcame a set deficit as he found his rhythm in the next three sets, his backhand winners down the line proved to be a strong element while finishing points. In the fourth set, Rune opened up a two game lead and was serving 30 all in the third game when Nakashima’s backhand spoiled his plans as a couple of winners won Nakashima a couple of games to come level with Rune. In the tie breaker, Nakashima sped away as he earned a handful of matchpoints and did not waste any to win the match. Nakashima defeated Rune 3-4(3-7), 4-1, 4-1, 4-3(7-1).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
World number 1 Novak Djokovic withdraws from the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells
(Tennis news) Five time BNP Paribas Open champion Novak Djokovic has confirmed his withdrawal from the Indian Wells, the Serbian along with the tournament organizers have confirmed.
In a twitter post, Djokovic said “I am sorry I won't get to see my fans in Indian Wells and play in the desert, my favourite place to go. I hope to see you next year!". Tommy Haas, tournament director of the BNP Paribas Open said “We are disappointed that Novak will not be able to join us at the BNP Paribas Open this fall. We hope to see him back in Tennis Paradise next March to contend for a record-setting sixth title in the desert."
The 34 year old last made an appearance at the US Open where he lost to Daniil Medvedev. The Serbian has enjoyed a successful year, winning the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon and was attempting to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four major honours in a single season.
Djokovic has already earned a spot at November’s ATP Finals in Turin and is on course to finish the season as World Number 1 for the seventh time, becoming the only tennis player in history to do so. His fellow greats Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have already ended their seasons while Dominic Thiem, the 2019 BNP Paribas Open champion is also out due to an injury.
Nick Kyrgios out of 2021 season due to injury, to be back next year at the Australian Open
(Tennis news) World number 96 Nick Kyrgios has become the latest player to finish his 2021 season early due to a knee injury. The Australian had featured in the Laver Cup for Team World, losing the singles against Stefanos Tsitsipas and the doubles to Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev while partnering with John Isner.
Kyrgios had lost in the first round against Roberto Bautista Agut at the US Open and had first round exits at Toronto and Washington. His last victory came at Atlanta against Kevin Anderson in the first round. He has only played seven tournaments this year and did not play in the French Open, his best performance came in the Murray River Open where had reached the fourth round as he lost to Borna Coric.
Kyrgios lost to Dominic Thiem in the third round of the Australian Open after taking a two set lead with the match lasting for four hours and was next seen at Wimbledon where he retired mid match due to an abdominal injury against Felix Auger-Aliassime at the same stage. He has been affected by injuries this season which saw him play a total of 15 matches and had first round exits in his last three tournaments.
The 26 year old had posted in instagram saying he hadn’t been a hundred percent fit lately and in the Laver Cup said that he plans for an early retirement. Known for his temperament and skills, he is planning to return to the Australian Open next year and had reached the quarterfinals in 2015. He is regarded as one of the most talented players on tour but with a troublesome attitude and is known to be a crowd puller.
Kyrgios joins Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Dominc Thiem who have finished their season early due to injuries. Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Naomi Osaka have also ended their 2021 season as all of them hopefully will be seen on court at the first Grand Slam of the year. Last year, the pandemic had played its part on the tour as many tournaments were cancelled in the first half and this year has seen players being affected by injuries.
With only two months of tennis season left, the teenage stars will look to perform in absence of their seniors on tour. In the women’s tour, BNP Paribas Open is the next Masters 1000 tournament and the VTB Kremlin Cup starts right after Paribas Open. The year end championships will be held in November. For the men’s tour, the BNP Paribas Open will be held next month followed by the Rolex Paris Masters in November as the World Tour finals will be held from the second week of November. The fourth edition of next Gen ATP finals will start from November 9th as the youngsters will hope for a US Open scenario to happen again.
Also read: Reilly Opelka enters the top twenty rankings for the first time
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.
Team Europe win four consecutive Rod Laver Cups with a dominant 14-1 win over Team World in Boston
(Tennis news) Team Europe won the Rod Laver Cup yet again to maintain their unbeaten run in the competition against Team World in Boston. Having already won the previous three editions held in Prague, Chicago and Geneva, Team Europe won with a margin of 14-1 to record yet another victory.
The Ryder Cup style event had Team Europe with an 11-1 lead heading into Sunday with a single win enough to guarantee the Rod Laver Cup. Doubles' pairing of Germany's Alexander Zverev and Russian Andrey Rublev defeated American Reilly Opelka and Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-2 6-7 (4-7) 10-3. Unlike the previous editions of the Rod Laver Cup where the result went down to the wire, Team Europe comfortably won in Boston, a testament to their clinical performance.
The Rod Laver Cup format means that match victories on Friday are worth 1 point, Saturday is two points and Sunday is three points. Unlike the previous editions, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic were unavailable in the contest, which meant that Zverev, Rublev, Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Matteo Berrettini and Casper Ruud competed for Team Europe.
Team World comprised Felix Auger-Aliassime (Canada), Diego Schwartzman (Argentina), John Isner (United States) and Nick Kyrgios (Australia). Kyrgios, who lost both his singles and doubles matches for Team World at the Rod Laver Cup, has also announced that he won’t be competing in future editions of the competition. "I'm sure I won't be here again, so I took everything in this week. I will be watching from my couch, the next Laver Cup, cheering for Team World,” said Kyrgios.
In an on-court interview, Zverev said “At the end of the day, the score says that it was 14-1, but it could have gone both ways a lot of the time. We (did) a lot of hard work for this victory throughout the whole week. The group of this team has been absolutely amazing. I think a lot of us came a lot closer together and to be honest I can't wait for London next year.”
Rublev, who won a gold medal in mixed doubles at the Tokyo Olympics, commented on how special the experience was of winning the Rod Laver Cup. The Russian said “This year I had two really emotional moments. One was the Olympic gold medal and this week is the second. It's something that's going to stay forever with me."
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
Boston to host the fourth edition of the Laver Cup, New generation leading the pack
(Tennis news): Laver Cup will begin from 24th of September and will be led by the next generation as the big three won’t be taking part this time. Team Europe is led by the US Open champion Daniil Medvedev and Diego Schwartzman will be leading team World, the tournament is back after a year as it was not held last year due to the pandemic.
The Laver Cup is played in honour of the living legend Rod Laver who dominated the game during the early 60’s and set records which still stands today. He is the only man to have achieved a calendar year slam and was the first player to do it when he won all the four slams in 1969. He played left handed and had strong groundstrokes along with an attacking serve and volley.
Laver also became the first Open era champion at Wimbledon in 1968, he had a total of 198 titles with 111 titles coming in the Open era. He also played doubles, winning all the slams except the US Open in the pre open era and won the Australian Open and Wimbledon in the open era. He was one of the highest paid players and had a total of 11 slams in which 5 of them came in the open era. Laver had laid the foundation for tennis, he was even present in this year’s US Open final and Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne is named after him.
The Laver Cup was created by Roger Federer’s management company TEAM8 along with former player Jorge Paulo Lemann with a partnership of Tennis Australia. It is based on the Ryders Cup in Golf and the top players from the US play against top professionals from Europe. The Laver has two teams, team Europe and team world and there six players in each team who will be captained by a legend in the sport. The current captain for team Europe is Bjorn Borg and vice captain being Thomas Enqvist as for the team world they are being captained by John Mcenroe and the vice captain being Patrick Mcenroe.
The Laver Cup does not have ATP points and is played between the top players. The players are chosen according to team ranking and the captain also chooses players, Team Europe has won the first three editions of the game and Alexander Zverev is the only one player from team Europe to feature in all the editions. John Isner and Nick Kyrgios and have also been part of all the editions in team world.
The first edition was notable as Federer and Rafael Nadal were part of the doubles team and in the second edition Federer and Novak Djokovic were part of the doubles team. There were outstanding performances from Sock in the doubles, Isner and Kyrgios in the singles. All the players watch the match on the court and also receive coaching during the match from the captain and the players.
Team Europe: Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev, Matteo Berrettini and Casper Ruud.
Team World: Félix Auger-Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov, Diego Schwartzman, Reilly Opelka, John Isner and Nick Kyrgios.
John Isner is the only player this time who is aged above 30 as the rest of the players are all in their twenties. Isner who is 36 is the oldest and Félix Auger-Aliassime who is 21 is the youngest this time. Team Europe is filled with youngsters and is the favourite to win the Cup as for Team world they will look to hold the cup for the first time.
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
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
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
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
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 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.
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.
Top four seeds into the last four in Cincinnati, Jil Teichmann upsets Belinda Bencic
Cincinnati (Tennis news): In Men’s Singles, the top four seeds entered the semifinals of the Cincinnati Masters 1000. Andrey Rublev registered his second victory in as many meetings over Benoit Paire. The pair had met in the same stage in the Toronto Open, Rublev with his powerful strokes got off to a good start. Paire later used his defensive skills and trick shots as he took the second set. In the final set Rublev continued to use his hammer forehand and reached his third masters 1000 final of the season. He will face Daniil Medvedev for a place in the final.
Daniil Medvedev also got his second victory over Pablo Carreno Busta after the pair had met in the Toronto Open. Medvedev took just 54 minutes to secure a place in the semifinal, he beat Pablo 6-1, 6-1 with just seven unforced errors and twenty winners. Medvedev played a flawless battle as he was also serving great against the Spaniard. Medvedev seems to be a serious contender in the US Open as he has shown exceptional form over the past two weeks.
Alexander Zverev had a great outing as he beat Casper Ruud 6-1, 6-3 to set up a blockbuster semifinal against Stefanos Tsitsipas. Zverev is also a major contender who can stop Novak Djokovic in the US Open as he showed what he's capable of during the Tokyo Olympics. Casper was also in great form but couldn't withstand Zverev’s attack.
Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Felix Auger Aliassime 6-2, 5-7, 6-1 as he suffered a setback in the second set. He had 2 match points in the second set when Felix suddenly made a glorious comeback and won the next three games to take the set. Stefanos was playing exceptionally level till then but didn't let that affect his game as he stormed in and took the final set.
Also read: Injuries piling up this season as Rafael Nadal becomes latest casualty
In Women’s Singles, Angelique Kerber defeated Petra Kvitová 6-4, 3-3. Kvitova had to retire midway as she was suffering from stomach issues and began struggling in the second set. Kerber will face Ashleigh Barty who defeated Barbora Krejcikova in straight sets. Barty was simply unstoppable in the match as she played calm and rallied hard to take the first set 6-2 and in the second set Barbora was leading 4-2 until Barty took four straight games to take the match. Barty has been too good in the last few matches as her patience paid off in this match.
Karolina Pliskova also proceeded into the semifinals as Paula Badosa had to retire in the second set. Paula had to pull out as she suffered a shoulder injury, injuries are becoming a major concern as the schedule is getting tighter for the players. Pliskova will next face Jil Teichmann who put up an excellent performance against Olympic champion Belinda Bencic. She sent a warning for the semifinal clash with a resounding 6-3, 6-2 victory over Belinda. Belinda simply couldn't match her opponent’s intensity.
In Men’s Doubles, Fabio Fognini and Marcelo Arévalo shocked Toronto champions Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram as they defeated them in straight sets. They will now play against Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballo for a place in the final. Hubert Hurkacz and Jannik Sinner after defeating the top seeds Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić in round 16 couldn't repeat their upset as they lost to American pair of Austin Krajicek and Steve Johnson.
In Women’s Doubles, Zhang Shuai and Samantha Stosur overcame Anna Blinkova and Allaksandra Sasnovich in three sets to book a place in the final. In the second semifinal Gabriela Dabrowski and Luisa Stefani who also had a tough time against Barbora Krejčíková and Kateřina Siniaková. Gabriela Dabrowski and Luisa Stefani are into their second consecutive title match as they captured the Toronto Title last week.
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.
Cincinnati Open looks promising as two weeks left for the final Slam of the year
Cincinnati (Tennis news): The Western and Southern Open mostly known as the Cincinnati Open Masters 1000 has gotten underway. With the big three missing, there will be plenty of opportunities, especially for the new gen who are slowly making a mark on the tour. With Alexander Zverev capturing the gold in the Tokyo Olympics and Daniil Medevdev winning the title in Toronto they will be keen to make a name in the US Open too. Roger Federer has the most titles in Cincinnati with his 7th title coming in 2015 where he defeated Novak Djokovic. Defending champion Novak Djkovic is also out due to injury along with Rafael Nadal and Federer won't be in action for a few months missing out on the final slam. Daniil Medvedev will be expected to win his second title here as he won it in 2019 defeating David Goffin in straight sets. He will be strongly challenged by Stefanos Tsitsipas who reached the semifinals of the recently concluded Toronto Open, Reily Opelka has been in tremendous form as he finished as runner up in Toronto. Andy Murray will also look for inspiration as has won the titles in 2008 and 2011 and will look to bring his old magic into the court.
Also read: Tennis star Roger Federer set to undergo knee surgery, expected to be sidelined for months
In Men’s Singles, 2019 runner up David Goffin lost to Guido Pella in straight sets in the first round. Both the players were coming back after being affected by injuries. Pella was joined by Benoit Paire who defeated Miomir Kecmanović in three sets. He had a shaky start as he lost the first set 7-5 but came back strongly 6-3,6-2 to proceed to the round of 64.
Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov started off their doubles campaign by defeating Máximo González and Simone Bolelli in a three set gruelling encounter. They will be facing Horacio Zeballos and Marcel Granollers in the round of 16.
The Women’s Singles and doubles opening rounds will start today. Simona Halep will be looking to finish strong before the US Open in Singles and the pair of Gabriela Dabrowski and Luisa Stefani will look to win back to back titles in doubles.
Shanghai Masters 1000 cancelled this year as COVID-19 cases rise in China
(Tennis news): Shanghai Open won’t be held for a second consecutive time as the COVID-19 cases have gone up in China. Even last year most of the tournaments were cancelled due to the pandemic and only three of the Masters 1000 were played as the other 6 got cancelled. It is the only Masters 1000 tournament which is held in Asia and will be the only Masters event which won't be played this year as the Indian Wells this time will be played in October. The last time it was played was in 2019 in which Daniil Medvedev took the title after defeating Alexander Zverev in straight sets in the final.
Also read: Injured Rafael Nadal pulls of Toronto Open, as Novak Djokovic withdraws from Cincinnati Masters
Novak Djokovic has won the Shanghai Open four times with his most recent victory coming in 2018 where he beat Borna Coric in the final. He is the only tennis player to win all the nine Masters titles at least once. The cancellation of the tournament will be a major roadblock for qualifying in the Nitto ATP Finals as every point matters for the race ahead. So far, only Novak Djokovic has sealed his place in the year end championship.
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.
A look at some of the Best Quotes from the Tokyo Olympics 2021
Tokyo, Aug 9 (Olympic news) The competitive arena was not the only place where athletes were making a statement at the Olympic Games. A whole lot of them also caught the eye with what they were saying on the sidelines.
Here is a look at the some of quotable quotes that came out of the Games.
"At the end of the day, we're not just entertainment. We're human, and there are things going on behind the scenes that we're also trying to juggle with, as well, on top of sports." -- American Artistic gymnast Simone Biles on the mental health of athletes.
"Not being funny, but it's not tennis where you can just have a go. You are getting punched in the face." -- British boxer Benjamin Whittaker on the many differences between boxing and racquet sports.
"My husband's Oscar actually goes in the downstairs loo. Often people mistake it for a loo brush." British diver Tom Daley on what will take pride of place, his husband Dustin Lance Black's screenplay Academy Award for the acclaimed movie 'Milk' or his gold medal.
"I don't think I'm a prodigy. I'm not very bright. I don't do well in my studies. You ask me all these questions and there's only a blank in my mind." -- 14-year-old Quan Hongchan of China after winning gold in the women's diving 10m platform.
Also read: Rafael Nadal looking for a Hatrick in Toronto, chases record Masters 1000 title
"How long does it take to apply for a Singapore citizenship?" -- Norwegian rower Kjetil Borch, who won silver medal in men's single sculls, after being told that Singapore's Olympic champions are awarded up to one million dollars for winning gold.
"I'm all about just being different. I was going to wear a dress to the Opening Ceremony, but I didn't want to offend anyone. Some people might take it the wrong way, so this is my way of showcasing something." -- Australian boxer Harry Garside on sporting painted nails during his campaign.
"It sucks, there's no nice way of putting it." -- American Golfer Xander Schauffele on no spectators at the Games because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
News source: PTI
Rafael Nadal looking for a Hatrick in Toronto, chases record Masters 1000 title
The Canadian Open, which is currently known as the National Bank Open will be getting underway today in Toronto. The 5th masters 1000 of the season is coming back as it was not played last year due to the pandemic. First started in 1881, the Canadian Open is the second oldest tennis tournament in the world after Wimbledon. Rafael Nadal has won the tournament five times with his first title coming in 2005 when he beat Andre Agassi in the final. The top players will be seen in action as double defending champion Rafael Nadal will be looking to make up for his early exit in the Washington Open. The Spaniard will also be looking to win a record 37th Masters 1000 title and is currently on par with Novak Djokovic with 36 titles. Daniil Medvedev will be looking to make up for his 2019 final loss to Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas will also be looking to win here as he was the runner up in 2018 after losing to Nadal.
Also read: Bopanna retains place in Indian team for Davis Cup tie against Finland in September
Nick Kyrgios has been given a wildcard and will be looking to improve from his last two outings here, as he failed to win a match in both. He will be seen playing his first match against big server Reilly Opelka. Jannik Sinner, fresh off from winning the Washington Open will be looking to continue his fine run here. There can be a lot of surprises as Grigor Dimitrov will be playing and will be looking to come up good as he has had a rather tough year, Gael Monfils is also in contention as he has also struggled this year and will be looking for his first title of the season. Kei Nishikori is back on tour as he reached the semifinal of the Washington Open and was beaten by Mackenzie McDonald. Lloyd Harris caused an uproar when he beat Rafael Nadal on his route to winning the title in the Washington Open.
In Tennis news, Novak Djokovic will not be playing this time as he is resting after his Olympic heartbreak due to a hectic schedule. Roger Federer who turned 40 yesterday will not be playing as he is suffering from a knee injury. Tokyo Olympics Singles Gold medalist Alexander Zverev is resting as he needs to recover for the US Open which starts on 30th. Dominic Thiem will also not be seen in action as he is still recovering from a wrist injury while other big names like Stan Wawrinka have withdrawn from the tournament because of a surgery on his left foot in July and David Goffin would not be seen on court because of an ankle injury. Lorenzo Musetti was not allowed to play as he had left his Covid bubble and it was considered as a breach of protocol.
Interesting fact: Ramanathan Krishnan won the Canadian Open in 1968, he remains the only Indian player to do so.
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
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
What it means to be a woman in sports
Women have been participating in the Olympics since 1900. From then on the number of women has only gone up and more and more women have won medals, but since the mid 1960s publications started questioning whether men disguised as women were taking part in those categories.
In 1966, Olympics officials made sex-testing mandatory for all women participating in track and field sports. Women were forced to undergo what was called the ‘nude parade’ in front of a panel full of doctors where their genitals were examined. Then in 1967 the officials introduced something called chromosomal testing that required all players to be tested again. Each time there was a different group of women who failed the separate tests.
Humiliating tests such as that have been conducted in women’s sports ever since. Fast forwarding to 2016, Caster Semenya wins a gold medal in the women's 800 metre race. A few years later she was banned from defending her title at the next Olympics, not because she cheated but because sports officials thought that she was too ‘manly.’
Testosterone is a hormone produced by both men and women. Scientists have linked a high level of testosterone to a high performance level. However, testosterone alone is not responsible for a great performance. For example, coaching, equipment, height and such also play an important role in the level of performance. Semenya naturally produced a high level of the hormone and so she was effectively told that she wasn’t a woman. The only alternative she was given was that she was required to take medication to lower her testosterone level. It is completely unethical and not fair to prescribe medicine to someone who doesn’t need them.
Meanwhile in men’s sport, tennis player Rafael Nadal has a visibly bigger left arm which gives him a stronger backhand. Michael Phelps has naturally bigger hands and feet that act as flippers and give him an advantage in swimming faster. Usain Bolt has an extraordinarily rich supply of fast-twitch muscle fibers due to a sprinting gene that allows him to take longer strides. None of these men have ever faced discrimination and told that they dont qualify, infact they have received only appreciation and respect.
So why, when it comes to women, do sports officials suddenly start questioning whether they have an unfair advantage. Does our society promote the thinking that only men can be extraordinary and superior to others? If so, we need to question our beliefs and the thinking that we are passing on to society. Is this really the precedent that we want to set?
Castor Semenya is not alone in facing such allegations and humiliation. Indian star athlete and Olympic gold medalist Dutee Chand, was sex-tested without her knowledge or permission. She was told it was a dope test and to her surprise there was an ultrasound too. She was asked to take her clothes off in front of a male doctor. She was in a room with people talking about her body like she wasn’t there. She was humiliated and her privacy was violated in public with crass and rude headlines that had no legitimate scientific data to back them. They even tested her ability to reproduce normally. At 18 years of age, she fought a case in the Supreme Court to prove her legitimacy, her right to participate in the Olympics and to defend her title. She won.
Every few years the officials set a new kind of test that bars women from participating and every year these women suffer from intense hate from the public and from the mental trauma that comes with it. Our society’s strong women should be supported and appreciated, not treated the way that they are now. Sports has always served as a safe haven for women who don't fit the mold that the culture has made for them; especially for same-sex attracted women. The discrimination that comes with sex testing inherently goes against what women’s sport has always stood for. Semenya and Chand are just two of the women who have had to fight tooth and nail to be somewhere that they should be by right.
This year is unique in a way because we have our first ever openly transgender woman Laurel Hubbard, who is participating in Olympics female weightlifting. This has sparked new debate about what is fair in women's sport and what isn’t. For some, it is a huge decades-in-the-making step that promotes the inclusive ideas of Olympics, but for others it is a ‘bad joke.’
The rules in 2013, stated that as long as participants had "surgical anatomical changes" (including having their testes or ovaries removed), obtained legal recognition of their assigned sex, and underwent hormone therapy for sufficient time to "minimize gender-related advantages" transgender athelets could participate in sports. This research however was said to have no authentic basis. In 2015, the reviewed guidelines required athletes to have declared their gender identity as female for at least four years. They should successfully maintain and demonstrate their testosterone level was below 10 nanomoles per liter for at least a year. Athletes who transitioned from female to male could compete in the male category without restriction.
Hormone therapy does not turn trans women into cis women. Cis women or men are people that have been assigned a sex at birth that matches with their chosen gender. Testosterone is also not the complete picture. The important question is, can trans women and cis women compete against one another in meaningful competition? Maybe they can.
‘Joanna Hopper who helped write the 2015 Olympic rules on transgender inclusion published one of the first studies on transgender women in sport, which found seven of eight transgender female non-professional runners studied had significantly slower race times after transitioning. Ultimately, they performed at approximately the same level against their female peers as they had against their male peers prior to their transition.’
‘Dick Swaab, a professor of neurobiology at the University of Amsterdam who has studied the brain chemistry of gender identity, said sensitivity to testosterone differs, meaning people may have a high level of testosterone but their body is not able to use it.’
"The reality is that we don't think that way, because we don't exclude them as a group, because we actually count them as women but really this issue comes down to who do we count as women or not," says Jaimie Veale, president of the Professional Association for Transgender Health Aotearoa. "When it comes down to it, it comes down to still this question of trans women not being seen as equal citizens."
These women, be it cis or trans, every one of which works so hard to get where they are, keep getting dragged down by society. They challenge our beliefs and ideas and we call them frauds. However, challenge is good, it helps us move forward and open our minds to new beliefs and new understandings. How great would it be if we approached such situations not from a place of cynicism and bias but with an open mind? I agree that it is important to protect women's sport but the intention shouldn’t be to make it exclusive to one kind of woman, it should instead be inclusive to all while also maintaining a level playing field.
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.