Judy Murray OBE, a former international tennis player, Fed Cup Captain and coach to many champions including her sons Jamie and Andy.
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The reigning Wimbledon champion is currently the only top 10 player on the WTA Tour who is yet to formally announce her plans for the Grand Slam, which will begin in only two weeks time. This year’s tournament is taking place behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic with players being kept inside a bubble. America has recorded more than 166,000 deaths related to the virus. Upon attending, those playing will have to sign a waiver saying that they will not sue if they contract the virus. Furthermore, players who opt to stay in private accommodation are expected to pay for 24-hour security.
Shedding some light on the situation, coach Darren Cahill told Nine’s World Wide of Sports that he is yet to be given a definite decision from Halep concerning the US Open but it is doubtful. The Romanian returned to action this week at the Prague Open where she has reached the final. It is her first professional tournament since February.
“I did ask her before Prague started and her gut feeling that she wasn’t going to play (the US Open) but she wanted to play this tournament,” Cahill said on Sunday.
“It was the first one coming back from COVID restrictions and she wanted to see how she felt. It’s a short flight from Romania to Prague, but there is a big difference flying to New York.”
LiveScore, one of the world’s leading real-time sports updates and results providers, has announced its title sponsorship of the ‘LiveScore Cup’, with WTA World Number 3 Karolina Pliskova headlining a number of European stars as live women’s tennis returns.
Staged on clay-courts and held at the Stvanice Stadium in Prague from Wednesday 3rd until Saturday 6th June, the LiveScore Cup will follow a special round-robin format featuring former World Number 1 Pliskova alongside five leading European players, including 2019 Roland-Garros Finalist and current World Number 18 Marketa Vondrousova.
The creation of the LiveScore Cup, organised and marketed by SARAN Media Group and PR Stars and sanctioned by the Czech Tennis Federation, comes as a significant boost to tennis fans across the world who have been without live tennis since the elite season was put on hold by the COVID-19 outbreak in mid-March.
Featuring best-of-three set matches and culminating in a hotly-contested final on Saturday 6th June, the LiveScore Cup will be broadcast live on a number of European TV networks including Premier Sports in UK and Republic of Ireland, S Sport in Turkey, Setanta Sports in CIS, Sport Klub in the Balkan territories and Max Sport in Bulgaria.
Tennis fans will also be able to follow the on-court scores and statistics in real-time by using either LiveScore’s world-leading iOS and Android application or at LiveScore.com. With a global audience of more than 56 million monthly active users, which generates a monthly average of 30 million tennis related page views, LiveScore provides unparalleled coverage, content and statistics on men’s and women’s tennis, as well as for hundreds of different sporting leagues and competitions around the world.
This is LiveScore’s second sports sponsorship following the successful launch of its partnership with LaLiga Santander as ‘Official Global Scoring Partner’, and further shows its ambition to be at the forefront of sport consumption.
Ric Leask, Marketing Director at LiveScore, said;
“LiveScore is synonymous with live sports, so we are delighted to be playing a small part in the return of competitive action as title sponsor of the LiveScore Cup. This comes at a time when we are generating significant momentum across the business, and LiveScore Cup is another marker in the sand as sports fans become more familiar with our expanded offering.
Our app and LiveScore.com are already the go-to destinations for fast and reliable second-screen sports coverage to over 56 million users, but we are thrilled to be putting our head above the parapet once again and introducing LiveScore to new users as we continue to grow.”
Will Thomas, Head of Sponsorship at LiveScore,said;
“It’s been a long few months without live sport and, whilst circumstances dictate that spectators can’t be present, we are delighted that fans can watch the LiveScore Cup on TV and follow the action on LiveScore’s channels. We can’t wait for the LiveScore Cup to begin in Prague, and the chance to celebrate the skill of some of the world’s best tennis players!”
Karolina Pliskova, WTA World Number 3, said;
“I am really looking forward to the start of the LiveScore Cup, and the chance to once again compete in my country alongside some of the best players in Europe. After our enforced season break, it’s brilliant that we will have this chance to again showcase women’s tennis to fans around the world, especially on clay at a time when the French Open would have normally been taking place. I’d like to thank SARAN Media Group and PR Stars for organising such a great tournament.”
“Whilst for now we must wait for fans to return to the courtside, I and all the players are looking forward to putting on a show for all the fans following the action on TV and the LiveScore app!”
LiveScore’s title sponsorship was agreed in partnership with Saran Media Group. Two round-robin groups of three players will yield two finalists to compete in The LiveScore Cup Final on Saturday 6th June. The full line-up for The LiveScore Cup includes:
20-time grand slam champion Roger Federer has confirmed that he will be chasing after Olympic glory once again in less than 12 months time.
The former world No.1 announced his intention to play at the Tokyo Games on Monday shortly after his exhibition match with John Isner in the country. It will be his fifth appearance in the Olympics and his first since 2012. Federer had previously won a gold medal in the doubles alongside Stan Wawrinka back in 2008. Four years later he won his second medal in London after finishing runner-up to Andy Murray. He is the only Swiss tennis player in history to have won multiple Olympic medals.
“At the end of the day, my heart decided I would love to play the Olympic Games again,” Federer told reporters.
“I’ve been debating with my team for a few weeks now, months actually, what I should do in the summer time (of 2020) after Wimbledon and before the US Open. I carried the flag twice for Switzerland in Athens and Beijing, I’ve got a gold and a silver, and I would love to play again so I’m very excited.”
During his illustrious career, which features 103 ATP titles, the 38-year-old is yet to claim the Olympic title in Singles. It is one of the few events where Federer hasn’t triumphed at least once. Other notable tournaments include the Monte Carlo Masters and Italian Open.
Image courtesy of https://www.ubitennis.net
The man responsible for helping Dominic Thiem rise to the top of the sport has blasted three players tipped to become stars of the game in the future.
Gunter Bresnik, who is also known for his previous work with Ernests Gulbis, believes some players are missing what Daniil Medvedev has on the tour. Medvedev is currently in the midst of his breakthrough season. This week is the fifth consecutive tournament where the Russian has reached a final on the ATP Tour. During the summer he claimed his first Masters title in Cincinnati and finished runner-up to Rafael Nadal at the US Open.
“I said to Dominic in February in Buenos Aires: ‘Do not just look forward to Djokovic, Nadal, Federer, look back: Medvedev is coming.” Bresnik said during an interview with heute.at.
“He laughed at me, Medvedev is smart, has that Russian sense of humour, is moving extremely well. (This is what) the other boys are missing.”
Asked to pinpoint who he meant, the 58-year-old didn’t hold back. Describing Germany’s Alexander Zverev as a ‘total failure.’ Zverev is currently ranked sixth in the world and has 11 ATP titles to his name. The most prestigious of which being the ATP Finals, which he won last November. However, Zverev wasn’t the only player to be criticised by the Austrian.
“Zverev is a total failure, (Stefanos) Tsitsipas was grotesque at two majors this year, (Denis) Shapovalov would be dangerous because he has the weapons, but he has not been trained well in recent years.” He claims.
Bresnik has a wealth of experience when it comes to tennis. In his career, he has worked with more than 20 players who have reached the top 100. Including Boris Becker, Henri Leconte, Stefan Koubek and Jeff Tarango. In his home country, he was the Sports Director of the Austrian Tennis Federation (1998-99) and Davis Cup Captain twice (1992-1993 and 1998-2004).
Unsurprisingly Bresnik has a more favourable opinion when it comes to Thiem, who is now working with former player Nicolas Massu. He has known the world No.5 since he was a child. The two got acquainted after Thiem’s father applied to work at his academy in Vienna.
“Thiem, he has no technical weakness, he can control the highest speed in a controlled manner, he was closer to Nadal than Medvedev in New York last year, many forget that, but he has to get his level.” He concluded.
At present Bresnik is working with WTA player Mira Antonitsch, who is yet to crack the top 500 on the tour.
Image & Article courtesy of https://www.ubitennis.net/2019/09/former-mentor-dominic-thiem-slams-trio-rising-stars-mens-tennis/
There is a chance that 11-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal could retire from tennis within the next three years, according to his former coach and uncle.
Toni Nadal spoke about the former world No.1 during an interview with El Pais about the health of the Spaniard. Nadal has been blighted by numerous physical problems in recent months. During 2018 he was hampered by issues with both his knee and abdomen. The 32-year-old also underwent a small operation on his ankle in November.
Nadal’s latest issue is his right knee, which forced him to withdraw from his semi-final clash with Roger Federer at Indian Wells. A problem that also forced him to skip the Miami Masters for a second year in a row.
Commenting on his nephew’s work with Carlos Moya, Toni has insisted that Nadal wants to continue playing ‘despite his physical problems.’ Although, that may not be for too many more seasons.
“I see it well. The most important thing is that they (Nadal and Moya) appreciate and respect each other, something very necessary.” Toni told El Pais.
“And Rafael wants to continue playing, despite his physical problems.
“That is what will continue to be decisive. Until when, who knows. Maybe two or three more years. What I’m saying is that Rafael is not a tennis player, he’s an injured person who plays tennis, and that’s very difficult.”
Nadal is currently the 14th oldest player in the top 100 on the ATP Tour. He is five years younger than rival Federer and eight years younger than World No.77 Ivo Karlovic. The world No.2 hasn’t given any indication about quitting the sport in the near future. However, the Spaniard had previously stated that he has no fears about retiring from the sport in the future.
“I’m not scared of my ending,” he told ABC.es in February.
“I’m aware that it will be an important change in my life, but if I’m honest, I’m very happy outside of tennis, with tennis too, but I have fun doing other things.
“We are closer to goodbye, no doubt, but it does not scare me, I’m still very motivated.
“I like what I do and I work with the maximum enthusiasm to give me options to compete for everything.
“Anyway, I’m preparing my future.”
Nadal is currently back in Spain training ahead of the start of the clay swing. A critical part of the season for him, where he will be aiming to defend four out of the five titles he won last year. Including two Masters 1000 tournaments and the French Open. He will begin his campaign at the Monte Carlo Masters, which will get underway on April 15th.
Image courtesy –
Rafael Nadal (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)
Former world No.1 Rafael Nadal has said he is ‘disappointed’ about the lack of communication he received from the ATP Players council over calls for the removal of ATP CEO Chris Kermode.
Last week it was confirmed that Kermode’s tenure at the governing body of men’s tennis would come to an end later this year after failing to win support of the three players’ representatives. A decision that has generated a mixed response. Earlier this year Canadian player Vasek Pospisil sent an email calling for ‘a CEO that first and foremost represents OUR interests.’ Novak Djokovic, who is the president of the council, has been named as a key driving force in calls for change and reportedly voted for Kermode’s removal. Although the results of that vote are confidential and the Serbian has remained neutral about the development when speaking to media in Indian Wells.
Whilst the Players’ council are separate to the three individuals that decided Kermode’s fate, 11-time French Open champion Nadal has criticised their handling of the situation. The Players council issues advisory decisions to the board of directors. Members are elected by their peers.
“I can’t say much about this, because as you know, I am outside of the politics, and I’m being honest. Nobody (from the council) came to me to explain why this stuff happened.” Nadal said following his 6-1, 6-1, win over Jared Donaldson at the BNP Paribas Open.
“But at the same time, of course, I am disappointed that nobody came and explained why, what’s the real reason of we don’t have Chris continuing running our sport.”
Nadal is a vocal supporter of Kermode, who has held the CEO position since 2014. Previously describing his removal as ‘counterproductive.’ Clearly bemused by the situation, the Spaniard said he never even received an email or text from a member of the council concerning a potential change in leadership.
“Normally, they have to ask the players about what they think to make a crucial decision like this one, and I really hope that they did with the rest of the players. If they did it, is great. It was not my case.” He said.
“Nobody text me to speak about or to ask me about what’s my thoughts about that decision.”
Other players have also expressed their disappointment. Three-time grand slam champion Stan Wawrinka said he was ‘really sad and disappointed’ about the situation. A sentiment echoed also by figures such as Nicolas Mahut, Lleyton Hewitt, Magnus Norman and Thomas Johansson.
“Probably the guys who are running the council, they didn’t do the right job, because when they are there (on the board) they are there representing us, so normally they have to ask what our opinion is. Not in every small decision, but in big decisions. In my opinion, this one was a big decision.” Stated Nadal.
Kermode will continue his position as CEO until later this year when a replacement will be named.
Rafael Nadal at the 2019 Australian Open (photo Roberto Dell’Olivo)
Former world No.1 Andy Murray has progressed to the second round of the US Open after battling past James Duckworth 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-5, 6-3, in what was a battle of the comeback kids in New York.
Murray, who triumphed in Flushing Meadows back in 2012, is playing in only his sixth tournament since returning from a hip injury. Furthermore, he was contesting his first best-of-five set match this season. Meanwhile, former top 100 player Duckworth has also suffered his fair share of injury woes. Undergoing five surgeries on his right foot, right shoulder and right elbow since 2017. Both players have endured misfortune, but it was Murray who managed to prevail in their clash. Hitting 31 winners to 29 unforced errors and converting six out of his 15 break point opportunities.
“At times it was tricky. Especially early on in the match. It was very, very lively and very hot.”Murray said during his on-court interview.
“The ball was flying around and James was serving big and playing a lot of drop shots. Throwing me off rhythm.
“I am happy I managed to get through that and play some good tennis at times.”
Images and full story – https://www.ubitennis.net/2018/08/andy-murray-returns-grand-slam-tennis-gruelling-us-open-win/
Facing life outside of the world’s top 40, Johanna Konta continues to look on the bright side of things at Wimbledon.
Konta, who was a semifinalist at The All England Club last year, crashed out in straight sets to Dominika Cibulkova in the second round. Losing 6-3, 6-4, after exactly 80 minutes of play. The loss continues her lacklustre record at the tournament. Excluding 2017, she has failed to go beyond the second round six times.
“When she’s playing well, she plays incredibly freely.” Konta said of Cibulkova. “She was hitting winners from five meters behind the baseline kind of thing. She was obviously seeing the ball very well and feeling very good in the way she wanted to play.
“I found it very difficult to really get a foothold into the match. That was a lot to do with how she played.”
There is an irony in Cibulkova’s win over the 22nd seed. The Slovak was on course to be seeded 32nd in the draw, but lost out on the spot. The reason was due to Wimbledon implementing a special rule to allow Serena Williams to be seeded in the draw. Therefore, shifting Cibulkova down one place.
“I think Domi really strives on competitiveness.” Concluded Konta. “She does fire herself up. That’s why she has been I think No. 4 in the world. That’s why she won Singapore. That’s why she’s been a Grand Slam finalist. She’s someone who fights and competes very, very hard.”
The British No.1 could be in the same position as her opponent later this year. As a consequence of her loss today, Konta will drop outside of the world’s top 40. A position she hasn’t been in since January 2016. Meaning that her seeding at the US Open will be hit or miss depending on her results during the summer.
Nevertheless, statistics are not always the deciding factor. Heading into the third round at Wimbledon, only four top 10 seeds are left in the women’s draw. Garbine Muguruza’s exit marked the first time a defending champion has failed to go beyond the second round since Steffi Graf back in 1994.
“I hope I can deal with it as well as Domi does.” The 27-year-old commented about her slip down the rankings. “I think this Wimbledon is another demonstration of how the seeding is not the be all, end all.”
“The depth we have in the women’s game, how players can play very well in any certain match, I am not terribly worried of losing a number next to my name.”
Some could say the Konta fell victim to the expectations placed upon her by the British public, but she has firmly denied that theory. Saying defiantly that she plays on her own terms.
“I’m here to satisfy my own expectations, and I’m very clear on where I am in my development, where I am with my level. I did the best that I could. I lost to a very good player today.” She said.
“I love playing here (at Wimbledon). I will love it next year. I will love it for however many more years I get to play. That is regardless of what external factors or media people say about me because that’s something that’s very much out of my control.”
Konta will return to action at the end of the month at the Stanford Class in America. It will be held at a new venue in San Jose.
Argentina’s Just Martin del Potro has capped off a dream week at the Mexican Open with a comprehensive 6-4, 6-4, win over Kevin Anderson.
The 29-year-old valiantly fought off some stern resistance from his opponent by outperforming him in almost every aspect of the match. Del Potro sealed victory with the help of 26 winners compared to only 15 unforced errors. A slight improvement on Anderson’s 25 and 18. Furthermore, the former US Open champion didn’t face a single break point as he capitalized on Anderson’s below-par second serve, which recorded a 42% success rate (11/26).
On route to his first ATP 500 title since the 2013 Swiss Indoors, Del Potro managed to record three consecutive wins over top 10 players. Prior to Anderson, he also managed to get the better of Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem. It is the first time he has managed to achieve the triple since the 2009 ATP World Tour Finals.
“It’s a very special tournament to me. I beat three Top 10 guys in the same tournament, which is very important for myself. I’m so glad to win my 21st title playing in Acapulco,” Del Potro said.
As a result of his latest victory, the Argentine will break back into the top eight of the Emirates rankings for the first time since July 2014 on Monday. Also guaranteeing him a top eight seeding at the upcoming BNP Paribas Masters in Indian Wells.