Bits & Pieces from the World of Tennis: 3rd of March 2014 - UBITENNIS
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Bits & Pieces from the World of Tennis: 3rd of March 2014



TENNIS – Mahesh Bhupathi’s International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) is taking shape. The AEGON Championships are looking for a new director. Who is skipping Indian Wells, Shanghai Dubai and Queen’s win awards and Bubka Jr.’s comeback.

Bhupathi’s IPTL
Some of the biggest names in today’s (and yesterday’s) tennis have signed up to play for Mahesh Bhupathi’s International Premier Tennis League (IPTL), a team competition set to debut on 28th November 2014 and last for 16 days, right in the middle of the tennis offseason.

The creation of this tournament has caused some controversies in the tennis world, given that many tennis players have spent the last years complaining about the length and arduousness of the regular tennis season. World No.1 Rafael Nadal has been one of the most vocal critics, claiming that “…the bad thing about the calendar is how it is made and obligates you to play tournaments all year”.

The project, however, has attracted major interest from many players and would appear to be a huge success (I guess money cures fatigues!). More than 70 players, current and retired, signed for an American style draft that took place yesterday in Dubai.

The competition format is that of matches played between 4 city-based teams (Dubai, Mumbai, Singapore and Bangkok), home and away. Each match will consist of five separate sets disputed in men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, mixed doubles and legend’s doubles. There will be no-ad scoring, and a tiebreak will be played on the score of 5-5.

Each team is allowed to sign a maximum of 10 players, with team owners still able to add players even after yesterday’s draft.

Team Rosters so far:
Mumbai: Rafael Nadal, Gael Monfils, Pete Sampras, Rohan Bopanna, Ana Ivanovic, Sania Mirza, Fabrice Santoro

Dubai: Novak Djokovic, Caroline Wozniacki, Goran Ivanisevic, Janko Tipsarevic, Nenad Zimonjic, Malek Jaziri, Martina Hingis
Singapore: Tomas Berdych, Andre Agassi, Lleyton Hewitt, Serena Williams, Bruno Soares, Pat Rafter, Daniela Hantuchova, Nick Kyrgios
Bangkok: Andy Murray, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Victoria Azarenka, Daniel Nestor, Carlos Moya, Kirsten Flipkens

Of the 28 players drafted so far, 21 are Grand Slam champions and 14 are present or past No.1s.

AEGON Championships looking for director
Ross Hutchins, Andy Murray’s great friend, is in the running to become the new AEGON Championships (aka Queen’s) tournament Director, according to the PA.

The 29 year old doubles player was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in December 2012 and underwent more than six months of chemotherapy before revealing he was in remission in July 2013. He then made his competitive comeback in January 2014 and lost his first two matches partnering fellow Brit Colin Fleming before finally recording his first win in the first round of the 2014 Australian Open.

The name of the new director is set to be announced within the next two weeks.

Who’s missing Indian Wells?
The 2014 BNP Paribas Open (aka Indian Wells) starts today with the women’s qualifying draw. It’s a mandatory tournament for both men and women, so all players eligible are forced to play and can opt out only due to injury.

Two men’s seeds have withdrawn before the start of the tournament: World No.4 David Ferrer pulled out due to an adductor injury while 28th seeded Benoit Paire is out with a knee injury. Bernard Tomic, Janko Tipsarevic and Filippo Volandri are among the non-seeded players sitting out the tournament due to injury.

Of the 32 women’s seeds, four are missing from the tournament: Maria Kirilenko and Jamie Hampton are out due to injury, while Serena and Venus Williams are continuing their 13 year long boycott of the tournament. British No.1 Laura Robson, who hasn’t played since her first-round loss to Kirsten Flipkens at the Australian Open, is also out due to her ongoing wrist problem.

Bubka Jr comeback
Sergei Bubka Jr, son of world-famous pole-vaulter Sergei Bubka, made his return to the ATP major tour 15 months after suffering a near-fatal incident in Paris, when he fell from a third-story apartment trying to exit a bedroom he was blocked in.

Bubka lost his first round qualifying match in the Dubai 500 tournament but it was still a great achievement for someone who spent more than six months on crutches and is lucky to be walking, let alone playing competitive tennis.

The Ukrainian has also played three other qualifying matches in 2014, winning one in the Bergamo Challenger three weeks ago.

Shanghai, Dubai and Queen’s win 2013 ATP Awards
The Shanghai Rolex Masters, the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships and the AEGON Championships have all been announced as the Tournaments of the Year 2013 in their respective categories (ATP World Tour Masters 1000, ATP 500 and ATP 250).

It was the fifth straight win for the Shanghai tournament since its first edition at this level in 2009. The Dubai Championships collected the trophy for the 10th time in the last 11 years, while the AEGON Championships ended the longest reign in the ATP Awards (11 straight wins for Bastad at ATP 250 level) winning the honour for the first time.


Caroline Wozniacki Calls For More Help To Support Returning Mothers

Caroline Wozniacki has called on the WTA to support returning mothers.



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Caroline Wozniacki has called on the WTA to provide more support for returning mothers.

The Dane is one of a number of top stars that have returned to the tour since becoming a mother.

Recently the likes of Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka, Angelique Kerber and Naomi Osaka have all returned to the tour since becoming a mother.

However Wozniacki believes the WTA could provide more support to mothers who plan on returning to the tour, “I think I’ve been treated very well, The tournaments have really embraced me coming back and with kids,” Wozniacki explained to the Press Association.

Where I do share my view, and where a lot of other women on tour share the view, is I think there should be more done for women coming back from maternity leave. It has been looked at because obviously there’s more players now that want to come back but, at the same time, it’s not the same as coming back from an injury.

“As someone who came back after almost four years, I think when you give birth and for the body to recover, you’ve grown a human inside you, there’s a lot of changes that are happening in the body after that. I think in general women deserve more time to feel, ‘OK, now I’m ready, I can really prepare and get ready for competing at the highest level’.

It’s an issue that has made progress but there is still work to do in order to encourage people that it’s possible to make a smooth transition from motherhood to the tennis court.

As for Wozniacki, the Dane recently lost in the first round of Birmingham to Elise Mertens and is now preparing for Wimbledon where she has received a main draw wildcard.

Wimbledon starts on the first of July.

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Could Dan Evans’ Latest Injury Halt Andy Murray’s Olympic Plans?

Andy Murray Olympics hopes could pin down to Dan Evans’ recovery from his latest injury.



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Andy Murray had said that he may not play the Olympic Games if he plays just the singles event.

This could be the last summer that Andy Murray plays competitive tennis as he gears up for a potential Wimbledon farewell.

However Wimbledon may not be the tournament that Murray announces his retirement with the Olympics coming up next month.

The Olympics will take place in Paris and the former gold medallist has been announced in GB’s team ahead of the games.

There is a plot twist to all of this and that plot twist is Murray’s recent comments about whether he would play the Olympic Games.

In a recent interview Murray admitted that he wouldn’t be keen on just playing singles in Paris given the fact that it’s being played on his least favourite surface clay, “There is more chance of me winning a medal in the doubles rather than the singles,” Murray told BBC Sport.

“I’m not 100% sure. It depends a little bit physically how I’m doing and a bit how the next few weeks ago as well. My plan just now is to play but it’s not straightforward.”

The only player that Murray could play doubles with at the Olympics is Dan Evans, which they will probably find out on the fourth of July if they will get into the event.

However there is now a spanner in the works which is Dan Evans’ recent injury with the Brit suffering a nasty fall against Brandon Nakashima at Queen’s Club.

It will be known in the next couple of days how bad Evans’ injury is but after his match in London, the Brit was worried about a potential MCL injury, “I’m worried, no doubt,” Evans told the press association.

“I mean, a good thing, I thought it was my groin. That settled down pretty much straight away. But I think it’s MCL, sort of a bit inside of the knee. There is an issue there, that’s for sure after the testing so far with the physios.

“So I’ve got to wait 48 hours, let it settle, and then get a scan. I’m worried, yeah. That’s the bottom line, of course. Yeah, I’m in limbo a bit. It’s frustrating. If I miss the Olympics or Wimbledon it would be a tough one to swallow, no doubt.

“I don’t know. I’m just, I’m heartbroken at the minute, to be honest. Yeah, it’s tough.”

If the injury to Evans, results in Murray’s Olympics withdrawal then it would be a sad way to end Murray’s Olympics career that has included two gold medals.

However the main importance is that Evans is able to compete in the near future as he aims to be fit in time for Wimbledon.

Wimbledon starts on the first of July with the Olympics taking place 26 days later.

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Former Champion Angelique Kerber And Naomi Osaka Headline Initial Wimbledon Wildcards

Angelique Kerber and Naomi Osaka headline the Wimbledon wildcards this year.



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Former Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber has headlined the initial Wimbledon wildcards that have been announced this morning.

The German won the title in 2018 after defeating Serena Williams and is aiming to recreate some more magic at SW19 as she receives a wildcard into the main draw.

Although Kerber’s comeback hasn’t gone to plan, the German will hope grass is where she can find some confidence with the Olympic Games also in her plans there.

Another player who will be hoping for a change of fortunes at Wimbledon is former world number one Caroline Wozniacki who has also received a wildcard for the event.

Wozniacki was thrashed this week by Elise Mertens in Birmingham and will be hoping that she can improve her form over the next couple of weeks.

However a player that is in confident form right now is former US Open champion Naomi Osaka who has received a wildcard into Wimbledon.

The former world number one almost defeated Iga Swiatek at Roland Garros and is finding her feet on the grass after struggling in previous years.

On the men’s side Nottingham champion Jacob Fearnley has received a main draw wildcard as well as last year’s Juniors champion Henry Searle.

Here is the full list announced by the AELTC this morning with the final list set to be confirmed later this week or early next week.

Men’s Singles:

  1. Liam Broady
  2. Jan Choinski
  3. Jacob Fearnley
  4. Arthur Fery
  5. Billy Harris
  6. Paul Jubb
  7. Henry Searle
  8. TBA

Women’s Singles

  1. Francesca Jones
  2. Angelique Kerber
  3. Yuriko Lily Miyazaki
  4. Naomi Osaka
  5. Emma Raducanu
  6. Heather Watson
  7. Caroline Wozniacki
  8. TBA

Men’s Qualifying Singles

  1. Oliver Bonding
  2. Charles Broom
  3. Jay Clarke
  4. Felix Gill
  5. George Loffhagen
  6. Jack Pinnington Jones
  7. TBA
  8. Play-Off Place
  9. Play-Off Place

Women’s Qualifying Singles

  1. Emily Appleton
  2. Armani Banks
  3. Sonay Kartal
  4. Hannah Klugman
  5. Clervie Ngounoue
  6. Mika Stojsavljevic
  7. Mingge Xu
  8. Play-Off Place
  9. Play-Off Place

Men’s Doubles

  1. Liam Broady/Billy Harris
  2. Charles Broom/Arthur Fery
  3. Jay Clarke/Marcus Willis
  4. Dan Evans/Henry Searle
  5. Jacob Fearnley/Jack Pinnington Jones
  6. TBA
  7. TBA

Women’s Doubles

  1. Emily Appleton/Yuriko Lily Miyazaki
  2. Alicia Barnett/Freya Christie
  3. Harriet Dart/Maia Lumsden
  4. TBA
  5. TBA
  6. TBA
  7. TBA

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