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Mutua Madrid Open 2014 – all preparations are well under way

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Gerard Tsobanian, President and CEO of the Mutua Madrid Open, combined ATP and WTA event preparing players for the French Open in Paris held a working media-breakfast during which he summarised the status of the preparations for the 2014 edition of the tournament, that is to take place between the 2nd and 11th of May in the Caja Mágica. We want to keep bringing the tournament closer to Madrid’s citizens. This is not an elitist tournament. Last year we lowered ticket prices and this year we have frozen them. This tournament belongs to the citizens of Madrid and to Spaniards and we are very proud to stage it every year”, said Gerard Tsobanian.

 

Sponsors guarantee yet another year of solid performance in Madrid

Regarding sponsorship, the Tournament President was delighted to announce the addition of French catering group Sodexo to the tournament’s group of sponsors. Sodexo has provided the catering services to the Mutua Madrid Open for several years, but starting in 2014 it will be an active sponsor, advertising itself at a tennis tournament for the first time. Gerard Tsobanian spoke of the importance to the Mutua Madrid Open of the agreement reached with Inditex, one of the most important textile groups in the world, through its Pull & Bear brand to provide the uniforms for the ball-boys and model/ball-boys for the tournament, and the return as a sponsor of Air Europa, which worked with the Mutua Madrid Open between 2004 and 2011 and will do so again as from now. In addition, he highlighted the importance of Corte Inglés, one of the best-known Spanish companies around the world, which formed part of the tournament last year and will be back this time around to do the same.

Presentation of the Mutua Madrid Open 2014 (c)MutuaMadridOpen

Presentation of the Mutua Madrid Open 2014 (c)MutuaMadridOpen

All these brands therefore join the Mutua Madrid Open’s group of sponsors, which is formed by Mutua Madrileña, the Council of Madrid, Estrella Damm, Mercedes Benz, Ricoh, Ohlimpia, Dunlop, AC Hoteles Marriott, ABC, Adecco, Prosegur, Marca and Schweppes. Regarding ticket sales, Gerard Tsobanian announced that there was a 50 per cent increase compared to the same time in 2013. The President of the Mutua Madrid Open stated that there has been an effort to try and focus on opening up to the international market, which is why last year a new ticket-sales platform was launched to allow their purchase in six languages.

Mutua Madrid Open will be televised live via several TV-channels

Finally, it has been confirmed that the 2014 Mutua Madrid Open will be broadcast by La Sexta and Nitro television channels, as was last year’s tournament.

Manolo Santana outlines his expectations for the ATP-tournament 2014

In a very interesting interview the tournament media has done with the former world number one, Santana is quoted: What is for sure is that the tournament is here to stay. It is recognised worldwide, and we have to try to do the best we can to ensure that the ATP continues to show confidence in us, and to improve the things that need improving, for the crowds, logically because they are the ones who pay, want the facilities to be in perfect condition, the courts to be perfect and obviously that all the players come.” – with regards to the future of the Spanish tennis, the Madrilenian Santana is optimistic: It is incredible. It’s marvellous that we have two players like Nadal and Ferrer in the top five in the world. And they’re backed up by players like Almagro, who is an incredible player, Verdasco, Feliciano and Robredo, who are fighting to remain at the top and that’s not easy but they do it. Then we have Bautista, who did incredibly in Australia, and also García López and Andújar, who is a player who does well on all surfaces and I like his style of play. We have a great group of players but obviously some of them might slip away. We have to carry on supporting Rafa, because he is a foundation not only of Spanish tennis, but also world tennis. When Rafa plays, demand for tickets, interviews… go off the scale. It’s normal, because for me he’s not a normal sportsman, and we’re very lucky that all of us in the tennis family have him close to us.”

Tournament Director counts on Serena Williams for the WTA event

“I don’t think anyone can defeat Williams at a Grand Slam, or any other important tournament for that matter, when she is at her best level. She is extremely potent and has enormous self-confidence. The American almost always beats Sharapova, Ni La and Azarenka, who are her closest rival. She has tremendous power. All her shots are definitive. Her forehand is impeccable and her concentration is extraordinary, she’s a true champion. I think that Sharapova and Azarenka need to have a very good day to defeat her, or that another player causes a huge surprise, but I think at all the major tournaments Serena is the favourite.” Santana explains the ‘special’ status he sees for the American given she is healthy and focused to play. 

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Novak Djokovic Confirmed For Olympics But Del Potro Pulls Out After Medical Advice

The Serbian will be bidding to win gold in Tokyo later this year for the first time in his career.

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This year’s Olympic tennis tournament has been given a boost after officials confirmed world No.1 Novak Djokovic will be playing at the Games.

 

The 19-time Grand Slam champion had been contemplating whether to play at the event or not amid ongoing COVID-19 conditions. Djokovic previously said he would reconsider travelling to Tokyo if fans weren’t allowed to attend. Since that comment, organisers have given the green light for up to 10,000 domestic fans to attend Olympic venues. Although foreign fans are banned from attending this year due to the pandemic.

Amid questions over Djokovic’s participation, the Serbian Tennis Federation has told Sportski Zurnal that he has pledged to play. It will be the fourth time the 34-year-old has represented his country in the Olympics. So far in his career, Djokovic has only won one medal which was bronze back in 2008. He also finished fourth in 2012.

“Novak has confirmed his desire to participate in the Olympic Games and we have already sent a list with his name on it to the Olympic Committee of Serbia. It will be forwarded from there,” the Tennis federation told Sportski Zurnal.

As it currently stands Djokovic is on course to achieve the calendar ‘golden slam.’ A rare achievement where a player wins all four Grand Slam titles, as well as the Olympics, within the same year. In singles competition the only person to have ever achieved this was Stefi Graf back in 1988.

“Everything is possible, and I did put myself in a good position to go for the Golden Slam,” Djokovic said after winning the French Open
“But, you know, I was in this position in 2016 as well. It ended up in a third-round loss in Wimbledon. This year we have only two weeks between the first round of Wimbledon and the finals here, which is not ideal because you go from really two completely different surfaces, trying to make that transition as smooth as possible, as quickly and efficiently as possible.
“So obviously I will enjoy this win and then think about Wimbledon in a few days’ time. I don’t have an issue to say that I’m going for the title in Wimbledon. Of course, I am.”

Del Potro’s comeback delayed again

There is less positive news for Juan Martin del Potro, who was the player who beat Djokovic to win a bronze medal back in 2012. The Argentine hasn’t played a competitive match on the Tour since June 2019 due to a troublesome knee injury. Back in March the former US Open champion said playing at the Olympics again was motivating him during his rehabilitation.

However, since then progress has been slower than what Del Potro would have liked. As a result, he has been advised not to play in the event and continue his recovery.

Delpo won’t be able to play the Olympics Games. The knee rehab is going well according to the doctor’s plan but he suggested Juan Martin to go on with his rehab process and training, and skip Tokyo 2020,” a statement from Del Potro’s communication team reads.

Since 2010, the former world No.3 and two-time Olympic medallist has undergone eight surgeries.One on his right wrist, three on his left wrist and four on his knee. He has won a total of 22 ATP titles so far in his career.

The Olympic Tennis event will start on July 24th at the Ariake Coliseum.

RELATED STORY: Why Are So Many Tennis Players Skipping The Olympics?

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Vasek Pospisil dispatches James Ward in Eastbourne

Vasek Pospisil is into the second round at Eastbourne.

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Vasek Pospisil (@TennisCanada - Twitter)

The Canadian won his first match on grass of the year beating the local favourite James Ward.

 

Vasek Pospisil is through to the second round of the Viking International ATP 250 in Eastbourne after beating the Brit James Ward in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 13 minutes on court number two.

“It was a good match, I played pretty well, I thought I served well and he is a tough opponent on grass because he has a tough first serve but I was pretty sharp and played well when I needed to and happy to get the win”.

It was the Canadian who had the first chance to break at 1-1 and he got the early break and that one break was good enough for him to serve out the first set.

The second set was much of the same and actually was identical to the first with the world number 66 getting the break to take a 2-1 lead but faced a breakpoint when consolidating the break.

Again that one break was enough for him to serve out the match and book his spot in the next round. This is Pospisil’s first win since the month and after the match, he spoke about how the last couple of months have been for him.

“It was good I just took a break from the tour just to refresh the mind and the body and I hadn’t seen my family in nine months so it was a good reset and I felt I needed a break to kinda be excited about touring and the covid conditions and now I’m back and I am happy to be back and I am playing well so it was a nice break.”

Pospisil will now face Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the next round after the Spaniard beat the Swede Mikael Ymer in straight sets 7-5, 6-1.

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Daniil Medvedev Searching For Confidence Boost Ahead Of Wimbledon

The two-time Grand Slam finalist says he is not the same player as he was two years ago when he last played Wimbledon.

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When it comes to playing on the grass this year Daniil Medvedev admits that the biggest issue for him might concern the mental side of the sport as opposed to the physical side.

 

The world No.2 kicked-off his grass swing last week in Halle where he was stunned in the first round by Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting the Tour in 2020, that was the first time the Russian had played a match on the surface in almost two years. Short on matches, Medvedev is back in action this week in Mallorca after taking a wildcard into the tournament.

“I like to play on grass, I just need to get some confidence in my game on the surface, because we didn’t play [on it] for two years. Two years ago, I was not the same player as I am right now,” Medvedev told atptour.com. “It is tough for me to say where I see myself, but I know I can play very good on this surface. I just need to find the right balance.”

Since he last played at Wimbledon, Medvedev surged on the ATP Tour by winning six titles with all of them being on a hardcourt. Furthermore, he also reached the final of the US Open in 2019 and the Australian Open this year. He is the first player outside of the Big Four to be ranked in the world’s top two since July 2005.

Despite his previous success on the grass, Medvedev admits he remains wary about playing on the surface and the conditions he may face.

“When I started playing on grass, I played in Challengers and even in [ATP] Tour tournaments on the outside courts, not on the central courts, and I can tell that the central courts are quite slow,” he said. “Especially the match I played with Gilles Simon at Queen’s [Club], we had rallies of 40 shots every second point. That is what makes it a little bit tougher.
“When I practise on practice courts, I feel like I am playing so good as the ball is so fast. Then I come onto the centre court to play the match, and the ball just stops after the bounce, and you have to adapt your game, so it can be tough. But I know I can play really well on grass.”

In Mallorca Medvedev has a bye in the first round. His opening match will be against either South Africa’s Lloyd Harris or France’s Corentin Moutet.

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