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Pennetta, a positive example for all Italians

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TENNIS- Flavia Pennetta has crowned her fantastic career on Sunday when she won the first Premier Mandatory Tournament of her tennis life by beating Agniewska Radwanska in straight sets 6-2 6-1 in the final of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells at the age of 32. Diego Sampaolo

 

Pennetta has moved from World Number 21 to 12 in the WTA Ranking, a sensational result considering that she dropped to World Number 166 last year after a career-threatening wrist injury which required surgery and sidelined her for six months. The tennis player from Brindisi did better in August 2009 when she became the first Italian player to reach the top-10 in the WTA Ranking.

After so many years and so much work, this is the moment I have been waiting for. It’s coming when you don’t expect because at the beginning of the week I did not expect to be the champion or to be in the final and in the semifinal”, said Pennetta.

Pennetta considered retiring from tennis at the beginning of last year but the fourth round reached at Wimbledon followed by an impressive semifinal at the US Open last September made her change her mind about her future. At the beginning of 2014 she picked up where she left off last year reaching the quarter final at the Australian Open, where she lost to eventual champion Li Na. After losing in the quarter final against Venus Williams at Dubai, Pennetta beat 2013 Australian Open semifinalist Sloane Stephens and the two top-seeds players Li Na in the semifinal and Agnieszka Radwanska in the final. It was the second time in a row that Pennetta beat the Polish player one month after the win in Dubai. Her win against Radwanska was her seventh victory against a top-3 player. She enjoyed her first win against a top.3 player in Zurich in 2008 when she beat Jelena Jankovic. She then defeated Venus Williams in Cincinnati in 2009, Vera Zvonareva in Sydney 2011, Caroline Wozniacki in Beijing 2011, Agnieszka Radwanska twice in Dubai and Indian Wells in 2014 and Li Na in Indian Wells 2014.

It was just at Indian Wells last year when she lost in the first round against Francesca Schiavone that she seriously contemplated the idea of hanging up her tennis racquet.

It’s amazing because I perfectly remember after the match in Indian Wells with Francesca last year, the day after I was in the garden talking with my physio, almost crying because everything was so bad. After one we have the trophy. He is happy because we worked so much. Without him, my coach Salvador Navarro, my family, perhaps I would not be here. Indian Wells has been my first triumph since Marbella in 2010. I wanted to win my tenth title and reach the double figure. Ten sounds good”, said Pennetta.

Pennetta kept a lot of tennis fans glued in front of television on Sunday when she lifted her biggest trophy. It was a well-deserved prize for one of the nicest players on the WTA Circuit, admired not only for her tennis style but also for her personality and her determination not to give up after a difficult period.

Pennetta has started the golden period of Italian tennis in 2009 becoming the first player to reach the top-10 when she won in Los Angeles. Her achievement was just the beginning. Less than one year later Francesca Schiavone became the first Italian player to win a Grand Slam when she triumphed at the Roland Garros in 2010. One year later Schiavone reached her second consecutive Roland Garros final losing to Li Na. In 2012 Sara Errani surprisingly qualified for the Roland Garros final losing to Maria Sharapova.

Pennetta also won the WTA Championships doubles trophy in 2010 and the Australian Open doubles title with her close friend Gisela Dulko from Argentina. Pennetta and Dulko teamed up together in many doubles tournaments and have become close friends outside the tennis circuit.

The other highlights of her career include the four Fed Cup wins with the Italian team in 2006, 2009, 2010 and 2013 and ten tournaments (Sopot in 2004. Bogotá and Acapulco in 2005, Bangkok 2007, Acapulco and Vina del Mar in 2008, Palermo and Los Angeles in 2009, Marbella in 2010 and Indian Wells in 2014).

Pennetta has built most of her success in her favourite US hard court tournaments. She reached her first Grand Slam semifinal last year at Flushing Meadows and three more US quarter finals in 2008, 2009 and 2011. She scored 12 of her 13 wins over top-5 players on hard-court tournaments.

The US Crowd are always nice with me. They support me all the time, even when I play against a US player”, said Pennetta.

Pennetta grew up in a family with a strong passion for tennis, especially her father Oronzo and her mother Concetta who have always supported her daughter in both good and bad days. Flavia was introduced to tennis at the age of 5 inspired by her tennis idol Monica Seles.

“Flavia has done a lot of sacrifices in her life and she is now reaping the fruits of her hard work”, said Oronzo Pennetta when he interviewed by Italian tennis channel Supertennis after the Indian Wells final.

I called my dad after the final and he couldn’t breathe. My father is the most important person in my life”, said Pennetta

After the Indian Wells win even a Grand Slam is not an unrealistic goal but Pennetta prefers going ahead step by step without setting too big goals, “Last year I just said:  “If I finish the year in the top 100, it will be okay. I finished 20, so it was much better. Now I am still in the same way. I never had a goal. I never had a big goal in my mind. I have always been like this. I have few days to enjoy and start to focus again because I have to play my next match in Miami. The worst thing about tennis is that you cannot enjoy a win too much. After beating Li Na, I had to return to the court the day after to play against Radwanska”

Beating the top-two players Li Na and Radwanska was a very important result but It’s a long way before I will be able to return to the top 10. The most important thing is that I can play at the same level with everyone. I have matured as a person. The other reason for my success is my relationship to my coach Salvador Navarro,” said Pennetta.

Pennetta has always seen as a positive example in Italian sport. “I would like to become a positive model for Italian people and give energy to those who are getting through difficult times. I want to show them that it is important not to give up”, said Pennetta.

 

 

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Dominika Cibulkova announces her retirement from tennis

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Dominika Cibulkova has announced her retirement from professional tennis at an event in her home town of Bratislava. The 30-year-old Slovakian player won eight titles on hard-court, grass, and indoor surfaces and achieved her career-high of world number 4 on 20th March 2017.

 

Cibulkova reached the semifinal at the 2009 Roland Garros, three quarter-finals at Wimbledon (i2011, 2016 and 2018) and the quarter-final at the US Open in 2010. She became the first Slovakian player to reach a Grand Slam final when she finished runner-up to Li Na at the 2014 Australian Open. She achieved the best result of her career in October 2016, when she beat former world number 1 Angelique Kerber at the WTA Finals in Singapore to clinch the Billie Jean King Trophy. That year Dominika won three more titles at Katowice, Eastbourne, and Linz. She also finished runner-up in Acapulco, Madrid, and Wuhan.

“It wasn’t just winning the WTA Finals, but also the road to qualifying, which was really hard. I had to win in Linz just to make it there. While winning Singapore was the biggest moment of my career and life, winning Linz and the way I had to fight to get there, the fact that I was able to do it and belong among the best players in the world”, said Cibulkova in an interview to the WTA Website.

Cibulkova also won four more titles in Moscow 2011, Carlsbad 2012, Stanford 2013 and Acapulco 2014.

She represented the Slovak Republic at two editions of the Olympic Games in Beijing 2008 and London 2012 and has scored a record of 22 wins and 11 defeats in her Fed Cup appearances.

Cibulkova decided Roland Garros would be the final tournament of her career.

“It wasn’t a decision where I woke up and thought: “I don’t want to play anymore”. It was a long process. I was already convinced by the time I played Azarenka in Miami, that this could be my last match. It was strange because I knew, and no one around me except my team knew it would be my last tournament. At that point, I was 100 percent sure. I was not doubting or thinking: maybe yes or no. I knew I wanted to do it like this, for this to be my last tournament. I went home and I was happy with my decision. It’s really hard to make it, but once you do, you more free. I feel like this life has been fulfilled for me, and I want to start a new one. I was already feeling like the tennis life is really tough, with all the traveling and training, giving 100 % every day. I started to get tired of it. In the end, I gave enough and achieved things I never dreamed of reaching in my career ”, said Cibulkova.

 

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Karolina Pliskova Splits From Coach With A Possible Replacement Already In The Pipeline

The Czech made the surprise announcement on social media as she enters negotiations with an unnamed individual.

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World No.2 Karolina Pliskova has ended her collaboration with Conchita Martinez after working together for more than a year.

 

Pliskova, who has won four WTA titles this season, had been working with the Spaniard since the 2018 US Open. She originally joined the team on a part-time basis before being upgraded to a full-time position in February this year. Martinez is a former player best known for winning the 1994 Wimbledon Championships.

“I decided I will no longer work with Conchita,” Pliskova posted on Instagram. “It was a tough decision, as the season was great. Thank you for all this year, and wish you only the best. Life is a change!”

The decision comes after what has been a solid year on the tour for the 27-year-old. Overall, she has won 51 out of 68 matches played. Recording five wins over top five opponents. In the grand slams she reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open in what was her best ever performance at the tournament. However, she failed to repeat that success at the other three majors. Reaching the third round of the French Open followed by the last 16 in both Wimbledon and the US Open.

“Just a little note to inform you that Karolina and I have decided to take different paths next year.” Martinez wrote in a statement. “It has been an incredible year full of great moments and emotions. I wish Kaja and her team the best for the future.”

It may not be long before the identity of who replaces Martinez is revealed. Michal Hrdlicka, who is Pliskova’s manager and husband, has confirmed to Czech News Agency CTK that discussions are underway with an unnamed individual.

“After the Champions Tournament (WTA Finals), we started negotiations on the engagement of a new coach. Negotiations are underway and we will inform the fans when they are over.” He said.

In her last tournament of 2019, Pliskova reached the semi-finals of the WTA Finals. She was knocked out of the event by top seed Barty who went on to win the title.

Pliskova has finished the year ranked No.2 on the WTA rankings. The highest year-end ranking she has ever achieved so far in her career.

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Top WTA Coach Accused Of False Advertising

Kamau Murray, who was shortlisted for WTA coach of the year in 2018, has been accused by a top 100 player of ‘taking credit for things he has not done.’

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Kamau Murray (image via twitter.com/wta)

American tennis player Taylor Townsend has launched an attack on a tennis coach who guided Sloane Stephens to her first grand slam title at the 2017 US Open.

 

Kamau Murray has been accused of ‘misrepresenting himself’ in the sport by the former world No.1 junior player. The criticism has been sparked by the USPTA Illinois Mini Conference, which will take place on November 17th. In the advertisement it states that Murray is Townsend’s coach. Something she has denies in a lengthy Instagram post.

“Zina Garrison was my primary coach from September 2013-March 2,” she wrote.
“I did not to go public in the past because I had hoped to resolve this matter directly with Kamau Murray. I will no longer remain silent while he (Murray) continues his lies and false advertisement.’
“I did not give Kamau consent to use my name and likeness for his ongoing personal and business monetary gain.”

Townsend, who reached the fourth round of the US Open this year, also took a swipe at Murray over his previous work with Monica Puig. In August the Puerto Rican confirmed that her partnership with the coach has ended after he returned back to working alongside Stephens. Puig told reporters at the US Open that she was informed by ‘people close to her’ that Murray was working with another player in secret. Branding it as a ‘slap in the face.’ Stephens responded to Puig claims by stating that there were ‘two sides to every story.’

“I can no longer remain silent while he continues to deceive professional players, aspiring players, sponsors, and the tennis community by misrepresenting himself and taking credit for things he has not done.” Said Townsend. “Monica Puig is a recent victim of his deception.”

Murray is the founder of the XS Tennis and Education Foundation and has his own tennis facility in Chicago. According to the WTA, he helped guide Townsend to the third round of the 2014 French Open in what was her grand slam debut at the age of 18.

There has been no reply from Murray concerning Townsend’s allegation.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

If you know me, then you know that this is NOT something that I would normally do, but I feel that it’s time to set the record straight about Chicago’s Kamau Murray of XS Tennis Academy. I can no longer remain silent while he continues to deceive professional players, aspiring players, sponsors, and the tennis community by misrepresenting himself and taking credit for things he has not done. @monicaace93 is a recent victim of his deception. I started my tennis with Donald Young SR. and Illona Young, who taught me to play tennis from 4 years old and assisted in me being number 1 in junior in the world. From 2010- August 2013, I trained at the USTA under the instruction of Kathy Rinaldi and briefly Juan Todero. Zina Garrison was my primary coach from September 2013- March 2015. Zina brought Kamau on board as an assistant coach during that time. I did not to go public in the past because I had hoped to resolve this matter directly with Kamau Murray. I will no longer remain silent while he continues his lies and false advertisement. I did not give Kamau consent to use my name and likeness for his ongoing personal and business monetary gain. Kamau is currently stating that he is my coach in promotion of the upcoming USPTA Illinois Mini Conference on November 17, 2019 held at XS Athletic Club. His latest actions have prompted me to expose his past and ongoing pattern of deceit. If you are a fan of mine, please support me and have my back regarding this matter. In doing this, I am clearing my conscience and telling another piece of my story! Thank you so much! I love you guys! 💕

A post shared by TAYLOR TOWNSEND✨❤ (@tay_taytownsend) on

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