2014 Roland Garros – Interviews, Results, OOP, Draws - UBITENNIS
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2014 Roland Garros – Interviews, Results, OOP, Draws

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2014 Roland Garros: All the interviews, results, draws and the order of play from the French Open in Paris.

Men’s Singles Draw

Women’s Singles Draw

Men’s Doubles Draw

Women’s Doubles Draw

Mixed Doubles Draw

Order of Play

Results

Interviews

8th of June

Ubaldo Scanagatta and Steve Flink discuss the men’s final

Nadal: “Without that second set, I don’t know if I have this trophy with me now”

Djokovic: “Struggled a little bit physically throughout that third set”

Mauresmo: “Andy contacted me a few weeks ago”

7th of June

Sharapova: “It’s the most emotional victory for me. The toughest one physically that I’ve come across”

Halep: “I’m really proud about these two weeks. They were incredible weeks”

6th of June 2014

Djokovic: “I think there is no doubt that he (Nadal) is the favorite to win the title there. But, okay, I have been playing some good tennis”

Gulbis: “I’m not used to play these kind of big matches. It’s just normal I felt extra nervous and extra tense”

Nadal: “I think I played very well with my forehand. I think was important to serve the way that I served today”

Murray: “He played a great match. He missed hardly any balls. He served very well”

Sharapova: “I’ve had some really tough matches where I’ve been pushed. In the last three matches especially”

5th of June 2014

Sharapova: “I’m very proud, because I worked hard to get myself injury free”

Bouchard: “I didn’t feel tired, no. She’s a great player and always puts a lot of pressure on you”

Halep: “I think the click was in Rome when I beat Radwanska”

Petkovic: “I would definitely tell it as a positive story, but also a story that showed me what I need to work on”

4th of June 2014

Nadal: “After the second set I think David play with more mistakes than usual, and I continue playing with my forehand”

Ferrer: “I think it was not a good match with both players. We did a lot of mistakes”

Monfils: “I wanted to finish today because I knew that Andy was tired and I was better than him”

Murray: “It was a hard match. Conditions changed quite a lot during it”

Errani: “I think she played a good match. The problem was not that. It was me. No power, no energy”

Petkovic: “I was hoping that her serve might break down if I’m being very, very aggressive”

Halep: “It was a perfect day for me. I played really well. I did my game. I was very aggressive”

Kuznetsova: “I think Simona played very good. I was not at my best in everything a little”

3rd of June 2014

Gulbis: “What took me so long? I think I was eating wrong. I had the wrong diet”

Berdych: “Really the way I played today was pretty bad to be successful today”

Bouchard: “Once I started going for my shots a little bit more it started working better”

Suarez Navarro: “I was up in the first set; I lost. I was up in the final set; I lost. It is difficult to speak now”

Sharapova: “Once I got the break…I started feeling like I was in the match again”

Muguruza: “In the important moments I need to improve my mentality”

2nd of June 2014

Murray: “I don’t mind. I’ll play whichever court they decide”

Verdasco: “Pascal is very peculiar. Sometimes he will take things in a certain way”

Kuznetsova: “Halep’s already in top 10. I think she going to be good, even better than she is now”

Errani: “The crowd was unbelievable loud and was difficult to stay focused, of course, sometimes make you a bit angry”

Jankovic: “When I needed just to kind of raise the level a little bit and I needed a good first serve, it was never coming”

Halep: “I believe in my chance, but I don’t think too far”

Nadal: “I’m not a machine. No, I play with the conditions on the court. I play with my feelings on the court”

Petkovic: “I still have a long way to go, and I’m still not as consistent as I used to be”

Ferrer: “I tried to play more with my forehand, and he was more tired than me in the final of the fourth set”

1st of June 2014

Federer: “I missed too many opportunities. I did not play like I wanted to play”

Gulbis: “Like Floyd Mayweather said in his interview. Hard work and dedication. That’s the key”

Djokovic: “I came with the exact level of intensity that I was looking for before the start of the match”

Tsonga: “After the match I had lots of thoughts in my mind. But I have to continue. I need to hang on”

Suarez Navarro: “What has changed between 2008 and 2014 is experience”

Raonic: “I have been working a lot at my net game. I come in quite a bit, so things are bound to get better”

Sharapova: “I love competing. That’s one of the best parts of the sport”

Murray: “Stopping the match probably helped me a little bit”

Verdasco: “I’m very happy. Now will try to recover for tomorrow’s match”

Gasquet: “I’ll take care of myself. I’ll work on my body. I hope that I’ll continue on the same path”

Bouchard: “I’m confident and I really believe in my skills. I believe I can play with the best girls out there”

Berdych: “I’m confident if you win four matches. Then you feel good”

Isner: “I was a little slow out there, but I thought the guy just played well”

31st of May 2014

Fognini: “I don’t care. I go on my way. That’s what I have to say to you. Nothing more”

Petkovic: “I just didn’t have any emotions. I was just drained energy-wise”

Mladenovic: “I will take time to think about all this, all the good things, the things that didn’t go that well”

Young: “It’s not where I want it to be quite yet, but definitely moving in the right direction”

Kuznetsova: “It was unbelievable match. I didn’t enjoy it on myself out there”

Kvitova: “It was very close, few points, but that’s the tennis”

Ferrer: “I’m quite satisfied with the match. I would have liked to be more steady with my forehand”

Safarova: “I think I was playing very solid today, and I was not making a lot of mistakes”

Ivanovic: “I think overall my level wasn’t there today. I really struggled to find my rhythm”

Lajovic: “I will try to ask everybody some tips against Rafa”

Sock: “There was a lot of close moments and opportunities for me, but I wasn’t able to capitalize”

Stephens: “I guess it’s all just a learning experience. Rather this than anything else”

Jankovic: “The match was not easy, even though it looked, the score looked like it”

Halep: “I’m enjoying the moment now. It’s my best of my career, and I have to be happy on court”

30th of May 2014

Raonic: “I live and die with my serve, so I’d rather be serving for the match than anything else”

Simon: “Three times I have lost in five set matches against three good players”

Kerber: “I’m feeling better and better from match to match”

Isner: “I’m always pretty confident when I get (to tie-breaks), and I think it’s shown so far”

Djokovic: “It was a great match to be part of, and I enjoyed it and hope the crowd did, too”

Sharapova: “I don’t think we can take everything serious when he (Gulbis) speaks”

Muguruza: “Now there are so many young players that are playing really good. Maybe it’s time for a change”

Cilic: “Goran helped me with the understanding of the game, to play, of course, with a different mindset”

Tursunov: “Well, I mean, pretty much couldn’t run”

Federer: “I’m pleased to be through. Like expected, it was not a straightforward, easy match”

Townsend: “Tennis means the world to me. It’s helped me through a lot of situations, tough times, good times, bad times”

Suarez-Navarro: “I’m going to play against Tomljanovic, but there are still others like Garbine, like Stosur”

Stosur: “I think it’s the first time I won three matches in a row for a while”

Gulbis: “I wouldn’t like my sisters to become professional tennis players. It’s tough choice of life”

Radwanska: “She definitely played good tennis today. I had my chances. I didn’t do them”

Tomljanovic: “Not much did go wrong today. Fourth round next. Obviously very happy”

29th of May 2014

Monfils: “I will have to let him (Fognini) know that I’m playing home and if he wants to get me he’ll have to be strong”

Fognini: “Play against Gael, it’s always difficult. We play always great match, great fight”

Ivanovic: “I do feel like I’m a different player now with everything that I’ve been through”

Kvitova: “It wasn’t that cold and wasn’t that wind. I think it was pretty good”

Kohlschreiber: “At the moment it’s very consistent. I’m very happy with my performance, of course. I have a lot of confidence at the moment”

Murray: “It was a good serving performance today, especially when I was down in games”

Nadal: “I think was a dangerous match, dangerous opponent today. I played well”

Thiem: “I started okay. In general, I didn’t play bad. I played okay match”

Young: “I maybe didn’t work as hard as I could have and gotten better and trained harder”

Jankovic: “She gets so many balls back. She doesn’t give you many free points, so you have to work your way through”

Ferrer: “I didn’t really feel that great myself, but I think that the match was not brilliant”

Giorgi: “It’s not she play better. I did more mistakes”

28th of May 2014

Townsend: “These are the kinds of things that I have been working for every day”

Sharapova: “When you go on court you’re aware of a lot of the upsets, not just in the women”

Federer: “I wish I could have played a bit more freely today overall. But then again, I think it was a solid match”

Djokovic: “These are the best clay courts in the world, no question about that”

Raonic: “In the important moments I played the right way”

Muguruza: “She said that if I continue playing like this, I can win the tournament”

S. Williams: “You can’t be on every day and I hate to be off during a Grand Slam. It happens”

V. Williams: “I was a little impatient and less, you know, not playing the point as much and maybe just rushing a little too much”

Paire: “There is a region in the knee that’s inflamed and I have to be careful”

Chardy: “You have to admit that the opponent was stronger. And right now he is the best player of the tour”

27th of May 2014

Murray: “The match against Rafa in Rome was a good match for me. It came at an important period for me, as well”

Llodra: “For sure I’m not Nadal, I’m not Federer, but I think, you know, I play well”

Ivanovic: “(Shoulder) is a bit stiff. But I’m spending some time in the physio room”

Wozniacki: “What happens in my personal life, I just want to really keep that between my closest people around me”

Tomic: “Paris is a beautiful city, but I really don’t like this tournament. I’ve never played well”

Dimitrov: “Today was just one of those days that whatever I was trying, nothing was going in the court”

Li Na: “I think doesn’t matter who plays today against me, I always lose the match”

Mladenovic: “When it’s really close result against a really good player, it can be really good for us to have the crowd with us.”

Hewitt: “Wimbledon coming up that’s obviously the next main focus”

Ferrer: “Last year in Roland Garros it was my best result in a Grand Slam, so it’s good to come back”

Halep: “It was amazing to play on Chatrier first round. It was my first time on this court. It’s so big”

26th of May 2014

Wawrinka: “I’m both very confident and not confident enough”

Garcia-Lopez: “I followed my tactics. His backhand is wonderful, so I tried to adapt”

Nadal: “Important thing is go on court, try your best every day, and try to improve a little bit in every practice day and every match day”

Djokovic: “It’s devastating times for three countries that have been suffering these terrible floods”

Sharapova: “It’s not really about when you face somebody. It’s about who comes through.”

Cibulkova: “I won a few games and I started to get more confidence”

Paire: “I had to stop for three months, and every day with my parents I would play Pétanque”

Lisicki: “It’s never easy to play someone you have no clue how she plays”

Nishikori: “I was playing well on clay in Europe, so it’s very sad for me to lose first round here”

Mahut: “I felt like they stopped the match whenever they pleased”

25th of May 2014

Berdych: “I just pass the first match, and now let’s see what’s the weather going to be like.”

Tsonga: “French crowd is special, if you win you can do what you want. If you lose, then anything you do, you’re going to pay for it”

Raonic: “I was just struggling throughout the whole match on the second serve to get the range and distance”

Kyrgios: “I was creating chances against a top 10 player. I think that’s always confidence”

Radwanska: “It’s raining every day, so it makes the courts much slower”

23rd of May 2014

Nadal: “Rome, Monte-Carlo, Madrid, Barcelona is past now”

S.Williams: “I wasn’t even sure if I was going to play Rome. Then to come out the win gave me a lot of confidence.”

Federer: “I feel like I’m in good shape”

Sharapova: “I want to win more Grand Slams and I want to get back to No. 1”

Djokovic: “The tournament win in Rome came at the right moment for me”

Li Na: “I would prefer the sunshine, but as far as no rain, for me it’s okay”

Wawrinka: “The back is good. I had two days off with treatment”

Murray: “It was good progress in Rome, and the goal here is to keep that going”

Tsonga: “I feel good. I feel good physically. I have no problems.”

ATP

EXCLUSIVE: Ex-No.1 Ana Ivanovic Backs Jannik Sinner To Wins More Slams

The former tennis star shares her thoughts about Italy’s new sporting sensation with Ubitennis.

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Image via https://twitter.com/anaivanovic/

Jannik Sinner’s triumph at the Australian Open was ‘incredible’ in the eyes of fellow Grand Slam winner Ana Ivanovic. 

At Melbourne Park Sinner became the first Italian player to win the tournament after staging an epic fightback against Daniil Medvedev in the final where he clawed his way back from two sets down to win. Something that has only been achieved in a title match at the Australian Open once before by Rafael Nadal. Earlier in the tournament, he also scored wins over fifth seed Andrey Rublev before ending Novak Djokovic’s 33-match winning streak in the semi-finals. 

The triumph of the 22-year-old has been hailed by Ivanovic who was two years younger than Sinner when she won the 2008 French Open. Ivanovic was one of the stars of women’s tennis during her playing days, winning 15 Tour-level titles and spending 12 weeks as world No.1. She was also runner-up at the 2007 French Open and 2008 Australian Open. 

It was incredible,” Ivanovic tells Ubitennis of Sinner’s latest achievement. “The way he played the whole tournament. He really showed mental strength and endurance. The way he strikes the ball with such a sweet spot was great to watch.”

One of those guiding Sinner on the Tour is experienced coach Darren Cahill who has also coached Ivanovic as part of the Adidas Player Development Program. Cahill has worked with some of the biggest names of the sport with his past clients also including Andy Murray, Lleyton Hewitt and Simona Halep. 

While the Australian is known by many in the sport, what is it like to work alongside him?

I always enjoyed working with Darren because he is so knowledgeable about tennis,” Ivanovic explained. 
“He was always giving me the best advice in the moments when you are the most under pressure. He always found words to calm me down and to point me in the right direction. 
“I was very happy when I saw him in Jannik’s box.”

Besides Cahill, Sinner’s team also includes co-coach Simone Vagnozzi, physio Giacomo Naldi and fitness trainer Umberto Ferrara.

Fame and the future 

Sinner was already a popular figure in his native Italy with thousands cheering on his run to the final of the ATP Finals in Turin last November. Shortly afterwards, he led his country to the Davis Cup title which was celebrated by a visit to the Quirinale Palace (residence of the Italian president) where he and his team mates were greeted by President Sergio Mattarella. 

However, his popularity has surged following his Australian Open win with his Instagram following reportedly increasing by around 800,000 to a total of 2.4M. To put that into context, the only active ATP players to have a larger following than him are Rafael Nadal, Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz and Nick Kyrgios. 

He has held a one-to-one meeting with the Prime Minister of Italy, received congratulations from the Pope and visited the historic Rome Colosseum alongside two government ministers (Gennaro Sangiuliano and Daniela Santanché). 

It is fair to say that the tennis star’s profile is exploding which itself could pose a new challenge. Fortunately, Ivanovic has some advice for Sinner to follow in the coming months.  

“Now it is a different time with much more assent on social media vs in 2008 (when Ivanovic won the French Open),” she said. 
“I think the most important is to follow his path and his training, but I am sure he is doing that. He has a good team and support system behind him, so he can focus on his goals and rhythm.”

Should he stay on his path, the question remains how good could he become in the future? He is only the fifth Italian player to win a major singles title and the first man to do so since 1976. He also has 10 other ATP titles to his name and reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon last year. 

“He has a really good overall game style. He is mentally and physically super strong,” Ivanovic commented.
“If he just keeps doing what he is doing there are many more Grand Slam titles for him. I really enjoy watching him. He seems like a very nice person, which is very beautiful to see.”

Ivanovic, who married former football player Bastian Schweinsteiger and has three children, attended the Linz Open in Austria last week as a guest of honor. She recently announced a partnership with haircare company Schwarzkopf and has served as a National Ambassador for UNICEF Serbia since 2007. 

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Interviews

EXCLUSIVE: The ATP, Tennis Data And It’s Growing Demand

Ubitennis speaks to the Head of Product at TDI. An independent joint venture between ATP and ATP Media that was formed in 2020 to manage and commercialise data across a variety of global markets

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By Federico Bertelli

Another Grand Slam is over. As customary, the days following the event is a good time to catch our breath. 

Ubitennis brings to our readers an interview with Anthony Taylor, Head of Product at Tennis Data Innovation (TDI). TDI is a branch of the ATP Tour. In our exclusive Q&A we discuss what Tennis Data Innovation is and why it is becoming a key component for every player. 

UBITENNIS: First of all, thank you for your time, Anthony. Let’s start with a brief overview about TDI and your role there. 

AT: It’s a pleasure to discuss TDI’s role in the tennis world with Ubitennis. I am the head of product at TDI, a role that encompasses promotion and development of initiatives by TDI. TDI, a joint venture between the ATP Tour and ATP Media created in 2020, is responsible for collecting, managing & commercialising data & streaming across all ATP events from Challengers to Masters 1000s.  As for data, we collect it from various sources, including chair umpire data and optical tracking (like Hawk-Eye data). We aggregate all available ATP-level data points and derive informative products for the market from them, operating in the realms of betting, media, and player performance.

UBITENNIS: You’ve given us a great overview of your operations. Speaking of data analysis, just to be clear: Can we say TDI is now the sole official entry point for ATP level data point registration? 

AT: Yes, TDI is the single source of truth for ATP event data. We collect data point by point from the chair umpire, what we call “level 1” data. But we don’t stop there. We collect deeper data to create advanced, easily understandable metrics that can enhance fan engagement and be used for player analysis. This approach is already established in other sports, like the NBA or Premier League football. We use various data sources beyond chair umpire data, including optical detections like Hawkeye and other providers. These provide spatial tracking of ball movement, player positioning, and shot physics (speed, spin, net height, etc.). With this comprehensive data, we fuel a range of metrics like winners, unforced errors, shot distribution (forehand/backhand, rally length, net points won), and even game pattern analysis (offensive and defensive shots, counterattack exchanges). 

We also focus on synthesizing these metrics into significant, easily interpreted numbers that reflect shot quality. We’re showcasing infographics on our X and Instagram accounts that do just this: offering comparative indices and ratings for shots on a scale of 0 to 10. The aim? To quantify how well a player is performing in a match compared to themselves, their opponent, and the tour average. 

Another interesting metric is on-court attitude: is a player predominantly offensive or defensive? Here too, we offer a condensed representation based on speed, spin, and shot depth. And we assess how well a player exploits offensive situations or manages defense. These insights are distributed through ATP media, enabling ATP TV commentators to provide advanced insights during broadcasts. We also make these metrics available to players via ATP TennisIQ, our player performance portal. 

UBITENNIS: You mentioned an analytics platform available to players, Tennis IQ. I’m curious to know more about what it offers to players and how they’re using it. 

AT: We have staff at tournaments providing support and guidance on using the platform, and the feedback has been positive. For instance, data expert Mike James, who works with Holger Rune, has utilized it. The idea is to democratize data analysis access, which often involves high costs. Now, players can download raw Hawkeye data for their data analysis teams or directly use the metrics and insights we provide on Tennis IQ. This opens access to certain types of information for everyone. There are service providers who continue to offer more refined analyses, but in any case, we’ve freed access to ATP data for player performance purposes. Our next step is to link game footage tags to shots, allowing coaches to recall video of each shot type.

UBITENNIS: Speaking of data’s role in engaging the public, what do you think is in store for the media? Do you have a strategy to standardize the use of new metrics, like expected goals in football? 

AT: Certainly, this is something we’re very aware of. Looking at American professional sports (like the NBA, NFL, MLB) and European football, statistics flow through media and betting spaces and are easily consumed by the public. It’s part of the storytelling. You can’t flood people with statistics, but a few targeted metrics can lay the foundation for a narrative that highlights new aspects or objectively explains trends. After all, our name signifies our ambition; we’re TENNIS Data Innovation, not just ATP Innovation. 

We want to help elevate the use of data & analytics across the sport. ATP Media commentators can also request on-demand statistics on dimensions they deem relevant; for example, analyzing Djokovic’s return performance across sets. We think it’s important to make these tools available to other broadcasters to elevate the entire experience. From an editorial perspective, it’s useful to provide these insights for constructing stories across the media ecosystem. Here too, we’re thinking not just about making tools available, but also about their ease of use and flexibility, possibly allowing for ad-hoc information requests through parametric query interfaces. The idea is to enable journalists to validate their story about a particular match and add depth to the narrative by highlighting and quantifying game patterns that are difficult to discern and quantify by eye. For example, we’ve presented analyses on social media about Sinner’s serve improvement in the second half of 2023 through succinct infographics.

Immagine

Source: X account ATP_insights

The goal is to move beyond elementary statistics like break points and first serves. We want to show the real reasons why a player performs a certain way or why a match has gone in a particular direction.

UBITENNIS: The objectives are clear, but what would you say is the strategy for implementing this ambitious plan? 

AT: At TDI, as you mentioned, we have social media accounts where we develop our analyses, which serve as laboratories to experiment with new ideas and gauge reactions to new metrics we propose. This testing ground helps us introduce these new ideas to ATP media, incorporating these nuances and perspectives into the content of ATP and ATP TV accounts. These aren’t for everyone; the idea is that we reach the public through commentaries, regardless of the platform (pay TV, free-to-air TV, OTT, etc.). The goal is to work closely with ATP media, where we have a significant fan base. It’s an organic strategy that touches on all points of contact, aiming to incorporate our insights into the narrative.

UBITENNIS: Moving to the betting space, what developments do you foresee and what metrics might bettors be looking at in the coming years? What could be the killer analytic in tennis? 

AT: We work closely with our partner in this space, Sportradar, to surface additional statistics for betting clients. We’re developing new products to provide more in-depth insights. In my opinion, performance rating, which synthesizes overall player performance into a single number, could stand out. For instance, in the Turin final between Sinner and Djokovic, Djokovic played an outstanding match: according to our performance rating, which ranges from 0 to 10, he recorded the highest value ever in an ATP match since we began our measurements. 

This validates the quality of the match and demonstrates that Djokovic’s victory was more due to his own merits than his opponent’s underperformance. Another example: Rune versus Djokovic in Turin. Rune played a high-level first set, and Djokovic was slightly below his level. However, when Djokovic raised the bar, Rune’s level began to drop, indicating his level was dropping. Finally, “momentum” could be another valuable metric for betting, as it provides immediate trend indicators for live betting.

UBITENNIS: Lastly, I’ve noticed that for some tournaments, ATP live scores provide richer statistics than others, particularly for ATP 250 and 500 clay tournaments where Hawkeye might not always be implemented. Can you confirm this? 

AT: We work closely with ATP tournaments. Historically, ATP data was presented by Infosys, and where Hawkeye was present, the statistics are complete. Any event where Hawkeye wasn’t present, Infosys were unable to present full statistics. However, I can say that we are now collecting richer data across all ATP tournaments.  In 2024, we aim to achieve uniformity in data collection and analysis for all ATP events.

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EXCLUSIVE: Ukrainian Tennis Chief On Historic Australian Open Run, Russian Flag Incident And Exhibition Controversy

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Marta Kostyuk - Roland Garros 2023 (foto Roberto dell'Olivo)

The performances by a group of Ukrainian players at this year’s Australian Open have been hailed as a ‘fantastic example’ for future generations but a senior tennis official from the country. 

The executive director of the Ukrainian Tennis Federation (UTF), Evgeniy Zukin, has praised the historic breakthrough at Melbourne Park where three female players from his country have reached the fourth round of the same major for the first time in history. Marta Kostyuk, Elina Svitolina and Dayana Yastremska have all made it through to the last 16 of the tournament. Lesia Tsurenko also made it through to the third round before losing 6-0, 6-0, to Aryna Sabalenka. 

“We are incredibly happy and proud as this is an example of the fighting spirit and a fantastic example for future generations of Ukrainian players,” Zukin told Ubitennis.

The triumphs come during what is a difficult period in Ukraine’s history due to their ongoing war with Russia which has resulted in the deaths of at least 10,191 civilians, according to figures provided by the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU). As the Russian invasion approaches its second anniversary next month, Kostyuk and her peers continue to use their platform to ensure that the world is not forgetting what is happening in their homeland. 

“If there was never a war in my life, I don’t think I would be able to grow this much as I grew in the last two years.” the world No.35 said after beating Maria Timofeeva on Sunday.

“I think it’s about the perspective, how you take it, because there are different things that are happening. But I think if you take them as a burden or, like, ‘Oh, why is it happening to me and it’s not happening to other people,’ or if you victimise yourself, which I think is normal. I think every person goes through this kind of feeling from time to time… I think the more you can minimise this feeling of being a victim, I think the easier it is to get through life.”

It isn’t just Kostyuk who has spoken out. Svitolina serves as an ambassador for the United24 campaign that aims to continue to bring awareness—and donations—to Ukraine’s ongoing war. Meanwhile, Yastremska spoke about the conflict during her on-court interview after beating Marketa Vondrousova. She revealed that earlier this year a rocket hit her grandmother’s house but she wasn’t hurt in the incident. They all also continue the practice of not shaking hands with Russian or Belarussian players following their match as a sign of respect to their army. 

Like his players, Zukin hopes the conversation around tennis and the war will continue to happen in the coming weeks. 

“Our girls try hard not only to win their matches but to send the World a message regarding the continuous war in Ukraine,” he said. “The UTF appreciates these efforts by the professional players a lot.”

The US Open flag argument

After her latest win, Kostyuk hit out at the US Open after its social media account published a post featuring her and the Russian flag of her opponent. Under current rules set out by the governing bodies, Russian and Belarussian payers are allowed to compete on the Tour but only under a neutral status. The tennis star accused the US Open of promoting ‘a murderous country and a country that uses its athletes as part of its propaganda.’ In a lengthy statement, she urged her sport to stop ‘promoting Russian peace.’ 

The United States Tennis Association, which runs the US Open, has not publically commented on the incident but the post has since been removed. Furthermore, in other posts featuring Russian and Belarusian players, they have not used their flags. Suggesting that human error could have been a reason behind the presence of the Russian flag. 

“I believe it is a human factor or the social media manager wanted to show that Ukraine beat Russia in particular,” Zukin commented.

“All Grand Slams, pro tours and the ITF continue no flag policy and no official teams policy.” He added.

Criticism should be towards those who play in Russia

Embed from Getty Images

Zukin is less understanding when it comes to a controversial event that was held last month during the off-season. In St Petersburg, the Northern Palmyra Trophies exhibition was held which features two teams facing each other. The event was sponsored by Gazprom which is an energy giant that is majority-owned by the Russian government. 

Among the participants was a group of non-Russian players which included Adrian Mannarino who has since defended his decision to play in the event. Other players included Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut and Serbia’s Laslo Djere. Whilst Tour events are suspended in Russia, players are allowed to play exhibition events there if they wish to as they are independent contractors. 

“I’m a professional tennis player. I’m not into politics or anything. I just went there. I did my job. That’s what I did.” Mannarino recently stated. 

“I’m not supporting anything. That was a private event. That was not anything about political support. There’s nothing to talk about.”

However, Zukin believes players such as Mannarino have ‘something wrong with their ethics and morals‘ for choosing to play there. 

“When pro players are coming to play an exhibition event in a country which started an absolutely unnecessary war that lightened up into the biggest war in Europe since WWII, there is something wrong with their ethics and morals,” he said.

“This country (Russia) is responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of people* and wiped out cities from the face of the Earth. And these guys are running after the big buck. They are putting a big stain on their reputation and show disrespect to all that has been affected by this terrible war.”

*NOTE: The exact death toll for the ongoing war is unclear. Besides the UN records of civilian casualties, reports claim that over 40,000 Russian soldiers and almost 9000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed. Although these numbers have not been officially verified.  

Ukraine’s journey at the Australian Open continues on Monday with Svitolina taking on Linda Noskova and Yastremska playing two-time champion Victoria Azarenka. 

Meanwhile, Kostyuk has already booked her place in the quarter-finals and will play fourth seed Coco Gauff.

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