2014 Roland Garros: Nadal with Wawrinka, Federer on Djokovic's side - UBITENNIS
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2014 Roland Garros: Nadal with Wawrinka, Federer on Djokovic's side

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TENNIS – The Main Draw of the 2014 Roland Garros was held today in Paris. Defending champions Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams took part in the Draw Ceremony of the Tournament which starts on Sunday 25th May. Possible quarter finals: Nadal- Ferrer, Wawrinka-Murray, Berdych-Federer and Raonic-Federer. The two possible semifinals could be Nadal vs Wawrinka and Federer vs Djokovic. Diego Sampaolo

Men’s Singles Draw

Women’s Singles Draw

Nadal will face a very tough path to title defence as he has been drawn in the same half with this year’s Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka, last year’s finalist David Ferrer, Olympic champion Andy Murray and Rome semifinalist Grigor Dimitrov.

Nadal will start against Ginepri in the first round. In the second round Nadal may face Austrian rising star Dominic Thiem who beat Wawrinka in Madrid before facing Vasek Pospisil in the third round, Tommy Haas or Nicholas Almagro (who beat Nadal in the quarter final in Barcelona) in the fourth round and a possible quarter final clash against David Ferrer, who lost the Roland Garros final last year but took a re-match this year beating Nadal in the Monte-Carlo quarter final. Nadal could face Wawrinka in the semifinal. Ferrer could meet last week Rome semifinalist Grigor Dimitrov in the fourth round.

After winning in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 the Mallorcan King of Clay is looking to improve his all-time record to nine Roland Garros singles titles. He currently heads the Roland Garros winners list with two more titles than Swedish legend Bjorn Borg, who won six times in 1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1981. Nadal is also bidding to equal the second place on the all-time list of Grand Slam singles titles winners if he win his 14th Major crown. Roger Federer leads the all-time list with 17 Grand Slam titles ahead of Pete Sampras (14 titles), Nadal (13) and Roy Emerson (12). Nadal boasts an impressive record of 59 wins to just one defeat in Paris. If he wins in Paris, he would become the second youngest male player to win 14 Grand Slam titles after Roger Federer.

This year he has not shown the same dominance of the past years when he was used to conquer all the major clay tournaments before Paris. He won more clay titles than any other players taking Rio de Janeiro and Madrid but he lost in the quarter finals in Monte-Carlo and Barcelona and was beaten by Novak Djokovic in the Rome Master 1000 final.

Wawrinka, who won his first Master 1000 tournament on clay in Monte-Carlo beating his compatriot Federer in the all-Swiss final, will open with Spaniard Guillermo Garcia Lopez in the first round, another Spaniard Feliciano Lopez in the third round and could face either Fabio Fognini or Gael Monfils in the fourth round and Andy Murray in the quarter final. This could be a re-match of last year’s US Open quarter final match won by the Swiss player.

Wawrinka is bidding to become the first player since Jim Courier in 1992 to score the Australian Open-Roland Garros double.

Murray, who will start against Andrey Golubev in the first round, could meet Richard Gasquet in the fourth round, but the form of the French player is a question mark after a season plagued by injury problems. .

Federer, who boasts a 58-14 record at the Roland Garros, will play his first match against Lukas Lacko and could meet either Ernests Gulbis (finalist this week in Nice) or Mikhail Youzhny in the fourth round and Tomas Berdych in the quarter finals. Federer won one title in Dubai and reached two Master 1000 finals in Indian Wells and Monte-Carlo before losing in the second round against Jeremy Chardy one week after the birth of twin sons Leo and Lenny.

Berdych’s possible rivals on his path to the quarter final could be Roberto Bautista Agut in the second round, Tommy Robredo in the third round and John Isner in the fourth round

World Number 2 Novak Djokovic will start his Roland Garros campaign against Portugal’s Joao Sousa in the first round before facing a possible third round threat against Marin Cilic and last year’s semifinalist Jo Wilfred Tsonga in the fourth round

Djokovic could renew his battle against Milos Raonic in the quarter finals. The Serb squared off against the Canadian in a hard-fought semifinal in Rome last week, probably one of the best matches played in the Italian capital. Raonic is the youngest top-10 player and could be a danger for Djokovic especially because he has shown progress on clay, which was considered his less favourite surface.

Raonic, who is coached by Ivan Ljubicic and Riccardo Piatti, will open against Australian teenage sensation Nick Kyrgios in one of the most interesting matches of the first round before a second round match against Lukas Rosol or Jiri Vesely, who has reached the semifinal this week i Dusseldorf. The young Canadian could meet Giles Simon in the this round and Kei Nishikori in an exciting fourth round match between two of the representatives of the new generation of players who could threat the dominance of the Big Four in the next few years. Nishikori won his first clay title in Barcelona and came close to winning his first Master 1000 title in Madrid before being struck by a back injury during the final against Nadal.

Djokovic could overtake Nadal at the top of the ATP Ranking if he wins in Paris or Nadal and Djokovic lose in the same round, the Serb could become the new World Number 1.

Djokovic is bidding to become the eighth player in history to win all the four Grand Slam tournaments after André Agassi, Don Bridge, Roy Emerson, Roger Federer, Rod Laver, Rafa Nadal and Fred Perry.

Djokovic is looking to win his fourth title of the year after three Master 1000 wins at Indian Wells, Miami and Rome. Last week the Serb won a three-set battle with Nadal in the final of the Internazionali d’Italia in Rome clinching his third crown in the Eternal City. The Roland Garros is the only Grand Slam title missing in his impressive Trophy Cabinet. He lost two epic semifinals against Roger Federer in 2011 and Rafa Nadal in 2013.

The most interesting matches of the first round are Madrid finalist and Barcelona and Memphis champion Kei Nishikori vs Munich champion Martin Klizan, Andreas Seppi vs Santiago Giraldo, Richard Gasquet vs Bernard Tomic, Grigor Dimitrov vs Ivo Karlovic and the all-French clash between Jo Wilfried Tsonga and Edouard Roger Vasselin.

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REPORT: ATP To Hold Zoom Meeting With Players Concerning Future Of 2020 Season

Details of a confidential meeting concerning the governing body of men’s tennis have been published by a leading Spanish newspaper.

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In just over a week’s time the likes of Roger Federer and Co will know for certain what the future of the 2020 season will look like.

 

Spain’s top sporting newspaper Marca have confirmed that player’s have been sent emails from the ATP Tour inviting them to attend a zoom meeting. It is set to be held on Wednesday June 10th at 16:00 CET where they will be discussing the future plans of the men’s Tour. It is unclear how the WTA is addressing the situation or if they will take a similar approach.

All professional tennis tournaments have been either suspended or cancelled since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At present the Tour is suspended up until July 31st, but it is unclear as to what will occur beyond that date. Both the US Open and French Open are hoping to hold their tournaments later this season.

There has been no official word for the ATP to confirm the upcoming meeting, however it has emerged that it was meant to be kept confidential. Something that is no longer possible due to the Marca article.

The most significant aspect regarding the upcoming call will be surrounding the North American Tour and what events will or will not take place. For example the Rogers Cup in Canada has already cancelled their women’s event, but they are still hoping to stage the Men’s equivalent. There are also questions over the future of tournaments in Cincinnati, which is a Masters 1000 event, and the Citi Open in Washington.

“The chance of having 7,500 people a night at the beginning of August is extraordinarily low,” Citi Open tournament director Mark Ein told Tennisnow.com last month. “We haven’t ruled anything out at this point, but the chance of being able to pack a stadium, if you’re being realistic, is extremely low.
“Really we’re focused on scenarios where our hope would be that we can play it with some number of fans. We’re really thinking of hundreds to a thousand [fans].”

The New York Times has reported that the United States Tennis Association is considering moving the Washington event to the same venue of the US Open. Minimising the amount of travel that player’s would be required to do. It is understood that both the ATP and WTA are considering that proposal.

Another factor that will likely be discussed will be how different the Tour may look. There have been talks about potentially staging events behind closed doors, including the US Open, due to the ongoing pandemic. Furthermore, a more pressing matter will be travel requirements and if player’s will be exempt from going through quarantine when entering a new country.

In regards to coaches, it has been reported that they have been invited to attend a separate zoom meeting on June 18th. Torben Beltz, who is the coach of women’s player Donna Vekic, recently disclosed some of the approaches being considered by the WTA. Speaking to the Advantage Podcast, Beltz said the ideas include limiting players to only having one person travelling with them. It is still unconfirmed if this would occur or if the ATP would consider a similar approach.

ATP Tour chief Andrea Gaudenzi had previously said on May 11th that yesterday (June 1st) would be the deadline for making a decision regarding playing tournaments in August. However, they are yet to issue any statement concerning their plans.

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Rafael Nadal Commits To The French Open On One Condition

The king of clay looks ahead to Roland Garros with both optimism and caution.

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World No.2 Rafael Nadal has cautiously confirmed that he will head to the French open later this year to defend his title once again.

 

Nadal, who has won the clay-court major a record 12 times, will have to wait until September to play at Roland Garros due to the ongoing suspension of the Tour due to COVID-19. Officials originally planned to host the event between the end of May and June. Instead, it is currently scheduled to get underway on September 27th with final plans concerning the tournament yet to be finalized.

Speaking to French radio over the weekend Nadal has insisted that he will only play at the event as long as it is safe to do so and the conditions are the same for all players. It is still unclear as to how many fans will be able to attend the event with French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli saying he wanted ‘as many as possible.’ However, the final decision will be up to the government.

“I do not see the future from a professional point of view, but from a medical and health point of view,” the Spaniard said.
“As for Roland Garros, if it is possible to play in optimal conditions and in total safety, if everyone can play, if we are all together, yes, I will be there. But today we have to take precautions and be responsible with the right decisions to guarantee the safety and health of everyone in tennis.”

Nadal faces a potentially critical period later this year should the US Open get underway in September ahead of the French open as planned. As the defending champion at both of those events, he will be tasked with defending a total of 4000 points within five weeks. A far from ideal scenario for anybody.

Although it could be expected that if push comes to shove, Nadal would most likely favor the French Open over the other given his emphatic record. In Roland Garros, he has only ever been defeated twice. Losing to Sweden’s Robin Soderling in 2009 and Novak Djokovic in 2015. Overall he has a win-loss record of 93-2 at the event.

It is currently unclear as to when the Tour will get going again with all professional tournaments either suspended or canceled until at least July 31st. When play resumes, one possibility is that the action could take place behind closed doors to follow suit to other sports. Although Nadal admits that the situation will be less than ideal for him.

“It is possible. Football is being played behind closed doors. But if you ask me if I like it, the answer is no. Nothing can replace the presence of the public and the energy it generates.” He stated.

On the upside, Nadal is slowly returning to practice thanks to relaxation in lockdown rules in his native Spain. He aims to be fully ready for the resumption of the tour whenever that will occur.

“I feel good. Like the rest, I have not been able to leave the house in two months. Luckily, I had weight training machines at home to train and keep myself physically fit,” Nadal commented on his current fitness routine.
“Little by little I have resumed training several days a week, but not all seven. It has been a gradual and very slow recovery that we have done with care and caution. The objective is to be ready for the day when we return to play tennis, but we still don’t know that. “

Nadal started 2020 with a win-loss record of 13-3 before the Tour suspension.

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French Tennis Star Jo-Wilfried Tsonga Shares His Experiences With Racism

The grand slam finalist opens up about what it for like being the only ‘half-breed’ in his school as well as other problems he has experianced.

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Former top 10 player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has become the latest sporting figure to speak out about his personal struggles with racism in the wake of mass protests gripping America.

 

Dozens of cities in the north American country have been placed under overnight curfews following violent demonstrations that have resulted in various injuries and looting. The outcry started when an unarmed black man called George Floyd died whilst being arrested. Video footage showed that a police officer was leaning on his neck which resulted in him dying from asphyxia, according to a private post-mortem paid by his family.

The incident has sent shockwaves throughout the world with various top names speaking out against the use of disappropriate force against minority groups. Speaking about the situation, Tsonga said that racism is a problem everywhere before sharing some of his own personal experiences.

“This type of behaviour that we see frequently in the United States, but that’s on another scale, is repeated continuously throughout the world, is unbearable for me,” he told radio station France Info.
“Such an event removes the consciences of everything and shows how necessary a change is.’
“The non-acceptance of the difference and racism, as well as other issues, such as sexuality, religion or sexual orientation, continue to be used as an excuse to commit atrocities.”

Growing up the 35-year-old said he was singled out as a youngster for being a half cast. His mother is white and father is black. The problems he encountered took place both during and outside of school. Tsonga was born in the French town of Le Mans, which is famous for its annual 24-hour Motor sport race.

“Since I was a child I have had to regularly experience racial discrimination and inappropriate comments,” he said.
“I was the only half-breed in my elementary school, so you can imagine what was happening.’
“All of them were nicknames, insults, I had to bear that when I was a teenager I was continually stopped on the street asking for my papers, people who met me covered their bag as if they was afraid I was going to steal from them and they wouldn’t even let me pass in some places when I went with my friends.”

Whilst nowadays France has grown to be a much more tolerant country like many others, incidents such as the one involving Floyd proves that there is still much more needed to be done. As for Tsonga, he hopes his son Sugar, who was born in 2017, will not go through the same as him.

“There are still a lot of people who make offensive comments without realizing it because discrimination is so ingrained that for many it is not even so. But there are words that can hurt a lot. I have had a hard time finding my place and my identity; I just hope that my son doesn’t feel like a stranger wherever you go,” he concluded.

Tsonga is the last Frenchman to contest a grand slam final at the 2008 Australian Open. So far in his career he has won 18 ATP titles and peaked at a ranking high of fifth back in 2012.

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