Bits & Pieces from the World of Tennis: 12th of May 2014 - UBITENNIS
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Bits & Pieces from the World of Tennis: 12th of May 2014

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TENNIS – Mardy Fish to try and qualify for the Golf US Open. The list of qualified players and Wild Cards in Rome. Dinara Safina retires. IPTL moves the opener to Manila and Nadal becomes an honorary citizen of Madrid. Joshua Bosco

Fish to play US Open qualifiers

While other tennis players are busy on clay, former World No.7 Mardy Fish is trying to qualify for the US Open… not the one played in Flushing Meadows though.

The American is taking part in local qualifiers hoping to earn a place in the prestigious golf Major Championship and, after shooting a 73 at the TPC Valencia in LA, he is now the first alternate. The tournament will take place in Pinehurst, North Carolina from June 12th to June 15th.

All we can say is, good luck Mardy!

Qualifiers and wildcards in Rome

Italians Simone Bolelli, Marco Cecchinato, Paolo Lorenzi and Filippo Volandri have all received wildcards for the BNL Internazionali d’Italia which are underway in Rome. Among the seven qualifiers we find 33 year old Stephane Robert, who got himself noticed at this year’s Australian Open when he became the first Lucky Loser to reach the fourth round – where he eventually lost to Murray in four sets – and Italian World No.296 Stefano Travaglia, who will play his first ATP World Tour level match against another Italian, World No.164 Bolelli.

In the women’s draw Italians Nastassja Burnett, Camila Giorgi and Karin Knapp have received wildcards while Mona Barthel , Lauren Davis, Belinda Bencic and Christina McHale are among the qualifiers for the main draw. Paula Ormaechea will play in the first round as a Lucky Loser.

Who’s not playing in Rome

Juan Martin del Potro, Nicolas Almagro, Richard Gasquet, Florian Mayer, Gael Monfils and Benoit Paire have all announced their withdrawal before the start of the tournament. Novak Djokovic, who didn’t play in Madrid, is expected to play here in Rome while World No.4 Roger Federer is still in doubt after his wife Mirka gave birth to twins last Tuesday.

Victoria Azarenka is still off court due to her ongoing foot injury, while Kaia Kanepi and former World No.1 Caroline Wozniacki announced their withdrawal last week. Serena Williams, who withdrew from her Madrid quarterfinal match against Petra Kvitova due to a left thigh injury, is already in Rome and expects to be ready to play her second round match against either Romina Oprandi or Andrea Petkovic.

Dinara Safina officially retires

Former World No.1 Dinara Safina has officially called time on her career, three years after playing her last match on the WTA Tour.

“I played the last professional tournament of my career here in Madrid and that’s why I think it’s the best place for me to quit the game” said Safina, who kept delaying the official announcement in the hope of recovering from the back injury sustained during her second round match against Julia Georges in May 2011.

IPTL opener moves to Manila

Due to a tense political situation in Thailand, where the Prime Minister was ousted for nepotism by the Constitutional Court after months of anti-government protests, IPTL organisers have decided to move the first leg of the tournament from Bangkok to Manila, in the Philippines.

League founder and doubles specialist Mahesh Bhupathi released a statement saying that bringing tennis to new audiences has always been one of the IPTL’s objectives and Manila is a perfect city to do so, thanks to world class indoor venues which hold more than 20,000 spectators.

This means that Andy Murray, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Victoria Azarenka will now represent Manila against Singapore, Dubai and Mumbai. Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams are among other players who will take part in this new competition, set to start in late November.

Nadal is now a Honorary Citizen

Last Monday World No.1 Rafael Nadal was awarded the Honorary Citizenship of the city of Madrid in a ceremony that took place at the Cibeles Palace, the Madrid City Hall.

The honorary title, which is the highest honour that the city can grant to people who were not born there, is intended as an acknowledgment of Nadal’s “extraordinary sports career” and to enforce the close tie that binds the tennis player to the Spanish capital.

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Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two

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Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket

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The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.

HE HAD IT, THEN HE DIDN’T

Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.

MAGIC OF ALCARAZ HEATING UP

Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.

ALCARAZ HEADED FOR GREATNESS

Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open

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Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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