Bits & Pieces from the World of Tennis: 19th of May 2014 - UBITENNIS
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Bits & Pieces from the World of Tennis: 19th of May 2014

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WORLD OF TENNIS – Victoria Azarenka will miss the French Open due to her ongoing left foot injury. Dimitrov and Murray celebrated their birthdays last week. Watson into the Roland Garros main draw and who is playing where this week. Joshua Bosco

 

Azarenka will miss Paris

Former World No.1 Victoria Azarenka will miss the French Open due to her ongoing left foot injury.

The two time Grand Slam champion took to Twitter for the announcement, saying Unfortunately I will not be able to compete in Roland Garros this year. Working hard on my recovery & getting back on the court”.

Buon Compleanno!

Two top ATP players celebrated their birthdays in Rome last week: World No.8 Andy Murray turned 27 on Thursday while on Friday Grigor Dimitrov celebrated his 23rd birthday by beating Tommy Haas to reach his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-final.

World No.2 Novak Djokovic, fresh winner of the BNL Internazionali d’Italia, will turn 27 on 22nd May, just three days prior to the beginning of the 2014 French Open where the Serb will try to win his first Roland Garros title, the only Grand Slam trophy still missing from his collection.

Watson makes it to Wimbledon

British No.3 Heather Watson was handed the last spot in the women’s Wimbledon main draw when the entry lists were published last Friday.

The young Brit, currently ranked at No.112 in the world, wasn’t sure of her automatic entry until the last minute as only 108 spots are awarded directly by ranking position in the main draw. She will be joined by fellow Brit Johanna Konta, while British No.1 Laura Robson will miss the tournament as she continues her recovery from a wrist injury.

Andy Murray was the only British player to automatically qualify for the main draw but James Ward and Dan Evans are both expected to receive wildcards when they’re announced in the second week of June.

Who’s playing where

Many Top 50 players have travelled to France and Germany in the week prior to Roland Garros to get themselves ready for the most important clay court tournament of the season.

In Nice World No.11 and top seed John Isner will be joined by Ernests Gulbis, Frenchmen Gael Monfils, Gilles Simon, Nicholas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin and last year’s winner Albert Montanes. Youngsters Borna Coric and Dominic Thiem have received wildcards while Benoit Paire and Milos Raonic are among the players who have withdrawn before the start.

Top seed Philipp Kohlschreiber leads the field in Dusseldorf, where he will play alongside defending champion Juan Monaco, Marcel Granollers, Andreas Seppi and Jarkko Nieminen. German players Dustin Brown and Tobias Kamke were given wildcards for the tournament while Alejandro Falla withdrew last week.

WTA players will also move towards Paris, playing tournaments in Strasbourg and Nuremberg.

In Strasbourg defending champion Alize Cornet will face tough competition from top seed Sloane Stephens, Andrea Petkovic and Elena Vesnina. Two Frenchwomen, Claire Feuerstein and Pauline Parmentier, have entered the main draw with wildcards while Tsvetana Pironkova and Francesca Schiavone are two of the players who pulled out before the start.

Simona Halep won’t be defending her title in Nuremberg so Angelique Kerber will be top seed in front of her home crowd. The German will certainly be hoping for a better result than in her last three tournaments (Stuttgart, Madrid & Rome) all of which she lost in her first round. Eugenie Bouchard, Klara Koukalova, Elina Svitolina and Caroline Garcia are among the players she will be up against on her way to the trophy.

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Alexander Zverev Secures Place In ATP Finals With Indian Wells Win

Zverev will be seeking to win the season-ending extravaganza for the second time in his career.

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Alexander Zverev (GER) Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Germany’s Alexander Zverev has become the fourth player to officially qualify for the ATP Finals after reaching the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

 

The world No.4 defeated America’s Jenson Brooksby 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, in his second round match on Sunday which pushed him over the points threshold to secure his spot in the end-of-season event. It is the fifth year in a row he has qualified for the ATP Finals which he won back in 2018. He is one of only three German players to ever win the title after Boris Becker and Michael Stich.

This year’s tournament will take place in Turin, Italy for the first time in history after being held at The O2 Arena in London for more than a decade. Only the eight highest ranked players are eligible to play in the round-robin tournament which has on offer up to 1500 rankings points for an undefeated champion.

“My first time in Turin. I’ve been to London four times before. London is obviously very special to me because I won there, as well. I think the stadium is incredible, one of the most special events that we had,” Zverev told reporters on Sunday.
“But I also love playing in Italy. I had great success in Italy. I won my first Masters in Rome. I’m looking forward to being there. I’m looking forward to playing in front of the Italian fans. It’s going to be a great week.”

The 24-year-old approaches the final quarter of this season with four titles already won this year. He has won two Masters 1000 trophies, an ATP 500 event in Mexico and a gold medal in singles at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Zverev, who has recorded seven wins over top 10 players, also reached the semi-finals at both the French Open and US Open.

Zverev joins Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas as the players who have qualified for the ATP Finals so far. It is the third straight season the quartet has qualified for the event.

This year’s ATP Finals will get underway on November 14th. Medvedev is the defending champion.

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Denis Shapovalov Advances After Pospisil Retires In Indian Wells

The battle of the two Canadians didn’t go as planned…

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Denis Shapovalov (CAN) Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Vasek Pospisil faced off against his fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and it was the world number 13 who got the win after the Vernon native pulled out due to an injury whilst trailing 0-3.

 

It was a rough start for Pospisil who seemed to struggle with his serve in the opening game of the match and double-faulted twice in a row to give the early break and Shapovalov had no issues consolidating the break.

Shapovalov continued to apply pressure on the Pospisil serve and after saving two breakpoints the world number 68 pulled up after a serve and stopped play, calling for the trainer. He ended up taking a medical timeout off the court and a couple of minutes later returned to court. Pospisil was broken once again and the following game after a couple of returns decided to call it quits.

” It was pretty awful…and if I’m being honest I am shaking a bit…It really sucks I hope it’s nothing serious…He’s a great guy he’s a real warrior he’s fought back from some injuries surgeries to such a great level.” Shapovalov said of his compatriot.

Shapovalov will face 19th seed Aslan Karatsev in the next round after the Russian thrashed Salvatore Caruso 6-2, 6-0.

In the other results of the day sixth seeed Casper Ruud dominated Roberto Carballes Baena 6-1, 6-2, Roberto Bautista Agut beat the Argentine Guido Pella 7-5, 6-3 and Sebastien Korda won an all American battle with Frances Tiafoe 6-0, 6-4.

Finally, Diego Schwartzman needed three sets to beat another American in Maxime Cressy winning 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas Sidesteps Question Over Vaccination Status

The Greek also jokes that he will be having less bathroom breaks in Indian Wells due to one particular reason.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas has declined to confirm if he has received a COVID-19 vaccination despite previously saying he planned to do so later this year.

 

The world No.3 was questioned about the vaccination during his pre-tournament press conference at Indian Wells on Wednesday. Earlier this year Tsitsipas came under fire after saying he doesn’t see a reason why somebody his age needs to be vaccinated and expressed concerns over the potential side effects. He also added that young people catching COVID-19 is a good thing as it helps build up their immunity. Prompting criticism from various people, including a spokesperson for the Greek government.

However, in recent weeks Tsitsipas has changed his stance on the issue and recently told Antenna TV that he will have his first dose by the end of this year. When asked by a reporter in Indian Wells if he has had it yet, the French Open finalist declined to answer.

I’m sorry but I’m not able to provide any of my medical records,” he said.

Player vaccination rates in tennis are becoming a growing issue amid reports that the Australian Open may only allow fully vaccinated players to participate due to a health mandate which has been implemented by the local government. There is yet to be a formal announcement by Tennis Australia regarding their entry requirements. However, The Age newspaper reports that there is a ‘strong likelihood’ that only vaccinated players will be allowed entry by Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton.

Tsitsipas’ immediate focus is on this week’s BNP Paribas Open where he is the second seed behind Daniil Medvedev. Speaking about the conditions, the 23-year-old joked it was ‘very dry’ and therefore he will be having less bathroom breaks during matches. Referring to the recent criticism he has received from some of his peers over the timing of breaks he takes.

“It’s very dry here,” Tsitsipas said.
“That is good for me because I sweat less, which makes for less bathroom breaks, which makes for less complaints. So a very good sign so far,” he added with a smile.

The hope for Tsitsipas is that he will be able to build on his recent experience at the Laver Cup where he helped Europe secure their fourth consecutive title. The event provides players with the opportunity to work alongside each other in a team format. Something Tsitsipas relished but he is ready to get back to singles duty.

“I think team competitions are necessary for our sport and we don’t get to be united a lot,” he said. “We always kind of focus on ourselves and our things and environment and that is what you usually see on Tour. Players doing their own thing. Not much socialising.
“At the Laver Cup, we all get to have dinners together and all get to hang out with each other. Of course, though, we all have our competitiveness and if we get stuck around we might share too much with one another, that is the mentality behind it.”

Tsitsipas is yet to win a main draw match in Indian Wells. He will start his 2021 bid against either qualifier Roberto Marcora or Spain’s Pedro Martinez.

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