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



TENNIS 2014 ROLAND GARROS – 30th of May 2014. C. Suarez-Navarro d. T. Townsend 6-2, 6-2. An interview with Taylor Townsend

Q. How would you reflect on your week in Paris?

TAYLOR TOWNSEND: I think it was an amazing week. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. Well, a win would have been better.

But I really learned a lot this week. I’m so happy and so fortunate that I had this opportunity, and I earned this opportunity.

I’m just looking to go to the next tournament, learn from my mistakes here. And I’m excited to get on the grass.


Q. Could you talk about just over the past months, over the past year or so, how your game has improved. You seem to have really stepped up.

TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Well, I have just been working a lot on my mental game. I haven’t changed much in my game at all.

I have just really learned how to play the game. I have become more of a student of the game, and my coaches have really helped me understand about the game of tennis.

Having Zina in my corner really has helped me a lot, because she has played and done all of this. So it’s a lot easier for me to kind of listen and grasp it, because she’s done this.

I mean, I’m just learning how to be a student of the game and learning how to play and embracing my strengths and trying to strengthen my weaknesses.


Q. First Grand Slam main draw of your life. Sum it up for us. Most fun you’ve ever had? Give us something about it.

TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Yeah, it’s the most fun I’ve had (smiling).

I have had a really good time just embracing the moments and, you know, the pressure and everything. It’s awesome. I really had a great time and experiencing this. And, I mean, I couldn’t asked for a better first Grand Slam and a better opportunity to show the world what I can do.

So, I mean, I have had a great time and I’m really looking forward to the next couple of tournaments.


Q. Even some of the French fans were chanting your name. Did you hear that? What do you think about that? What’s it like being on a bigger stage like that?

TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Well, it’s nice now that people are cheering my name, because they were cheering the other girl’s name (laughter).

It was nice to have that support, especially here. The people are so supportive, and I really have had a great time playing in front of them.

I did realize that I do like big stages, I like big courts, I like playing in front of a lot of people, so that’s good.

But I really enjoyed it. I’m really glad the people embraced me and were cheering for me today.


Q. You mentioned a few times this week about how you learned to believe in yourself and your talents and whatever. Had you gone through a period where you were doubting that a little bit or wondering whether you turned pro too soon? You seem very into that point.

TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Well, I wouldn’t say I was doubting I was turning pro too early. I mean, I think I did it at the perfect time.

But like anything, going from one level to the next is not an easy task at all. There are a lot of things I had to learn. There are a lot of things I had to learn about myself. There were a lot of things I had to learn about the game that I didn’t know and that I wouldn’t have known, just because I hadn’t been playing pro tournaments and I hadn’t been on the tour and I hadn’t played against people like this and on this level.

So it was new. But there was a point in time    I mean, I just really had to kind of learn about my game and how to work it and how to use it and play on this level, because it’s totally different than juniors. So I think that that was    not so much doubting myself, but just believing in what I could do and that I can compete on this level.


Q. Can you tell us something about your background? What tennis means for you in your life? How difficult maybe was it to get to this level where you are now and how good it is to be here now?

TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Yeah. Tennis means the world to me. I mean, it’s helped me through a lot of situations, tough times, good times, bad times in my life. But tennis has always kind of been my backboard. That has really just been there. I can just go play and spend hours on the court and do whatever.

But, I mean, getting here, it’s been a long road. It’s been a tough road. But I have learned a lot about myself, and, I mean, as a person. That’s kind of translated on the court and learned about myself both as a person and a player.

I really embrace that. It means the world to me to be here, just the fact that I said that it feels different, that I earned the right to be here. I earned the wildcard through my hard work and through my sweat and, you know, ups and downs in the matches. And I was faced two match points down in the semifinals I had to win that match in order to get the wildcard.

Just tons of things going through my head there. It’s a different level. But I had to do it.

It means the world for me to be here, and to have this opportunity and capitalize on it, and I’m looking forward to it continuing in the future, and hopefully I can keep this going.


Q. You mentioned the expenses. Just how expensive is it coming up from through the junior ranks? What’s it like when you actually begin to make money to help pay off that?

TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Well, it’s tough. I knew the pro circuit would be more expensive just because, you know, you have to travel. I mean, tennis is an expensive sport. You have to travel, you have to get racquets, you have equipment, you have a lot of things that you have to upkeep.

Well, also, you have to get to the tournaments, you have to get food. There are just a lot of expenses that you have.

That’s been since we have been playing National Open, I know it’s a different level, but it’s still expensive for anybody.

When I first started making money, I was like, Whoa, that’s mine? I was excited. My mom was like, No, no, no, (laughter).

But it was interesting, but, I mean, I’m really glad that I’m able to kind of learn about all of this stuff. And also, with just being young and making my own money, it’s like something you have to grasp, but at the same time, it’s through my hard work. So it’s like, Taylor, you earned this.

Embrace it but at the same time be smart with it and understand that a lot of it is going back into your tennis, so you can continue to travel and do the things that you need to do to make it to where you want to go so I can make more money.


EXCLUSIVE: Wimbledon Great Billie Jean King Gives Her Verdict On Jasmine Paolini



Billie Jean King and Ilana Kloss in the Royal Box - Credit: AELTC/Ben Solomon

Billie Jean King has told Ubitennis the game style of Italy’s Jasmine Paolini is ‘perfect’ for the grass as she pays tribute to the 28-year-old. 

King, who won 20 Wimbledon titles in both singles and doubles during her career, praised Paolini just hours before her semi-final match against Donna Vekic. The world No.7 had never won a match at The All England Club until this year but has stormed through the tournament by dropping one set in five matches played. She has beaten players such as former US Open champion Bianca Andreeescu, Madison Keys (who retired at 5-5 in the final set due to injury) and Emma Navarro. 

“I’ve always liked watching Jasmine for a while now, and I got to see her last year at the Billie Jean King Cup,” the 80-year-old told Ubitennis founder Ubaldo Scanagatta.
“Italy lost to Canada, but I saw her there and she was amazing.
“Finally at 28, she’s she’s doing what I think she should have been doing.”

Paolini is enjoying the best season in her career. She won her first WTA 1000 title in Dubai, reached the final of the French Open and at least the semi-finals at Wimbledon. She is the oldest player on the WTA Tour to reach their first two major semi-finals since 1977, according to OptaAce. 

As for the grass, King says Paolini has a ‘perfect’ game for the surface. Even though the tennis star has previously spoken about her mixed feelings about playing on the surface. 

“On grass. She’s perfect.” King stated. 
“She’s low to the ground, she can volley, she can hit Groundstrokes. Big forehand. Unbelievable.”

Paolini is one of three women aged 28 or older to reach the last four at Wimbledon. Something that last occurred in 2018. As for the reason behind these players coming to top form at a later age, King admits she hasn’t got an explanation. 

“I have no idea.” She said
“I think she’s (Paolini) finally found herself and everybody gets to be their best at different ages.
“This year at Wimbledon, it seems like in the women’s events it’s now that they’re older, they’re doing better. So I don’t get it, to be honest.
“It’s the weirdest Wimbledon ever and I’ve been coming here since 1961!”

King has won an incredible 175 titles during her career in the Open Era. 101 of those were in doubles, 67 in singles and seven in mixed doubles.  

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EXCLUSIVE: Ex-No.1 Nenad Zimonjic Gives His Verdict On Djokovic And The Wimbledon Crowd



Novak Djokovic might be the headline act when it comes to tennis in Serbia but Nenad Zimonjic also enjoyed his fair share of success in the sport. 

The 48-year-old is a former world No.1 in the men’s doubles which makes him one of only four players from his country to have ever topped the tennis rankings. During his career, he won eight Grand Slam doubles titles with five of them occurring in the mixed doubles. Overall, he won 53 trophies on the ATP Tour, as well as the Davis Cup where he later became the captain of the Serbian team.

Zimonjic has returned to Wimbledon this year to play in the Legends event. He has been keeping an eye on compatriot Djokovic and his bid to claim a historic 25th major title at Wimbledon.

“I think he’s been playing better and better as the tournament progresses.” He told Ubitennis.
“The last match (against Holger Rune), he played the best so far.
I expect him to play even better in the quarterfinal match against Alex de Minaur.”

Whilst Djokovic is gaining momentum, he has unexpectedly taken a swipe at the Center Court crowd following his latest win on Monday evening by accusing some members of being ‘disrespectful.’ Throughout the clash, there were shouts of the words ‘ruuune’ in a show of support for his Danish opponent. However, the world No.2 believes some were using those cheers as an opportunity to take a shot at him. 

Zimonjic, who is a long-time friend of Djokovic that travelled to Monte Carlo and Rome with him earlier this year, is unable to weigh in on this particular argument. However, he defends the British crowd at The All England Club where he made 18 main draw appearances as a professional player. 

“I didn’t get to see the whole match I cannot comment (on Djokovic’s remarks) because I wasn’t there.” He said. 
“But what I can say is that the crowd here (at Wimbledon) is very knowledgeable and really respectful to everybody.
“If there was somebody (being disrespectful to Djokovic) maybe there are a couple of people.
“So you cannot say this about the crowd. I’m sure it’s nothing nothing major.”

Djokovic continues to be a dominant force in tennis at the age of 37 and has no plans to step away anytime soon. However, when he does there will inevitably be a huge gap in Serbian tennis. The country currently has five players in the ATP Top 150 but only two of those are under the age of 25 – Hamad Medjedovic (20) and Miomir Kecmanovic (24). There is also 18-year-old Marko Maksimovic who is currently ranked in the junior top 20 on the boy’s Tour. 

“Hopefully some new, really good generations are coming up. We’ll see what the future brings.” Zimonjic commented. 
“It’s not going to be easy to match any of these results and the standards that he (Djokovic) achieved and all the records speak for themselves.
“Maybe they will never be broken, but, we’ll try to make it as better as possible.”

As for life on the Tour for those players, Zimonjic admits it is tough going due to the demanding schedule which starts from January until November. However, since last year the ATP have agreed to stage their Next Gen finals, which features the eight best players under the age of 21, in December. 

The schedule has been a long-debated subject that goes back to Zimonjic’s days on the Tour. 

“Our season is probably the longest in sport.” He said.
“It’s very demanding on the body, travelling, changing the time zones so you have to be extremely fit, mentally tough, and you need a really strong team around you and family support.
“If this can change, I don’t know. So far they (tennis’ governing bodies) haven’t found a way, but, hopefully, anyway, it got shorter a little bit compared to ten years ago was even longer.
“We had maybe three weeks to prepare for the next to rest and prepare for next season, which was really brutal.
“But the good thing is that tennis is very popular and people are following it.”

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EXCLUSIVE: ‘People Are Dying Everyday’ – Elina Svitolina’s Voice Is Important For Ukraine



Elina Svitolina (UKR) playing against Magda Linette (POL) in the second round of the Ladies' Singles on No.2 Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 4 Thursday 01/07/2021. Credit: AELTC/Jonathan Nackstrand

There was little celebration from Elina Svitolina after she reached the quarter-finals of Wimbledon on a grave day for her home country. 

The world No.21 eased to a 6-2, 6-1, win over China’s Wang Xinyu without dropping serve, reaching the last eight of the tournament for the third time in her career. It is a huge boost for the 29-year-old who later admitted she didn’t feel like playing in the wake of a new attack against Ukraine. 

A Russian missile attack struck the country in daylight on Monday which resulted in the deaths of at least 36 people and caused significant damage to the main children’s hospital in Kyiv, according to officials. Reuters News Agency says they have a video showing a missile falling from the sky towards the children’s hospital followed by a large explosion.

“It’s an incredibly sad day today for all Ukrainians. It was really difficult for me to be here (at Wimbledon) in a way and do anything. I just wanted to be in my room, just be there with my emotions, with everything,” said Svitolina.

“Today was one of the days where it was even more difficult because the missile landed on the hospital, the kids’ hospital. Straightaway you see the images and everything that happened there. So many kids lost their lives.”

Svitolina took to the court wearing a black ribbon on her t-shirt in respect to those affected. The gesture was approved by The All England Club which usually has in place a strict all-white policy when it comes to attire. Throughout the war in Ukraine, she has spoken numerous times about the conflict and is an ambassador her the United24 fundraising platform, which was set up by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Evgeniy Zukin, who is the executive director of the Ukrainian Tennis Federation (UTF), spoke to Ubitennis following his compatriot’s latest win at SW19. He stresses the significance of Svitolina and her peers to continue speaking out about the war.

“It is important for Ukrainians to keep informing the world of the atrocities that are now happening in Ukraine,” said Zukin. 

“We know the public in the West is tired of bad news. Only disasters like today when many children were killed bring attention back to Ukraine. But unfortunately, people are dying every day and no less than today.”

Zukin’s words are also echoed by tennis journalist Sergey Kontorchik, who is the founder of Великий теніс України which is known in English as BTU. He is based in Dnipro, a city located in the centre of the Dnipropetrovsk Region which borders Donetsk. As somebody living in the conflict zone, Kontorchik is frustrated by the promotion of Russian and Belarussian athletes in the media whilst his athletes suffer. 

“No one is interested in the mental state of Ukranian players. You saw how hard it was for Svitolina after the match today,” he told Ubitennis from Dnipro on Monday afternoon.

“For Ukrainians, it is hard and it hurts. Our players receive negative criticism for not shaking hands with representatives of these countries. We are pushed to the background, far away, so as to not bring up an uncomfortable topic, the war, which continues to destroy our country.

“It is important to us (Ukrainians) when players talk and remind the world about the war, that Ukraine is still alive and continues to fight for independence. 

“It’s clear many people have forgotten.”

Wimbledon had previously banned Russian and Belarussian players from competing in the tournament in 2022 amid concerns that those governments could use the event as propaganda. The move prompted backlash from the governing bodies who removed the allocation of rankings points that year. The ban was lifted in 2023. 

“I would prefer that (the ban to still be in place) but it is how it is now,” said Svitolina. “I cannot change. We tried every possible way to talk with many organizations.

“For now I just want to raise awareness, to raise funds for people in need, to raise support for the kids through my foundation, through United24. So many ways we can help people and not only focus on the things we cannot control.”

The hope for Svitolina is that her tennis is providing comfort to those back home. Although dealing with her emotions due to the war is tough.

“I think for many Ukrainians they will share this feeling with me. We feel guilt that we feel happy or that we feel good. Not only because I’m in the quarterfinal of the Grand Slam but in everything,” she explained.

“Like you go on holidays, you feel guilty because you’re not in Ukraine. Many people cannot leave the country. Many people are at war. Many people are fighting, and defending our front lines.

“I think we’ve been living with this feeling for over two years. I mean, it’s nothing new. But yes, of course, it’s not a pleasant feeling to have.”

On court, things are going well for Svitolina. She has dropped only one set in the tournament so far, which was against Magda Linette in the first round. 

“She showed in the last year that she knows how to play on grass,” Zukin told Ubitennis about Svitolina. 

“After beating Ons Jabeur (in the third round) she felt confident and played flawlessly today.” 

Svitolina will next play Elina Rybakina. 

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