TENNIS 2014 ROLAND GARROS – 5th of June. M. Sharapova d. E. Bouchard 4-6, 7-5, 6-2. An interview with Eugenie Bouchard
Q. The crowd was very much with you today, but how had you envisioned the match beforehand? What went for you as expected or what went wrong? What went different from your plans from last night?
EUGENIE BOUCHARD: Well, I think it was a tough battle, which is what I expected. I mean, I felt, you know, the whole match I didn’t play as well as I have played earlier in the tournament.
You know, it’s always disappointing to be a little bit off. I felt like I was trying to do what I wanted to do, which was, you know, be aggressive, go for my shots. But, you know, often I constructed the point well and then didn’t finish it as well as I could.
So, you know, I’m just going to, you know, work on that next time in practice.
Q. You seemed to tire in the third set somewhat. Was it mental, physical, or am I wrong about that?
EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I didn’t feel tired, no. She’s a great player and always puts a lot of pressure on you.
You know, I think she kind of elevated her game a little bit later on in the match. I was still trying to do my thing, but, yeah, you know, I had a couple chances here and there and just didn’t take my opportunities when I had a few of them.
Q. I think you had two games where you had I think 40 Love and ended up losing the games. Do you remember anything about those or not?
EUGENIE BOUCHARD: Yeah, I mean, that’s an example of when I had a chance to have a good service hold, you know. But like I said, she fights for every point. If I don’t, you know, go for it and go try and take my chances, good players like that will take them if you don’t take them.
That’s part of the learning experience for me. You know, it’s important for me to just go out after it.
Q. What did you feel was the difference between the first set you played and the last one? How did you feel the experience was a bit different from your first semifinal in Australia at the beginning of the year?
EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I feel like I mean, I think I might have maybe backed off a little bit on my shots in the second and third. You know, I still, you know, had that plan in my head to keep trying to do that, but, you know, I just maybe wasn’t finishing well in the second and third as much.
Yeah, I mean, I felt definitely better on the court than I did in the first semifinal. I think playing big matches like this, the more I play, the more I’ll feel good out there. I felt good today.
You know, playing on such a big stage is definitely a big moment, but I feel like I handled it well. I feel like in the future I’ll be able to handle it well as well and just keep trying to improve and get better from here.
Q. What are your feelings on this ultimately ending with a loss today? Seems like the whole way you had a belief could and almost should in your mind be able to win today. Overall, is it disappointment, or something that you feel like you’re still moving forward?
EUGENIE BOUCHARD: For sure disappointment. I’m always disappointed with a loss. I expect a lot from myself. You know, I felt like I was close today and just came up a bit short.
You know, that happens sometimes. I feel like, you know, I played a lot of good matches the past two weeks, three weeks even, and so it’s sad to see it come to an end.
But, you know, it just motivates me that even if I wasn’t playing, you know, great, I was still so close. That just gives me extra motivation to work hard in practice and, you know, get ready for the next one, and you know, have that belief that I can do it.
Q. Despite the loss today you have been on an incredible upward trend. In a word or two, what do you consider your greatest strengths and what’s the one thing you want to work on most?
EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I think, well, my game is definitely more of an aggressive one. I like to step in and take the ball early. I think that helps me control the points because I take time away from my opponent.
But also mentally I feel like I compete well, and I’m always in the match no matter what. I think at this stage of the game is so mental that it’s important to have that mental kind of advantage. I think I just have this self confidence on the court every time I walk on the court.
Improving, well, I mean, there is always everything to improve. For today I see how close I am, but there is still a lot of things I could have done better. And, you know, who knows what happens if you can, you know, change a few things.
I definitely want to work on my finishing shots. Everything, really. Serving a little bit better. Returning. I missed a few returns at key moments today. I think that’s important to work on.
Q. At the beginning of the year, were you convinced as well that you could be that strong a player, even on clay? What’s your best surface? If you have to play the match of your life, which is the surface you’re going to choose, please?
EUGENIE BOUCHARD: Well, I feel good on all surfaces. I wouldn’t say I don’t like this surface or that surface, but I think I have improved my game on the red clay here in Europe.
So I think I adjusted to red clay when I arrived here in Europe and in Paris, but apart from that, I think I like grass quite a lot. This is my favorite surface, which is good, because now we’re going to play on grass.
Q. Will you go to Birmingham first or will you have a short rest because you have played many matches recently? Will you take one or two days off to visit Paris or something else?
EUGENIE BOUCHARD: Well, yeah. The time has come for me to have a little rest. I have played so much recently. I have had a tournament before Roland Garros that I had to play, and I have played until now.
So it’s been three long weeks for me. I need therefore to rest for a little while, and then after this I’ll see. I’ll stop practicing on clay, but first I will take one or two days off, that’s true.
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EXCLUSIVE: International Tennis Federation Sheds Light On Coronavirus Fight
Ubitennis has been in contact with an official from the governing body about the threat the worldwide virus poses to the sport.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has told Ubitennis that health and safety of both players and fans is ‘paramount’ as they continue to deal with the evolving threat posed by Covid-19 (aka Coronavirus).
Tennis tournaments have been disrupted worldwide by the illness, which has claimed the lives of more than 3000 people. Although experts estimate that the death rate from Covid-19 is roughly 1% with the elderly and people with pre-existing medical conditions most at risk. Numerous outbreaks around the world have resulted in various ITF, WTA and ATP events getting cancelled or postponed across South Korea, China and Japan. Meanwhile, the final of the Bergamo Challenger was also recently cancelled due to northern Italy being placed on a lockdown.
As experts try to conjure up with a solution to the outbreaks, sporting organisations have been placed under pressure to do what they can to minimise the disease spreading. Heather Bowler is the Executive Director of Communications for the ITF in London. In an email exchange with Ubitennis.net, she stressed that the ITF is taking a ‘case by case’ approach to dealing with the impact of Coronavirus on their events.
“The ITF is constantly monitoring the data and information from the relevant authorities about the evolution the virus and reviews the situation on a daily basis. The situation is different in each country.” She said.
“We monitor WHO notifications, review travel restrictions issued by national authorities and consult with security and medical experts to monitor the situation daily. Decisions about specific events continue to be made on a case by case based on at this time.”
The organisation is responsible for all tournaments that don’t fall in the jurisdiction of either the ATP or WTA. This includes Davis/Fed Cup ties, junior tournaments and the Olympic tennis competition. There has been doubts concerning the Tokyo Olympics going ahead on time, but organisers remain determined that this will not be the case.
Italy has one of the biggest outbreaks of Coronavirus. At least 79 people have died, according an update from the country’s civil protection agency on Tuesday. At present there will be at least 10 ITF singles tournaments taking place from now until the end of April there. Four men’s, four women’s and two juniors. All of the professional tournaments will be hosted in Santa Margherita Di Pula, Sardinia. Meanwhile the junior events are set to be played in Florence and Salsomaggiore Terme (Northern Italy).
Despite the threat, the latest stance is that the ITF has no restrictions implemented on those participating in forthcoming events in Italy. Something that could change in the coming weeks.
“We are monitoring the situation on a country by country basis but have not imposed restrictions on players participating in Italian events.” Ubitennis is told.
Italy is expected to host their most prestigious tennis tournament, the Internazionali BNL d’Italia Rome, in May.
The uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 outbreak places player’s in an uncomfortable position with many planning months in advance of what their schedule will be. For those ranked outside of the top 100, any last-minute changes will likely result in extra costs and panic about where to play instead.
“If a player makes the decision to withdraw from a tournament citing concerns about COVID-19 they will not be fined.” Bowler stated.
There are ongoing conversations between the ITF and the other governing bodies of tennis concerning the ongoing crises. At present their advice is based on information provided by the World Health Organisation in relation to certain countries. Should it deteriorate any further, there is a chance the ITF could make adjustments to their ‘global policy.’
“We are in regular communication with the ATP and WTA. Currently, the evolution of the virus remains specific to each country and decisions relating to events are made on a case by case basis.” The ITF reiterated.
“We are constantly monitoring the situation and the data provided by WHO, as well as the policies and travel restrictions issued by relevant national authorities, together with advice from expert medical and security advisors. Should the situation evolve and the need arise, we will review a global policy.”
How the ITF could review their global policy is unclear. Although in a worse case scenario, it could advise players against playing in certain countries all together if it was deemed that the threat posed was too substantial.
No fans allowed
This weekend will see countries battle it out in the Davis Cup for a place in the 18-team finals later this year. One of those ties, however will be played in mostly silence with no spectators. Japan will host Ecuador in the city of Miki. In a bid to minimise the Coronavirus threat, organisers have decided to suspend mass gatherings of people. Something that has been seen at other sporting events in the country, which is set to host the Olympics in August.
“Health and safety is paramount. We will make the necessary decisions according to the notifications of the relevant authorities and our expert medical and security advisors. The Japan vs Ecuador tie at the Bourbon Beans Dome in Miki, Japan on 6-7 March will be played without spectators. This decision was taken in consultation with the JTA (Japanese Tennis Association) following advice from Japan Sports Agency and the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.”
The problem with Covid-19 is the unpredictability at present. It is thought illness originated from a market in Wuhan, which illegally trades wild animals. As experts get to grip with the science behind the illness, the world of sport is left patiently waiting and hoping for a solution sooner rather than later. Especially for the world of tennis, which hosts numerous top tennis tournaments across Asia during the final quarter of the season.
Despite the mayhem, Bowler is confident that the ITF has the relevant resources to deal with whatever occurs in the future.
“We have dealt with many issues that have had widespread impact and most have their specificities. When dealing with such occurrences, we ensure that we monitor the data closely, remain in close contact with the relevant authorities, constantly monitor and provide information, and, in consultation with the relevant experts ensure we are in the best position possible to make the right decisions about our course of action.” She concluded.
Covid-19 Impact on Tournaments
ATP Challenger Tour
-Anning, China (Week of 20 April 2020) – CANCELLED
-Seoul, South Korea (Week of 27 April 2020 – postponed to August)
-Busan, South Korea (week of 4 May 2020 – postponed to August)
-Gwangju, South Korea (Week of 11 May 2020 – postponed to August)
-Madrid, Spain (Week of 23 March 2020) postponed to October following ATP’s agreement to the club’s request.
-WTA Xi’an Open (April 13-19) CANCELLED
-WTA Kunming Open (April 27-May 3) CANCELLED
-China withdrew from competition in February
-Japan to play Ecuador without spectators
EXCLUSIVE: Daniil Medvedev On His Saudi Arabian Debut, No.1 Dreams And Russia’s Olympic Ban
The US Open finalist sat down with Ubitennis earlier this week.
Within the past 12 months Daniil Medvedev has gone from a promising future prospect to one of the top players in the world of men’s tennis.
Up until June this year the 23-year-old was yet to crack the top 10, win a Masters title or reach the second week of a grand slam event. Then shortly after the conclusion of the Wimbledon championships, Medvedev enjoyed an emphatic period of success to achieve all three of those milestones. Within a three-month period he reached six consecutive finals at tournaments ranging from ATP 250 level to a grand slam. Enabling him to peak at a high of fourth in the world back in September.
Unfortunately for Medvedev, his surge came at price towards the end of his season. Losing in the first round of the Paris Masters and then all three of his matches in his ATP Finals debut. Something he blames on mental tiredness.
Not to be disheartened by the loss, the Russian is back on the court this week. He is one of eight players participating in the brand new Diriyah Tennis Cup. An exhibition tournament in Saudi Arabia, which has on offer $1 million for the champion.
“I do think in the middle of a pre-season a tournament like this is good. You can’t just practice for four weeks without knowing how your game is at the moment. Last year I also participated in one in France (Open de Caen).” Medvedev told Ubitennis.com about his decision to play.
“This is how we (my team) decided to do the preparation this year and are going to see how it works out.”
Kicking off his campaign on Thursday against Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff, Medvedev enjoyed an emphatic start. Disposing of his rival 6-3, 6-1, in less than an hour. Whilst the prize money is undoubtedly an appeal for all of those taking part, the Russian sees this week as a golden opportunity to evaluate his game.
“It is going to be important to see how my game is right now in the middle of the pre-season. To see what I need to improve more, what I need to work more on with my team.” He explained.
“Obviously after my last season, I have a lot of big expectations for 2020, but first of all I need to stay lucid and take it all match-by-match.”
Given his recent breakthrough, Medvedev is being mentioned as a potential candidate to one day claim the world No.1 position. Since 2004 only four players have managed to hold the honour – Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. To add to the pressure, former player Marat Safin has backed his compatriot to achieve the milestone in the future. Safin will be the captain of the Russian team in the ATP Cup, which Medvedev is participating in.
“I believe he can be number one in the world.” Safin told Russian media earlier this week. “His all-around game… we just need to work on certain small things.”
Despite the backing, Medvedev is staying grounded about the prospect. Insisting that he isn’t ‘obsessed’ with the world No.1 ranking. At present, he is more than 4000 points adrift from Nadal in the ATP standings.
“I have been thinking about it (the No.1 spot) since I was six-years-old, but the thing is that I’m not obsessed with it,” said Medvedev. “For example, if I was 40 and during my career, I achieved a best ranking of number two in the world, It would not change my life completely.’
“Of course working hard and playing so many tournaments you want to achieve the best ranking possible.” He added.
With his eyes on the grand slams next year, 2020 also gives Medvedev the chance to make his Olympic debut. However, it isn’t as simple as that. Earlier this week the Russian sporting federation was banned from major sporting events by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) due to various violations. An investigation found that the Russian Anti-doping agency (RUSDA) deliberately tampered with athletes samples to hide positive tests.
The ITF notes that Russian tennis has never been linked to the controversy, however, players such as Medvedev will be under sanction. Unless the ban is overturned, they are only allowed to play at the event as neutral athletes.
“To be honest as a tennis player it is a little bit tough to talk about these things because I live in Monaco and we get tested in every country around the world. From 20 to 30 doping tests.” Medvedev states.
“I know what happened, but I don’t know how to react to it because I’m not in this (the Russian) federation.”
Asked if he will still play in the Olympics, which will be held in Tokyo, Medvedev cautiously replied ‘I think so.’ Although he is far from certain in doing so.
“Looking at this decision, it’s disappointing that me as a Russian player, who hasn’t nothing to do with this, will have to play without a flag. It is a little bit strange for me. I don’t know why this decision was made exactly so I don’t know if it was the right decision.” He concluded.
Medvedev ended 2019 with 59 wins on the ATP Tour. More than any other player this year.
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