Eugenie Bouchard: “It just took a little bit of time but I'm happy I adapted” - UBITENNIS
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Eugenie Bouchard: “It just took a little bit of time but I'm happy I adapted”

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TENNIS WIMBLEDON 2014 – 26th of June. E. Bouchard d. S. Soler-Espinoza 7-5, 6-1. An interview with Eugenie Bouchard

 

Q. There’s a slight difference between the way you started the match and finished the match. Would you agree with that?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I would. But even though it was a little close in the first set, I still felt I was, you know, very close to playing well. So I wasn’t too worried. I knew it would click after, you know, a few points or games, however long it took.

So I’m happy that it did finally. My shots were a lot freer in the second.

 

Q. Can you figure out what it is inside you that enables you to finally click?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: Of course the goal is to always start as well as I can. Sometimes that doesn’t happen and you have to kind of figure a way out of it.

You know, I was just really trying to go for my shots. I think she got a lot of balls back and would hit a few good slices. It just took me a little bit of time to get used to that. Once I did, I was ready for it and was able to move forward on her balls.

It just took a little bit of time but I’m happy I adapted and really kind of moved forward without looking back in the second.

 

Q. You felt that you played better than the first match? How would you assess your level of play compared to the first match?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I think I did play a little bit better, so I’m happy that it’s improving. You know, I think it was important for me to try to close out some points at the net when I could because she was getting a few balls back, to really go for my shots a little bit more.

You know, when I was stepping in and being aggressive I felt really in control. That’s always my goal.

 

Q. Has it been a particular source of pride that you’ve been able to take your strengths to each surface now?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: Yeah, I think I like all the surfaces. You know, I don’t feel like I can’t perform on any of them, which is important, seeing as we change surfaces throughout the year.

At the end of the day I always say to myself, You know what, regardless of the surface, you still have to go play how you want to play. Anything can happen on any surface. Not try to make it too dependent on a surface because it’s still about me against my opponent. That’s how I see it.

So surface is important, but I don’t see it as a huge thing.

 

Q. You meet Petkovic in the next round. You had a heartbreaking match against her in Charleston. What do you think about that match, being on grass?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: Yeah, it’s a rematch of Charleston. I’m looking forward to it. I know she’s a really good fighter. I’ve lost to her a few times now. I’m definitely going to be really motivated, just try to play my tennis, really try to take it to her.

 

Q. Were you surprised by the court selection? Do you feel you’ve become more popular here at Wimbledon?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: Well, I hope so. You know, with good results you hope to have more fans and things like that. I feel that from this year.

In terms of the courts, yesterday they put Murray on Court 1 and Dimitrov on Centre Court. They kind of mix it up. It’s out of my control, so I don’t worry about it.

I love the court. I love all the courts at Wimbledon. I won’t complain. They can put me on Court 19 and I’ll be happy.

 

Q. Does it make much of a difference to you that the crowds, you might as well be in church compared to Australia with the chants?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: For the Australians, they still have their crazy Aussies. I thought they would turn into my Genie Army, but that didn’t happen (smiling).

I think it’s good to appreciate the difference. At Wimbledon they’re very polite. I don’t know, they respect the sport of tennis so much. It’s very classy. I think it’s a nice changeb#up.

 

Q. Any issues with slipping?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: No issues. The tape was more of a hindrance than helping, so I ripped it off. Actually my knee didn’t hurt at all. I don’t think I’ll tape it from now on.

Yeah, it was just kind of a preventive thing to make sure it didn’t get worse. But it feels good.

 

Q. Canadian tennis has seemed to have come on in the last few years. What do you put that down to?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: Luck. I think, yeah, a few of us have done well around the same time. I think that’s a happy coincidence. For example, me or Milos and Vasek, we’ve come from completely backgrounds, have succeeded in completely different ways.

I wouldn’t pinpoint a specific common fact. But I think it’s a good thing. It’s good timing. I think because of that the popularity has grown in Canada. You know, I hope I can help to continue to make it grow.

Interviews

Ubaldo Scanagatta and Steve Flink Debate Who Is The Most Selfish: Roland Garros, Nadal or Federer?

Chief Editor Ubaldo Scanagatta catches up with Hall of Famer Steve Flink about tennis during the coronavirus emergency

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Federer giving his teammate Nadal some tips during a match at Laver Cup

Roland Garros unilaterally decided to move its tournament to September; what about Wimbledon? The ATP ranking has been frozen and Novak Djokovic will remain n.1 until at least June: should these weeks count in his records? Which tournament will replace Bercy’s Masters 1000?

 

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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.

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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.

Player fears

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.

Women’s Tour
-WTA Xi’an Open (April 13-19) CANCELLED
-WTA Kunming Open (April 27-May 3) CANCELLED

Davis Cup

-China withdrew from competition in February
-Japan to play Ecuador without spectators

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ATP

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.

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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.”

Future dreams

Medvedev and Gael Monfils – Diriyah Tennis Cup (via Twitter, @DiriyahCup)

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.

Interview conducted by Alessandro Stella in Saudi Arabia

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