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Wimbledon photos: Images from Day 1. Murray, Djokovic, Fognini, Kirilenko, Stephens, Pennetta.

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ATP

Australian Tennis Great Passes Away Aged 83

Ashley Cooper is one of only 11 men in history to have won three grand slam titles within the same year.

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Women’s world No.1 Ash Barty has led tributes to multiple grand slam champion Ashley Cooper, who passed away on Friday.

 

Cooper was one of the sports best players in the years leading up to the birth of the Open Era. He was declared the world’s best amateur player in 1957 and 1958. It was during 1958 where he really stood out by winning three out of the four major tournaments within the same season. Something only 10 other players in the history of men’s tennis have been able to achieve. Cooper also achieved success in the doubles by winning another four grand slam titles. In the Davis Cup he led Australia to a 3-2 victory over America in the 1957 final.

Whilst his achievements occurred during the 1950s, Cooper did sort of have a taste of what it was like to place in a major event during the Open Era after featuring in the main draw of the 1968 French Open. He progressed to the second round after his opponent retired before withdrawing from the tournament without playing a single point.

After retiring from the sport, he maintained his links with tennis. Working alongside Tennis Queensland with their player development and was on the Board of Directors for Tennis Australia.

“Ashley was a giant of the game both as a brilliant player and an astute administrator and he will be greatly missed,” said Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley.
“His contribution to the sport went far beyond his exploits on the tennis court. His rich legacy includes the magnificent Queensland Tennis Centre, a project he was passionate about, nurturing the development from the very beginning, and resulting in the return of world-class international tennis to Brisbane.”
“Ashley was also the most humble of champions and a great family man. Our hearts go out to his wife Helen and his family, along with his wide and international circle of friends, including so many of our tennis family.”

Paying her own tribute, French Open champion Barty took to Twitter to send her sympathy to Cooper’s family. Last year she was presented with the Ashley Cooper Medal at the Queensland Tennis Awards. The highest individual honour that can be issued by the organisation named in after the tennis great.

Rod Laver, who is one of Australia’s greatest tennis players of all time, described Cooper as a ‘wonderful champion’ in his tribute.

“So sad to hear of Ashley’s passing. He was a wonderful champion, on and off the court. And what a backhand! So many cherished memories. Farewell my friend. My thoughts are with Ashley’s wife, Helen, and his family.” Laver wrote on Twitter.

The have been no details released on the exact cause of Cooper’s death, but it has been reported that he has been battling ‘a long illness.’ He was 83-years-old.

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ATP Collaborates With Mental Health Organisation In Bid To Break Barriers

The ATP have partnered up with Sporting Chance and Headspace as they focus on mental health support for players and staff during this difficult time.

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The ATP has announced collaborations with mental health organisations to help break down barriers and support players on tour. 

 

In a statement yesterday, the ATP showed its support for mental health as they announced partnerships with two charities, Sporting Chance and Headspace.

Sporting Chance is a charity that will provide ATP Player members with the opportunity to contact a 24/7 helpline in which a group of therapists will help players with any mental health issues they are suffering from.

These issues include the psychological effects from not playing tennis due to the impacts of the coronavirus as well as any depressing or anxious feelings they are having in general.

While the other partnership, Headspace, will offer ATP Player members and employees free subscriptions to 1,200 plus hours of meditation and mindfulness content including sleep as well as mindful and movement exercises.

These announcements come after the world is celebrating Mental Health awareness week and ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi explained the purpose behind the initiatives, “Being mentally strong is just as important as physical strength in tennis and looking after the mental health of our players and staff is a key priority for us,” Gaudenzi said.

“Everyone has been adapting to periods of self-isolation and decreased physical activity during the pandemic, but this can have a particularly detrimental effect on professional athletes who are used to particular training structure and playing day in day out. We want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to support our players and staff during this time and I’m proud of the partnerships we’ve been able to announce in recent weeks and months which allow us to do this.”

Meanwhile the person behind one of the charities, Sporting Chance, is none other than former Arsenal captain Tony Adams and the former England international praised tennis’ initiative, “We are delighted to be working with the ATP in supporting their players at this difficult time,” Adams claimed.

“The challenges that all sports and sports professionals are experiencing in the light of this pandemic will be affecting all of us in different ways. I started Sporting Chance twenty years ago with the vision of creating a safe place for professional and elite athletes to discuss their emotional and mental health in confidence. Holding out our hand to those in need at this time is important to me and working with organisations like the ATP is a pleasure – well done Tennis!”

This is move is seen as a positive one as there are a lot of barriers involving sport and mental health at the moment especially during what is a difficult time for the world.

The ATP also announced that it is finding new ways for players to learn different skills during this time as they partnered up with Coursera which offers players 4,200 different courses in which they can learn new things while tennis is currently suspended.

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Novak Djokovic aims at breaking Federer and Nadal Grand Slam records

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Novak Djokovic told US program In Depth presented by Graham Bensinger that he wants to break all Grand Slam records and play for many years. The Serbian player is the third best ever player with 17 Major titles behid Roger Federer (20) and Rafael Nadal (19).

 

“I believe that the journey chooses you and not the other way around and I know that I still have things to do in sport. At the same time, they are not the only things that motivate me, what really feeds me is the desire to keep growing. I can achieve all feats and become the greatest in history maintaining on the courts”, said Djokovic.

The Serbian legend said that he does not set set any limits. He was still unbeaten before the suspension of the season due to the coronavirus pandemic. His winning streak includes a record of 18 consecutive match wins and a 21-match win streak dating back dating back to the Davis Cup Finals last November. He beat Roger Federer in the semifinal and Dominic Thiem in the final to clinch his 8th Australian Open title. He became the third man to win 8 titles at a Grand Slam tournament. Last February he saved three match points against Gael Monfils in the semifinal before beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final in Dubai.

 “I don’t believe in limits. I think limits are just illusions of your ago or your mind. I definitely want to go on for a long time but I know that at the same time I have to maintain the right principles and the routine to maintain the health and well being of my body, mind and soul”, said Djokovic.

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