Bits & Pieces from the World of Tennis: 25th of July 2014 - UBITENNIS
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Bits & Pieces from the World of Tennis: 25th of July 2014

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TENNIS BITS & PIECES – Bouchard to miss Washington. Stephens hires a new coach. Florian Mayer will miss the US Open. Argentina concerned for their Davis Cup tie in Israel and Bernard Tomic is back in the top 100. Angelo Lo Conte

 

Wimbledon runner-up Bouchard withdraws from Citi Open

Wimbledon runner-up Eugenie Bouchard withdrew Thursday from the Citi Open next week.

Tournament officials didn’t provide a reason for Bouchard’s decision to pull out of the Washington event. The No. 7 in the world hasn’t played on tour since losing to Petra Kvitova in the final at Wimbledon on July 5. Wimbledon semifinalist Lucie Safarova will replace Bouchard as the Citi Open’s top seed.

Stephens working with Thomas Hogstedt

Sloane Stephens has stopped working with Paul Annacone following an eight-month partnership, from now on she will be coached by Thomas Hogstedt. A statement from Stephens’ management company called the split “amicable,” and the 21-year-old American called it an opportunity for a “fresh start.” Reports at Wimbledon said Annacone and Stephens would end their coaching relationship, and Stephens said the decision had been taken following the tournament.“Based on the conversations Paul and I had after Wimbledon, we both feel like it would be a good idea for me to have a fresh start leading into the summer hard-court swing,” Stephens was quoted as saying. “I’ve learned a lot over our past eight months together and now just need to meld them into my long-term plan. Paul is one of the top coaches in the world and will remain a close friend and confidant. I can’t thank him enough for his time and continued support.” Annacone, who had most recently worked with Roger Federer, cited Stephens’ up-and-down play as a reason for the break, and said the timing would allow Stephens to adjust. The new Stephens’ coach Thomas Hogstedt is an established trainer on the WTA tour, including recent stints with Maria Sharapova (for three years) and Caroline Wozniacki (for three months).

Florian Mayer pulls out of U.S. Open.

Florian Mayer has pulled out of the U.S. Open. The 62nd-ranked German hasn’t played since March, when he withdrew from his match against Novak Djokovic at Key Biscayne because of a groin injury. He missed the French Open and Wimbledon. His withdrawal from the U.S. Open was announced Thursday.

Argentina requests change of venue for Davis Cup tie vs. Israel

The Argentine Tennis Association (AAT) has requested a change in venue for its Davis Cup playoff tie against Israel in September. With the tie scheduled to be played at Tel Aviv, the AAT says it has security concerns about the region because of the growing conflict in Gaza.“We are concerned. We have communicated with the ITF, which promises to make a decision about Davis Cup by Friday,” said AAT president, Arturo Grimaldi, speaking to sports channel TyC Sports. There were “two possibilities” if the location of the tie is changed, he said. “One is that Israel will give up home advantage if we cede ours in future. The other is that the location is changed to Greece [Athens] or Cyprus.” However, added Grimaldi, the Argentine team will play the tie wherever the ITF decides. “We will wait till Friday and if they say the tie is in Tel Aviv, we will [play],” he said.

Tomic back in ATP Top 100

Bernard Tomic is back in the ATP top 100 in style. After his Wimbledon performance dropped him to No. 124, the 21-year-old Australian rose 54 spots in the rankings to land at No. 70 after winning his first title of the year in Bogota, Colombia. Tomic’s tournament victory, the second of his career, came the same week he missed the cut-off for the main draw of the U.S. Open and was dropped by his management company. With just 55 points to defend over the summer, he should put himself in good position for a U.S. Open wild card.

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Grigor Dimitrov – ‘Tennis Is A Microscopic Thing In The World Right Now’

The world No.19 speaks out about how he is coping during the tour suspension.

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Former grand slam semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov has become the latest player to urge the governing bodies of tennis to make a united decision regarding when play will resume again.

 

The ATP and WTA Tours are currently suspended until June due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Although it is likely that the suspension will be extended further with rumours that Wimbledon will be cancelled for the first time since the second world war later this week. Dimitrov’s last tournament was at the Acapulco Open in Mexico, where he reached the semi-finals before losing in straight sets to eventual champion Rafael Nadal.

“Tennis is a microscopic thing in the world right now. The ATP supervisors I’ve talked to in recent days have a variety of theories, but for the time being, we can really only guess if we’re being honest.” Tenniskafe quoted Dimitrov as saying during an interview with bTV.
“The tournaments are cancelled, but we have a big luxury in tennis – there is always next week. Yes, it is very difficult right now, you have seen the Olympics cancelled. The only thing that is at the forefront is to go through this situation we are in, and then start rebuilding. “

The world No.19 is currently residing in California during the lockdown. Describing the situation where he is as ‘more casual’ compared to other parts of the world. California is where the Indian Wells tennis tournament was set to take place earlier this month before it was cancelled.

“In my opinion all federations and players, no matter what rank they are, must come together and make a general decision. Because it’s really not easy at the moment to talk to everyone about points, tournaments, competitions … But now other things are really more important – to be safe, to be healthy and to go through this thing.” He said.

During the suspension, the 28-year-old is keeping himself busy in other ways. Recently he has signed up for an online course with Harvard Business School. Becoming the latest of a series of players to do so. He also manages to keep in touch with his fellow rivals on the tour thanks to the world of social media.

“One of the first players I wrote to was Fabio (Fognini) because he was in Italy. Everyone is on Instagram, we know everyone what they do every minute.”

When the restrictions related to the pandemic comes to an end, Dimitrov has vowed to return back to Europe as he outlines the first thing he would do.

“I just want to go back to Europe. Whether it will be in Bulgaria or in Monaco – I do not know. I certainly want to go home, gather all my relatives and just spend time together. I’ve been in the US for over a month now. As things currently look, there will certainly be another two months. Hopefully it will be faster, but I just want to go home and be with my loved ones.” He concluded.

In the fight against Covid-19 in his home country, Dimitrov has made a donation to a hospital in Haskovo. The city where he was born.

Dimitrov has started the 2020 season with a win-loss record of 7-5. Besides his run to the semifinals in Acapulco, he also reached the second round at the Australian Open and Rotterdam. He has been ranked as high as third in the world.

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Tennis Could Be Suspended For ‘A Long Time,’ Warns Millman

The top 50 player isn’t expecting to play on the tour anytime soon.

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Australian player John Millman has indicated that he believes the current suspension of the ATP Tour is all but certain to be extended in the coming weeks.

 

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, both the ATP and WTA Tour have been suspended until at least June 8th. Although those in change of both of those governing bodies have previously admitted they are uncertain as to when play will resume. ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi has said that ‘it is unknown at this time’ as to when men’s tournaments will resume. Meanwhile, Steve Simon has echoed a similar view during an interview with The Tennis Channel.

Speaking about the current situation, world No.43 Millman said the sport is in a difficult situation due to its global reach with both tournaments and players based around the world. For example the Australian started his season by playing four tournaments in four different countries across three continents within five weeks.

“We’re going to have to be pretty unified in terms of our recovery process before the tour can resume,” Millman told The Age.
“Maybe the tournament location has got the COVID-19 situation under wraps and then manage to contain it, but if someone’s flying in from South America, say, and their country hasn’t got a hold of it, then the tournament can’t (go ahead).
“You can’t have the tournament going when only certain players can get there. I think that’s
where the problems lie.”

The 30-year-old didn’t speculate as to when he and his rivals will be returning to the court, but believes it could be a while. During the coming week the fate of Wimbledon will be decided at an emergency meeting. The All England Club is pondering the motion of cancelling this year’s tournament. A move that has never been taken during peacetime. Wimbledon has been scrapped a total of 10 times during the first and second world wars.

“It’s almost like we have to have a vaccine or the virus has to run its course before there’ll be any let-up there.” Millman commented.

Besides trying to maintain fitness, many players like Millman are in a difficult situation financially due to a lack of income. He has managed to earn $290,705 on the tour this year before the suspension. This is the 44th highest total on the men’s tour. In total, 131 players have surpassed the $100,000 mark. Although the earnings don’t take into account travel costs, coaching, accommodation and so on.

“I just can’t see us playing tennis for a long time and now it’s a matter of trying to stay (the) fight, trying to scrape by a little bit while not much is coming in,” he said.
“You’re used to a bit of money coming in and obviously that’s not the case anymore. Yeah, it’s tough. It’s just not easy. You try and make do.
“But I don’t want to be a sob story, that’s for sure, because I know Australians are doing it a lot tougher than me.”

Millman reached the third round of the Australian Open earlier this year before losing to Roger Federer in a five-set thriller.

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Jamie Murray Speaks Out On Wimbledon Dilemma

The two-time mixed doubles champion shares his thoughts about the current situation and the problems that could arise.

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Former world No.1 doubles player Jamie Murray says he is unsure how much longer Wimbledon can be delayed this season ahead of a crucial meeting on its future next week.

 

The All England Club is set to hold an emergency meeting to make a final decision as to what to do with this year’s tournament. Including the possibility of cancelling the event for the first time since 1945. The tennis calendar has been brought to a standstill due to the covid-19 pandemic. There have been more than 500,000 cases of Coronavirus worldwide, according to John Hopkins University.

Speaking about Wimbledon’s potential decision during an interview with BBC Scotland’s The Nine, Murray admits that organisers face a difficult decision. Saying it would pose as a big challenge for them to reschedule the event. Both the ATP and WTA are currently reviewing their calendars with the French Open now taking place a week after the US Open.

“I don’t know how long they could push it back,” said Murray.
“They’re desperate to have their event on, it’s still over three months away and a lot can change in that time,” he added.

Murray has featured in the doubles main draw at Wimbledon every year since his debut back in 2006. He has won the Mixed doubles trophy twice in 2007 (with Jelena Jankovic) and 2017 (with Martina Hingis). The 34-year-old currently has a doubles ranking of 34th.

“For them, optics don’t necessarily look great, I guess, if there’s sporting events all over the world getting cancelled and they’re trying to crack on with things.” He commented on the scheduling difficulties.
“There’s a lot of other stakeholders, a lot of other tournaments to consider. Even things like daylight for the tournament. Once the tournament gets put back, there’s less and less daylight. When you play at Wimbledon normally, you can play until 10 at night.”

The UK is currently in a lockdown with members of the public only allowed to leave their houses for specific reasons. Furthermore, 1.5 million people have been advised to self-isolate for 12 weeks. The government is hopeful that they can flatten the spread of the disease within this period, which is extremely close to the Wimbledon start date.

According to AFP News, any decision to scrap this year’s tournament is likely to have a massive financial impact. Between 2017-2018 Wimbledon made an estimated pre-tax profit of $52 million with over 90% of that invested back into British tennis. Furthermore, the BBC could also suffer a big blow. It is reported that the broadcaster pays in the region of $72 million for the TV rights.

It is unclear as to what day the decision will be made next week. Since its creation in 1877, Wimbledon has been cancelled a total of 10 times before. All of which happened during the first world war (1915-1918) and second (1940-1945). The event has never been delayed or scrapped during peacetime.

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