Bits & Pieces from the World of Tennis: 28th of July 2014 - UBITENNIS
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Bits & Pieces from the World of Tennis: 28th of July 2014

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TENNIS BITS & PIECES – The Times chief tennis correspondent admits plagiarism. The IPTL is in trouble. Tomljanovic to represent Australia and who is playing where this week. Joshua Bosco

 

Neil Harman exposed

“The Times” chief tennis correspondent Neil Harman has been suspended by the newspaper after the journalist admitted to plagiarism earlier last week.

Harman, who has worked at The Times for 12 years and started his career 40 years ago, confessed he had used rival journalists’ articles to compile three different issues of the Official Wimbledon Annual. The plagiarism is widespread, as noted by Slate journalist Ben Rothenberg: he reports 52 large passages copied without attribution in the last three Annuals alone.

Harman has now resigned from the International Tennis Writers’ Association (ITWA) and was fired from the All England Club.

IPTL in doubt

The future of the IPTL is now more than ever in doubt after PVP Ventures, the financial backers of the Mumbai franchise, pulled out of the tournament citing a lack of clarity over the financial side of the league.

In addition to PVP Ventures bowing out the league is still missing an official broadcaster and an owner for the Bangkok team. And on top of all, a $3 million pool which was promised to each franchise trough sponsors is yet to be guaranteed.

Tomljanovic becomes Australian

World No.55 Ajla Tomljanovic is planning to become an Australian citizen and will represent her new country at the upcoming US Open, starting on 25th August in Flushing Meadows.

Croatian-born Tomljanovic has been training in the US since she was a teenager and her decision to switch nationality comes just eight months after she started a collaboration with Australian coach David Taylor, who used to work with Sam Stosur.

She will now be able to represent Australia in Grand Slams and other ITF competitions, but she’ll have to wait until she becomes a full Aussie citizen to play for Australia in WTA tournaments.

Who’s playing where

Tennis players begin their shift to the US for the summer hard-court season as three of the four main tournaments this week are played on American soil. Both men and women will be flying to Washington, with some WTA players also heading to Stanford for the Bank of the West Classic while many clay-court specialists will remain in Europe for one more week and will play the ATP 250 in Kitzbuhel, Austria.

The ATP World Tour 500 in Washington will see some of the big names on the tour battle it out for the trophy. The tournament, which will see a different winner from last year as defending champion Juan Martin del Potro is still recovering from his most recent wrist injury, features top names like Tomas Berdych, Milos Raonic, Grigor Dimitrov, Kei Nishikori, John Isner, Richard Gasquet, Kevin Anderson and Ivo Karlovic.

The WTA International tournament plays host to Lucie Safarova, Alize Cornet, Sloane Stephens, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Madison Keys and its two-time defending champion Magdalena Rybarikova who faces a tough first round match against No.2 seed Ekaterina Makarova.

The prestigious Bank of the West Classic in Stanford sees two-times winner Serena Williams head a stellar line-up which includes Agnieszka Radwanska, Angelique Kerber, Victoria Azarenka, Ana Ivanovic, Carla Suarez Navarro, Andrea Petkovic and defending champion Dominika Cibulkova. 2000 and 2002 winner Venus Williams received a wildcard for the tournament, while Sara Errani and Petra Kvitova withdrew before the start.

Some men are staying in Europe for the last main clay-court tournament of the season in Kitzbuhel, Austria, where defending champion Marcel Granollers will face some tough competition from Philipp Kohlschreiber, Lukas Rosol, Andreas Seppi, Robin Haase and rising star Dominic Thiem in order to retain his 2013 title.

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French Open Crowd Crossed The Line, Says Frustrated Alex de Minaur

The Australian explains why he wasn’t entirely happy with the atmosphere in the French capital.

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Alex de Minaur didn’t hide his irritation with fans at Roland Garros following his shock exit from the tournament on Tuesday.

 

The 19th seed fell to home player Hugo Gaston in a five-set epic that lasted more than four hours. De Minaur had a 3-0 lead in the decisive set but ended up losing 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 0-6, 7-6(10-4) to the world No.74. He has now lost in the first round of the French Open in four out of six appearances.

During the match De Minaur had to contend with a boisterous crowd who were cheering on Gaston. He faced some booing and jeering from those in the stands which the world No.20 was not happy about.

“I think there is a difference between a great atmosphere and supporting your fellow countrymen, which is completely fine and it’s great. I’m sure for him was an amazing atmosphere, he enjoyed every second of it.” De Minaur said afterwards.
“But there is a line that, when I’m getting told things by people in the crowd, making eye contact with me after I hit a double fault, I think there is a certain line that needs to be kind of looked at.”
“Good on him (Gaston) for playing a great match in front of his home crowd and being able to feed off that, and you know, having a moment that I’m sure he won’t forget.”

De Minaur refused to go into what exactly was being said to him from certain members of the crowd but insisted that he was not being intimidated by what was occurring on the court. Towards the end of the match a series of unforced errors, including double faults, costed him dearly.

“I’m pretty sure I dealt with it pretty well, all things considering,” he said. “I was in the moment. I was in the heat of the moment battling out there. It felt like kind of an away Davis Cup match, and I thrive on that. It was a lot sometimes and sometimes you do your best to focus on playing a tennis match. There are outside factors that you do your best to control.“

Heading into Paris, De Minaur had shown encouraging results on the clay with semi-final runs to tournaments in Barcelona and Lyon. He also reached the third round in Rome and took a set off Andrey Rublev when they clashed in Monte Carlo.

Given those recent results on the Tour, it is clear that the latest defeat is one that will sit with him for a while.

Ideally, I will sleep tonight and I will forget all about it, but I have a feeling that won’t be the case,” de Minaur admits.
“It’s disappointing, as everything is, it is what it is. It’s a sport that we are playing. You have your good days, your bad days. You win absolute battles; you lose absolute battles.”

As for Garon, he will face Argentine qualifier Pedro Cachin in the second round. This year’s draw is a golden opportunity for the Frenchman with him guaranteed to not play a seeded player until at least the last 16 if he makes it that far.

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Novak Djokovic Opens Up About Wimbledon Points Removal

The world No.1 states that he will always support the views of his peers.

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Novak Djokovic (Roberto Dell'Olivo)

By Kingsley Elliot Kaye

In his press conference following his win over Yoshihito Nishioka at the French Open, Novak Djokovic expressed his views about the ATP decision to remove points from Wimbledon.

 

Negatively affected by such a decision – he will drop 2000 points – the world No.1 praised the ATP’s stance and called for players’ unity.

“I think collectively I’m glad that players got together with ATP, the governing body of the men’s tennis, and showed to the Grand Slam that when there is a mistake happening, and there was from the Wimbledon side, then we have to show that there are going to be some consequences. So I support the players, unification always. I have always done that. I will always do that.” He said.

Djokovic criticized the lack of communication between the parties involved, in particular with regard to a document of recommendation by the English Government which contained diverse options. Had it been discussed by the All England Club with ATP and players, a compromise may have been reached.

“I think it was a wrong decision. I don’t support that at all. But, you know, during these times, it’s a super sensitive subject, and anything that you decide, it’s unfortunately going to create a lot of conflict, a lot of separation instead of unification.” He continued.

Djokovic also mentioned other suggestions coming from WTA and ATP, that possibly men’s and women’s players from Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia could play together at some exhibition event during the slam or something like this and prize money could go to the victims in Ukraine. There were different ideas, but there was never really a strong communication coming from Wimbledon.

He stressed that removing the points from Wimbledon, therefore not allowing players to earn or to defend points, is a decision that affects everyone, a lose-lose situation for everyone, as he called it.

Nonetheless, the charm and prestige of Wimbledon shall rest unaltered and its meaningfulness extends far beyond: “A Grand Slam is still a Grand Slam. Wimbledon for me was always my dream tournament when I was a child. You know, I don’t look at it through the lens of points or prize money. For me, it’s something else.”

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Injury-Hit Borna Coric Reacts To First Grand Slam Win In 16 Months

The Croat admits he was unsure how his shoulder would hold up in his opening match at Roland Garros.

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Borna Coric - US Open 2020 (via Twitter, @usopen)

Borna Coric said he is relieved that his body managed to hold up during his opening win at the French Open on Sunday.

 

The former world No.12 spent almost three hours on the court before defeating Spain’s Carlos Taberner 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1, in what was his first Grand Slam match of any kind since the 2021 Australian Open. Paris is only the seventh tournament Coric has played in since returning to the Tour following a year-long absence due to shoulder surgery. The 25-year-old is yet to win back-to-back matches this season.

It does feel great. I didn’t know what to expect in terms of my shoulder because I’ve never been in the fourth set, fifth set (of a match) for one-and-a-half years,” said Coric.
“So it was also kind of worrying for me, I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t know how I’m going to feel and how my whole body is going to behave in those later sets. Obviously I’ve been practicing it, but it’s really never the same.”

Impressively the Croat produced a total of 54 winners against 39 unforced errors in his latest match in the French capital. Furthermore, he won 76% of his first service points and 53% of his second.

“The last few weeks haven’t been very easy, I lost many tight matches. I mean, I was also quite happy with my tennis, but I was just losing,” he reflected.

Coric was once tipped to be the future of men’s tennis after rising quickly up the ranks at a young age. In 2014 he was the youngest player to end the season in the top 100 and a year last he was the youngest to do so in the top 50. He has recorded a total of nine wins over top five players, including Roger Federer, as well as winning two Tour titles.

In the second round at Roland Garros Coric will take on the formidable Grigor Dimitrov who has been ranked as high as third in the world. He will enter the clash as the underdog given his ongoing comeback from injury. At present Coric’s principal focus is on his body but that will change in the coming weeks.

Until Wimbledon my health needs to come first and after Wimbledon I can kind of try to switch in my mind so I can start playing more and more tournaments. I can train more and I can focus more on the tennis rather than on my shoulder,” he explains.

Coric has reached the third round of the French Open on four previous occasions.

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