TENNIS BITS & PIECES – An Anglo-Japanese duo aim for the Grand Slam. Wozniacki will run the New York marathon. Players are changing coaches. The young ones are coming through and will we see Fish and Roddick at the US Open? Joshua Bosco
A Grand Slam in sight
At this year’s US Open Anglo-Japanese duo Jordanne Whiley and Yui Kamiji will try to emulate Dutch duo Jiske Griffioen and Aniek van Koot and become the second consecutive Wheelchair women’s doubles team to complete the Grand Slam.
“Winning all the Grand Slams would be amazing. That’s the aim for this year” said Whiley, who at the age of fourteen became the youngest ever UK National women’s singles champion in wheelchair tennis.
Wozniacki runs in NY
World No.13 Caroline Wozniacki has announced she will run the New York City Marathon on 2nd November. “It’s always been on my bucket list. And always New York City was the one I wanted to do. […] so I thought, ‘Why not do it?’” said the Dane in an interview.
Wozniacki will become one of the few professional athletes to compete in a marathon during their careers. She will run alongside Meb Keflezighi, reigning Boston Marathon champion, as a Team for Kids Ambassador.
US Open 2015 Wildcard?!
Former World No.1 Andy Roddick and his compatriot Mardy Fish have already been offered a wild card for the 2015 US Open doubles tournament after the pair failed to land a spot in this year’s final Slam.
The American duo wanted to make a one-off appearance at their home-tournament but Roddick was refused entry as his official retirement from tennis removed him from the sport’s anti-doping programme. ITF laws require a tennis player to be in the drug testing programme for three months before being eligible to play in a tournament.
It remains to be seen if a rather unhappy Roddick and Fish will accept the invitation.
Another record for Serena
Today marks Serena William’s 200th non-consecutive week as World No.1. She becomes the third American and just the fifth woman in history to join this elite group after tennis legends Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert and Martina Hingis.
Her No.1 spot isn’t in immediate danger but Simona Halep, who will rise to World No.2 next week, will certainly do her best to put an end to the American’s permanence at the top.
After splitting from Nemanja Kontic, World No.10 Ana Ivanovic has hired Dejan Petrovic as her new coach. The 36 year old, who played for and captained Serbia in the Davis Cup, has previously worked with Novak Djokovic and Jelena Jankovic.
Although neither man has yet confirmed the news, rumour has it that Roberto Bautista Agut has hired Javier Piles, who recently split from David Ferrer after sixteen years of collaboration, as his new coach.
It’s been a good month for young Belgian David Goffin. After losing in straight sets to Andy Murray in the first round at Wimbledon, Goffin has been on a roll winning 20 matches in a row and 40 out of 42 sets.
Along the way he picked up titles in three Challengers before reaching, and winning, his first ever ATP final beating home-favourite Dominic Thiem in Kitzbuhel on Saturday.
This was the first ever ATP final played between two players born in the 1990s, and Sunday saw the second when Milos Raonic took on Vasek Pospisil at the Citi Open in Washington. This was also a first – two Canadians in an ATP World Tour final – and Milos Raonic prevailed, taking him just 35 points shy of the World No.5 spot.
Happy Birthday Vika!
Former World No.1 Victoria Azarenka turned 25 last Thursday, but she didn’t have much to celebrate. She lost 6-4 7-6(1) to another former World No.1, Venus Williams, in the second round of the Bank of the West Classic, Stanford.
The Belarusian now has 2300 points to defend in the next couple of weeks, after winning in Cincinnati and reaching the final at the US Open in 2013. All we can do is wish her luck for the near future!
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.
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.
Tennis Could Be Suspended For ‘A Long Time,’ Warns Millman
The top 50 player isn’t expecting to play on the tour anytime soon.
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.
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.
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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