Bits and bobs from day 7 at the Australian Open - UBITENNIS
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Bits and bobs from day 7 at the Australian Open

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TENNIS AUSTRALIAN OPEN – Aussie triumph with Kyrgios winning a five-setter after Seppi misses a match point, Rafa and Berdych cruising. Masha to meet Genie in the quarters. But it’s all about the crowd in Melbourne From Melbourne Robbie Cappuccio

 

AO2015: Interviews, Results, Order of Play, Draws

First Sunday at the 105th Australian Open and definitely a family day. Don’t be fooled by an average age of around 35: that’s because of a number of kids aged 3 to 6 and grandparents in their seventies.

But why should kids go to the tennis? “because it’s fun”, “because there’s face painting”, “because I can get to see the players”. And so even outer courts, where the mixed doubles and the juniors tournaments are taking place, have their crowd cheering and asking for autographs to tomorrow’s champions. Wasn’t Nicky Kyrgios one of those boys a couple of years ago? Or Vika Azarenka a few years before, just to mention a couple.

There are the Hot-Shots courts, a program conceived by Tennis Australia to introduce children to tennis, and now taken up by a number of schools all over Australia. This means thousands of children playing more or less regularly. And guess what? More children means more probabilities of finding – if not the new Federer or Nadal – the new Hewitt or Rafter. Finally there’s a whole kids area in the square between the Rod Laver and Hisense arenas where they get their picture taken pretending to be on RLA, or play games and video-games of tennis and other activities of all sorts. Even Disney has made a deal with the Australian Open, introducing a sort of Disneyland within Hisense Arena in the last 3 days of the tournament before the night matches, which includes a Frozen based karaoke, a Neverland adventure and other themed kids zone with exhibitions based on popular movies.

aopenkids2015

Let’s move to played tennis now and women first. Bouchard wins but not without suffering against Romanian Begu 6-1 5-7 6-2 and asks the Genie Army to “practice more songs“. In the quarterfinals she’ll face Masha, who, despite having forgotten how to serve (45% first serve, and a handful of poor ball tosses), disposes of Shuai Peng 6-0 6-3. Do you see any of yourself in Genie? “I personally don’t know Genie very well. As a tennis player she’s a big competitor. She’s an aggressive player as well that likes to take the ball early and dictate points. From that perspective, yeah, definitely“.

Simona Halep flings her arms in the air as she reaches the quarterfinals for the 2nd year in a row, beating Wickmayer 6-4 6-2 and facing now Ekaterina Makarova who dispatched German Goerges in just over one hour.

In the men’s singles it takes just above 2 hours for Rafa to win over Kevin Anderson in straight sets 7-5 6-1 6-4. Despite being skeptical regarding his possibilities here, Rafa reaches the quarterfinals and is relaxed enough to smile to a ball kid who repositioned incorrectly (by a few millimiters) one of his water bottles which had fallen on the ground. He will now face Tomas Berdych who has been defeating for 17 consecutive times since 2006. We are waiting for a press release by the Czech who could sound like a déjà vu of 1980 “Nobody beats Tomas Berdych 18 times in a row”. By the way Berdych played Tomic and played strong and powerful winning 6-2 7-6 6-2. Tomic was expecting a tough match – “he hits so hard“- , but then said he was surprised by how strong Berdych started. Ah Bernie, make up your mind.

The night proposes a marathon between the local hero Nick Kyrgios and Andreas Seppi. The Italian, fresh from upsetting Roger Federer, up 2 sets to love, and owning the baseline, ends up losing 8-6 in the fifth. The young Aussie gun, supported by “an incredible crowd. Hisense Arena is now my favourite“, indulges in a number of selfies with screaming teenagers, and is now waiting for the Brit Andy Murray or Dimitrov, in case he beats the Scot. Looks like Andy is very Brit tonight though, showing sharpness and determination against Not-so-baby-anymore-Baby-Federer. So far 6-3 6-7 6-3 Murray.

 

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Bernard Tomic Sent Warning About Behaviour As Wimbledon Appeal Rejected

Bernard Tomic’s appeal was rejected after being fined all of his prize money for his first round defeat to Jo-Wilfred Tsonga at Wimbledon.

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Bernard Tomic (@ATP_Tour - Twitter)

Bernard Tomic has been sent a stinging warning about his behaviour after his Wimbledon appeal was rejected. 

 

The Australian lost his first round match at Wimbledon to Jo-Wilfred Tsonga in 58 minutes a couple of weeks ago in another lacklustre effort.

Although in previous years he may have escaped punishment, this time the grand slam board decided to deduct all his prize money as a result of his straight sets defeat.

This sent a clear message to the tennis world as they want to cut out lack of effort and give places in grand slams to competitors that will try their best.

Of course, Tomic wasn’t exactly pleased with the ruling and decided to appeal against the ruling which stated that he did not play to “required professional standards.”

However the appeal didn’t only get rejected, it got slammed down by board director Bill Babcock in a stinging letter to the controversial Australian.

In the letter Babcock referred to Tomic’s past history in lack of effort during matches, “A review of your historical record of misconduct at grand slams, never mind elsewhere, provides little justification for an adjustment,” Babcock said.

“In your case, Bernard, I am sure you would agree there is no historical evidence to give comfort to the theory that you can reform your behaviour.

“Admittedly, I am sceptical that you can achieve this reform of grand slam on-court behaviour, Many others, no doubt, would be even more than just sceptical. Good luck and I hope to be pleasantly surprised in the future by your successful reform.”

In the letter, Babcock added that if Tomic escapes a sanction in his next eight grand slam events, then he will be refunded 25 percent of his prize money.

Despite this outcome, Tomic plans on appealing this latest inquest further as he currently prepares for the ATP 250 event in Atlanta next week, “I don’t care about this 25 per cent, I care about the right thing for players in the future,” Tomic told the New York Times.

In a separate case, Anna Tatishvili was refunded all of her prize money after appealing successfully after her fine for not meeting professional standards at Roland Garros.

The American lost 6-0 6-1 in her first round match to Maria Sakkari in only her third tournament back since 2017.

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Angelique Kerber Splits With Rainer Schuettler After Eight Month Partnership

Angelique Kerber has parted ways with Rainer Schuettler after an eight month partnership which ended in Wimbledon disappointment.

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Angelique Kerber (@Wimbledon - Twitter)

Three time grand slam champion Angelique Kerber has split with her coach Rainer Schuettler after an eight month partnership. 

 

It’s been a topsy-turvy year for the German so far after reaching the finals in Indian Wells and Eastbourne as well as being 11th in the Race To Shenzhen rankings.

However after losing in the first week of all three of her grand slams so far, last year’s Wimbledon champion has decider to end her partnership with Rainer Scheuttler.

The 31 year-old made the announcement on Twitter as she admitted it was a tough decision to make but a necessary one to make, “Moving forward, it’s never easy to change – especially when you work with great people like Rainer,” Kerber said.

“But for now, we’ve decided that it’s the right time for a fresh start. He has become a friend and I‘m thankful for his hard work & dedication in the last months.”

A couple of days ago, Kerber also said it was time to embrace the challenges moving forward as she looks to improve her sluggish form ,“This time of year feels very different compared to last year, but it’s still part of the same journey,” Kerber explained on Twitter.

“Whether you‘ve won or lost the last match- it‘s done, it‘s over and it can‘t be changed. It‘s about the lessons you learn from both outcomes that will determine your path. 

“There have always been ups and downs, twists and turns in my career that I accept as part of my story as an athlete. Even more, I‘ve learned to deal with it and embrace the challenge moving forward.”

Although Kerber and Schuettler have become good friends, the results never really translated when it really mattered most as Kerber couldn’t keep her focus on the big occasions.

A very brave decision to do it more than half way through the season though as Kerber looks to finish the season strong in a frustrating year.

Next for the former world number one is the Rogers Cup in Toronto, which starts on the 5th August.

 

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Johanna Konta Speaks About Charity Work Ahead Of Second Half Of Season

Johanna Konta talks about her work with charity as she looks to end the season strong.

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Johanna Konta (@the_LTA - Twitter)

Johanna Konta has spoken about her charity work as she prepares for the final grand slam of the season. 

 

It has been an encouraging 2019 so far for the Brit after reaching the finals in Rabat and Madrid as well as reaching the last four at Roland Garros.

Although that was met with disappointment and criticism at Wimbledon after her quarter-final exit to Barbora Strycova, Konta is looking to continue the momentum in the American summer.

However for now, the world number 15 is taking her mind off tennis to focus on her charity work and in particular tackling homelessness.

Recently Konta visited the prime minister on the subject and spoke to the WTA Website about why she feels passionately about homelessness, “Homelessness has always been a big thing that’s close to my heart, that I want to help,” Konta said.

“I met a young lady called Kenny, who has come through Centre Point and it’s through them that she’s got her shift here with The Clink.”

The Brit is an ambassador for the charity CentrePoint, who support young homeless people in London since 1969 as homelessness has been a big problem in the UK.

The Clink provided catering for the event an 10 Downing Street, which was about bringing young people who are at risk of violence and helping them talk to businesses and role models to see how they can not take to crime.

On her visit, Konta explained why it was a dream come true to go to 10 Downing Street, “I feel like you’re walking through history, especially as you walk up the stairs and you see all the Prime Ministers through time. It’s inspiring and I feel very lucky.”

Next for Konta is the Rogers Cup in Toronto, which starts on the 5th of August as she prepares for the final grand slam of the year at the US Open.

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