Schiavone beat Giorgi in all-Italian match in Istanbul - UBITENNIS
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Schiavone beat Giorgi in all-Italian match in Istanbul

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TENNIS- Italian tennis veteran Francesca Schiavone, who is now ranked World Number 85, fought back from 3-5 down in the second set to edge Camila Giorgi 6-4 7-6 (8-6) in a very tight match and got through to the quarter final of the BNP Paribas Tournament in Istanbul. Diego Sampaolo

 

Schiavone broke serve in the fifth game of the first set at 2-2. In the first set Schiavone did not face a single break point and won 88 percent of her first serve points en route to winning it with 6-4. In the second set Giorgi broke serve for the first time in the match to open up a 4-2 lead but she was broken back after committing a series of double faults. Giorgi broke serve and served for the second set at 5-3 but Schiavone broke back for 4-5. The second set came down to the tie-break where both players got a lot of mini-breaks. Giorgi saved the first match point but Schiavone sealed the win on the second match point opportunity

In the quarter finals Schiavone will face Kirsten Flipkens, who recovered from a set down to overcome Alizé Cornet with 2-6 6-1 6-2. Kateryna Bondarenko, who upset Venus Williams earlier this week, edged Mona Barthel 6-3 4-6 6-2. Tsvetana Pironkova from Bulgaria beat Kurumi Nara 6-3 1-6 6-1-

Bad Gastein: Errani saved a match point to reach the quarter finals

Sara Errani saved a match point in the third set to battle past Maryna Zanevska in three sets with 6-2 4-6 7-5. The 2012 Roland Garros finalist cruised to a 6-2 2-0 lead but Zanevska recovered by reeling off 11 of the next 15 games to win the second set with 6-4 and open up a 5-2 lead in the third set. The Ukrainian qualifier served for the match and got a match point. Errani survived the scare by fending off the match point and clinched a hard-fought win.

“I was winning 6-2 2-0 but then I started to miss one thousand balls. She was starting to play much better from there. From the baseline I couldn’t do any points. It was difficult to win two points. It was a really difficult match for me”, said Errani

In the quarter finals Errani will face Russian qualifier Darya Kasalkina who recovered from 3-6 0-2 to battle past Julia Georges with 3-6 6-4 6-3

Ana Karolina Schmiedlova, who beat Errani last Sunday in the Bucharest final with 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 after an hour and 13 minute marathon first set, advanced to the quarter finals after her rival Andrea Mitu pulled out with a shoulder injury after dropping the first set 6-1

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Roger Federer Sends Retirement Message To Controversial Broadcaster But Did He Know Him?

Was this something the world No.4 personally wanted to do or was it just a massive publicity stunt?

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When Roger Federer and his PR team sent a video message to a 79-year-old Australian broadcaster they never anticipated the backlash it would attract.

 

The 20-time grand slam champion was one of a series of top names to pay tribute to Alan Jones. A former national rugby coach who has recently announced he is stepping down from his media commitments due to health reasons. During an interview with Sky News Australia, which he works for, Jones was shown a video of Federer wishing him well for the future.

“Alan, it’s Roger here. I wanted to wish you all the very best for what’s to come, and many congratulations on an amazing 35-year career in the media business,” Federer said.
“Take care and all the best.”

Federer wasn’t the only person to send their well wishes. Others include athletics great Usian Bolt and Lleyton Hewitt, who hailed Jones for the support he has received over the years. However, it is a little bit more complex than that for Federer.

In his home country Jones is a renowned but controversial figure who has been in trouble numerous times. He has been accused of sexism against a series of top female officials. One of the most notable being back in 2012 when he said the then Prime Minister Julia Gillard was a liar and her father ‘died of shame.’ He was involved in the cash for comment scandal back in 1999, which uncovered that a series of radio hosts was paid to say favourable stuff about certain companies. In another incident he suggested that Scott Morrison should “shove a sock down the throat” of the New Zealand prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, and that she should be “backhanded”.

In the aftermath of the backlash, it has since emerged that Federer’s video has been removed from Jones’ Instagram account as well as the 2GB website, which is the radio station the broadcaster also works for. Although an archive copy of it can be seen here. It is unclear if that action was done due to the backlash or if it was due to a request from Federer’s team.

It is unclear as to how familiar Federer is with Jones or if the two have even met in person. UbiTennis tried to find online evidence of the two at least talking at some stage over the past 10 years and was unable to find a single news source that mentioned this. The only reference that involves the two was back in 2011 when Jones said cricketer Nathan Bracken was the ‘Roger Federer of one day cricket.’  Hardly proof of the two being friends or even acquaintances at some point.

The video from Federer was secured by James Willis, who is the producer of Jones’ show. Although it is unclear as to how he went about it and how much the Swiss maestro actually knew about the person he sent it to. A somewhat confusing and bizarre situation for the tennis great.

Transcript of Jones’ reaction to Federer’s message whilst live on 2GB.

Willis: Last Friday I managed to secure a farewell from Usain Bolt for you. I may have gone one better, with the greatest tennis player in the modern era. Here we go.
[message from Federer plays]
Willis: That’s not bad. come one, Usain Bolt last Friday, Roger…
Jones: Shut up
Willis: I’ve got one more. How can I outdo that? any requests?
Jones: [laughing]
[both laughing]
Jones: Oh dear, Riley, save me will you? Goodness me.
Willis: Play it again
Jones: Yeah play it again
[message plays]
Jones: Isn’t that lovely. a lovely human being. We could tell a few stories there I could tell you…
Source – https://ketanjoshi.co

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EXCLUSIVE: Denis Istomin Doubtful 2020 Season Will Resume As He Backs Djokovic’s Vaccination Stance

Ubitennis has spoken to the former top 40 tennis star about how he is coping during the Tour shutdown and what he thinks the future has in store for the sport.

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Many tennis fans know Denis Istomin thanks to his second-round victory at the 2017 Australian Open over the then world number 2 and defending champion Novak Djokovic. In the current ATP ranking, the 33-year-old Uzbek tennis player can be found in 156th place, but he has a best ranking of 33 achieved in 2012. 

Where have you been during the lockdown?

 

I have been spending this time in Almaty [city in Kazakhstan, Ed.] with my family.

Did you resume training and playing tennis in this period?

Tennis clubs in Almaty have just reopened again, so for now I am still focusing on fitness training. Most likely, I will start playing tennis again on May 25th.

During this time, did you have a chance to talk to any of your colleagues about the current situation? Nadal thinks that the ATP Tour will not resume in 2020. What is the other pros’ viewpoint on this? 

Indeed, I spoke with some colleagues who are also my friends about the current situation in which we are living. If you ask me and other players, professional tennis will not resume in 2020.

Do you think it is the same for the remaining two Grand Slam tournaments – the US Open and the French Open?

I would like them to take place. However, I think the chance that it happens is really, really low.

What do you think of the French tennis federation’s decision to postpone the event?

They took the most convenient decision for them, but they did not take the calendar or the players into consideration. In this situation, if the tournament takes place anyway, then surely it will benefit most players, since what they really want is to just be able to play.

Djokovic, Federer, and Nadal suggested the creation of a Player Relief fund to help players ranked outside the top 100 in the ATP ranking. What do you think of this initiative?

I think it is a great idea, because this is a very difficult time for all tennis players, especially those with low ranking who do not have a chance to play the Slams and the ATP tournaments – certainly, many of them are considering giving up professional tennis. I hope that the money pledged through the Fund will help motivate them to keep playing.

Dominic Thiem initially criticised the project, saying that some players are not really committed when playing minor tournaments like Futures. Do you agree with this statement?

I haven’t played Futures for quite some time, but anyway everyone is entitled to their own opinion! Surely, there are players who are not always 100% committed! Likewise, there are many players who work very hard and do not have enough money to travel to and play in those tournaments. Perhaps, these players do not even have a chance to be accompanied by a coach, given that the Futures prize money hasn’t increased by much in the last 20 years. I cannot say I fully agree or disagree with that statement. Both viewpoints make sense. The only thing I didn’t like much was that Dominic’s statement was public – he should have discussed the matter with the ATP or with the players beforehand.

Thiem as well as Matteo Berrettini said that everyone should be free to decide which charitable donations to make and to whom – for instance, hospitals or other organisations – and that the ATP should not force anyone to endorse the Player Relief Fund. What do you think about this?

I agree. Everyone’s own financial situation is different, and I believe that everyone should be able to contribute according to their available resources – no one should feel compelled. Each of us should be able to decide by themselves whom to help and how.

Novak Djokovic revealed that he would be against a potentially compulsory vaccine for COVID-19. This statement caused an uproar among many people who accused Novak to be against science. What is your viewpoint?

Let them accuse me too then! I agree with Novak! There cannot be a compulsory vaccine – every person should be able to decide whether they want to get vaccinated or not.

Do you have any idea of when ATP tournaments will resume on the tennis tour?

I think that the next two years will be really hard for the ATP tour! I hope we can start again soon, but we must be prepared for the worst-case scenario. Since the pandemic is not over yet, the main goal remains staying healthy.

What do you think of Patrick Mouratoglou’s initiative – the Ultimate Tennis Showdown (i.e., the exhibition tournament organised by him)?

It is an excellent idea! Tennis players need to play matches, no matter if they are exhibitions or actual tournaments. I hope that all tennis federations will follow his example and organise something similar for their own players.

Interview conducted by Silvia Aresi
Translation by Riccardo Superbo

 

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The Biggest Problem Of Holding The US Open Behind Closed Doors Could Be The Players

Many are eager to return to the Tour, but are they willing to play without fans?

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The United States Tennis Association appears determine to stage this year’s US Open despite the threat of COVID-19. One option is slowly emerging as a strong possibility but there is already opposition from some of the sport’s top names.

 

Held at the Billie Jean Tennis Centre in Flushing Meadows, the Grand Slam is located in the epicentre of the outbreak in America. The state of New York has recorded 367,625 cases of the coronavirus with 203,569 of those testing positive living in New York City. As on Monday more than 29,000 people have died from the virus. Nevertheless cases in New York are coming down and their infamous stock exchange is opening back up. Yet, still the prospect of hosting an event with thousands of people attending seems a long way off. 

Given the situation, numerous options are being weighed up regarding the US Open, including the possibility of hosting it in another part of the country. However, one path previously classed as ‘highly unlikely’ by the head of the USTA is slowly gaining momentum. 

A fan-less US Open could be the best possible solution to ensuring the event could be held in New York. Undoubtedly the USTA would still take a big financial hit considering 737,872 fans visited the 2019 event. Although the USTA’s Chief Revenue Officer, Lew Sherr, believes it could still be financially viable. 

“Two months ago, it just didn’t feel like you could stage the celebration or the spectacle that is the U.S. Open in a no-fan scenario and have it be what we think of as the U.S. Open,” Sherr told Sports Business Daily on May 21st.
“As we’ve gone forward, I’ve come around to recognizing what an achievement it would be to play, and how much our fans are missing the game and would be excited to see the competition, and that you need to think about it differently. It’s a different event. It would be broadcast differently, it would be consumed differently, it’s not just playing the U.S. Open as you know it, with empty seats.”

Sherr said he has received key backing from sponsors over the potential plan with many viewing it as a ‘historic event.’ Pointing out that media-right deals will still enable those sponsors to be promoted worldwide. 

However there is one problem that the USTA most probably didn’t want to encounter – a lack of enthusiasm from some of the sports stars. It all started when 2014 champion Marin Cilic told Reuters that such a move could ‘devalue’ this year’s US Open. The Croat is one of two players outside of the Big Four to have won the event within the past decade along with Stan Wawrinka (2016).

“I just feel that it’s going to more or less feel like practice matches,” Cilic argues.
“It’s always going to be … in the years to come, ‘oh, you know that guy won a U.S. Open in 2020 without fans’. I don’t think it’s going to have that weight…
“It wouldn’t be the best scenario.”

Roger Federer admits that he will find it difficult to play without a crowd cheering him on. The Swiss tennis star is usually one of the star attractions at Flushing Meadows and is a five-time champion. Although he hasn’t featured in a final there since 2015. For Federer how would rather wait than take the path of playing behind closed doors. 

“For us, of course, it is possible to play without any fans,” he said. “But on the other hand, I really hope that the circuit can return as it normally is. May we wait for the appropriate time to return to normal mode again. At least a third of the stadium or half full. But for me, completely empty when playing in big tournaments is very difficult.”

It isn’t just the men who have expressed their concerns. Petra Kvitova is another star to voice her opposition. The two-time Wimbledon champion has said she would rather have the event canceled altogether. Like Cilic, the Czech believes playing a major without fans could harm its image. 

“I have my age and of course I would like to play another Grand Slam, but if it’s like this, I’d rather cancel them,” said Kvitova.
“Playing a Grand Slam is the greatest thing there is and playing without fans who are our engine doesn’t look nice to me and the Grand Slam doesn’t deserve it.”

Kvitova is playing in an all-Czech tournament in Prague this week which is being played behind closed doors. 

Despite the trio of objections, not everybody is against the plan. British player Dan Evans believes such an occasion could be ‘iconic’ for the sport. Arguing that it will send out a message that the sport is ready to get going.

“Me, personally, I would love it to go ahead,” Evans told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“I think it would send out a real statement that we can get back going.
“It could be an amazing spectacle that tennis goes ahead with no-one in the stadium, and everybody watching on telly.”

The US Open is set to take place between August 30th – September 13th. The USTA will make a final decision regarding the event next month. 

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