It’s Venus who takes the intergenerational clash - UBITENNIS
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It’s Venus who takes the intergenerational clash

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Venus Williams

Venus Williams brings her best game to defeat the newcomer Belinda Bencic 63 64. She’s now in round four of the Open for the 13th time in her career.

It was 1997 when Venus Williams made her debut at the US Open, reaching the final and losing it to the then number 1 Martina Hingis in straight sets. Belinda Bencic was only 5 months old at the time.

 

Eighteen years and 7 Grand Slam titles later, Williams is still competing at the Open, and this time around she’s facing that girl who was just born when she made her first appearance in New York.

Bencic has recently propelled into the public eye by winning at the Rogers Cup in Toronto, defeating four top tens, including Serena Williams, en route to the title. This year she has climbed twenty-one positions in the ranking, rising from number 33 to the 12th position in the ranking and getting often referred to as the future number one. Heads to heads are in favor of Williams, who has won all their three previous encounters dropping no more than four games per set. Bencic, however, is the odds-on favorite regardless of their history and of the struggles she had in defeating Misaki Doi in round 2, having to save three match points in a row. Venus’ path was not an easy one either, coming victorious of both Puig and Falconi only in the decider.

The stadium is packed as the two players approach the court for what is expected to be the most interesting third round match on the women’s draw, and probably a handover between a great champion and one still in the making.

In the first set both players hold their service games, Venus with relative ease and Bencic having to save three break points in the sixth games with three aggressive shots. Venus, however, plays amazingly and the break is in the air: in her next service game Bencic gets broken to love, after a bad double-fault on the breakpoint. Williams closes out the set with an ace, her fourth in the set together with sixteen winners to only six unforced errors.

In the second set the young Swiss starts improving her game, going up 4-1 and showing no intention of surrendering to the twice-former champion. Yet, from then on is Venus who takes the spotlight, winning five games in a row and displaying a tennis both fearless and accurate, bringing flashbacks of when she used to be a main contender for the title.

She will now face the winner of Kontaveit versus Brengle, on the road to a possible 26th match against her sister Serena.

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REPORT: Players Threatening To Withdraw From US Open If Quarantine Assurances Are Not Met

Officials face a race against time to find a concrete solution for players amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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With just over three weeks until the start of the US Open there are fresh concerns over the participation of a string of top names in the Grand Slam.

 

Marca newspaper has reported that a secret meeting recently took place between the ATP, USTA and players via zoom over their concerns for the upcoming tournament. Involved in the meeting was Novak Djokovic, who is the president of the Players Council. It has emerged that the entire top 20 of the men’s Tour have threatened to withdraw from the event over one critical aspect of their travel to and from America.

Players are trying to seek clarity and assurance that when they leave America they will not have to go into a 14-day quarantine in Europe due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously an agreement had been formed with Spanish officials to ensure this wouldn’t be the case, however the Madrid Open has now been cancelled. Leaving questions over what will happen to the players if they travel back to another country. Most of whom will be heading to Rome for the Italian Open, which is the only clay-court Masters event to take place this year.

Plans concerning the travel between the two continents are still unclear at this stage. This week at the Palmero Open in Italy players from Romania and Bulgaria have been allowed to bypass the 14-day quarantine recommendation. It is assumed that similar conditions will be given to players travelling into the country from New York providing they follow the right protocols. The only issue for players is that nothing is yet to be set in stone.

This year’s US Open is taking place behind closed doors for the first time in history with players being kept in a ‘bubble.’ They will be subjected to regular testing and restricted as to where they can travel to in New York.

So far only one male player in the top 20 has pulled out of the event due to concerns related to Covid-19. 2019 champion Rafael Nadal said earlier this week he would not be defending his title due to the ‘complicated situation.’

“After many thoughts I have decided not to play this year’s US Open. The situation is very complicated worldwide, the COVID-19 cases are increasing, it looks like we still don’t have control of it,” Nadal wrote on Instagram.
“This is a decision I never wanted to take but I have decided to follow my heart this time and for the time being I rather not travel.”

Others are on the entry list, but are yet to formally announce that they will for certain be taking the part. The most notable of those is Djokovic, who is reportedly expected to make the decision within the next couple of days. It is unclear if the world No.1 is waiting to hear back from the outcome of the Zoom meeting before he commits. Meetings between players and the ATP are kept confidential with only limited amounts of information being made public.

The US Open is set to start on August 31st.

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Nick Kyrgios Unlikely To Play Again In 2020

The world No.40 has played down the prospect of his travelling to Europe later this year.

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Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios has said the chances of him travelling to Europe later this year are ‘slim to none’ as he hints at the possibility of shutting down his season.

 

The former top 20 player has said he is reluctant to travel due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic which has brought the ATP Tour to a halt for more than five months. Kyrgios was one of the first players to announce that he would not be playing at the US Open due to the virus. Speaking with Wide World of Sports on Tuesday, the 25-year-old has almost certainly ruled himself out of playing in Europe this year and therefore the French Open in September.

“There’s a very slim chance I will play in Europe, almost none. It’s slim to none to be honest,” he said.
“I think I’m going to use this time to stay at home. I’m going to respect everyone that tried to do no wrong during this time. I’m just going to act responsibly and wait until I think there are better circumstances to play.”

Should Kyrgios stick to his words, he will not be playing another ATP tournament this year. Due to the pandemic, the Asia swing of the Tour has been practically wiped out after the Chinese government banned hosting international events not related to Olympic qualifying. Japan has also cancelled their events.

Earlier this week the US Open suffered a blow with Rafael Nadal withdrawing. A move Kyrgios said he ‘wasn’t surprised’ by given the clay season following shortly after. Nadal is targeting his 13th French Open title this year and has won more clay-court titles than any other player in the Open Era.

“I wasn’t necessarily surprised by Rafa’s decision. I think he’s more eyeing the French Open and I think if I was to play, I would definitely rather go to Europe at this time of year with everything going on,” Kyrgios commented.

Known for his outspoken comments, Kyrgios has once again stood by his criticism of some of his rivals. The most well known being related to the Adria Tour, which was co-funded by Novak Djokovic and cancelled early following an outbreak of COVID-19. Organisers of the event were under fire for a lack of social distancing among other things.

Kyrgios himself is no stranger to controversy and has been issued to a suspended ban for unsportsmanlike conduct on the Tour. Although he dismisses that his comments are hypercritical because his actions were not ‘putting lives at risk.’

Their behaviour throughout this time, I don’t think has been great at all. Especially coming from some of our leaders of the sport,” Kyrgios states.
“On top of our game they’re supposed to be setting an example for the rest of the tour, and them coming back at me with behaviour that I’ve done on court, I mean it just shows their intellectual level to be honest.
“Putting lives at risk, it’s not really comparable.”

Kyrgios is currently ranked 40th in the world and has won six ATP titles. So far in his career he has made more than $8 million in prize money. For the foreseeable future he will be relishing his time away from the Tour.

“I’m going to use this time to stay at home … train, be with my family and friends, and act responsibly and wait until I think it’s best,” he concluded.

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Novak Djokovic Undecided On US Open Participation

Will the world No.1 travel to America this year?

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World No.1 Novak Djokovic is set to make a final decision on playing at the US Open within the next few days, according to a report from Sport Klub.

 

The 17-time Grand Slam champion is on the entry list to play at the New York major but is yet to commit to the event amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s tournament is taking place behind closed doors for the first time in history with players being placed under strict restrictions. Those who want to stay in their own private housing are expected to pay for 24-hour security in order to ensure they are following protocols.

Djokovic has previously said he was looking at a series of options concerning his return to the court. Which includes the possibility of focusing solely on the European clay until the French Open. However, due to the recent cancellation of the Madrid Open, this route would mean that he will not play any competitive matches until next month at the very earliest. During his training session, Djokovic has been seen hitting on both hard courts and clay.

US Open Organizers will be hoping that Serbian will decide to play at the event as the other two members of the Big Three have already pulled out. Roger Federer is still recovering from his second knee operation and Rafael Nadal announced on Tuesday that he would not be attending due to concerns over Covid-19. Nadal, who is the current US Open champion, said his choice was made due to ‘personal feelings.’

Everybody knows how much do I love playing in New York. The energy that court brings to me it is just difficult to describe, but the circumstances today, speaking with my family and with my team, with the people that I love around me, forced me to take that decision and my personal feeling at the same time,” Nadal told reporters during a video conference from Spain.
“I am the defending champion there but my personal feeling and my heart are telling me to not have those long trips without knowing what could or not happen, so my decision is to stay here, stay at home in Mallorca where the situation it looks good, looks under control here. And wait for future opportunities.”

Should Djokovic play in New York he will have a golden opportunity to close in on the all-time Grand Slam record, which is currently held by Federer with 20 titles. Victory would give him his 18th major trophy, which is one behind Nadal and two behind Federer. Out of the trio, the 33-year-old is the youngest.

Djokovic is a three-time US Open champion. He started 2020 by winning 18 consecutive matches in a row prior to the Tour suspension. He won titles at the ATP Cup, Australian Open and Dubai Tennis Championships. Bringing his overall ATP titles total to 79.

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