Li Na turns tour guide for her friend Hingis (Pictures inside) - UBITENNIS
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Li Na turns tour guide for her friend Hingis (Pictures inside)

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Li Na and Martina Hingis

Two-time Grand Slam champion and Wuhan native Li Na turned tour guide for one day for her friend Martina Hingis, who is playing the Wuhan doubles tournament together with her partner Sania Mirza. The guided tour included a visit to the city’s Yellow Crane Tower. The two friends took a trip to the top of the tower for a bird’s eye view of the Chinese city before hitting a few balls on a specially-created court.

It’s pretty cool. She is the hometown hero. I am very privileged to have been invited to get a personalised tour from Wuhan’s most famous daughter. She told me that it’s only the second time that she has been up here but to come with someone who grew up here, I have learnt some history about the Yellow Crane Tower and about Wuhan” Hingis said.

Hingis talked about the reaction from the fans for Li Na. “It’s incredible. She is such a heroine for her hometown- With her results she is giving hope to so many girls from here

Hingis is bidding to win her eighth doubles title this season with Sania Mirza. They won the last two Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon and at the US Open.

It’s nice to come back here after winning in the US Open and in Guangzhou. I really feel good here. The courts are nice, the new stadium is beautiful. Everything is perfect here“.

Hingis was asked if the reception she received when she came back home in Switzerland after winning the mixed and doubles titles at Wimbledon and at the US Open reminded her of the celebrations Li Na has enjoyed at home in Wuhan

Not quite. I got a welcome at the airport, but I think that China has a bigger celebration. For Li Na to come from Wuhan and make it so big in a global sport has given hope to so many people here”, concluded Hingis.

 

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Triple Grand Slam Champion Andy Murray To Retire After Paris Olympics

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Andy Murray has confirmed the Paris Olympic Games will be the last tennis event he plays before ending his career at the age of 37. 

It was expected that the former world No.1 would retire from the sport this year but it is the first time he has confirmed what his last event will be. Murray announced his plans in a post on social media website X this morning ahead of the Olympics, where he is playing in both singles and doubles events. The tennis tournament is taking place on clay at Roland Garros, which is the venue of the French Open.

“Arrived in Paris for my last ever tennis tournament,” Murray wrote on X.

“Competing for Team GB has been by far the most memorable weeks of my career and  I’m extremely proud to get to do it one final time!”

Murray is the only man in the Open Era to have won back-to-back singles gold medals at the Olympics. He was also Team GB’s flag-bearer for the 2016 games in Rio. Paris will be his fifth appearance in the Olympics. 

The announcement follows an emotional farewell for the Brit at Wimbledon where he received a special presentation on Center Court following his first round loss in the doubles. An array of sporting stars such as Novak Djokovic and Martina Navratilova attended the event with a special on-court interview conducted by Sue Barker. Murray was also due to play in the mixed doubles at Wimbledon with Emma Eaducanu but his partner pulled out of the event due to soreness in her wrist. 

“I would love to keep playing, but I can’t physically. It is too tough now. All of the injuries, they’ve added up. … They haven’t been insignificant. But yeah, I want to play forever,” Murray told the BBC.

“I love the sport. It’s given me so much, and taught me loads of lessons over the years that I can use for the rest of my life. But yeah, I don’t want to stop, so it is hard.”

Murray has been a pivotal figure in British tennis. In 2013 he became the first man from his country to win the Wimbledon title for 77 years before winning the Grand Slam for a second time in 2016. He also won the US Open in 2012, reached the final of the Australian Open five times, and was runner-up at the 2016 French Open. Overall, Murray has won 46 ATP titles and made more than $64M in prize money. In the Davis Cup, he guided his country to the trophy in 2015 by winning all 11 matches he played in both singles and doubles.

Among his achievements, Murray was the first athlete to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award on three separate occasions (2013, 2015, and 2016). In 2019 he became only the second tennis player in history to be knighted and the first to do so since 1939. He is also the only British man to have topped the ATP rankings system, holding the position for 41 weeks. 

Injury issues have also played a role in Murray’s career, especially during the later part of it. He contemplated retiring from the sport five years ago due to a serious hip issue before undergoing resurfacing surgery that enabled him to continue playing with a metal rod inserted into his hip joint. Since then, he has also suffered other minor setbacks such as an ankle injury earlier this season followed by a back issue that forced him out of the singles event at Wimbledon. 

Murray will find out who he faces in the final tournament of his career on Thursday when the draw takes place for the Olympic tennis events. 

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Czechia Changes Olympic Line-Up Following Withdrawal Of Tokyo Medalist Vondrousova

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Marketa Vondrousova - BJK Cup Praga 2022 (foto ITF Martin Sidorjak)

Former Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova has pulled out of the Olympic Games less than a week before the tournament starts due to injury.

Vondrousova, who won a silver medal in the Tokyo Games three years ago, has been forced to miss the event due to a hand injury. The Czech was set to return to action for the first time since Wimbledon, where she suffered a shock first round defeat to Spain’s Jessica Bouzas Maneiro. Last month she also suffered a separate injury scare after slipping on the grass at the Berlin Open. 

“I am very sorry, but for health reasons I am not participating in this year’s Olympic Games in Paris,” Vondrousa wrote in Czech on Instagram.

“I was hoping until the last moment that it could go at least in doubles, but problems with my hand won’t let me on the court.

The 25-year-old hopes to recover in time for the North American hardcourt swing which ends with the US Open. She is currently ranked 18th in the world and is in danger of dropping out of the top 20 for the first time since July 2023. 

“I am concentrating now on being well at the US Open, I will keep my fingers crossed for all the Czech representatives in France from a distance.” Vondrousova outlined. 

Following the withdrawal, Katerina Siniakova has been given a place in the singles draw. Siniakova is better known for her doubles success, winning nine major titles, including this year’s French Open and Wimbledon. 

Linda Noskova has been brought in to fill the vacant double spot where she will be playing alongside Karolina Muchova. 

The draw for the Olympic Tennis event will take place on Thursday, July 25th at 10am UK time. The first round of matches is scheduled to start on Saturday 27 July through to the finals on Sunday 4 August. This year’s tournament is being held at Roland Garros which is the venue of the French Open. 

List of seeds for the Olympic singles tournament (as of 22/07/2024)

WOMEN

1 – Swiatek POL

2 – Gauff USA

3 – Rybakina KAZ

4 – Paolini ITA

5 – Pegula USA

6 – Qinwen CHN

7 – Sakkari GRE

8- Collins USA

9 – Krejcikova CZE

10 – Ostapenko LAT

11 – Navarro USA

12 – Kostyuk UKR

13 – Vekic CRO

14 – Haddad Maia BRA 

15 – Shnaider AIN*

16 – Fernandez CAN

MEN

1 – Sinner ITA

2 – Djokovic SRB

3 – Alcaraz ESP

4 – Zverev GER

5 – Medvedev AIN*

6 – De Minaur AUS

7 – Hurkacz POL

8 – Ruud NOR

9 – Fritz USA

10 – Tsitsipas GRE

11 – Paul USA

12 – Humbert FRA 

13 – Rune NOR

14 – Musetti ITA

15 – Baez ARG

16 – Auger-Aliassime CAN

*Russian and Belarussian athletes at the 2024 Olympics are referred to as Individual Neutral Athletes (INA) due to the suspension of those two countries due to the war in Ukraine. They are only allowed to compete as long as they don’t show any symbols of their home countries and have shown no support for the war. 

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Nuno Borges Denies Erratic Nadal First Title In Two Years At Swedish Open

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Nuno Borges has become the second Portuguese player in history to win an ATP title after beating a lacklustre Rafael Nadal in straight sets at the Bastad Open in Sweden. 

Borges, who was seeded seventh in the tournament, capitalised on his rival’s patchy play and produced a series of impressive drop shots to claim a 6-3, 6-2, victory. He has dropped only one set in the entire tournament which was in the second round against compatriot Henrique Rocha. The maiden title triumph will elevate him to a ranking high of 42 on Monday. 

The run to the title follows what has been a difficult past few weeks for the 27-year-old, who had suffered first round losses at four consecutive tournaments before Bastad. At the start of this season, he achieved his best-ever Grand Slam run by reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open. 

“I was wishing for this moment for a while. It’s crazy,” Borges said during his on-court interview.
“I know we all wanted Rafa to win, and a part of me wished that, too. But something even bigger inside of me really pushed through today.
“Through the emotions, through all the ups and downs. It wasn’t about playing my best tennis today. It was just coming up in the big moments where I wanted and I couldn’t have played better.”

Throughout the clash, 22-time Grand Slam champion Nadal struggled with his serve and was broken five times. He was particularly fragile behind his second serve where he won just 28% of points (5/18). Serving has been an issue for Nadal throughout the tournament with him getting broken 16 times across his three previous matches but in all of those encounters, he managed to find a way to win. However, he was unable to find a way to beat Borges. 

“Many congratulations to Nuno. You play great during the whole week, so you deserve it more than anybody else here.” Nadal said in tribute to his opponent. 
“I have been here during the whole week enjoying this amazing place. I really had fun on the court. Played some very long, some good matches, some not that good moments.
Today wasn’t my best day but all the credit to Nuno. He played very well and it was so difficult for me.”

Nadal, whose quarter-final match against Mariano Navone lasted a marathon of four hours, was seeking to win the trophy for the first time since 2005. He was playing in his first tournament since losing in the first round of the French Open to Alexander Zverev. 

“I don’t know if I will be back here playing, probably not, but I enjoy it a lot. Playing for one more time here, without a doubt.” He said. 

As for Borges, he has achieved one of his childhood dreams which was to play Nadal in the final of an ATP event. The only other player from Portugal to have won a title on the men’s tour is Joao Sousa.

“It’s my first time here and I never thought I would be here playing in a full stadium against Rafa on clay. It is a dream come true and right now I’m living in the clouds.” Borges concluded. 

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