Flavia Pennetta Reveals Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal Called After US Open Triumph - UBITENNIS
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Flavia Pennetta Reveals Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal Called After US Open Triumph

Ivan Pasquariello

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Interviewed in Singapore, Flavia Pennetta revealed how both Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams decided to call her on the day she won the US Open in September. Flavia reveals how Serena got her number, and how the two do keep in touch now.

 

 

Flavia Pennetta is in Singapore appearing in the elite top 8 contenders for the WTA Finals trophy in singles for the very first time. The Italian conquered the WTA finals in doubles with her friend Gisela Dulko in 2010, but had never managed to compete in the very best single players’ event before.

The victory at the US Open – and the 2000 points awarded for the win – played a major part in granting Pennetta’s qualification for Singapore. Right on the Arthur Ashe Stadium, the day she lifted the champion’s trophy for the first time, Flavia announced that she will retire at the end of this season. Hence, no US Open title defence for Flavia and no more Grand Slam tournament appearances.

Losing to World No. 414 in Tianjin, Pennetta risked to see her illustrious career end that way, far east in Asia in a tournament not so knows, after the celebrations lived in New York. Thanks to the Moscow organizers and a better showing from the Italian against Daria Gavrilova in the Kremlin Cup, Pennetta has managed to select a much better and more exciting stage to set her tennis farewell.

Interviewed in Singapore after the draw ceremony, the Italian revealed there have been quite special calls she received the night she got back to the hotel after conquering the US Open.

As told to the New York Times, Flavia was called by two former US Open champions and former World No.1, nonetheless all-time tennis legends, as both Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal got in touch with Pennetta to congratulate her for the important achievement.

Rafael called Flavia the same day, when it was 5 AM in Spain to congratulate her long-time friend. “Before Rafa became Rafael Nadal he was just Rafa. I know him since he was a kid.” told Pennetta to New York Times reporters.

What about Serena Williams? Did Flavia receive a call from Serena, did she have her number?

Pennetta explained better how the whole thing happened in Singapore.

You were in an interview with the New York Times.  You said you got a call from Serena after you won.

FLAVIA PENNETTA:  Yeah.

I’m curious.  Does your cell phone pop up and say, Phone call from Serena Williams?

FLAVIA PENNETTA:  No.

Do you pick it up and you have no idea who was calling?

FLAVIA PENNETTA:  No, I didn’t have her number.  She just asked my number to Caroline.  But because my phone was ringing so much, I didn’t answer to the number that I don’t recognize.

So she sent me a tweet.  Flavia, it’s me, it’s my number, call me.

I call her.  So now I have her number (laughter).

Can you talk about that conversation a little bit?

FLAVIA PENNETTA:  I mean, was not that long.  She just call me and say, Hi, baby, how are you?  I’m so happy for you.

I’m asking her how she was feeling.

She say, It’s tough for me.  But I’m so happy and proud of you.

You’re really going to retire?

I say, Yes.

It’s good for you.

I mean, she ask me if I was in New York or going to Italy, wherever.  We just keep in touch.

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WTA Luxembourg Open Axed Over Disagreements Between Tour And Organisers

One of Europe’s most well known indoor women’s events has come to an end with the tournament director criticising the management of the WTA.

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Image via Tennis Frontier

Just minutes after Clara Tauson defeated Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, to win the Luxembourg Open, organisers put out a social media post confirming the WTA 250 event will be scrapped.

 

In an unexpected move the tournament director has accused the WTA of making organisers of her event feel ‘uncomfortable’ with their rules that has prevented them from running the event how they would have liked to. Danielle Maas has revealled to newspaper Tageblatt that their decision to permanently end the tournament was made before the start of this year’s draw. Ending what has been a 25-year stint as a WTA event which has been won by players such as Kim Clijsters, Victoria Azarenka, Venus Williams and Caroline Woniacki.

We will no longer organize a WTA tournament. That’s a big change. But we no longer feel comfortable working with the WTA. The quality of the tournament as we imagine it, the family aspect and everything around it is no longer given. That’s why we made the decision to quit WTA after 25 years. We are happy to close this chapter, which gave us no more joy,” said Maas.

According to Maas, the breakdown in their partnership with the WTA is linked to rules which limits their goal of being a tournament which stands for ‘family values, closeness to the players and a good atmosphere.’ It is claimed that a Gala last Sunday, marking the 25th anniversary of the tournament, wasn’t attended by any representative from the governing body of women’s tennis and players were banned from going. It is unclear as to why the players weren’t allowed to attend.

It took a lot of nerve to organize this week the way the WTA wanted. Working together was very difficult. The rules of the WTA and their approach have changed a lot since 2019,” Maas commented.
“This (the Gala) shows that there was no longer any great enthusiasm from her side (the WTA) to continue working with us.”
“The WTA chapter now closes. For us, however, it does not close with one laughing and one crying eye, but only with one laughing eye. We’ll close this door, but we’ll open a new one next year.”

Organizers are now planning to stage an exhibition-style event next year which will likely take place in October. Details about how this will work with the WTA Tour also taking place at the same time are unclear. However, it has been confirmed that a partner of the Luxemberg Open, global marketing and entertainment company OCTAGON INC, has agreed to continue their collaboration for another two years.

In the final of this year’s Luxembourg Open, Tauson became the seventh player this season to win multiple titles on the women’s Tour after also previously triumphing in Chicago. She is one of four players born in 2002 that are currently ranked in the world’s top 100. As a result of her latest win, she is set to rise to a ranking high of 52nd on Monday.

There has been no public comment from the WTA in response to Maas’ comments.

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‘The Clock is Ticking’ – Rafael Nadal Issues Update On Recovery From Foot Injury

The Spaniard is keeping positive despite admitting his recovery is getting harder the older he gets.

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Rafael Nadal (Credit Ryan Loco)

Former world No.1 Rafael Nadal has vowed to give it all he has to return back to full fitness after being forced to cut short his 2021 season due to a foot injury.

 

The 20-time Grand Slam champion has only played in one tournament since his semi-final loss to Novak Djokovic at the French Open due to a foot problem linked to Muller-Weiss syndrome. A condition where there is a deformity in the foot that causes pain which could worsen over time. Nadal has been dealing with the issue since 2004 and recently underwent treatment in Barcelona but not surgery.

Providing an update on his current health during an event promoting a brand new documentary series about his Academy on Amazon Prime, the Spaniard says he continues to experience pain but is determined to return to the Tour.

“I’ve known better, but I’m fine,” Tennis Majors quoted Nadal as saying. “My foot still hurts a bit. It’s been a difficult time. My goal is to get better, knowing that at some point I’m going to have to face difficult and painful stages. But I have to go through them to put myself back in a position to fight for what I want. I am determined to make it happen. ”

This season, Nadal has achieved a win-loss 24-5, as well as winning two ATP titles in Rome and Barcelona on his beloved clay. Besides the French Open, he also reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open before falling to Stefanos Tsitsipas.

“In my original scenario, I was playing Wimbledon, the Olympics and the US Open,” he continued. “But scenarios cannot always be followed to the letter. You have to know how to adapt and accept things as they come.”

It is unclear as to when the Spaniard will return to competition but it is assumed that the is hope he will be ready in time for the Australian Open in January. It is not the first time he has been sidelined by injury. In the past he has also suffered from issues related to his back, patellar tendinitis in both of his knees, wrist problems and abdominal injuries.

However, Nadal admits that the older he gets, the harder it is to recover from such problems. A perspective which has also been previously expressed by rival Roger Federer, who is dealing with a knee injury at the age of 40.

“I’ve experienced some fantastic things in my career that I never could have dreamed of,” Nadal stated. “I had a hard time with injuries too, but I always found a way to get up and move on. Over the years, you also have to be realistic: things get more complicated, the clock is ticking. But I stay positive and appreciate how lucky I am to experience all of these things.”

Nadal is currently ranked sixth in the ATP rankings. So far in his career he has won 88 ATP titles which is the fourth highest tally in ATP history.

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‘It Almost Feels Like That’s Not Me’ – Emma Raducanu Reacts To Watching Her Historic US Open Win

The recently crowned US Open champion spoke to a series of British TV programmes on Friday morning about her rapid rise in the sport.

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Emma Raducanu (Darren Carroll/USTA)

British tennis sensation Emma Raducanu says her shock run to the US Open title is slowly starting to sink after spending her first night back in the UK watching a replay of her final match.

 

In New York the 18-year-old stunned the women’s draw by coming through qualifying en route to winning the title. In all 10 matches she played Raducanu didn’t drop a seat despite taking on top 20 players Maria Sakkari and Belinda Bencic. In the final she defeated Canada’s Leyleh Fernandez.

The fairytale run has rewritten the history books for various reasons. The Brit, who was playing in the main draw of a Grand Slam for only the second time in her career, is the first ever qualifier to win a major title. She is also the first female player from her country to win a Grand Slam since Virginia Wade in 1977 and the third-lowest-ranked woman to win a major in WTA rankings history.

On Friday the world No.23 spoke to various British morning TV shows about her meteoric rise in tennis over such a short period of time. The US Open was only the fourth main draw she has played on the WTA Tour so far in her career.

“I think it’s gradually sinking in a bit more. Last night I re-watched the final and tried to relive a couple of the moments and remember how it felt,’ Raducanu told BBC Breakfast.
“But it’s still such a whirlwind of an experience. I’ve loved every moment of it. It is something that is very difficult to fully comprehend.
“When I was watching it, it almost feels like that’s not me who’s playing and pulling off some of those shots. I knew exactly what was going to happen but still there’s some very tense moments and I was really proud of how I came through some moments.
“And the timeout at the end, I didn’t realise how stressful that was watching on TV.”

The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), who are the governing body of British Tennis, are hoping they will be able to capitalise on Raducanu’s US Open triumph through an increase level in participation rates in the country. Various clubs this week have noticed a surge in tennis court bookings. So much so that ironically Raducanu is struggling to get one in her local area.

‘I can’t get a tennis court either. I still can’t get a court. It means a lot that tennis is so popular now,” she told ITV’s Good Morning Britain.

One of the most striking aspects of Raducanu is how mature she appears to be considering her age. She was born in Canada but moved to the UK at the age of two. Her father is Romanian and mother is Chinese who have both worked in the finance section. She credits her parents for making her so level-headed.

Therefore, it is unsurprising that Raducanu isn’t getting too carried away when it comes to what she plans to do with her £1.8M US Open prize money.

I haven’t bought anything yet. I know tennis is an extremely expensive sport so the money will go towards that. I don’t really think of the money side of it. I know there are lots of taxes and expenses. I haven’t logged onto my bank, I’ve just been at home and in the moment,” she said.

Now being dubbed as potentially one of the most marketable athletes in the world by some marketing experts. Raducanu is already rubbing shoulders with some of the world’s best-known celebrities. Earlier this week she received a last-minute invite to the prestigious Met Gala in New York. Both of the Williams sisters, Maria Sharapova, Matteo Berrettini and Felix Auger-Aliassime also attended the event.

“I was so grateful to get the opportunity to go. The performances were amazing. I managed to see Lewis Hamilton, which was really cool because I’m a huge motorsports fan.” Raducanu commented.

Finally, speaking to Sky News via Zoom, the teenager said she hopes her recent success will help inspire others in both tennis and other aspects of their lives.

Even if it’s not tennis, even it’s to be a doctor, I just want to inspire them to dream big and anything can happen,” she told presenter Jacquie Beltrao.
“I just want to get across the message that you can be a normal kid and go to school and do normal things and still achieve results and I think that’s my main message to all the kids.”

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