Andy Murray pledges to play in Belgium amid growing terror threat - UBITENNIS
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Andy Murray pledges to play in Belgium amid growing terror threat

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Andy Murray (image via The Daily Mail)

Shortly after his straight sets dismissal of David Ferrer in his first match at the ATP World Tour Finals, Andy Murray has spoken about the increasing uncertainty regarding security at the upcoming Davis Cup final.

 

Murray will lead the British team in their bid to win their first Davis Cup title since 1978. In the final they will play Belgium in their home country, a place which has seen increasing anti-terror operations. Following the multiple terror attacks in Paris on November 13th, Belgium has become central in the investigation with a series of anti-terror raids across the country. The New York Times has reported that the suspected mastermind behind the attacks was Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a Belgian national who fought in Syria for the Islamic State.

The recent developments in Paris and Belgium, has sparked concerns about the security situation for the upcoming Davis Cup finals in Ghent, will take place in less than two weeks time. Murray spoke about the recent security issue in Europe as he vows to continue playing as normal.

“I do think the best thing we can do is live our normal lives, not change too much, because then the terrorists is winning”. The world No.2 said.
“I don’t want to live my life in fear every time I step onto the tennis court”.

The Davis Cup isn’t the only tennis tournament, which has seen an increase in security. On Sunday the organizers of the ATP World Tour finals announced stricter security measures, including an increase in police and the ban of all food and drink being brought into the venue.

Murray also spoke about the potential players that could be selected for the British Davis Cup team by captain Leon Smith. Smith has a tough task after two Brits, Dan Evans and Kyle Edmund, won Challenger titles over the weekend. There is also James Ward, who has been an instrumental player for the British Davis Cup team in recent time. Despite the tricky task for his captain, Murray remains level headed about who may potentially join him.

“Obviously it’s a good path to be in. I think it’s the same kind of position as the Belgians really. They have three guys capable of playing the second singles, as well, with Darcis and Coppejans probably being the best clay court players, but Bemelmans with a slightly different game style”. Murray said.

The British team could also have another player to pick from, Aljaz Bedene. Bedene is a former Slovenian player who switched his nationality to British earlier this year. According to the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Bedene is ineligible to play for Great Britain because he played for Slovenia. The British No.2, who is currently ranked 45th in the world, is arguing that the new rule came into effect after he submitted his paperwork to play for Great Britain. He will find out tomorrow if his appeal has been successful. Speaking about Bedene’s appeal to the ITF, Murray is critical of the speed of the process.

“My view is that the process has taken such a long time that it is awkward timing now”. Murray said in reference to the upcoming Davis Cup final.
“It isn’t his (Bedene) fault that it’s taken such a long time”. Murray added.

Murray will have the chance this week of securing his place as world No.2 at the end of the year for the first time in his career. The 28-year-old honestly said that it isn’t a goal for him, however, he would be ‘delighted’ if he did.

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Andy Murray To Return To Action Next Month In Six-Day Tournament Organized By Brother Jamie

A date has been confirmed for when the three-time grand slam champion will return to competitive tennis following his injury-related absence.

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Former world No.1 Andy Murray will be one of the headline acts at a all-British tennis tournament set to take place in Roehampton next month.

 

The ‘Schroders Battle of the Brits’ is a six-day event that features some of the country’s top players. Kyle Edmund, Dan Evans and organiser Jamie Murray are also set to take part. The tournament, which aims to raise at least £100,000 for the NHS, will feature both doubles and singles matches. It has also managed to secure a broadcast deal with Amazon Prime agreeing to screen the tournament live.

“The last few months have been incredibly challenging times for everyone and we see this event as our way of giving back,” Jamie Murray told the Associated Press.
“A lot of work has gone in to make sure this could happen and we are very excited to be able to bring an action-packed week of tennis, while raising valuable funds for NHS heroes to say thank you for the amazing work they have done.”

Next month’s event should provide tennis fans with a glimpse of Andy’s current fitness following his break from the sport in recent time. The three-time grand slam champion last played a competitive match in the Davis Cup finals last November and has been sidelined from action since then due to pelvic bruising. Last year he underwent hip resurfacing surgery before returning to action and winning the European Open in October. During an Instagram Live chat with Rafael Nadal on April 20th he said he physically ‘felt pretty good’ without going into specifics.

“I’m really excited to be putting on Schroders Battle of the Brits and for the first time bringing together the current generation of British male players to compete against one another while raising significant funds for charity,” Brother Jamie said.
“I am particularly grateful to our broadcast partner here in the UK, Amazon Prime Video, for enabling this event to happen.”

Scott Lloyd, who is the CEO of the Lawn Tennis Asscoiation, has said he and his team are working closely with Jamie Murray regarding the upcoming event.

“The LTA is looking forward to bringing tennis back into people’s lives this summer and are excited about events like this inspiring fans to get involved in our sport and pick up a racket,” Lloyd said in a statement

Recently the LTA announced that they are launching the British Tour during July which will feature four tournaments taking place within as many weeks. Those events will be open to the country’s 16 highest ranked players in the men’s and women’s game with prize money also up for grabs.

The Schroders Battle of the Brits will take place between June 23 to 28.

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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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