Arrest confirmed in connection with illegal betting at the WTA Finals - UBITENNIS
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Arrest confirmed in connection with illegal betting at the WTA Finals

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The Singapore Sports Hub, venue of the 2015 WTA Finals (image via wtatennis.com)

Singapore media has confirmed that a British national has been arrested on suspicion of illegal betting during last week’s WTA Finals in Singapore.

 

The arrest was made last Wednesday during the evening session according to The New Paper (TNP). During the Wednesday night session Garbine Muguruza defeated Angelique Kerber 6-4, 6-4, before Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza won their doubles match.

The British High Commission is currently providing support to the accused Britain but did not elaborate any further. TNP has also confirmed that a Russian man was questioned by officials from the WTA a day before the arrest of the British national.

Speaking about the issue, Sports Hub’s senior director Jose Raymond pledged to assist the police with their enquiries.

“The Singapore Sports Hub enjoys a close working relationship with the Singapore Police Force”. Raymond said.
“We will support and assist them in any ongoing investigations.”

There is yet to be any  official statement from the prosecutors regarding details of the alleged offence. It is speculated that the accused could of been involved in courtsiding. Courtsiding is when a person sends information live from a sporting event specifically for gambling purposes. During the 2014 Australian Open a 22-year-old British man was arrested for alleged courtsiding after officials said that he had an electronic device in his shorts. After having the case dropped in March 2014, the Brit described coursiding as ‘a dream job’ during an interview with the BBC earlier this year.

There is yet to be any official comment from the WTA regarding the matter.

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Novak Djokovic Included In ATP Cup Field, Expected To Play Australian Open

The world No.1 is down to play in the team tournament but he is yet to publicly comment.

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Novak Djokovic at the 2021 Rolex Paris Masters (Credit: Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Novak Djokovic has officially been named in the line-up for next month’s ATP Cup in what is the biggest indication yet that he will travel to Australia.

 

The 20-time Grand Slam champion is set to headline the team event in Sydney which will feature 18 out of the world’s top 20 players. Djokovic guided Serbia to the title back in 2020 but this year they failed to progress beyond the knockout stages after losing to Germany. The country is the top seeds for the 2021 edition and have been drawn in Group A along with Norway, Chile and Spain. Seedings in the event are determined by the ranking of the country’s top player.

Djokovic’s inclusion in the squad is the biggest hint yet that he intends to defend his title at the upcoming Australian Open which will only allow players who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to participate. The rules are in line with a health mandate that has been implemented in the state of Victoria. In recent weeks the 34-year-old has refused to disclose his vaccination status and has been coy about his plans at the Melbourne major.

“The players are aware of the conditions if they come to Australia so if they’re playing in the ATP Cup we’re expecting all those players to play the Australian Open,” tournament director Tom Larner told reporters on Tuesday.

The region where the ATP Cup is played doesn’t have the same entry criteria as the Australian Open regarding a mandatory vaccination. However, unvaccinated players will have to apply for an exemption and then go through a 14-day quarantine if they still wanted to play in the event.

Besides Djokovic, US Open champion Daniil Medvedev, Olympic gold medallist Alexander Zverev and Matteo Berrettini are all set to play. The event will also see the return of Dominic Thiem who hasn’t played on the Tour since June due to a wrist injury. Stefanos Tsitsipas is also on the entry list despite recently undergoing surgery on his elbow.

“There’s no better place for us to launch the 2022 season than with the ATP Cup in Sydney. The players have loved competing at this event in recent years and the 2022 player field speaks for itself. We’re delighted that fans will be able to see so many of the world’s best representing their countries in the opening week of the season and we look forward to a fantastic event.” ATP Cup Chief Tour Officer Ross Hutchins said in a statement.

A total of 16 countries are participating in the ATP Cup and they have been split into four groups of four. The winner of each group will then move into the semi-finals. Each tie will consist of two singles matches and one doubles. A total of USD$10 million in prize money is up for grabs and singles players can earn a maximum of 750 ranking points.

The ATP Cup is set to get underway on January 1st.

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Bianca Andreescu delays season won’t travel to Australia

Bianca Andreescu will miss the start of the season in Australia after a tough 2021 season.

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Bianca Andreescu (@OduNews1 - Twitter)

The Canadian went on social media to break the news that she needs a little more time to rehab, prepare and focus on mental health.

 

Bianca Andreescu’s most recent tennis season wasn’t easy and amid a difficult year with highs and lows with twists and turns, she has decided to delay the beginning of her season.

The Toronto native took to Twitter to break the news to announce she was going through a difficult time including the fact she was worried about her grandmother who was in the ICU due to Covid.

Andreescu got off to a slow start last season losing in the second round of the Australian Open but bounced back in Miami in the first WTA 1000 tournament of the year making the final.

In that final, she faced the world number one Ash Barty but was actually forced to retire after a scary tumble for her first injury of the season. The clay-court season was even more hectic as she had tested positive for Covid herself and played one tune-up event prior to the French Open.

She won two matches in Strasbourg before pulling out of precaution due to an ab tear and ended up being upset in the first round of Roland Garros to the Slovenian Tamara Zidansek.

She then turned to the grass-court season where she won one match in Eastbourne, one where she struggled to get past the American qualifier Christina Mchale but managed to pull it off in three sets.

She lost her next match to the Estonian Anett Kontaveitt in straight sets and went on to her next grass-court event in the German capital of Berlin. She was upset once again by Alize Cornet of France.

She faced Cornet once again in round one of Wimbledon but again failed to get the win. She then played her home event the National Bank Open in Montreal where she lost in the round of 16 to the Tunisian Ons Jabeur.

In Cincinnati, she suffered another first-round exit at the hands of the Czech Karolina Muchova but managed to have a great US Open run in New York where again she made the round of 16.

She eventually lost to Maria Sakkari of Greece in a tough three-set match and played two more events in Chicago and Indian Wells. In the windy city, she lost her opening match to Shelby Rodgers and made the second round in California losing once again to Kontaveitt.

After all her 2019 points dropped off she is now ranked 46 in the world.

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Davis Cup Chiefs Presses Ahead With Five-City Plan But Admits Not Everybody Will Be Happy

Unanswered questions remain over the staging of next year’s historic team event but both Kosmos and the ITF are confident about their plans.

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MADRID, SPAIN - DECEMBER 05: Davis Cup by Rakuten Madrid Finals 2021 at Madrid Arena on December 05, 2021 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos / Quality Sport Images / Kosmos Tennis)

The Organizers of the Davis Cup say that they can’t avoid negative ‘noise’ about them after revealing their plans for the 2022 edition of the tournament.

 

Next year will see the finals of the competition staged across five cities over a 11-day period. The number of teams participating will be cut from 18 to 16 and then split into four groups. Each group will play in a designated city which will be held in a country of one of the qualified teams. Those who progress to the knockout stages will then have to fly to a ‘neutral’ location for the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final.

There remain a lot of unanswered questions about the latest format change with the host cities yet to be revealed. Something which confused many journalists on Sunday after they originally received an invitation titled ‘next destination’ which indicated that the name of the host countries would be revealed. It is widely speculated that Abu Dhabi will be one of the main cities selected for 2022 and is strongly favoured to host the knockout stages. A somewhat controversial decision to move the event to an area which doesn’t have a rich Davis Cup history.

Refusing to name any countries, the president of the International Tennis Federation, David Haggerty, told reporters that he is ‘unaware’ of any opposition to where the tournament could be held. Even though Australian Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt last week accused officials of ‘selling the soul’ of the competition amid reports it could be heading to the UAE.

“I can tell you that we are in final negotiations. We haven’t signed so we didn’t think it was proper to make an announcement. There is no opposition that we’re aware of. We’re very pleased with the preferred city that we’re in final stages with,” Said Haggerty.

Enric Rojas is the president of Investment firm Kosmos who are in charge of overseeing the Davis Cup after signing a 25-year deal worth millions back in 2018. He confirmed that discussions have taken place with various stakeholders about the competition but it is unclear as to how much say they have had in the decision making process. Whilst the 2021 finals has been praised by some, Rojas acknowledges that he is unable to please everybody.

“We cannot avoid some noise around everything we do. We have faced that since 2018 and in 2019, now in 2021, especially coming from a few countries,” he said.
“I have the feeling after speaking to many players, captains and federations that the noise that we are hearing is because of Abu Dhabi or because of other things, that noise will always happen irrespective of whatever you do.’
“There will be some flexibility in the process, but we are looking for having agreements with the host cities and the countries in between three and five years.”

There is still more clarity needed on the staging of the competition. One of which being what happens if a country who has agreed to host the group stages of the event over a fixed period doesn’t qualify one year. Will they continue to host the competition or do they lose out to another country? One option to avoid this could be the use of wildcards but organisers normally change countries each year.

As for the players, all concede that having an event such as the Davis Cup at the end of a long season is a massive challenge. Marin Cilic played in the title match on Sunday where Croatia lost 2-0 to the Russian Tennis Federation.

It definitely is different,” Cilic commented on the Davis Cup changes in recent years. “But it’s tough to say in the end what is better, what is not. For us the whole system worked. This new system worked amazingly well.”

World No.2 Daniil Medvedev has voiced his backing to the prospect of having the 2022 finals staged across Europe, then moving the knockout stages to the Middle East. However, he admits the timing of the competition is problematic for some of his peers.

“I think the idea itself is very good. Of course, the calendar doesn’t let Davis Cup be in any other week, so that’s where it’s tough. That’s where some top players are not going to play because it’s the end of the season, somebody’s burned out, somebody’s injured, somebody wants to prepare well for Australia, so that’s not easy.” Medvedev told reporters on Sunday.
“It’s going to be tough for any player, especially those who play the Masters (ATP Finals), to be able to cope up with the season.” He added.

According to Kosmos, the four cities which will host the group ties will have to go through a bidding process with the final decision made next March. As for the fifth neutral venue, Abu Dhabi has been described as the ‘preferred option’ but it hasn’t been officially signed off yet. It has been confirmed that the entire 2022 Finals must be staged indoors regardless of the host country in order to minimised players need to adapt to various conditions.

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