Blockbuster Entry List Announced For The Brisbane International - UBITENNIS
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Blockbuster Entry List Announced For The Brisbane International

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The main court at the Brisbane International Open (image via brisbaneinternational.com.au)

The organisers of the Brisbane International Open have confirmed that seven Grand Slam champions will play in the 2016 tournament.

 

The tournament will begin on January 3rd at the Queensland Tennis Centre featuring both women’s and men’s draws for the eighth consecutive year. The tournament is categorised as an ATP 250 event for the men and a Premier event for women.

Headlining the men’s event will be defending champion Roger Federer. The 34-year-old defeated Milos Raonic to claim the title last year. The Swiss will be one of eight top 20 players participating in the men’s draw. Other entrants include Kei Nishikori, Marin Cilic and Milos Raonic. 37-year-old Radek Stepanek will also participate in the tournament. The Czech won the tournament in 2009.

The women’s tournament will see three out of the top four battling it out in a sensational draw. World No.2 Simona Halep headlines the field followed by Garbine Muguruza and Maria Sharapova. Sharapova is the defending champion after defeating Ana Ivanovic in three sets in the 2015 final. There are eight top 15 players confirmed for the draw which also include Carla Suarez Navarro, Belinda Bencic and Roberta Vinci. It may be the last time Vinci will play in Brisbane after the Italian recently confirmed that 2016 will most likely be her final year on the tour before retiring.

Tournament director, Cameron Pearson, has spoken about his delight of having the world class field for his event.

“We’re really excited by the strength of both the men’s and women’s draws and counting down to what should be a fantastic week of tennis,” he said.
“We’re thrilled to welcome our two defending champions back to Brisbane, who will both have a real fight on their hands to win back-to-back titles. Every year the tournament increases in profile and the calibre of the 2016 field is certainly testament to the players’ regard for the event”.

The tournament has been hosted in Brisbane since 2009. Prior to 2009 the two draws were separate with the men playing in Adelaide and the women playing in the Gold Coast.

Full list of entrants (via brisbaneinternational.com.au)

Men
Roger Federer (SUI)* – No.3
Kei Nishikori (JPN) – No.8
Marin Cilic (CRO)* – No.13
Milos Raonic (CAN) – No.14
Gilles Simon (FRA) – No.15
David Goffin (BEL) – No.16
Bernard Tomic (AUS) – No.18
Dominic Thiem (AUT) – No.20
Viktor Troicki (SRB) – No.22
Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) – No.28
Steve Johnson (USA) – No.32
Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) – No.37
Hyeon Chung (KOR) – No.51
Jerzy Janowicz (POL) – No.57
Radek Stepanek (CZE) – No.57**
Sam Querrey (USA) – No.59
Sam Groth (Vic) ­– No.60
Denis Istomin (UZB) – No.61
Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) – No.65
Denis Kudla (USA) – No.69
Nicolas Mahut (FRA) – No.71
[WC] Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) – No.78

Women
Simona Halep (ROU) – No.2
Garbine Muguruza (ESP) – No.3
Maria Sharapova (RUS)* – No.4
Angelique Kerber (GER) – No.10
Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) – No.12
Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) – No.13
Belinda Bencic (SUI) – No.14
Roberta Vinci (ITA) – No.15
Sara Errani (ITA) – No.20
Jelena Jankovic (SRB) – No.21
Victoria Azarenka (BLR)* – No.22
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) – No.23
Andrea Petkovic (GER) – No.24
Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK) – No.26
Sam Stosur (Qld)* – No.27
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) – No.28
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) – No.29
Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) – No.33
Camila Giorgi (ITA) – No.35
Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) – No.38
Madison Brengle (USA) ­– No.40
Alize Cornet (FRA) – No.42
*denotes Grand Slam champion
**denotes injury-protected ranking

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Alexander Zverev Shines At Laver Cup But Domestic Abuse Allegations Still Cast A Shadow

The team event has done their best to stay clear of the claims but that is easier said than done.

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image via https://twitter.com/ATPTour_ES/

Cheers and joys erupted around the TD Garden Arena on Saturday after Alexander Zverev prevailed in what was a marathon clash at the Laver Cup which lasted more than two hours.

 

The world No.4 edged out John Isner to strengthen Team Europe’s lead in the tie as they seek to win the competition for a fourth time in a row. Immediately afterwards he was congratulated by his team mates which included the likes of Stefanos Tsitsipas and Matteo Berrettini. On the court there is nothing troublesome about Zverev and his game. However, some would say the German is the most controversial figure in the entire competition.

Despite the matches he plays or number of wins he achieves on the Tour, the allegations made by Zverev’s former partner continue to haunt him – whether he wants them to or not. It started more than a year ago when Olga Sharypova alleged she was physically and emotionally abused by the tennis star. Then just days before the 2021 US Open, a second interview was published by slate.com where she made further claims.

“When I got out of the shower, I was starting to take a towel and he came and said, ‘Pack your stuff right now and leave “I’m just like, ‘OK, can you wait a few minutes please? I’m naked here.’ Sharypova commented on one incident she said happened during the 2019 Shanghai Masters.
“He started to punch me, and this time I understand that I can’t be dough for punching.”

Although it is during the 2019 Laver Cup in Geneva that the most shocking statement was made. Sharypova says the abuse drove her to make a suicide attempt at that time. It was alleged that an official was called to help with the situation but there has never been any public confirmation or comment concerning this. The Laver Cup has done their best to avoid the situation but when they posted a quote on social media from Zverev, it prompted some backlash.

It is important to note that Zverev has never been convicted of domestic abuse and his former partner says she has no intention to take it to court. Sharypova said her goal was to bring awareness about the issue. On multiple occasions Zverev has said the comments are untrue and he ‘categorically denies’ them. It is understood that his legal team in Germany tried to prevent the publication of the Slate interview but details of that case are not publicly known.

Whilst there has been no conviction, Zverev continues to face awkward and tough situations. During the first day of this year’s Laver Cup, Denis Shapovalov said he heard Zverev saying that Team World’s win in the doubles will be the last point they win in the tie. Prompting a fierce response from John McEnroe and his team who were heard speaking about the comment.

McEnroe: “Fuck this guy.”
Isner: “He said that? Fuck him…”
Schwartzman: “What did he say?”
McEnroe: “He said that’s the last point we’re gonna win.”
Opelka: “He also said he’s innocent.”
McEnroe: “Yeah, good point.”

Opelka’s remark was in reference to the allegations made against Zverev.

Meanwhile, prestigious TV presenter and former player Mary Carillo reportedly quit her broadcasting role during the Laver Cup due to Zverev due to what she describes as ‘whitewashing.’ Carillo’s comment was first reported by Ben Rothenberg who is the journalist that spoke with Sharypova.

“In the end, I just felt like I’d be complicit in the whitewashing of very serious allegations. I couldn’t be part of it.” She said.

As for the Laver Cup, they find themselves between a rock and a hard place. Zverev is one of the best players in the world so to exclude him from the event without having evidence proving that he has committed domestic abuse could be a legal nightmare. However, brushing such allegations under the carpet is also damaging to their reputation. Some social media users said they have been blocked by the tournament when mentioning Sharypova’s comments on their posts.

Clearly there is no easy way out when something as serious as this arises. The only hope is that whatever happens in the future the truth will prevail.

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Nick Kyrgios Exits Laver Cup Unsure About How Much Longer He Will Continue Playing

The two-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist says he has achieved what he wanted to do in the sport and what happens next is a ‘bonus’ for him.

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Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios has said his appearance in the Laver Cup this year could be the last one he makes as he ponders his future in the sport at the age of 26.

 

The former top 20 player lost in straight sets to Stefanos Tsitsipas on the second day of the competition where Team Europe won all four of their matches. Kyrgios also took part in the doubles alongside John Isner which he also lost. Since Wimbledon, the world No.95 has only managed to win one out of six matches played on the Tour.

Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Kyrgios confirmed that he will not be playing again this season and will head home to spend time with his family. Revealing that his mother is currently unwell but he didn’t elaborate any further.

“This is my last event of the year. I need to go back home. I have been travelling for four-and-a-half months now. My mum is not doing too well with her health. I’d like to go back and see her,” said Kyrgios.
“Obviously the conditions in Australia aren’t ideal at the moment (due to the pandemic), but I don’t want to be on the road playing tennis when I want to spend time with my family.’
“I feel like I’m not one of those players now that’s going to go hunting for points or hunting for accolades or anything like that. I feel like I have nothing left to prove to myself. I’m incredibly proud of what I have achieved.”

The Laver Cup was only the eighth event Kyrgios has played this season and the sixth outside of his home country. Between February and June he didn’t play a tournament due to not wanting to travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He has also suffered some injury setbacks in 2021. He reached the third round at Wimbledon before having to retire from his match with an abdominal problem.

Following what has been a rollercoaster journey, a candidly-speaking Kyrgios acknowledged that he doesn’t know how much longer he will be playing on the Tour despite his talent. A former world No.1 in the juniors, he broke into the world’s top 50 for the first time at the age of 19 before achieving his career ranking best of 13th a year later.

“This is about my eighth year on tour. I feel like I have been around for a long, long time. You can see the Zverevs and Thiems and all that, I was on tour before these guys,” he said.
“I have not had a long career, but for me I always wanted to come on tour to beat the best players, show my personality, and then create a platform where I was able to help others. I feel like that’s what I have done.’
“Where I go from here, everything’s a bonus. I’m playing Laver Cup again, and I’m not going to lie, I think this is my last year I will probably play Laver Cup. There is an amazing amount of talent around the world and amazing personalities.’

The immediate plan for Kyrgios is to spend time with his family before getting ready to play in his ninth Australian Open main draw. He will then ‘reassess’ what he will do in the longer term.

I will try and give my best, but I’m not going to lie and say that I’m going to plan to play four or five more years on tour. That’s just not me.” He stated.

Kyrgios has won six ATP titles and has earned more than $8.9M in prize money so far in his career.

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Emma Raducanu Looking For Experience After Splitting With Coach

Emma Raducanu revealed her post-US Open plans as she prepares for life on the main WTA tour.

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Emma Raducanu (@CambridgeAwe - Twitter)

Emma Raducanu is looking for more experience in her team after splitting from her short-term coach Andrew Richardson.

 

The US Open champion revealed the news at the ‘homecoming party’ set up at the National Tennis Centre in London where the Duchess of Cambridge was present.

Speaking at the event Raducanu said that she needed more experience as she will now play on the main tour on a regular basis, “At this stage of my career I really need someone that has had that WTA Tour experience at that high level,” Raducanu was quoted as saying by the BBC website.

“Especially right now as I’m so new to it, I think I really need someone just to guide me who has already been through that themselves. “Never did I even dream of winning the US Open and now I’m ranked 22 in the world, which is pretty crazy to me.”

Richardson was always a short-term arrangement with him now committed to improving his 10 year-old son.

As for Raducanu she is now 22 in the world and faces unfamiliar territory in playing a full-time schedule.

After winning the US Open as a qualifier, Raducanu has received unlimited amount of attention and expectation which is something she will need guidance with.

Now Raducanu will set out a schedule in the next few days with the Brit set to return as early as Indian Wells which starts on the 6th of October, “I got back on court a few days ago, and yesterday I did a full training day,” she explained.

“I was feeling pretty good about myself and my game, and I am very excited to compete again. All the opportunities I am getting have been very fun, but where I really want to be is on the tennis court, as I’m just thriving out there.

“I haven’t decided on my schedule yet – I will decide in the next few days where I am going to go to – but wherever I play next, I’m going to make sure I’m ready. I don’t want to jump into things too early.”

Should the 18 year-old make a strong end to the season then she could make the WTA Finals in Guadalajara.

Although she is 14th in the race, players such as Ash Barty and Naomi Osaka could miss the event and it’s something that is on the back of the mind of Raducanu, “The WTA Finals I would never even dream of before, because it was just so far out of reach and out of sight, but coming reasonably close to it now, I think it would be great if I qualified,” she admitted.

“But if not, it’s a complete bonus, because my priority is just putting in the best possible pre-season that I can, so I can start strong next year and next season.”

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