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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REPORT: French Open Facing Another Substantial Cut In Fans Attending Amid Rise In COVID-19 Cases

The clay-court major are bracing themselves for another blow less than a week before the main draw starts.

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Two leading news agencies have reported that the French government are considering dramatically reducing the number of people allowed to attend major events in the country by 80%.

 

BFMTV and Le Parisian have quoted sources saying that officials will meet on Wednesday ahead of an expected announcement concerning tighter restrictions in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is reported that the current rule of allowing up to 5000 people to attend major events will be slashed to just 1000 which will have a significant impact on the French Open which will begin on Sunday.

Roland Garros has already had to reduce their capacity by more than halve within the past month. The French Tennis Federation (FFT) had originally outlined plans for 11,500 fans to attend the tournament with three separate zones being created. The number was then cut down to just 5000 following a government ruling last week.

Reports of further restrictions come amid a rise of coronavirus cases in the country over recent days. On Saturday France recorded 13,500 new cases over a 24-hour period in what is a new record. According to data collected by the John Hopkins University there were 64,721 new cases of the virus in the country between September 13-19, as well as 419 deaths.

The FFT has made no comment on the latest development and are unlikely to do so until there is an official announcement by the government. BFMTV says the local health ministry is planning to hold a weekly update around 7pm local time on Wednesday but it is unclear if any new measures will be announced then.

The uncertainty comes just five days before the French Open main draw is set to get underway on Sunday. Players are being routinely tested both before and throughout the tournament with six people already getting removed from the qualifying draw after they or a close contact of theirs tested positive. Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur is one of those who have been removed from the tournament after his coach, who previously had the Coronavirus, tested positive. Although 24 hours later he tested negative and Dzumhur is now considering legal action.

A total of €38 million in prize money will be available at the tournament which is a 10.93% decline compared to 12 months ago due to the economic impact of the pandemic.

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Lack Of Match Play Could Hinder Rafael Nadal’s French Open Chances, Warns Becker

The German tennis great gives his prediction for the winner of the men’s title this year.

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Boris Becker - ATP Cup 2020 (via Twitter, @ATPCup)

More top names in this year’s French Open will have a ‘bigger chance’ to win the men’s title than before, according to former world No.1 Boris Becker.

 

The six-time Grand Slam champion says Rafael Nadal is yet to reach his top form and a lack of match play could have an effect on the Spaniard’s chances. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nadal has only been able to play three competitive matches on the clay which was last week in Rome. At the Masters 1000 event he was knocked out in the quarter-finals by Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman. It was the first time Nadal had played in an ATP Tournament since the first week of March.

Speaking to reporters at the Hamburg European Open on Tuesday, Becker explains that the world No.2 still remains the favourite to win given his record at Roland Garros. Nadal has won the title a record 12 times and has only lost two out of 95 matches played at the event since his debut back in 2005. Although the five-month break in the Tour this year due to the pandemic could play a factor.

“In principle you always go for the 12-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal, but life and tennis are different this year,” said Becker.
“I watched his performance in Rome and obviously he is not at 100 percent yet. He only played six matches in three months. Whoever played in America, Rome and Hamburg will have an advantage, as players are looking for matches at the moment.’
“You can only get better in matches, not in practice. That’s even the case for Rafael Nadal. He always had his rhythm by playing Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Madrid and Rome. Four big tournaments, which gave him enough match toughness to be the best player he can be at the French. That’s missing this year.”

Elaborating further the 52-year-old says the likes of Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem may have a bigger chance of winning compared to previous years. Besides the number of matches played, he says the conditions will also be different due to the time of year it is taking place. Djokovic’s only triumph at the tournament occurred back in 2016. Meanwhile, Thiem is a two-time finalist and recently won his first major title at the US Open.

“At early October, Paris won’t be as bouncy, won’t be as hot but Rafa is still my No. 1 pick. Nonetheless, there are a few players out there with a bigger chance this time than in previous years, including Thiem and Djokovic. Just to name two.” Becker explained.

After winning his 36th Masters title at the Italian Open on Monday, world No.1 Djokovic played down being labelled the frontrunner for the Roland Garros title. Naming Nadal as the bookies favourite. The only way the two could play each other in Paris would be if they both reached the final.

“It’s Nadal. Even though he lost this week, I still think a lot of people will agree, he’s the No. 1 favourite. The record that he has there and the history of his results you just can’t put anybody in front of him,” said Djokovic.
“But Diego (Schwartzman) definitely showed that Nadal is beatable on clay. The conditions that they played on, obviously heavy clay, not much bounce, humid, night session, we are going to have that, as well, in Paris.”

The French Open main draw will get underway on Sunday.

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Damir Dzumhur Pondering Legal Action Against French Open Over Disqualification

The world No.114 says he has been unfairly removed from the tournament due to a false positive test for COVID-19 that a member of his team underwent.

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Bosnia’s top tennis player is reportedly in the process of launching an official complaint to the organisers of the French Open after being removed from the qualifying draw over the weekend.

 

Damir Dzumhur was told that he was no longer able to play in the tournament after his coach, Petar Popović, tested positive for COVID-19. However, the result was disputed because Popovic contracted the virus earlier this year and it is possible that it could have been false. Despite Dzumhur’s plea for a second test for clarification purposes, officials at Roland Garros declined to do so.

“He (my coach) tried to explain that people who have antibodies can have a false positive test, we unfortunately didn’t get a chance to do another test and we are sure that he would show that he is negative,” Dzumhur told Klix.ba on Monday.
“They were not very interested in that, they called me around 4 pm and told me that due to the close contact with him I do not have the right to play at Roland Garros this year.’
“It is one of the most important tournaments of the year for me and it hurts me the most that I don’t have a chance to play.”

Just over a day after the disqualification Dzumhur’s coach has undergone another test conducted by the Institute of public health in Vojvodina, Serbia where he has tested negative. Suggesting that Popovic did in fact have a false result. Klix has confirmed that the world No.114 has hired a lawyer with the goal of reaching a settlement with the Grand Slam. If they can’t reach an agreement it is possible that a lawsuit may occur.

“You should all know the real truth is that Damir Dzumhur was withdrawn from the tournament for no reason and we were only asking for a second test which would have shown it was a false positive,” Popovic wrote on Instagram.

Copy of Popovic’s latest COVID-19 test – image via Dzumhur’s Instagram story

The French Tennis Federation (FFT) will naturally argue against such action by stating that both Dzumhur and his mentor were aware of the rules beforehand. Although during an interview with L’Equipe two days ago Popovic said he didn’t know that he would be unable to prove a false positive with a second test. In his view a different approach would have been taken if it involved a high-profile player such as Rafael Nadal.

“Yes of course, but we did not know that we would not be entitled to a second test to prove a possible false positive. I find that quite inhuman,” he said.
“We felt so small and weak. I’m sure if it had happened to a bigger player he would have had the opportunity to prove that it’s not a fake. I think if Rafa was in our case, he would be entitled to a second or third test to verify. So we’re really disgusted with what’s happening to us.”

28-year-old Dzumhur would have been a top five seed in the qualifying draw at Roland Garros. If he successfully qualified he would have earned at least €60,000 in prize money.

The FFT has confirmed that six players, five male and one female, have so far been removed from the draw due to either testing positive for COVID-19 or being a close contact with somebody who has.

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