Caroline Wozniacki and John Isner to bid for glory at the 2016 ASB Classic - UBITENNIS
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Caroline Wozniacki and John Isner to bid for glory at the 2016 ASB Classic

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Carolina Wozniacki in action during the 2015 ASB Classic at the ASB Tennis Centre in Auckland, New Zealand (image via news24.com)

Former world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki and fast-serving John Isner are the latest players to be confirmed for the upcoming ASB Classic in January.

 

The New Zealand tournament will get underway 0n the 4th January for the women followed by the men’s draw a week later on the 11th. The men’s tournament was formerly known as the Heineken Open but a change in sponsor’s has lead to the event changing it’s name to  the same as the women’s.

Wozniacki will kick off her 2016 season at the event for the third time in her career after 2009 and 2015. During this year’s tournament she reached the final of the event before losing in three sets to Venus Williams. Speaking about returning to the Auckland tournament, the Danish player is hoping for a rematch against Williams in 2016.

It’s one of my favourite tournaments and a great way to start the year,” she said. “Last year I made it all the way to the finals to play Venus and hopefully we can get a rematch.” Said Wozniacki.

The list of players for the tournament is yet to be announced as Williams and Wozniacki remain the only two confirmed players. This year there were 11 top 50 players playing in the event which also included Sara Errani, Barbora Strycova, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Sloane Stephens. Tournament director Karl Budge has revealed to stuff.co.nz, there he is currently in negotiations with Ana Ivanovic to persuade her to join the field.

“I don’t think it’s out of the question. We’re having those conversations, I was talking to her just this morning, and we’re doing everything we can to try to make it happen.”. Budge said about Ivanovic potentially coming to Auckland.

John Isner poses with the trophy after beating Lu Yen-hsun during the men’s singles final at the 2014 Heineken Open (Photo: Michael Bradley, AFP/USATODAY)

In the men’s draw John Isner will return to the city where he won his first ATP title back in 2010. The 2016 tournament will be Isner’s fifth appearance in Auckland since 2009. After winning the title for the second time in 2014, the world No.11 withdrew from this year’s event due to tiredness. Isner said that he hopes to make up for his absence at the 2016 tournament.

“I have so many great memories and I’m sad I missed the tournament this year, but next year I’m going to make it up to all those that come to watch,“. Isner said.

Isner will also be joined in the tournament by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who will play in the New Zealand tournament for the first time in his career.

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Roger Federer Withdraws From Toronto And Cincinnati Due To Ongoing Knee Injury

Roger Federer’s knee problems continue as he withdraws from Toronto and Cincinnati.

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Roger Federer (@CincyTennis - Twitter)

Roger Federer’s knee problems continue as he withdraws from Toronto and Cincinnati.

 

The 20-time grand slam champion’s preparations for the US Open have taken a hit after withdrawing from the two Masters 1000 events in Canada and Cincinnati.

Federer’s last match was a comfortable straight sets defeat to Hubert Hurkacz in the Wimbledon quarter-finals.

Since then the Swiss has been recovering his knee injury as he looks to play the US Open and win the race to 21 grand slams as him, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are tied on 20.

However Federer will have to do this without any competitive preparation as he withdraws from both Canada and Cincinnati.

Federer though isn’t the only one to have withdrawn from Canada as Alexander Zverev, Matteo Berrettini, Milos Raonic and Pablo Carreno Busta have also announced their withdrawal from the tournament.

Tournament director Karl Hale commented on the withdrawals and admitted he was disappointed, “We are of course disappointed that Milos [Raonic], Alexander [Zverev], Roger [Federer], Matteo [Berrettini] and Pablo [Carreno Busta] will not be competing in Toronto this year,” he told the National Bank Open website.

“For Milos in particular, we know he was looking forward to playing in front of a Canadian crowd in his home tournament. However, we fully understand their decisions and wish them all the best for the rest of the season. We hope they will all return to Toronto in two years’ time.”

As of now Toronto still has Rafael Nadal, Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Denis Shapovalov are still expected to play.

The draw takes place at 12pm local time on Saturday with main draw action beginning on Monday.

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Simona Halep Opens Up About Injury Battle Ahead Of Return

The Romanian says she went through the ‘hardest part of her career’ due to the severity of her injury.

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Former world No.1 Simona Halep has described her latest experience with injury as the worst of her career and remains unsure about how she will feel in her upcoming matches at the Canadian Open.

 

The two-time Grand Slam champion hasn’t played on the Tour since suffering a calf injury during her second round match at the Italian Open in May. An MRI later revealed that she had suffered a tear in the upper region of her left calf. The Romanian attempted to return to action at Wimbledon but was unsuccessful and was also forced to miss the Olympics in Tokyo.

Reflecting on her latest injury setback, Halep said it was the ‘hardest time’ in her career due to the severity of the injury. She will be hoping to make up for lost time at the Canadian Open in Montreal which she has won on two previous occasions in 2016 and 2018. Although the Romanian admits she is unsure about how she will fair.

“Anything is possible after such an injury. I had never been through something like this, a torn muscle. The doctors told me that I have recovered; I feel recovered, but in an official match it is different,” Halep told reporters ahead of her flight to Canada.
“So I will see when I get there. It was the hardest time of my career because it was a pretty serious injury, I had never met anything like that, but I took the positive side and I was glad to stay home.”

The 29-year-old confirmed that she is now playing pain-free once again as she aims to get back in full shape in time for the US Open which will begin at the end of this month. It is the only Grand Slam where she is yet to reach the final in her career.

“I’m much better now, I’ve rested mentally. But I’m also physically well; I didn’t have any pain while I trained. Now I hope to be able to play the tournaments. I intend to be healthy and play as many matches as possible,” she continued.
“I am missing the field, I am missing competition, and I know it will be very difficult at the beginning, but I’m not afraid. I will go there with confidence and I will see what I can do. The time I spent at home was very nice. It’s always pleasant to be at home and hard to leave. But I’m motivated for what’s next, my mind is there.”

Halep is currently ranked 10th in the world. If she falls down the rankings any further it will be the first time she has exited the world’s top 10 since January 2014. So far in her career she has won 22 WTA titles and has earned more than $37.5M in prize money.

The Canadian Open main draw will get underway on Monday.

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Rusty Rafael Nadal Reacts To Marathon Win At Citi Open

It was a tough day at the office for Nadal who admits that he ‘suffered a bit too much’ during his match in Washington.

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WASHINGTON, USA - August 4: Rafael Nadal of Spain at the Citi Open Tennis Tournament at the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center on August 4, 2021 in Washington, USA (Photo by Peter Staples)

Top seed Rafael Nadal says he is still experiencing pain in his foot but has vowed to continue playing at the Citi Open after coming through a marathon second-round match.

 

The 20-time Grand Slam champion required more than three hours to oust America’s Jack Sock 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(1) in what was a roller coaster encounter. Nadal was forced to recover from a break down in the decider before going on to prevail in the decisive tiebreaker. Winning 70% of his first service points and firing eight aces past his opponent.

“The match wasn’t easy,” Nadal said afterwards. “I started to suffer a little bit too much.”

Sock was the first player the 20-time Grand Slam winner has played since losing to Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals of the French Open back in June. The 35-year-old took a break from the sport in order to rest and recover from a foot injury that sidelined him for 20 days during that period. However, the foot continues to be troublesome for Nadal with him admitting that he felt some pain during his latest match.

“You need matches like this to be fitter after a month without competing. But that’s part of the process, and I know the process,” he said. “I went through all this stuff many times in my career. So it’s something I am not worried about.
“So is about winning these kind of matches. That helps you to be better. Then, if I’m able to improve with my foot, I think the rest of the things [are] going to come step by step.”

Despite the physical problem, the Spaniard was able to draw upon his trademark fighting spirit to see him over the finish line. This week is the first time he has played in the Washington tournament which is categorised as an ATP 500 event.

There will be little time for Nadal to recover from his latest match. On Thursday he is set to play South Africa’s Lloyd Harris in what will be their first tour meeting. Harris, who is seeded 14th in the draw, reached the last 16 after Tennys Sandgren retired from their match during the second set.

“I have been resting enough. Maybe [it] is not about resting, but is the moment to just keep going,” Nadal said. “[It] is the moment to not practise much because I played a three-hour match, so I need to be ready for tomorrow.
“[I will] have a short warm-up tomorrow, try to be ready for the match. I’m going to have a tough opponent in front. Let’s see. Tomorrow’s another day, another opportunity to play in front of this amazing crowd. I want to enjoy the experience again.”

Elsewhere at the tournament two top-five seeds have crashed out. Third seed Alex de Minaur was leading Steve Johnson by a set before losing 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-2. Meanwhile, fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov fell 6-2, 7-6(4), to Ilya Ivashka.

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