Davis Cup Final: Andy Murray levels the tie for Great Britain, beats flashy Ruben Bemelmans - UBITENNIS
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Davis Cup Final: Andy Murray levels the tie for Great Britain, beats flashy Ruben Bemelmans

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Murray pulled Great Britain level after the early win for Belgium courtesy of David Goffin

World No.2 Andy Murray won the second rubber in the David Cup Final for Great Britain, defeating Ruben Bemelmans 6-3, 6-2, 7-5. The tie is now level after David Goffin’s comeback from two-sets-to-love down against Kyle Edmund.

Murray held his opening service game to fifteen, before immediately breaking the Bemelmans serve. A forehand error into the net and a pair of double-faults betrayed early nerves for the man ranked 108. A final forehand long past the Murray backhand side saw the no.2 ranked player break for a two-love lead.

Bemelmans earned fifteen-thirty in the next game, after a Murray error and a clever drop-shot, before attacking a Murray second serve to earn a break point. A second stunning drop-shot, this time off the backhand wing saw Bemelmans return to serve early on. Bemelmans then held a massively entertaining service game, another perfectly disguised drop-shot winner, and a serve-volley point that Murray eventually won, were included in a hold to fifteen for the Belgian.

Bemelmans failed to keep the level up though, and Murray earned three break points at love-forty in game six, with two shanked forehands from Bemelmans aiding the Brit’s cause. A smash winner and a rally that ended with Murray on floor, ensured two break points were saved. Another forehand error on the third saw Murray reassert control in the set. Murray made no mistake in consolidating the break, holding to love to lead five-two.

Bemelmans held yet another entertaining game before Murray served out the first set to fifteen when Bemelmans netted a return.

Bemelmans played some inspired, entertaining tennis at times, but could not cope with the sheer consistency from the World No.2

Murray earned a break point with a beautiful drop-shot-lob combination in the first game of the second set. Bemelmans saved, but Murray earned another with after a backhand error from his opponent. Murray then passed a serve-volleying Bemelmans for the break in the second set. Murray held a length game spanning more than eight minutes with an overhead smash for the three-one lead.

Bemelmans held, and was to his credit working hard to get back into the set, pushing Murray into another challenging hold to thirty in game six. It was all thrown away though, as Bemelmans crumbled behind some tremendous Murray returning, the World No.2 crushing a backhand return cross-court with beautiful angle. Murray now had the double-break and served the second out to love for a all but unassailable lead.

Bemelmans got back on track by holding his first game in the third set, before Murray also held. Murray was upset by some of the Belgian crowd, and was given a code violation warning for an obscenity. He earned a break point, but Bemelmans gamely held for two-one.

Murray was docked a point at fifteen-love in game five with Bemelmans serving, Carlos Garcia the man behind the decision. Murray then came back from forty-love down in the same game to force break points. Bemelmans held again, and then surprisingly broke Murray in a tense game.

Murray quickly fell behind love-forty, and complained to Carlos Garcia regarding the actions of the home crowd between first and second serves, resulting in the chair umpire penalising the Belgian Davis Cup Captain for the crowd behaviour. Murray saved one break point but Bemelmans broke with a deep return near Murray’s feet that he could only push into the tramlines. Murray immediately earned break-back points with a stunning pass. Bemelmans then blew a forehand to put the match back on serve.

Murray held, and Bemelmans then played another sensational service game, including a tremendous half-volley winner to hold for five-four. Murray double-faulted in his next game handing Bemelmans a precious set point. But the World No. 108 played his return long, and Murray would survive.

Tennis can turn quickly, and Bemelmans was soon under pressure, a Murray winner, return winner, and an error from the Belgian brought three break points for Murray. Murray only needed one, picking off an ever-retreating Bemelmans to serve for the match.

Andy Murray: “The third set was tricky, when the new balls came out he went for his shots more… obviously the crowd were getting wound up but you have to use that to your advantage… big match tomorrow we don’t know who they’ll play but we have good tactics for all of them”

Great Britain Davis Cup Captain Leon Smith on Kyle Edmund: “I don’t think he could have started better than he did… two sets up its a new experience for him… you have to say at one stage fair play to David (Goffin) for finding a way back into the match.

On Murray/Bemelmans: ” I’ve never seen Bemelmans play that way before… it was very, very good

 

 

 

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Russian Tennis Players Allowed To Play Olympics Despite Breaking IOC Rules, Says NGO

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Mirra Andreeva – Australian Open 2024 (foto: X @WTA)

new report has alleged that four Russian players have been given the green light to play in the Olympic Games despite breaking or being suspected of breaking neutrality rules. 

The human rights law organization Global Rights Compliance says the quartet are among a large group of athletes from the country who have broken the rules by either supporting Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine or by working for the Russian military or intelligence services. Due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, Russian and Belarussian athletes are only allowed to participate in the Olympics under a neutral status. They are also exempt from being part of the opening ceremony.  

As part of the guidelines set out by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), these neutral athletes can only compete if they don’t show flags, emblems or the anthems of their country. They also must not have publicly supported the invasion of Ukraine or be contracted to the military.

Four-time Grand Slam doubles champion and former world No.13 in singles Elena Vesnina has been named as one of these athletes to have violated the rules, according to the Global Rights Compliance. She has been accused of using her Twitter account (now X) to retweet a post about Vladimir Putin outlining his plans to annex Crimea. On March 7th she is said to have linked an Instagram post about the killing of three Russian soilders in ukraine with the text saying “The Ministry of Defence spoke about the heroism of three more Russian soldiers”. Later that month, it is claimed she liked a post about gymnast Ivan Kuliak who displayed a pro-war “Z” symbol at a medal ceremony during the Gymnastics World Cup in Doha. 

French Open semi-finalist Mirra Adreeva is said to have liked an edited video of speeches by Putin and Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy. In the video, Putin says “the only thing that bothers us in this case is how to not catch cold at [Zelenskyy’s] funeral”. The text says “Legendary phrase” with laughing emojis, a Russian flag, and a heart.

Diana Shnaider, who has won two WTA titles this season, is accused of breaking rules by liking two Instagram posts during the same month the war began in February 2022. The first post was a video of media executive Margarita Simonyan justifying the invasion of ukraine. The other video is of Aleksandr Mikhailov reciting a poem which disparages those who are ashamed of being called Russian and openly claims that Ukrainians are Russians. 

Finally, men’s world No.60 Pavel Kotov is suspected of breaking the rules by being a former member of the Central Sports Club which has links to the Russian Ministry of Defence. Regarding Kotov, the report states ‘whilst it is unclear whether ties have been fully severed, affiliation with the CSKA would mean Kotov is directly subordinated to the Russian military and violates the IOC’s Principles on prohibited conduct.’ 

All four tennis players named in the report have not been given an opportunity to respond so far. Reuters news agency quotes the IOC as saying they can’t comment on individual cases highlighted in the report or on the decisions of the review panel to allow these athletes to participate in the Olympics.

It has been claimed that  33 of 59 neutral athletes entered into this year’s Olympic Games have broken IOC rules. 

Global Rights Compliance is a is a not-for-profit organisation specialising in international humanitarian, criminal and human rights law. In recent years they have been working closely with Ukraine with one of their tasks being helping the government ‘adopt legislation, regulations, and best practice facilitating the prosecution of atrocity crimes committed during the Russian-Ukrainian War.’ 

The Olympic Games opening ceremony will take place next Friday with the tennis tournament starting on July 27th. 

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Rafael Nadal Boosts Olympic Preparations With Norrie Victory, Advances To Maiden 2024 Quarter-Final

Rafael Nadal reached his first ATP quarter-final in Bastad.

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(@rnadalacademy - Twitter)

Rafael Nadal boosted his preparations for the Olympics with a 6-4 6-4 victory over Cameron Norrie in Bastad.

The win means that Nadal is into his first ATP quarter-final of the season with an impressive straight sets win.

It didn’t all go Nadal’s way as the Spaniard was tested in the opening set with Norrie producing some consistent and attacking play.

The British number two managed to create some tough moments for Nadal but ultimately Norrie lacked that killer instinct to make it count.

That was the difference between him and Nadal as the Spaniard used the forehand to move Norrie out of position, therefore finishing the points off with ease.

A break in the seventh game put Nadal in control but the former champion in Bastad had to work hard to close out the opening set with Norrie pushing for the break.

However, Nadal did secure the opening set 6-4 with some incredible hitting.

As expected though Nadal’s level dropped in the second set as he still hasn’t managed to find his consistent level.

A sensational passing shot at the net saw Norrie break before consolidating to take a 4-1 lead.

It was an incredible turnaround for the Brit but a lack of composure and concentration allowed Nadal a chance to get back in the match.

Get back in the match Nadal did as he managed to sustain a high level of play throughout the next period of the match, securing five games in a row to claim the win.

After the match Nadal spoke about how crucial it was for him to improve his rhythm, “I think I played in some moments good tennis, in some moments I need to play a little bit more aggressive, but that is part of the journey today,” Nadal told the ATP website.

“Great feelings. I’ve been a while without playing on the Tour, since Roland Garros.  To have the chance to compete well against a great player like Cameron is a great feeling.

“I haven’t been competing very often, so matches and victories like today help. To be in rhythm the whole match and hold the pressure on the opponent the whole match, that’s something that I need to improve, because I didn’t play enough.”

Nadal will now aim for a tenth win of the season when he plays fourth seed Mariano Navone on Friday.

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2024 BNP Paribas Open Added Nearly $1bn To Local Economy, Says Study

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The total gross economic impact of this year’s BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells was more than 50% greater than that of 2022, according to a study published by George Washington University. 

There was a total gross economic impact of over $852 million on the Coachella Valley regional economy, which is significantly higher than the $565 million that was generated in 2022. 2022 was the last time the study was conducted.

The economic impact figures are calculated by the direct ($568,988,608) and indirect and induced ($247,822,499) economic impacts and then adding them together. Direct spending includes money spent by out-of-town visitors and indirect includes re-spending of this money by the regional businesses in the regional economy.

According to a press release provided by the tennis tournament, this year’s BNP Paribas Open generated an attendance of 493,440 visitors over a two-week period which is a new record. On average each visitor to the event spent 3.18 days there. It is also estimated that there were 44,000 more out-of-town visitors to Indian Wells than two years ago. 

“The BNP Paribas Open continues to deliver a positive impact on the Coachella Valley economy,” said Philippe Dore, Chief Marketing Officer of the BNP Paribas Open. “With nearly $1 billion in total impact this year and a 51 percent increase compared to 2022, we remain poised for sustained success and growth in the community for years to come.”

To put the figures into perspective, a study conducted in 2023 by Researchers at the sports industry research centre at Sheffield Hallam University estimated that Wimbledon provides an estimated £200M ($259,675,000*) boost to the London economy. Meanwhile, in June 2024 Nielsen Sports reported that the Australian Open has generated AUS$3.14bn ($2,115bn*) in economic benefits to the Australian state of Victoria, where the event is hosted, over the past decade. 

George Washington University has calculated the findings by estimating the direct and indirect input based on ‘industry standard methodology, visitor survey results, and the data provided by Indian Wells organizers and sponsors.”

Indian Wells is a combined event that is categorised as a Masters 1000 for men and as a WTA 1000 for women. This year Carlos Alcaraz and Iga Swiatek captured the titles with each of them earning $1,100,000 in prize money.

*Figures are rough estimates based on the current exchange rate. 

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