Fed Cup Final in Prague: Petra Kvitova opens with Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova, then Maria Sharapova takes on Karolina Pliskova - UBITENNIS
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Fed Cup Final in Prague: Petra Kvitova opens with Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova, then Maria Sharapova takes on Karolina Pliskova

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The Draw Ceremony of the 2015 Fed Cup Final was held in the Old Town Hall in Prague. Petra Kvitova will face Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova in the first match. Karolina Pliskova will replace this year’s Roland Garros finalist Lucie Safarova in the second Saturday’s singles match against Maria Sharapova.

 

Kvitova, who recently reached the final at the WTA Finals in Singapore and won three of the last four editions of the Fed Cup in 2011, 2012 and 2014, leads 6-3 in her head-to-head matches against Pavlyuchenkova. The Czech star, twice Wimbledon champion in 2011 and 2014 and world number 5, dropped just five games in her only head-to-head match played this year against Pavlyuchenkova on clay in Madrid.

Kvitova has won 20 times in her 22 Fed Cup matches since 2011 losing just to Ana Ivanovic in 2012 and Roberta Vinci in 2013.

Sharapova and Pliskova will clash for the first time in their careers in the second singles match on Saturday. Both players are in good form. Sharapova reached the semifinal at the WTA Finals in Singapore after missing most of the summer due to injury problems following the Wimbledon semifinal.

On Sunday Kvitova will face Sharapova in a re-match of the recent semifinals of the WTA Finals in Singapore where the Czech player won 6-3 7-6 (7-3). The second reverse rubber on Sunday will feature Pliskova and Pavlyuchenkova. Pliskova beat Pavlyuchenkova 6-2 6-4 in their only head-to-head match in Dubai earlier this year,

Barbora Strykova and Lucie Safarova could face Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina in the possible Sunday’s doubles match.

Pliskova won a WTA title in Prague and finished runner-up to Venus Williams in the final at last week’s Elite Trophy in Zhuhai and in four more finals in Sydney, Dubai, Birmingham and Stanford. The young Czech player will make her second appearance in the Fed Cup. She made her debut in Quebec City where she beat Canadian players Francoise Abanda and Gabriela Dabrowski.

Czech Republic will take on Russia for the third time in a Fed Cup Final. The first time dates back to 1988 when former Czechoslovakia beat former Soviet Union 2-1 in Melbourne. In 2011 Czech Republic beat Russia 3-2 in Moscow.

The home team has won three of the last four titles (2011, 2012 and 2014) and has not been defeated since a 3-2 defeat against the USA in 2009. Russia will bidding to win their fifth Fed Cup after their previous triumphs in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008.

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Iga Swiatek To Quarantine After Close Contact With Polish President

Iga Swiatek will quarantine after being in close contact with the Polish President, who tested positive for COVID-19.

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Iga Swiatek will quarantine for a few days after Polish President Andrzej Duda tests positive for COVID-19.

 

The recent Roland Garros champion met the Polish President a few days ago after achieving a historic sporting moment for Poland.

Becoming the first Polish Grand Slam tennis champion in singles warranted a huge congratulations from Political and historical leaders as the 19 year-old prepares for life under the spotlight.

However this morning, Swiatek announced that she will now undergo quarantine after coming into close contact with the Polish President, who tested positive for COVID-19.

In a statement on Twitter in Polish, Swiatek stated, “Neither I nor my teammates have symptoms of the Coronavirus,” the Pole said.

“We perform tests regularly. In accordance with the applicable procedures, we are quarantined. We will repeat the tests in three days. We wish you a lot of health, take care.”

Although tests are negative so far, the incubation period is 10 days so Swiatek will have to quarantine until then.

One bit of good news for Swiatek, is she got to meet her idol Rafael Nadal via a zoom call.

Swiatek, who idolised Nadal when she was younger, met Nadal as she talked about her 2021 preparations and winning Roland Garros.

No doubt the 19 year-old will be eager to meet Nadal in Australia as she looks to win more grand slams next year.

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Retirement Doesn’t Scare Me, Says Rafael Nadal

The king of clay speaks out about the prospect of retiring and what factors may influence his decision.

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Rafael Nadal has no plans of stepping away from the world of tennis anytime soon but admits he isn’t afraid about when he does have to do so.

 

The 34-year-old Spaniard recently added to his Grand Slam tally by winning a record 13th French Open title where he defeated Novak Djokovic in straight sets during the final. Nadal’s latest achievement has drawn him level with Roger Federer for most major singles titles ever won by a male player with both of them now on 20. Overall, he has won 86 titles on the ATP Tour.

Nadal is currently the second oldest player ranked inside the top 10 after Federer. Approaching the later stages of his career the inevitable questions are starting to arise about when he may retire from the sport. Speaking to newspaper El Periódico de Catalunya, the kind of clay says it is impossible for him to say when he may or may not stop playing professional tennis.

“I’m unable to guess when I’ll retire. Who knows, it may even be in 1 year’s time. You can’t program the future. I have no idea what life will bring. Perhaps some things could happen that would take away the motivation for what I’m doing. Wish it’s not so, tho,” he said.
“Of course, to this day, I see it unlikely, but you must always be ready because things change very fast.”

The world No.2 has vowed to continue playing until his passion for the sport goes. Over the years he has had his fair share of injury setbacks with problems related to his knees, abdomen and wrist among other issues.

“I’m not afraid of that day and thus I don’t think of it. In my mind it’s clear that when the time arrives, I’ll feel it, I’ll know it and I’ll notice it probably in that I’ll no longer feel that passion that moves me to go to practice every morning, those goals to keep on improving that are needed to remain competitive as time goes by…when that happens, it’ll be time to stop & start doing things that are as important, or more, as tennis,” Nadal explains.

Nevertheless Nadal does concede that it is possible that it will be his own body that could decide when he hangs up his racket. Although he is currently free of any major injury problems at present.

“Fitness is very important when assessing if you can or not go on being competitive. That’s why I think that, if injuries respect me ,I don’t see, for now, any reason to not continue competing,” he said.
“If you feel pain every day and life, practicing and competing become a continuous suffering, it’s obvious that it [retirement] will have to be considered.”

After tennis Nadal may even decide to have a shot at playing golf. This weekend he has entered to play in the Balearic Championship in Mallorca, according to a report in Spain. He also recently played at the V Hexagonal Circuit Test-Autovidal in Calvia.

On the Tour Nadal has achieved a win-loss record of 22-4 so far this season and has made more than $3.2 million in prize money.

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Novak Djokovic Opens Up On Grand Slam Misfortunes, Criticism Over Line Judges Stance

The 17-time Grand Slam winner addressed a variety of topics during an extensive press conference in Belgrade on Thursday.

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Despite relishing in what has been a successful season so far Novak Djokovic admits he has a ‘little regret’ when it comes to his performances at two premier events.

 

The world No.1 heads the ATP Tour this season with a near perfect win-loss record of 37-2 along with four titles. However, his two defeats occurred at Grand Slams in very different circumstances. At the US Open Djokovic was the overwhelming favourite to win until he got disqualified from the fourth round after accidentally striking a lines judge with a ball. A month on from that misfortune, he was comprehensively beaten in the final of the French Open by nemesis Rafael Nadal.

“There is a little regret because I have not won a trophy in New York or Paris since I have been in extraordinary form for both. At the French Open I have had a much better opponent in the finals and I was not at my level. In New York there was this unfortunate incident, but I have won both Cincinnati and Rome,” journalist Sasa Ozmo quoted Djokovic as saying in Serbian.
“If we don’t count the default, I have lost only one match this year, so I am free to say that I am maybe playing the tennis of my life. The season is what it is, with the break and everything, but I have won a lot of matches, so I can compare this year with 2011 and 2015.’

Amid his blips the 17-time Grand Slam winner believes he is still potentially playing the ‘tennis of his life.’ Speaking to reporters in Belgrade following a practice session on Thursday, Djokovic made clear his primary objective for the rest of the year.

“(The) Goals are clear – I want to end the year as No 1 and I want to have as big an advantage as possible for the first three months of 2021, which would allow me the historic No 1, one of the two biggest goals in my career.”

Djokovic is highly likely to secure the year-end No.1 ranking for a record-equalling sixth time. The only scenario that would prevent him from achieving this would be if Nadal wins both Paris and London. Furthermore, Djokovic would have to lose before the semi-finals in Vienna and all of his matches in London.

On calls to replace lines judges

As one of the Tour’s principal figures the 33-year-old raised eyebrows in Paris earlier this month when he suggested that it was time to replace the sports tradition of lines judges with a technology. This year’s US Open used Hawk-Eye Live for the first time which is an automatic calling system instead of humans. Ironically it was a mishap with a lines judge, who were still used on the two principle courts, that got Djokovic booted out of the New York major. Although he insists that his view has nothing to do with the incident.

“I have received a lot of criticism because I have said that we should take into consideration excluding the line umpires. That is an opinion I have had for several years now, it did not have anything to do with me being disqualified at the US Open,” Djokovic explains.
“We have seen that technology in New York for the first time and it went smoothly, there was no room for human error. I am not a person who adores technology and cannot live without it, in some regards technocratic society has gone too far in my opinion, but if we in tennis can be more efficient and precise, why not?’
“For people who volunteer as line umpires we would find other roles within the organisation of tournaments. In this particular matter I think that we should use technology.”

It is unclear as to what other roles the judges could take on in such a scenario. Furthermore, those individuals who work at Grand Slams are only able to after obtaining specific qualifications and they are paid usually based on experience. In 2018 CNBC reported that 850 umpires applied to work at the US Open that year but only 350 were successful.

The Djokovic Open?

Besides his current activities in the sport, Djokovic has also shed light on his future ambitions which includes getting his country back on the map. Bringing up his hopes of an ATP Tournament being held in Belgrade once again. The Serbia Open was a 250 event on the calendar between 2009-2012 before being replaced.

Djokovic has told reporters that he will personally request for such an event to be held with his argument being the interest generated by the Adria Tour. An exhibition series he co-founded that ended early after an outbreak of COVID-19 among players and coaches. The event was criticised by many over the protocols used during a pandemic with players attending parties and a lack of social distancing at times.

“I hope that we will be able to organize a return of a professional tournament to Serbia. Although the Adria Tour ended as it did, and was followed with a negative story, for me it showed why Serbia and Belgrade deserve to have a professional tournament. I will personally ask that we bring a professional tournament to Belgrade,” Djokovic pledges.
“Everyone who comes from here and who came from Serbian tennis is in a situation where they have to go around the world in order to play. We all have to consolidate, to unite to find a solution together, for all cities in Serbia to compete to bring in a tournament.” He added.

Djokovic is set to play two more tournaments this year with the first being at next week’s Vienna Open. After that he will head to London for the prestigious ATP Finals.

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