Martina Hingis: 'Anna Kournikova Was One Of A Kind' - UBITENNIS
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Martina Hingis: ‘Anna Kournikova Was One Of A Kind’

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Anna Kournikova (left) and Martina Hingis during the 2010 Wimbledon Championships (Rebecca Naden/PA).

Multiple Grand Slam champion Martina Hingis has praised former player Anna Kournikova during an interview with Russian sports website R-Sport.

 

The Swiss player is currently participating in the St. Petersburg Ladies’ Trophy alongside doubles partner Sania Mirza. During her time in Russia, Hingis spoke about Kournikova and Maria Sharapova. She was asked to compare the two women, however, the 35-year-old insisted that this can’t be done.

“They cannot be compared. Anna was one of a kind, unique”. Hingis told R-Sport.
“She was one of the first who was not just a tennis player, but as a tennis player and a model. Her photos have appeared in fashion magazines. She opened her example to a whole generation of Russian tennis players”.

Despite never winning a Grand Slam title, Kournikova was a household name on the tour due to her publicity both on and off the court. At the age of 15 she shot to the media limelight after reaching the semifinals of the 1997 Wimbledon Championships (the best Grand Slam performance of her entire career). Reaching a career high of 8th in 2000, Kournikova never won a singles title on the WTA tour. She enjoyed better fortune in the doubles with two Grand Slam titles with Hingis at the Australian Open (1999 and 2002). 11 out of Kournikova’s 16 doubles titles was won with Hingis.

Hingis also spoke briefly about Sharapova, a player who she played three times in 2006. The world No.1 doubles player said that Sharapova was a follower of the former Russian player (Kournikova became an American citizen in 2010).

She was a follower. For the rest of the Russians it was great that Anna gave them that opportunity, because many wanted to be like Kournikova”. Hingis said.

The 35-year-old also talked about her upcoming Olympic tournament with Roger Federer. Hingis said that she was asked by Federer in 2012 to play in the London Olympics with him, but she declined due to lack of match play. This year she decided to return the favor.

“Four years have passed since Roger’s request, and I decided to return to him this question, ask it to him. So I said, if you decide to play mixed at the Olympics this time, I’d be happy to do it with you. And I am very pleased that he has agreed”. Hingis said.

“I played with him in the Hopman Cup in 2001. There were wonderful memories, when we became champions and won the Hopman Cup for Switzerland. I hope that we can bring home a medal from the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro”. She later added.

This week Hingis and Mirza have won their first round match against Jelena Ostapenko and Evgeniya Rodina to claim their 37th straight win on the doubles tour. The pair are just eight wins away from equaling the all-time record set by Jana Novotna and Helena Sukova back in 1990.

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Simona Halep Beats Erractic Anisimova To Reach Wimbledon Semis

The former world No.1 dropped six games against her opponent who produced a series of costly errors.

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Simona Halep has stormed into the last four at Wimbledon after producing a comprehensive win over Amanda Anisimova. 

 

The 2019 champion survived a last-minute resurgence from her rival to prevail 6-2, 6-4, over the American on the Center court. Halep was able to dictate the play throughout with the use of her aggressive shot-making in a match that resembled their meeting in Bad Homburg just two weeks ago. It is the first time she has reached the last four of a major since the 2020 Australian Open.

It’s great to be back in the semi-finals. I am very emotional right now because it means a lot,” said Halep. 
“I played a tough opponent today who could crush the ball in the end and I didn’t know what to do. I just believe in myself. I believed until the end that I could win.”

The 16th seed hit fewer winners than her rival (11-13) but the most telling factor was the unforced error count. Halep’s tally of six was more than four times less than that of Anisimova (28).

Out of the active players on the WTA Tour, Halep is only the third to reach a fifth Wimbledon quarter-final after both of the Williams sisters. Taking on Anisimova, the Romanian got off to a blistering start by breaking just three games into their clash. Producing some powerful ball-striking Halep forced her rival to commit back-to-back forehand errors which granted her the early break. Two games later the lead was extended further after yet more Anisimova errors moved the former champion to 4-1. She took the opener after exactly 30 minutes of play with the help of a serve down the line Anisimova returned.

It was a case of deja vu in the second set with Halep’s game simply overwhelming her error-stricken opponent who looked growingly lost on the court. Anisimova continuously looked towards her entourage out of frustration. It eventually all got too much for the world No.25 who began to cry during a changeover after going down 1-4 once again. 

Halep’s only struggle in the match occurred when she was tasked with serving it out. With Anisimova hitting more freely and with nothing to lose, suddenly she was the aggressor and retrieved one of the breaks to gradually close her deficit to 4-5.  Prompting a big cheer from the crowd. 

After going through a period where 13 out of 16 points played went to her opponent, Halep eventually held her nerve to clinch victory. 

“I am definitely playing my best tennis (since winning the 2019 Wimbledon title),” she said.
“Last year I struggled a lot and now I am just trying to build my confidence back. My tennis here and all I need to do now is to start to believe in myself.”

Halep is yet to drop a set at Wimbledon after five matches played. 

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(EXCLUSIVE) Kim Clijsters Is ‘Done’ With Professional Tennis And This Is What She Wants To Do Next

The former world No.1 sheds some light on her future during an interview with Ubitennis at The All England club.

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Kim Clijsters (image via twitter.com/wtainsider

It is her love for tennis that has spurred Kim Clijsters to continue playing as a professional player for as long as possible. 

 

The 39-year-old announced her third retirement from the sport earlier this year after her latest comeback. Troubled by injury and having her schedule affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Belgian played only five tournaments between 2020-2022 and lost her opening match at all of them. Although three of those matches went the full distance. 

Clijsters has returned to Wimbledon this year once again but officially as a member of the legends contingent. A group of former players who play in events designated for them.

So what is the future plan for a Clijsters who has rightfully embedded her name in the sport as one of the best in recent years? During her career, she has won 41 WTA titles, spent 19 weeks as world No.1 and is the only player to have defeated the Williams sisters at multiple events (2002 WTA Championships and the 2009 US Open). 

Speaking to Ubitennis at The All England Club, Clijsters hints that she may one day like to return to the Tour but not as a player….

UBITENNIS: How does it feel to be back at Wimbledon?

CLIJSTERS: It feels great. It’s always a special place to come back to. I haven’t been here for a few years and a lot of the infrastructure has changed. For me to be back here and see the legends and players I remember watching when I was younger is so much fun. Once you stop playing there are not a lot of people who understand the life that you have had. Then when you come and see everybody it is so natural. This was my family for years and years. You don’t see it as a family then but as you get older you do. 

UBITENNIS: You recently retired from the sport. Is that you totally done now or is there still a temptation to come back?

CLIJSTERS: I’m done, done, done…. I do like to play legends tennis. I still love tennis and like to play every day if I can but with three kids it is a little complicated. It is still my passion and I love watching the sport. 

UBITENNIS: So now you’re retired, what’s next?

CLIJSTERS: I think I do (want to work in tennis). The passion started for me when I was a little girl and I still believe I can help here and there. Whether it is helping the younger players that are playing at this stage. 
There are definitely things I would like to do but with family life, traveling many weeks a year is complicated. But I do like to stay involved in tennis. 

UBITENNIS: Who would be your dream player to coach?

CLIJSTERS: That is a tough question. maybe a younger player…

UBITENNIS: Emma Raducanu?

CLIJSTERS: Yea, a younger player. Amanda Anisimova and the girls who want to get to that next stage. Those who you have a connection with personality-wise. It’s tough to pick one out of the hat right now but I think that trust and connection on a personal level are really important if you want to get to the next step (as a player). 

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Why Cameron Norrie’s Historic Run To The Wimbledon Semi-Finals Is No Fluke

The Brit has already proved his worth on the ATP Tour, it was only a matter of time before he did so at the majors.

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image via twitter.com/wimbledon

Cameron Norrie joins a small contingent of British men to have ever reached the semi-final of a major after coming through a dramatic five-set epic against David Goffin at Wimbledon.

Spurred on by an animated crowd, the ninth seed battled from behind to win 3-6, 7-5, 2-6, 6-3, 7-5, against the former top 10 player. In doing so the 26-year-old has become only the fourth British man in the Open Era to reach the last four of the grass-court major and the seventh to do so at any Grand Slam. 

 

“To just be a semifinalist of a slam, especially this one, living just around the corner. It’s just all pretty crazy and all happened pretty quickly.” Said Norrie. 

A former college standout player for Texas Christian University, Norrie’s Grand Slam breakthrough has been one in the making. Last year he achieved his best-ever season with a win-loss record of 52-25. During that year he contested six tour finals across three different surfaces, winning two titles. The most prestigious being Indian Wells.  His coach, Facundo Lugones, was recognized for his work by being named ATP Coach of the Year.

Norrie’s 2021 wasn’t a one-off with him continuing his form into this year. Winning the Delray Beach Open in February and Lyon in May. More recently, he was runner-up at Queen’s to Matteo Berrettini who is absent from the tournament after testing positive for COVID-19

“When I was a kid watching guys on TV making the (Grand Slam) quarterfinals and thinking, ‘Wow, this looks so tough to do, and there’s almost zero chance I’m going to do that.’ But to actually be doing it, to be living it and experiencing it is very cool and pretty crazy.”

Until now the Grand Slams have been where Norrie has failed to shine. It was visible how much the latest Wimbledon win meant to the world No.12 who struggled to hold back his emotions whilst speaking during his on-court interview.

“All the hard work, the sacrifices and everything just kind of all hit me at once. Especially the situation here at Wimbledon in front of my family, my friends, and obviously a lot of people following that match.” Norrie explained.
“Thinking back about all the hard work, the sacrifices and everything was just…. I didn’t really know what to say. It got emotional there. (It was) just a crazy day and crazy match to get through.”

Standing in his way of becoming the first home player since Andy Murray to reach the Wimbledon final is Novak Djokovic. The top seed ousted Jannik Sinner in five sets earlier in the day.

“He has nothing to lose. Every victory from now onwards is a big deal for him. I know that.” Said Djokovic.
“But I practiced (with him) a few times. I know his game well. He’s been around. Of course, I will do my homework and get ready.”

Looking ahead to his showdown with the 20-time Grand Slam champion, Norrie describes playing him as one of the ‘toughest’ tasks in the sport. He first played Djokovic at last year’s ATP Finals in Milan where he lost 6-2, 6-1. Although the Brit believes he has learned a lot from that match and will be seeking tips from a former Wimbledon Champion as well. 

“Andy (Murray) has been super supportive to me and my team. I’m always practicing with him and always reaching out to him for ideas. He’s super supportive with us,” he said.
“I think he’s not a bad guy to ask about some tactics. I’m going to enjoy today and maybe reach out to him and see what he’s got.”

Norrie’s win-loss record against top 10 players in his career currently stands at 4-23. 

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