Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki Comment on Sharapova's Doping Scandal - UBITENNIS
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Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki Comment on Sharapova’s Doping Scandal

Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki were amongst the first WTA players to comment on the doping scandal exploded yesterday when Maria Sharapova revealed to have tested positive to Meldonium. What do Serena and Caroline think?

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When Maria Sharapova entered a temporary press conference room in a downtown hotel in Los Angeles, many thought the Russian was ready to announce her retirement from tennis. What followed was far more shocking that the end of a career itself, as the Russian literally shocked the tennis community admitting to having failed a drug test last January at the Australian Open after testing positive to Meldonium, an anti-ischemic she had been taking for 10 years to deal with a magnesium deficiency.

 

Surprisingly, while the majority of the people involved with sports posted immediate reactions on social media, a cloud of silence settled on the WTA tour. A part from Madison Keys, who publicly sustained the Russian and Jennifer Capriati, who instead asked the Russian should have all of her titles ripped off, the rest of the women’s tour didn’t react. Were they all too shocked?

It seems so. After one day, we finally know what both World No.1 Serena Williams and former World No.1 Caroline Wozniacki think of the whole shebang.

“As most people I am shocked, but I am happy Maria was upfront and very honest. She showed a lot of courage” commented Serena, who hasn’t lost to Sharapova in more than 10 years.

Following the American’s comments, Caroline Wozniacki – who was with Serena today as showed on the American’s Instagram account – was less understanding of Sharapova’s alleged negligence.

“Any time we do take a any medication, as athletes we triple check because sometimes even things like cough drops or a nasal spry can happen to be on the list” said the former World No.1, who lost to Serena the last Grand Slam final she has played in 2014 at the US Open.

Jennifer Capriati, as we know, was in no forgiving mood when the lashed at the Russian through her Twitter account (Jennifer’s tweets here).

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Novak Djokovic Signs Up For Doubles Tournament Amid Growing Speculation Of US Open Attendance

Does this latest development mean the world No.1 will for certain play in New York?

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Fears that every member of the Big Three could miss the US Open have been eased after it emerged that Novak Djokovic has put his name down to play in an additional event in the country.

 

The world No.1 has entered into the doubles draw of the Western and Southern Open where he is set to play alongside compatriot Filip Krajinovic. This year’s tournament has been relocated from Cincinnati to the Billie Jean Tennis Center in New York due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will take place a week before the US Open gets underway.

Djokovic is yet to give a definitive answer about whether or not he would be playing at this year’s Grand Slam amid a series of top names pulling out over travelling and health concerns. Rivals Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka have opted to miss the event. Meanwhile, on the women’s tour Ash Barty, Kiki Bertens and Elina Svitolina have officially withdrawn.

Last week Serbian website Sport Klub said that a decision would be made ‘soon.’ A recent concern raised by Djokovic and other players was quarantine issues. There has been assurances that players will not have to self-isolate upon arrival but there has been less clarity about their return to Europe. However, these concerns have recently been eased following an announcement by the Italian government. Italy will hold the next Masters 1000 event two weeks after the US Open ends.

“In order to allow all national and international sport competitions planned on Italian soil to take place, whether they are organized by National Federations, sport disciplines or institutions associated or recognized by CONI [Italian Olympic Committee], if those competitions require the participation by athletes, coaches and helpers arriving from countries that would not permit their entry into Italy or for whom a quarantine period would be required, these people would need to verify their health status through a PCR test the results of which will need to be included in the declaration as per Article 5, Comma 1, and verified by the commercial carrier as per Article 7. This test shall be performed no later than 48 hours before the arrival in Italy and in order to be admitted into Italy, these people shall be in possession of a document certifying the negative result to that test and including their personal data for inspection. In case of a negative result of the test, each component of the delegation will be allowed to take part to the intended sport competition on Italian soil, provided they follow the specific health protocol put in place by the organizers of said event.” The latest government guidelines state.

Prior to the five-month break of tennis due to the pandemic, Djokovic started 2020 unbeaten by winning 18 matches in a row. He claimed titles at the ATP Cup, Australian Open and Dubai Tennis Championships. He currently leads the ATP rankings by 370 points ahead of his nearest rival Rafael Nadal.

The US Open will start of August 31st.

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COVID-19 Not The Only Reason Behind Rafael Nadal’s Decision To Skip US Open

The reigning US Open champion outlines his reasons for not playing at the event this year.

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World No.2 Rafael Nadal has spoken out about his decision to miss this year’s US Open amid ongoing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The Spaniard is currently the only top 10 player on the men’s Tour to have pulled out of New York for a reason other than injury despite being the reigning champion. In a statement Nadal said the COVID-19 situation is ‘very complicated worldwide’ and is not under control. Referring to a recent surge of cases in some parts of America, which has recorded more deaths related to the virus than any other country.

Although Nadal admits that it isn’t just the pandemic that has contributed towards his decision to miss the event. It is also the quick turnaround of switching from hard-court to the clay with the French Open just taking place a few weeks after. Nadal has won more ATP titles on the clay than anybody else in the Open Era.

The health situation is the first basic inconvenience when making my decision,” Nadal said.
“The situation seems not in full control, so in this case, after consulting with my team, we decided to skip the US Open.
“Second, the schedule is challenging after many months without competing.
“Going from hard-court to clay, with hardly any time for preparation, is dangerous for my body and my future.”

Nadal is aiming to clinch a record 13th French Open later this year to become the first player – male or female – in history to have won the same Grand Slam that many times. Victory would also see him level Roger Federer’s all-time record of 20 major singles titles.

“The situation is as it is, and my spirit was not high enough to travel to New York and compete,” he said.
“If I am going to compete, all my senses have to be focused on competition to perform at my best, and it would have been difficult to achieve that.”

The only concern for Nadal will be the lack of match play he will have leading up to Roland Garros. Due to the cancellation of the Madrid Open, the only Masters 1000 event taking place on the clay will be the Italian Open. Which will start a week prior. There is also an ATP 250 event taking place in Kitzbuhel, but he is not on the entry list at present.

Writing in his column for El Pais, former coach Toni Nadal said he was optimistic that the lack of matches would not have an impact on his nephew.

“I just hope that, in Rafa’s case, his results at Roland Garros are not compromised by an inactivity of so many months,” Toni commented.

Despite opting not to defend his US Open title, Nadal will not suffer a rapid points loss in the rankings due to a recent change in the rules. A player’s ranking is now decided based on their 18 best tournament performances over a 22-month period instead of 12 months. The increase was triggered following the five-month break in the sport because of COVID-19.

Nadal’s last taste of competitive tennis was at the Mexican Open in February. At the tournament he clinched his 85th ATP title without dropping a set in five matches played.

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No Quarantine For Players Ahead Of Australian Open, Says Tournament Director

The Melbourne major has pledged to protect players and maintain their prize money payout despite the threat from COVID-19.

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The head of the Australian Open has revealed plans for a series of ‘bio-secure bubbles’ which will protect players and enable them to travel to the country without having to go through quarantine.

 

Craig Tiley says he is optimistic that the Grand Slam will go ahead as scheduled despite the current rise of COVID-19 cases in the state of Victoria where the tournament is held. On Wednesday morning the regional government announced a record 21 deaths within 24 hours, as well as 410 new cases. On August 2nd metropolitan Melbourne was placed into a six-week lockdown.

Speaking to Reuters, Tiley said officials plan to implement a total of five bubbles across the country which players will be based in. A similar concept to what will be used later this month at the US Open. It is unclear as to what the exact conditions will be but they will be opened from the end of December onwards.

“We’re going to open our bio bubble from the first of December and players can come at any time,” he told Reuters.
“When the players arrive, our expectation is they’re not going to be in a hotel for 14 days like the current requirements are. We’ll have an exemption within this bio-secure bubble.
“We’ve said every year that we’re the ‘happy slam’. But now we’re saying we’re the ‘very safe and happy slam.’

The bubbles will be based in Perth, Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne with its aim being to allow players to get used to conditions in the region.

There are still some unanswered questions when it comes to the tournaments taking place in the lead up to the Australian Open and how the players will remain in these bubbles. For example, this year’s inaugural ATP Cup took place across three cities in the country with players having to travel between them.

Rebranding his event as the ‘very safe and happy slam,’ Tiley says he is optimistic that up to 400,000 fans would be able to attend. Working out as roughly half the attendance compared to this year. Although he does have various scenarios in place which includes the possibility of holding the Australian Open behind closed doors for the first time in history.

“We’ve established a strategy and an operational plan for all our fans and how they will be positioned around the site,” he said.

There are also no plans for a reduction in prize money next year, despite the negative economic impact caused by the pandemic. It is estimated that Tennis Australia will have their turnover and revenue drop by a double-digit percentage.

“I’m optimistic and positive that we’ll have an event and it’ll be in Melbourne,” said Tiley.
“It will have some crowds and it’ll be the beginning of kind of getting back to the way we were.”

The 2021 Australian Open is set to get underway next January.

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