Tomas Berdych retirement against Philipp Kohlschreiber paves the way for a potential comeback for Germany in Davis Cup - UBITENNIS
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Tomas Berdych retirement against Philipp Kohlschreiber paves the way for a potential comeback for Germany in Davis Cup

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Berdych looked to feeling the effects of his efforts from Friday and Saturday, as a hamstring injury forced him to retire against Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Philipp Kohlschreiber was the beneficiary of an injury retirement from Tomas Berdych to ensure that the Davis Cup World Group First Round encounter between Germany and the Czech Republic would go to a fifth and deciding rubber. Kohlschreiber was leading by two sets, 6-3, 7-5, when Berdych retired with a hamstring injury.

 

Berdych had led the head-to-head with Kohlschreiber 8-1 coming into the tie, but Berdych required significant treatment in the fifth game of the match, and never truly looked comfortable on court, surrendering two break in the first set.

Berdych did at least find some success in the second set, holding serve for most of the set with more comfort than in the first. Yet he could not find any way to get engaged against the Kohlschreiber serve, failing to earn any break points. Berdych was continually serving from behind in the set and he was finally broken at 5-6, handing the German a precious two-set lead.

It looked a long way back for the Czech, who had played an epic five-set match against Alexander Zverev, as well as the doubles with Radek Stepanek on Saturday. He then decided to retire, handing the victory to Kohlschreiber, and ensuring that the tie would be decided by that match between Alexander Zverev and Lukas Rosol at the arena in Hannover. Both men lost five-set matches on Friday Zverev to Berdych, and Rosol to Kohlschreiber.

Rosol leads the head-to-head with Zverev 2-0, having not dropped a set. It is worth noting though that of the four sets that Rosol has won, three have gone to tie-breaks, suggesting that yet another close match could decide this tie.

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Leaked WTA Email Suggests Unvaccinated Players Will Be Allowed To Play Australian Open

It is understood that conditions for the next Grand Slam ‘will improve significantly.’

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Tennis Australia is optimistic that unvaccinated players will be allowed to play at the Australian Open but they will have to go through a 14-day quarantine upon arrival, according to an internal communication.

 

On Sunday evening the WTA Players Council sent out an email to players detailing what they believe will be the rules for those travelling to the country. In recent weeks there has been doubts over the prospect of players being allowed to play in the Grand Slam if they have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 following a health mandate that was implemented by the local government. Minister for Immigration, Alex Hawke, previously said players will need to be double vaccinated to play but Victorian Sports Minister Martin Pakula later stated that no decision has been made yet.

However, it now appears that all players will be able to participate in the tournament regardless of their status but will be subjected to different restrictions. According to a WTA email sent to provide clarity on the current situation, vaccinated players will be free to do as they wish once they have conducted a COVID-19 test upon arrival. However, unvaccinated players will have to go through a mandatory 14-day quarantine and will be subjected to regular testing.

“We feel the need to reach out to you all to clear up false and misleading information that has recently been spread by other parties about the conditions the players will be forced to endure at next year’s Australian Open,the WTA statement read.
“Because Victoria’s vaccination rate will hit 80 per cent at the end of the week and 90 per cent next month, it has been confirmed that conditions for players at the Australian Open will improve significantly.
“The conditions for fully vaccinated players are that they can arrive any time after December 1st, must have a negative test within 72 hours of departure, [and] must test within 24 hours of arrival.
“[Players] are not required to quarantine or stay in a bubble, will have no ongoing restrictions imposed on them, [and] will have complete freedom of movement.”

It is understood that the Victorian government has not finalised their rules and it is possible that changes could be made over the coming weeks. A further meeting with Tennis Australia is scheduled for this Friday where tennis’ governing bodies will be trying to seek more clarity on matters such as close contacts.

The Age newspaper has obtained a statement from Tennis Australia who say they hope to hold the tournament ‘as close to pre-pandemic conditions as possible.’ It is also understood that the plan now is for the qualifying tournament to be held in Melbourne Park again instead of the Middle East. This year’s qualifying event was held in Dubai and Doha.

“We are working with the Victorian and federal governments on the conditions for players at Australian Open 2022 and look forward to having the details confirmed soon,” a statement reads.
“Everyone has been buoyed by the easing of restrictions over the past week, along with the Premier’s announcement yesterday [Sunday] that large crowds will be welcomed back to events next year.
“We are optimistic that we can hold the Australian Open as close to pre-pandemic conditions as possible.”

To add to the confusion further, Tennis Australia sources have told The Age they are concerned that local authorities may change their minds and not grant exceptions amid a public backlash. Although there is no concrete information to suggest that this will happen.

The WTA letter first surfaced on social media after it was leaked by journalist Ben Rothenberg who received the communication from an unnamed player. The publication of the letter triggered criticism from two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka who voiced her frustration about a private matter being made public. Azarenka is a member of the WTA Players Council.

The fact that this was shared to players confidentially and within 2 hours Ben you are posting this. You clearly haven’t read the email. Unless I missed the point that you are a WTA player now?,” she wrote on Twitter.
“I always respect the reporters and what you guys do. Without a doubt However this is not the case here. It’s your duty to report things if they are not reported, but to leak information before it’s officially announced is clickbait.”

Despite the letter there are still some unanswered questions. It is still unclear as to if unvaccinated players will have free movement once they have gone through their 14-day quarantine. There is also no problem information concerning the vaccination rate among players with many wanting to keep it private. So it is unclear as to how many will be affected by the quarantine rule.

The Australian Open is scheduled to start on January 17th.

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Emma Raducanu looking to finish the season on a high note

The US Open champion is in Cluj this week looking for a good result in one of her home countries.

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Emma Raducanu reacts during a Women's Singles quarterfinal match at the 2021 US Open, Wednesday, Sep. 8, 2021 in Flushing, NY. (Garrett Ellwood/USTA)

Life has been going a million miles an hour for 18-year-old Emma Raducanu since going on that improbable run in New York and winning her first-ever grand slam at the US Open.

 

This week she is in Cluj-Napoca for the first-ever Transylvania Open and this specific tournament has a lot of meaning for her. The reason is her father and father’s side of the family are from Romania.

On Sunday, one day before the main draw begins, the Brit faced the media to answer questions about coaching, pressure, and what it is like being a Grand Slam champion at such a young age.

” I love Romania,” she said. “I’ve been here before and used to come once or twice a year. I visited my grandma who lives in Bucharest and I always love coming back and I love how friendly and nice the people are with great humor and good food. So I have great memories from this country and it’s really nice to be back”.

Raducanu admits life hasn’t been the same since winning in New York and she outlined how different it is since she won.

” Life has been different but it’s been an experience in itself. I had an extreme high in New York and not much time off and I literally had three days rest at home and straight back out for Indian Wells,” she explained. “I am looking forward to this last swing of the season and the offseason as well”.

Raducanu has only played one match so far since the US Open which was at Indian Wells where she was upset by the Belorussian Aliaksandra Sasnovich in straight sets and she is preaching patience.

” I just need people to be patient and I know I am going to find my game and I just need a little bit of time but I am really enjoying it”. She concluded.

The 18-year-old recently decided to split with her coach and she has been seeing some different coaches on a trial basis but has confirmed she is without a coach this week.

The Britt will face the Slovenian Polona Hercog in the first round and this will be their first-ever meeting.

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Jannik Sinner Becomes Youngest Player Since Djokovic To Win Fifth ATP Title At European Open

The rising star dropped just four games en route to his latest trophy.

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Image via ATP Twitter

Italian tennis star Jannik Sinner produced a clinical display behind his serve to defeat Diego Schwartzman and win the European Open title on Sunday.

 

The world No.13 stormed to a 6-2, 6-2, victory over the Argentine in what was their first ever Tour meeting. Sinner, who is the youngest ever player from his country to break into the ATP top 15, dictated proceedings with the help of some blistering shotmaking which kept Schwartzman on the baseline. Through the match he won 87% of his first service points and broke four times en route to the title.

“Against Diego you have to play your best tennis. I tried to push the ball and I’m very happy about my level today,” Sinner said during his on court interview.

Both sets followed a similar pattern with the 20-year-old breaking Schwartzman two times in a row to open up a dominant lead. During the opener Sinner won five straight games to go from 0-1 to 5-1 before closing it out with relative ease.

In the second frame Schwartzman tried to increase his intensity to make the final more competitive. However, he was unable to derail Sinner who continued to produce some emphatic tennis. After just over 70 minutes of play, the top seed served for the title. A forehand smash at the net moved him to two match points. He prevailed on his second attempt after a Schwartzman backhand slammed into the net.

“He’s playing unbelievable,” Schwartzman said of Sinner following the final. “I mean, I was playing one of my best weeks in all of this year and today I had no chance. Since the beginning of the match he was playing and doing everything better than me so congratulations.’
“I know you’re going to have many more titles for sure.” He added.

Sinner didn’t drop a single set throughout his time in Antwerp. Earlier in the week he also defeated Lorenzo Musetti and Lloyd Harris. He has now become the fifth player in 2021 to win a fourth Tour title and the youngest to ever do so in Antwerp.

As a result of his win, Sinner is closing in on sealing a spot in the season-ending ATP Finals. On Monday he will be in 11th place with 2845 points. Although one of those players ahead of him, Rafael Nadal, will not be playing due to injury. Only the eight highest-ranked players will qualify for the tournament.

Breaking into the top 100 for the first time in 2019, Sinner has already won five ATP trophies in his career before the age of 21. To put that into perspective he is the youngest player to achieve this since Novak Djokovic back in 2007. On top of that, the Italian has also played in one Masters 1000 final and has reached the quarter-finals of the 2020 French Open.

Sinner will return to action next week in Vienna where he will play Reilly Opelka in the first round.

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