The ITF Verdict Is Out: Maria Sharapova Is Banned For 2 Years! - UBITENNIS
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The ITF Verdict Is Out: Maria Sharapova Is Banned For 2 Years!

The Former World No. 1 Maria Sharapova won’t play on the WTA tour or any WTA or ITF sanctioned events until 2018! So reads the verdict issued by the ITF this afternoon. The question now is, what is next for the Russian star?

Jakub Bobro

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First off, for those who have trouble recalling, Sharapova was caught using a banned substance, Meldonium, which has been banned since the start of the year. There has been a ton of discussion about what the ruling will be from the ITF, and it is now confirmed that she will be banned for 2 years. However, the Russian is appealing to Court of Arbitration for Sport, to reduce the sentence given to her by the ITF. They have already given reduced sentences to tennis players in the past, for example in Marin Cilic’s case, his sentence got reduced from 9 months to only 4.

 

Many people, and maybe even Sharapova herself are asking, what will be next? Many people on Twitter globally have weighed in on this issue. For example, Brad Gilbert raised the issue of how Sharapova’s sponsors will react to the ban. Will they cancel their contract and renew it when she comes back? And that’s another question. Will Maria Sharapova in 2018, age 31 at the time, even attempt a comeback to the top, or is this the final blow to her career as a tennis player?

”While the tribunal concluded correctly that I did not intentionally violate the anti-doping rules, I cannot accept an unfairly harsh two-year suspension,” Sharapova said in a statement. ”The tribunal, whose members were selected by the ITF, agreed that I did not do anything intentionally wrong, yet they seek to keep me from playing tennis for two years. I will immediately appeal the suspension portion of this ruling to CAS, the Court of Arbitration for Sport.”

If the report by the ITF is looked closely at, as it has been by many journalists on Twitter, interesting facts come up, such as the fact, that even before Meldonium was a banned substance, Sharapova actively concealed the use of it and never disclosed it.

There have been only a handful of reactions from the tennis public, but no one has been outright bashing Sharapova. Billie Jean King supported the Russian, saying that by admitting the use of Meldonium early, she showed her true character. Ben Rothenberg is defending Sharapova, and claiming that her argument against the ban is legitimate, and that ITF should have notified or let her know about the change in a better way, instead of just banning her. Svetlana Kuznetsova, so far the only WTA star that tweeted about the issue is complaining about the press bothering her, asking for comments.

ATP

Wimbledon Finalist Tomas Berdych To Retire

Details have been released about a ‘special announcement’ being made by the former world No.4 later this week.

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LONDON: It has been confirmed that Tomas Berdych will travel to London where he is expected to formally announce his retirement from tennis at the age of 34.

 

The former world No.4 will address his future in the sport during a media engagement at the ATP Finals on Saturday. An event he has played six times during his career with his last appearance being back in 2015. News of Berdych’s upcoming departure was first reported by the Czech newspaper Blesk, who contacted his father.

“I think it will be a great end on Saturday,” Blesk quoted Martin Berdych as saying.

In the aftermath of the media report, Berdych took to social media to confirm that he will be making an announcement. Although he did not specify as to what it will be. The Czech hasn’t played on the tour since his first-round loss at the US Open due to injury. Overall, he has only managed to play 22 matches this season. Winning 13 of them.

“Hey guys, if you want a surprise don’t watch any media or social networks, but I know it is impossible these days,” Berdych said in a video uploaded to his Twitter account. “I know, these little mistakes happen.”
“I had it planned as a little surprise on Saturday where I’m going to be in London. But now it’s not even possible because it is all over (the news). It’s fine, more information is going to come on Saturday.” He added.

Speculation about Berdych’s retirement from the sport began to gain momentum in September following an interview with idnes.cz. Where he opened up about his struggles with both back and hip injuries.

Playing during the same era as the prestigious big Three of the sport (Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Roger Federer), Berdych still managed to establish himself as one of the tour’s top players during his career. Winning 13 ATP titles in 32 finals he played in, including the 2005 Paris Masters. Berdych remains the youngest player in history to win a Masters 1000 title. He also finished seven consecutive seasons inside the world’s top 10 (2010-2016) and managed to remain inside the top 100 for an impressive 794 weeks (2004-2019).

Should Berdych retire on Saturday, he ends his career with 640 wins. Including 53 against top 10 opposition. He has featured in 61 grand slam main draws with his stand out performance being a run to the final of the 2010 Wimbledon Championships.

Berdych has earned $29,491,328 in prize money. The ninth highest amount in the history of men’s tennis (as of 11th November 2019).

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ATP

‘Why Don’t You Like Him?’ – Stefanos Tsitsipas Quizzed Over Rivalry With Fellow Player

It can be safe to say that these two players will not be teaming up to play in the doubles any time soon.

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LONDON: ‘We would not go to dinner together’ was a phrase used by Greek sensation Stefanos Tsitsipas when addressing his rivalry with Daniil Medvedev on Monday.

 

The 21-year-old scored his first win over the Russian on his sixth attempt. A historic occasion for Tsitsipas, who is the first Greek to qualify for the ATP Finals. However, the talk after wasn’t so much about the match. It was about his somewhat fiery relationship with Medvedev that is highlighted by one particular incident.

During the 2018 Miami Open, the umpire had to step in after the conclusion of their match. Both were frustrated with each other for taking long toilet breaks. Medvedev took his at the end of the second set and Tsitsipas took his midway through the decider. On top of that, there was also a dispute over a net point. At the end of their match, Medvedev called his rival ‘a small kid who doesn’t know how to fight.’

“I did get pissed and said what I said, which I do regret, but at the time I was very frustrated that things happened this way.” Tsitsipas recounted.
“I completely forgot about the past. I mean, our chemistry definitely isn’t the best that you can find on the tour. It just happens with people that it’s not that you can just like everyone.”

Since then there has been little improvement in relations. During the Shanghai Masters in October, Tsitsipas took a swipe at what he described as a ‘boring’ style of play from his opponent. Prompting another jibe from Medvedev.

Based on the comments, it appears that neither players are fond of each other. But can it be described as hatred between the two? If you ask Tsitsipas, his answer is a resounding no.

“It’s not that I hate him. I guess as he said, we will not go to dinner together, so…” The Greek explained.
“I respect him, for sure. That’s because he had a long way to come where he is right now. He’s a Grand Slam finalist, so that takes a lot of respect from me to him.”

Despite the diplomatic response, there is no doubt that the camp of the world No.6 is delighted with his latest victory in what had been a one-sided rivalry until now.

“It means more than extra. It’s a victory that I craved for a long time now, and it’s great that I came in at this moment.” Tsitsipas concludes.
“He’s a tough player. He’s a very difficult player to face. He’s not giving you an easy time when you’re out on the court. So it definitely means a lot.”

It is not impossible that the two could face each other again later this week if they both reach the final. Although that will be a tough task given both Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev are also in their group.

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ATP

Summer Success Comes At A Cost For Daniil Mdvedev In London

The 23-year-old serves as a reminder that a rapid rise in sport also come with consequences.

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LONDON: Coming into this year’s ATP Finals, it could be argued that there has been one stand out player on the tour and he isn’t a member of the Big Three.

 

Daniil Medvedev has enjoyed a sensational rise over the past six months to become one of the most formidable players in the sport. After Wimbledon, he reached the final of six consecutive events. Claiming Masters titles in Cincinnati and Shanghai, as well as winning the St. Petersburg Open. Overall, he has won 59 matches out of 78 played so far this year. More than anybody else on the ATP Tour. There is no doubt he has blossomed but has he peaked too early for the season-ending event?

Taking on Stefanos Tsitsipas in his opening match on Monday, the Russian was edged out in two tightly contested sets. Although he was unable to generate a single break point opportunity. Something that has only happened to him once before this season, which was when he played Nick Kyrgios. Before their latest clash, he lead the Greek 5-0 in their head-to-head.

“I think the general energy was not the way I wanted. I’m not talking only about physical. Mentally I was missing something.” Medvedev explained during his press conference.
“I didn’t have good enough energy to get the win today.” He added.

Since his Shanghai victory on October 16th, Medvedev has been unable to make any further dents on the tour. After missing two tournaments, he lost his opening match at the Paris Masters to Jeremy Chardy.

A slump like this was always inevitable given his run in recent weeks. Fortunately, there are no injury issues for the 23-year-old to worry about. On the other hand, he is struggling to find a way to solve his mental demons. Could it be tiredness after a long season or is it something more significant?

“I decided to take a break from Moscow in the end because I knew that my body needs rest if I don’t want to get injured,” Medvedev stated.
“It’s something more mental. I lost the momentum a little bit, but I will try my best to get it back.”

Unfortunately, time is not on his side this week at the ATP Finals. After a consequence of his loss, he faces two critical matches against defending champion Alexander Zverev and world No.1 Rafael Nadal. He may have to win both of those matches to qualify for the semi-final stage depending on how his rivals perform.

“I should say I’m quite confident that at one moment I will get it back. The other question is is it going to be this tournament or the next one?” The world No.4 concluded.

Medvedev is the first Russian player to feature in the end-of-season showdown since Nicolay Davydenko back in 2009.

Evene when his London journey comes to an end, there will be no rest for Medvedev. Next week he will lead his country in the revamped Davis Cup finals.

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