Angelique Kerber leads star-studded field at the Brisbane International - UBITENNIS
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Angelique Kerber leads star-studded field at the Brisbane International

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World Number 1 player Angelique Kerber will start her 2017 season at the WTA Premier in Brisbane. Serena and Venus Williams have opted to open their 2017 campaign at the WTA International in Auckland.

 

The WTA Premier in Brisbane will feature a star-studded line-up with five of the top-eight players, who took part in the WTA Finals in Singapore. This year’s Australian Open and US Open Angelique Kerber will lead a prestigious field which also includes this year’s WTA Finals champion Dominika Cibulkova, 2015 and 2016 US Open finalist and twice Fed Cup champion Karolina Pliskova, 2016 Roland Garros champion Garbine Muguruza, 2016 Kremlin Cup finalist and former Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, Carla Suarez Navarro, Elina Svitolina, this year’s WTA Elite Trophy finalist and semifinalist in Tokyo and Beijing, Elena Vesnina, this year’s Wimbledon semifinalist, Olympic doubles gold medallist and WTA Doubles champion with Ekaterina Makarova, 2011 US Open champion Sam Stosur, Roberta Vinci, this year’s US Open quarter finalist, who recently announced her intention to continue her career in 2017, Olympic singles gold medallist Monica Puig, Zhang Shuhai and Eugenie Bouchard. Last January Kerber lost the Brisbane final against Victoria Azarenka by 6-3 6-1 but bounced back by winning her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open beating Serena Williams.

A total of six Grand Slam champions in both the ATP and WTA Tournaments will headline the Brisbane International. The men’s field will be highlighted by 14-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal, 2016 US Open champion Stan Wawrinka, 2016 Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic, 2014 US Open finalist Kei Nishikori and Roland Garros semifinalist Dominic Thiem.

“Brisbane fans are in for a thrilling week of entertainment with the confirmation of our best field yet signing on for 2017”, said Brisbane International Tournament Director Geoff Quinlan.

Serena and Venus Williams will kick off their season at the ASB Classic in Auckland in New Zealand against a very competitive field, which features defending champion Sloane Stephens, 2015 Auckland runner-up Caroline Wozniacki, 2015 Roland Garros Lucie Safarova and former world number 1 and 2014 Auckland champion Ana Ivanovic. Serena Williams will play at an International Tournament for the first time since Bastad 2015, where she withdrew after just one match. Her sister Venus beat Wozniacki to lift the Auckland Trophy in 2015. Stephens started her 2016 season on a high note winning in the Auckland final over Julia Goerges after beating Wozniacki in the semifinals.

Agnieszka Radwanska will defend her title at the Shenzhen Open, which features 2014 champion Simona Halep, Johanna Konta, the first British player to reach the top-10 since 1983 and Timea Bacsinszky. Last January Radwanska did not drop a single set in the whole week and beat Alison Riske in the final.

Petra Kvitova, this year’s WTA Elite Trophy champion in Zhuhai, and Belinda Bencic will open their season at the Hopman Cup. Bencic will team up with Roger Federer, who will make his eagerly-awaited come-back after being sidelined from injury since the Wimbledon semifinal last July.

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French Legend Leconte Speaks Out On Upcoming Return Of Roger Federer

The Grand Slam finalist gives his view on Federer’s chances for 2021.

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A former star of French tennis says he is hopeful but wary that Roger Federer will be able to return to the pinnacle of sport next year.

 

Henri Leconte, who is a former French Open finalist that achieved a ranking high of No.5, admits that the Swiss Maestro may find it tough on the Tour given the rise of what he describes as the ‘younger generation.’ This season Dominic Thiem won his maiden Grand Slam title at the US Open at the age of 27. More recently Daniil Medvedev defeated both Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal en route to the ATP Finals title.

We want to believe it. We all want to believe it! It’s been a long and difficult year. Will the motivation still be there? Will this break, the fact of having been able to enjoy his family, have changed something or will he still have that renewed motivation that has always fascinated us?” Leconte told TennisActu.

Federer hasn’t played a competitive match since his semi-final loss at the Australian Open in January. Since then, he has been sidelined from action due to a right knee injury which required two surgical procedures. The second took place after the first failed to produce the desired results.

Despite the setbacks, 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer is eyeing a return to the Tour in 2021. He is currently the oldest player in the world’s top 100 and one of two to be aged 39. The other is Spain’s Feliciano Lopez.

No one can say it. We all wish him, we would like him to stop on a Grand Slam title but the train (momentum) is gone with this younger generation which has put in an extra speed,” said Leconte.
“I would like to believe it. Roger has done so many things, that’s why he makes us dream, we would like to see him at the top. It will be very, very hard. ..”

It is not the first time Federer has taken a lengthy break due to injury. He missed six months of the 2017 season due to another knee issue before returning to action the following year when he won the Australian Open.

Earlier this week it was confirmed that Federer will head into the new season being able to use his iconic ‘RF’ logo. He hasn’t been able to use the logo for the past two years after switching from Nike, which held the rights, to UNIQLO. However, he has managed to regain control of ownership which means he will be allowed to use it on his apparel once again.

“The RF cap is back,” Federer said in a video message to fans on Twitter.
“After a long wait and extensive fine-tuning, UNIQLO and I are extremely excited to announce the return of the RF hat in 8 fresh colours starting December 8th, 2020,” he also wrote.
“This hat has meant so much to me and to my fans over the years.
“It has given us a way to visibly connect, and I have appreciated the opportunity to thrive off this supportive energy.”

As it currently stands Federer’s first tournament is set to be the Australian Open. The tournament had been scheduled to start on January 18th but it is believed that the date has been delayed until February 8th due to travel and quarantine arrangements.

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Matteo Berrettini is confident for the future of Italian tennis ahead of the 2021 ATP Finals in Turin

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Last year’s US Open semifinalist Matteo Berrettini looked back to his 2020 season in an interview to the Italian sports newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport. 

 

Berrettini reached the Australian Open second round losing to Tennys Sandgren in five sets. The Rome native player lost to Andrey Rublev in the fourth round at the US Open. He was one the five Italian players to advance to Roland Garros third round, most to reach a Grand Slam third round in Open Era since 1968.

At Masters 1000 level Berrettini reached the third round in Cincinnati and the quarter final in Rome before losing to Norwegian player Casper Ruud. 

“I struggled during 2020. I did not start my season at best. I was often injured. It was a race against time to get back into shape. When I was ready, the season was suspended by the coronavirus pandemic”, said Berrettini. 

The Italian player ended the year in the top-10 but he had a season with ups and downs. 

“I struggled to settle on my ranking. What I achieved in 2019 was deserved, but it was unexpected. I need to play many matches to get the rhythm”. 

The defeat against Casper Ruud was the biggest disappointment of this year. 

“The match against Ruud was decided by just two points. If I had reached the semifinal, it could have been another season. This negative result was a learning experience. My team invited me to be relaxed and patient. I am confident for the future”. 

The 2020 season was highlighted by the great results achieved by Jannik Sinner, who reached the quarter final at Roland Garros and won his first title in Sofia. 

“Sinner is enjoying an impressive season. He is mature. At his age I did not think about winning a single match. He is playing with a clear plan for the future. Every point he plays is an investment. This is the secret to reach top level”. 

The countdown to the 2021 ATP Finals in Turin has begun. Yesterday marked marked the start of the ticket sale. 

“It’s a great period for Italian tennis. I really hope to qualify for the ATP Finals. It would be a good result, if an Italian player qualifies for the Turin ATP Finals. Besides me, Jannik Sinner and Fabio Fognini, Lorenzo Sonego i salso playing very well. There are many other players, who can achieve good results and give a great joy to Italian fans. There are many young players, who are hungry. Fans can be happy and confident for the future”, said Berrettini. 

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Father Of Dayana Yastremska Reveals The Reasons Behind Her Lacklustre Season

Alexander Yastremsky says his daughter was ‘mentally broken’ in recent weeks due to a personal issue.

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Rising star Dayana Yastremska struggled on the Tour during the second half of 2020 due to a family-related issue, according to her father.

 

The world No.29 closed out her season with three consecutive first round losses at the French Open, Ostrava and Linz to players who were ranked lower than her. Yastremska looked to be on course for a strong year after reaching the final of the Adelaide International in January. However, since then she has only managed to reach the quarter-final stage in one out of 10 tournaments played.

Reflecting on his daughter’s difficult season during an interview with Ukrainian Tennis, Alexander Yastremsky says she had been ‘mentally broken’ in recent weeks due to her mother having a series of surgeries on her eye.

“People were complaining like why Dayana had such poor results at Roland Garros and afterwards but they didn’t know it was a hard time for her mother,” he said.
“Before the first round she had a retinal detachment. She went through three surgeries in Paris and two more at home. Everything is fine now but at that time Dayana was broken mentally.”

Besides her mother’s health scare, Yastremska had to find a new structure in her team after the departure of Sasha Bajin following the US Open. Bajin, who is the former coach of Naomi Osaka, worked with her for less than a year. Last week it was confirmed that he will be working with Karolina Pliskova in the new year.

“Sascha Bajin is a good coach, very helpful but it turned out he wasn’t ours,” said Alexander. “I don’t look at this partnership as a mistake for Dayana, it was another experience for her but I don’t see any advantages either.”
“Everyone looks only at how good you play and what result you get.”

Prior to Bajin, Yastremska worked with Belgium’s Olivier Jeunehomme who guided her to three WTA titles between 2018-2019. Since his departure, she is yet to add to her title tally but did rise to a ranking high of 21st earlier this year.

“It’s not easy to work with Dayana she has a tough personality,” her father admits. “Relationships on and off the court are very important for her.
“Right now we have a new team, very positive and committed . That’s the key for us. There’s no need to brag about their achievements. Results will come and time will tell. Our focus is on the off-season and hard work.”

Yastremska has started her off-season in Dubai. She ends the year with a win-loss record of 15-12 and has made just over $486,000 in prize money.

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