24 Years Ago Today: The Stabbing of Monica Seles - UBITENNIS
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24 Years Ago Today: The Stabbing of Monica Seles

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24 years ago today, the #1 woman in the world was sitting in her chair during a changeover when a man came onto the court and stabbed her from behind with a knife.

 

24 years later, it’s still hard to process the severity of the above sentence.

April 30, 1993 is one of the most tragic days in tennis history. 38-year-old Gunter Parche, described as a deranged Steffi Graf fan who was upset over Seles’ recent domination of her top German rival, stabbed Seles and narrowly missed her spinal cord and organs. He was subdued by officials and fans before being able to stab her again. Amazingly, only a few stitches were needed to treat the wound – but the harm done to Seles’ life and career was immeasurable.

Prior to the incident, Seles appeared to be headed toward GOAT-like numbers. Between January 1991 and February 1993, Seles reached the final in 33 of 34 tournaments she played, winning 22 of those titles. During this time, she went 55-1 in majors, winning 7 of 8 major titles. And all of this was accomplished before her 20th birthday. These numbers surpass anything we’ve seen from Serena, Federer, Nadal, or Djokovic at their peaks.

Following the stabbing, Seles would be absent from the court for over 2 years. In her 2009 autobiography, Seles detailed dealing with severe depression and an eating disorder. Her father’s cancer diagnosis later that year only added to her despair. Perhaps most upsetting was the dismissal of the attempted murder charge against Parche. The judge ruled Parche had diminished mental capacity, and he would serve no jail time. When a second judge upheld this verdict, Seles collapsed in tears in front of reporters.

Seles would never be the same player again, winning only 1 further major upon her return. The mental toughness and nerves of steel that had made her a dominating #1 in the world were gone. Her assailant’s mission was, horrifyingly, accomplished.

Seles had dominated her main rival, Steffi Graf, in the years prior to the attack. After herself winning 7 of 8 majors between 1988 and 1989, Graf would only win 1 major in each of the next 3 years. Within weeks of the attack, Graf would return to the #1 ranking. She would win the next 4 majors, with 11 of her 22 major titles coming after the stabbing, the third most all-time. We can only speculate how those numbers would differ had the stabbing never happened.

Has lessons been learnt?

 

24 years later, are players safer now? There’s certainly more security now at the bigger tournaments, with much tighter rules as to what is allowed on the grounds, but there’s also been several stunning security breaches in recent years. At the French Open in 2015, a young fan ran onto the court after Roger Federer’s second round win and walked alongside Federer for several seconds before being removed by security. Luckily this fan was looking to do nothing more offensive than take a selfie, but how is he able to make contact with Federer without being tackled?

Two years earlier in 2013, a much scarier incident occurred at Roland Garros during the men’s final between Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer. A masked, same-sex marriage protester ran onto the court with a flare in-hand, coming within a few feet of Nadal. The flare was left ablaze on the court for some time before being extinguished. Four years prior to that, a man entered the court during the 2009 French Open final and tried to physically force a hat and flag onto Roger Federer. Fans have also made it onto the court and made contact with players at the Australian and U.S. Opens.

Luckily these court crashers have not had the ill intentions of a Gunter Parche, but the next one might. The ease at which fans can get onto the court and to the players is frightening. In an effort to create a more intimate fan experience, many of the major tournaments have added new stadiums with more courtside seating (this year the Australian Open even added VIP seating on the court itself), but does this come at the expense of player safety? Let’s hope all tournaments take whatever measures necessary to prevent a recurrence of the awful incident from 24 years ago today.

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Further 23 Players In Hard Quarantine After More Positive Tests On Charter Flight

More players head into hard quarantine ahead of the first grand slam of the year.

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(@emirates - Twitter)

A further 23 players have been told that they are being placed into hard quarantine after another positive COVID-19 test on a charter flight from Abu Dhabi.

 

Players were notified this evening in Australia that there was a positive test on the Abu Dhabi charter flight. Although it looks it wasn’t a player who tested positive it now means 23 more players will now go into hard quarantine.

This follows the news of 24 players going into hard quarantine after two positive tests from a charter flight from Los Angeles.

It is understood from several journalists that among those who are now being placed into hard quarantine from the Abu Dhabi flight are Belinda Bencic, Maria Sakkari, Bianca Andreescu, Angelique Kerber, Marta Kostyuk, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Ons Jabeur.

Although there are only 47 players in hard quarantine so far, there is a fear that this number could rise with more COVID test results still waiting to come back.

Before the charter flights, Andy Murray, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, Madison Keys and Amanda Anisimova were denied entry into Australia via the chartered flights due to positive COVID results.

The first set of tournaments in Australia are set to begin on the 31st of January with the Australian Open due to begin on the 8th of February.

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Madison Keys latest player to test positive for Coronavirus

Madison Keys ruled out of the Australian Open after testing positive for COVID-19.

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The American tested positive for the first time and will miss the first grand slam of the year.

Madison Keys has officially tested positive for the coronavirus. She announced the news on social media and says she will, unfortunately, miss the Australian Open.

 

Hi everyone, I just wanted to let you know that I, unfortunately, tested positive for Covid-19 before I was suppose to fly to Australia. I’m very disappointed to not be able to play in the coming weeks after training hard in the off-season and knowing Tennis Australia and the tours did so much to make these events happen.

I am self isolating at home and will continue to follow all the necessary health precautions. I look forward to be back on tour next month.

“Thank you for all your support.

Stay Healthy and safe.

Madison

Keys is the latest player to have tested positive after Andy Murray revealed he had a positive test while Tennys Sandgren had tested positive but was given the green light to travel.

Two players in men’s qualifying in Doha tested positive and were immediatly removed from the draw. Apparently if you test positive for the first time you are not allowed to travel but if you already tested positive and show no symptoms there is a chance you will continue to test positive before the effects go away.

Players are traveling this week to Australia and will be mandated to follow the 14 day quarantine with the exception of training five hours a day. The Australian Open begins on February 8th.

While most players will be quarantining in Melbourne both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have confirmed they will do their quarantine in Adelaide.

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ANALYSIS: Daniil Medvedev’s Run At The ATP Finals – Win Against Nadal Was The Turning point

Using two types of graphs, UbiTennis takes a closer look at the five matches won by Daniil Medvedev at the 2020 ATP Finals.

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Let’s analyse the five matches won at the ATP Finals by Daniil Medvedev, using the graphical representations provided by Federico Bertelli. We have renamed the graphs as “The ride”, recalling the famous Wagnerian composition. The first series of graphs is made up of decision trees and illustrates the trend of Medvedev’s and his opponents behind their respective serves, from the first round robin match to the final won against Dominic Thiem.

 

These are the details of his debut match against Zverev. The graph is easy to read: on the right (in blue) the times he held his serve are represented, while the time he broke his opponent are on the left (in red). The thicker the segment that connects two scores, the more frequently that ‘path’ of play has been covered.

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/39qVQVmRFll9YWeGxM_Dl-qEBE7Z2iwMHIfrEa6v5WwIKELuSfGEYrmgVQkDzPhlhsEthmsawLr4Cx-hi-NC15wcu85Yjt_unBZPfFJWpWoyoW5JS1Xbzxf63e2tZnzu0Z_RDCg
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/72lIM46LmWsHKBUr3Rhw7oYq4Lto4obP0mA7E_kQH9bVB58TMEhC1Onixq0M8tZch1ZG4v8Hmf_Ntxss48abHouM1wqaPgRaQSeAcsSbJCZAY1Tea-lYVQzeStc61ayblLIasXM

Medvedev’s solidity holding serve is undeniable, because he performed best in deuce receiver and deuce server situations. It can also be observed how the Russian got broken just once in his first three matches, against Zverev at 30-40, while against Nadal he was particularly in trouble with his own serve, as the Spaniard was the only one who broke him several times, taking advantage of some favourable scoring situations such as 0-40, 15-40 and deuce receiver.

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/e0lb0_yVnzwb24LWS-xN7qdhxz4DqiNqCBEolubVLln3Qv_7Na99-mCi4WU_k9UrBT4T4H2OqcnxnlYEcO8TX4LtwMA3nkLW94JK6hnnEEshOXFd9_HNZ6seBhP56_deatR2Rig
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/IPBeJdkVLRtQewleS-MxR7QHtzpehhO8wIslpXwlGLisR7KrzSbMng2lAUoAdjIMj2EWBPWhA838l2AJX27anuWFex_oIUSFdMHfoQWDlpW8DoLUx209sVr8cg7qdfvOdfJojX8

However, against Thiem, although Medvedev found himself tangled in a decider, the trend reverts back to that of the round matches: the only chance that Thiem had to snatch the serve was on the deuce receiver. He had no other chance from 40-40. 

https://www.ubitennis.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Medvedev-finals.jpg

The graphical analysis, corroborated by the thickness of the oblique blue lines, also shows the growing solidity of the Russian from match to match, winning the opening two points in his service games. This is a sign of a growing confidence in his game as the Russian advanced towards the final stages of the tournament, e.g. the semi-final and the final.

As for the situations in which Medvedev was particularly proficient on his opponent’s serve, the deuce receiver stands out, a circumstance that was present in all five matches, followed by the 30-40 – he broke on this situation against Zverev and Schwartzman.

AN OVERVIEW

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/vjDrxErqtjvDOnK9dhmExHj5OiMeiNHupX3ffY3sKFBPPQ39Yb7Gipu39P5_XYAlGoBbgeILp7kDrYKrQBoaVRJHSzD731_9doLJ2GVFq4xafnYhzlBeyORsZ4HY5UB88OHV3ao

The second series of graphs on Medvedev’s Valkyrian ride consists of radar graphs illustrating the classic statistics shown at the end of each match, which are equivalent to the following percentages – starting from the top and going clockwise: percentage of first serves in play, percentage of points won with his first and second serve, break points saved and converted, points won on the return against first and second serve, total points won, total points won on the return and on serve. What you see above is the diagram of Medvedev’s debut match: it is easy to see that he did better than Zverev in all statistics except for the percentage of first serves in play.

From the analysis of the first three matches of the group stage, even though the yellow area is predominant in almost all the statistical percentages, it’s clear that Medvedev was more effective in saving break points than his opponents (more than 80 percent against Zverev and 100 percent against Djokovic and Schwartzman), as well as in converting them. Against Schwartzman, he was actually bettered in the percentage of points won with the second service and in points won on the return against the opponent’s second serve.

https://www.ubitennis.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bbb.jpg

However, in the next two matches the percentage profiles of break balls saved and converted change because Nadal’s and Thiem’s numbers are higher than the Medvedev’s. So, ultimately, it means that Medvedev conceded fewer break points and managed to convert those that his opponents offered him during the match. 

That shows a great solidity.

If the general statistical profile of the Medvedev’s match against Thiem is similar to that of the matches won against Djokovic and Zverev, and in some ways to the one against Schwartzman as well, the statistics outline against Nadal is totally abnormal and should be considered as an outlier. The percentage of points won returning Nadal’s second serve and on his own second serve were the crucial ones. We will analyse this aspect in another article that will deal with Medvedev’s positioning on the return.

In conclusion, from the analysis of the statistical profiles, it appears that the semi-final bout against Nadal was the toughest obstacle that Medvedev had to overcome in his ride to success in a tournament in which he turned out more than anyone to be able (perhaps naturally) to give the match the desired direction, even when the numbers were not completely by his side.

Article by Andrea Canella; translated by Alice Nagni; edited by Tommaso Villa

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