Halle Tournament Director, Ralf Weber Looks Back & Ahead - UBITENNIS
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Halle Tournament Director, Ralf Weber Looks Back & Ahead



Roger Federer is often the biggest draw in Halle (Zimbio.com)

By Mark Winters


Tournament Director, Ralf Weber, at the end of every Gerry Weber Open, takes a breath and immediately begins planning to make the next tournament, the best of the ATP Tour’s 500 events. This was Halle’s twenty-fifth year, and Weber explained how important it was to make the Jubilee Celebration not only memorable, but truly special.

We decided to hold a Champions Trophy special event,” Weber said of the Saturday and Sunday activity that took place before the start of the tournament. “Michael Stich, Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Henri Leconte were some of the champions who were invited. German women, such as world No. 1, Angelique Kerber, Andrea Petkovic and up and coming talent, Luisa Meyer auf der Heide were integrated into the program. The spectator numbers, which were 31,400 enthusiastic fans, speak for themselves.

It was a great concept that completely worked out. Also, the ‘Weather God’ played along. It was a great, relaxed atmosphere on the whole site. The weekend was a total success in regard to tennis and socially as well.

Weber continued, “A small ceremony was held on Saturday, and I thought it was really great that ATP Chairman, Chris Kermode was a special guest and presented the tournament with the Heritage Award for its twenty-five years. Philip Brook, Chairman of the All England Lawn Tennis Club, joined us and spoke about the special relationship between Wimbledon and Halle for the past twenty-five years.

As is the case annually, Halle attendance was up. “We expected approximately 115, 000 spectators.” Weber said. “We will set a new attendance record. We have never sold so many tickets, which is due to the attractive entertainment program that meets with the tastes of the spectators.

On a personal note, Weber pointed out, “Monday was very emotional when we said farewell to Tommy Haas. He was presented with the first Gerry Weber Open Award of Excellence, which Tommy more than deserved. He is the record attendee having competed at the tournament fifteen times. He did exceptional things for the tournament and won it twice. We wish him and his family a lot of luck, and all the best in his new function as a colleague (as Tournament Director of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California).”

Weber was delighted that eight German players were in the main draw, and that the ATP entry cutoff was the highest it ever had been, No.60. “The tournament has evolved internationally,” he said. “The draw has never been as good, with four of the top ten players participating. Of the top German pros, Alexander Zverev has really made a tremendous step. I am very happy he is here for the third time. He and his family feel good here. German tennis is very lucky to have another top ten player who has charisma, and has great potential to become a world star.

Roger Federer is the face of the Gerry Weber Open, but it is essential for the tournament to look toward the future, and Zverev is, indeed, tomorrow. Asked about solidifying his relationship with the event, Weber offered, “We have started discussions. His manager was here and I think we will finalize the matter during the next weeks. He not only feels good here, but most important, the tournament suits his calendar perfectly. He is only twenty-years-old so we will see if it will be a lifetime contract or an agreement over several years, which would make sense. If he keeps developing, it would be great if “Sascha” (Alexander) became the face of the Gerry Weber Open, putting his mark on the tournament.

With twenty-five years of success in the record book, Weber looked ahead saying, “The thing that distinguishes us is staying innovative; thinking about what and where we can improve; what we can make perfect. We have already decided that the Champions Trophy was a success and would like to carry on the program next year. Maybe we will we try a mixed doubles and a men’s doubles, and maybe combine it with a Pro-Am so that tennis fans can have the joy to be on court with former players.

He concluded, “We are in a very comfortable situation. We have the contract with Roger (Federer) and one with (Kei) Nishikori, who is important to us internationally, especially in Asia. We hope to announce agreements with other top players very soon, and we have already started ticket sales for 2018. Next year, there will be another leap as the prize money is getting close to two million Euros because we have an agreement to increase it eight percent every year.



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India’s Sumit Nagal Receives Sponsorship Boost After Revelling Financial Struggles



Image via https://twitter.com/nagalsumit/

A leading food and drink company has pledged to support India’s highest-ranked men’s player who was unable to train at his usual facility in Germany earlier this year due to a lack of money. 


Earlier this week world No.159 Sumit Nagal made a public plea for financial support to help him continue his career as a tennis player. In recent years he has been based at the Nansel Tennis Academy in Germany but was unable to train there during the first three months of the 2023 season due to a lack of funds. During this period he relied on his friends, including former player Somdev Devvarman, to help maintain his fitness. 

“If I look at my bank balance, I have what I had at the beginning of the year. It is 900 euros. I did get a bit of help. Mr Prashant Sutar is helping me with MAHA Tennis Foundation and I also get monthly (salary) from IOCL but I don’t have any big sponsor,” Nagal told the Press Trust of India.
“I am investing whatever I am making. The yearly cost where I travel with one coach is costing me around Rs 8 million to Rs 10 million (90,000-113,000 euros) and that is just with one travelling coach (no physio). Whatever I have made I have already invested,” he added.

Nagal, who is 26 years old, has reached the semi-finals of better at five tournaments on the lower-level Challenger Tour so far this season. His only Grand Slam result was at the US Open where he lost in the first round of qualifying to Taro Daniel. It was at the US Open where he took a set off Roger Federer before losing in 2019. 

Despite being the only player from his country to be ranked in the top 400, Nagal is currently not part of the Target Olympics Podium Scheme. An initiative set up by the Indian government to provide support to their top athletes.

After learning about Nagal’s ongoing struggles on the Tour, a leading company has decided to support the tennis player by signing a three-year deal with him. Gatorade specializes in sports drinks and is manufactured by PepsiCo. Under the deal, Nagal will receive support with his recovery and nutrition from experts at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI).  

“I am deeply moved and grateful to join hands with Gatorade. This association comes to me at a pivotal time, and I am thankful my hard work and passion is getting recognized and appreciated. With Gatorade by my side, I am sure I will reach new heights and give it my all both on and off the court,” the Indo-Asian News Service quoted Nagal as saying on Thursday. 

Speaking about the new partnership, Ankit Agarwal from PepsiCo India has hailed the collaboration. Agarwal is the company’s Associate Director of Energy & Hydration. 

“Sumit is a role model for the new-gen athletes of India with his career being a true example of hard work and sweat that makes talent shine,” he said.
“As a brand that is dedicated to supporting athletes in removing barriers to sporting success, we are delighted to welcome Sumit to the Gatorade squad.”

Nagal has been ranked as high as No.122 in the world. So far in his career, he has won four Challenger titles with two of those occurring this year in Italy and Finland. 

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(VIDEO): Malaga Line-Up Set As Davis Cup Most Unpredictable Tournament In History

UbiTennis founder Ubaldo Scanagatta explains why any of the eight teams in Malaga could win November’s Davis Cup Finals




(@DavisCup - Twitter)

The Davis Cup quarter-final line-up is set after an incredible Group Stage over Bologna, Split, Manchester and Valencia.


Now eight teams remain including Novak Djokovic’s Serbia, Great Britain and Australia.

However surprise teams such as the Netherlands, Finland and the Czech Republic will also appear in the quarter-finals.

Ten-time champions Great Britain will face Serbia with the winners taking on the winner of the quarter-final between Italy and the Netherlands.

In the other half of the draw Canada will be heavy favourites against Finland while the Czech Republic face Australia.

The final eight tournament will take place in Malaga and will take place between the 21st and the 26th of November.

However this year’s Davis Cup could be the most unpredictable version in the tournament’s history with there being no Spain or USA.

It really could be anyone’ tournament with Tennis’ most prestigious team competition up for grabs in November.

In this video UbiTennis founder Ubaldo Scanagatta explains why this year’s Davis Cup finals could be the most unpredictable edition of all-time and why any of the teams could win the title.

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Simona Halep Claims Doing Ban Is ‘Based On Scenarios’ Without Proof




Former world No.1 Simona Halep has questioned the fairness of her anti-doping hearing after being suspended from the sport for four years. 


The two-time Grand Slam champion is suspended from tour events until 2026 after an independent tribunal concluded that the Romanian broke rules set out in Tennis’ anti-doping program. In a 126-page report by the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA), investigators accepted that the collagen supplement taken by Halep – called Keto MCT – was contaminated with Roxadustat “on the balance of probability.” However, they stated that there must have been another source of Roxadustat based on the level detected in her sample taken during the 2022 US Open. 

Furthermore, three experts in the area said they have ‘a high degree of confidence‘ that there was not an ‘innocent explanation’ for the abnormalities detected in Halep’s Athlete’s Biological Passport (ABP). They reported that ‘likely doping’ occurred based on an analysis of 51 valid samples of Halep’s blood and rejected her explanation for the irregularity. The tennis star cited blood loss during surgery and spells when she was inactive as her defence. 

Despite the comprehensive ruling, Halep has insisted that she is innocent and never intentionally took any banned substances. During an interview with Front Office Sports on Monday, the 31-year-old claimed that the ITIA’s four-year ban handed to her was based on ‘scenarios’ instead of any proof. 

“I was confident after the hearing because there were so many things that made no sense and that are not fair,” she said.
“When I received the decision, I was in complete shock. I could not believe that they suspended me for four years when we found the contamination and my blood was totally normal. They didn’t find anything bad in my blood. It’s crazy that they made this decision with everything [her legal team presented]. They judged me on scenarios. There is no proof. It’s just insane.”

The ITIA originally requested a six-year ban for Halep due to what they described as ‘repetitive and sophisticated’ doping practices. She is accused of using blood doping to improve her performance during Wimbledon and the US Open last year. However, the report found it was not ‘completely satisfied’ that Halep has been doping since March 2022 despite there being ‘strong grounds for suspicion.’

As for the substance Roxadustat, Halep says she would have never deliberately taken the drug as it would ‘work against her.’ She says that the drug would have worsened a thyroid issue which she has been dealing with for several years. Front Office Sports referred to a European Medicines Agency study which finds a possible link between the drug and decreased thyroid function. 

“There was no point for me to take this,” Halep said. “It’d work against me. It wouldn’t help me.”

The study couldn’t establish how common this side effect is due to the amount of data available at the time. 

In the wake of Halep’s ban, some have publicly expressed their views on the matter. One of the most notable to do so was Serena Williams who wrote on social media ‘8 is a better number” in a jibe at her former opponent. The reference was to the 2019 Wimbledon final when seven-time champion Williams lost in straight sets to Halep. 

“I think everyone has the right to judge me because the tribunal decided that I have the fault here,” Halep commented. “Someone told me today that those players who are hating on me because I beat them.”

Halep is set to appeal against her ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). 

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