Soderling Returns, Kvitova Heads To Sweden: Five Non-Wimbledon Stories You Need To Know - UBITENNIS
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Soderling Returns, Kvitova Heads To Sweden: Five Non-Wimbledon Stories You Need To Know

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Robin Soderling (zimbio.com)

With all the focus on the Wimbledon Championships, it is easy to forget about what else has been happening in the world of tennis. Within the past two days, a former top-five player has returned as a coach, a two-time grand slam champion is set to play in Sweden and Canada’s biggest tournament is facing the prospect of losing one of their teenage prodigy’s.

 

Soderling returns

Two-time French Open finalist Robin Soderling has joined forces with Sweden’s Elias Ymer. According to Swedish website Tennis Portal, the two were seen together training up to a month ago. It is unclear as to if this if a short or long-term agreement.

“We’re just training together.” Ymer told Tennis Portal about his collaboration with Soldering.

Ymer is participating in the Bastad Challenger. Awarded a wildcard into the draw, the 21-year-old defeated sixth seed Arthur De Greef to reach the quarter-finals. In the last eight, he will play top seed Dusan Lajovic.

Currently ranked 269th in the world, Ymer has also been granted a wildcard into next week’s Swedish Open, an ATP 250 event. He has won two Challenger titles so far in his career with the most recent occurring at the 2016 Barletta Open.

Kvitova to play in Sweden

Petra Kvitova recently said that she was looking forward to a rest following her second round loss to Madison Brengle at Wimbledon. The break from tennis didn’t last long for the Czech after she took a wildcard into the Swedish Open. Playing in the country for the first time since 2009.

“I need to get started and play matches.” She told Expressen.se.
“I think it will be great for me right now.”

During her lengthy interview with Swedish media, the Czech reflected on her struggles about returning to the tour. Last year, Kvitova underwent surgery on her left hand after being injured in a brutal knife attack.

“It has been amazing. I did not know if I could ever play tennis again. There has been a lot of pain. And very hard work. I also did not know what form I would come back to … I just knew it would be very hard to get back, but now I’ve done it. And I have shown that, at least, I can play tennis again.”

The Swedish Open will get underway on July 24th (a week after the men’s edition). Caroline Wozniacki, Anastasija Sevastova and Caroline Garcia are all set to participate in the tournament.

Félix Auger-Aliassime doubtful for Rogers Cup

The Rogers Cup could take place without the presence of one of their rising stars. Félix Auger-Aliassime has skipped a series of tournaments after suffering a left wrist injury. It is unclear how severe the injury is, but Canadian media has reported that he will miss a few Challenger events.

Speculation concerning Auger-Aliassime’s absence erupted after comments from Eugène Lapierre, the tournament director of the Rogers Cup.

Translation: Eugène Lapierre, the chances to see Felix Auger-Aliassime (left wrist) at the Rogers Cup would be very thin. In the order of 15%.

Earlier this year the 16-year-old won the Lyon Open in France to become one of the youngest players to win a Challenger title in the Open Era.

Bacsinszky’s injury

The Gstaad Open has been dealt a blow after home favourite Timea Bacsinszky withdrew due to injury. Bacsinszky, who lost in the third round of Wimbledon to Agnieszka Radwanska, has a ‘muscle injury’ to her left thigh. The issue was detected after she underwent a medical examination.

“It is with great disappointment that I announce my package for the Ladies Championship Gstaad starting at the end of this week. The finals after Wimbledon revealed a muscle injury to my left thigh. It saddens me very much because I was very much looking forward to playing at home, a tournament that I love and which I am the ambassador.” She wrote on social media.

Last year the 28-year-old reached the semifinals of the tournament before losing to Kiki Bertens. She was the only top-20 player scheduled to play in this year’s event.

Marcel Granollers speaks about his struggles

This year has gone anything, but smoothly for former top-20 player Marcel Granollers. The Spaniard has only managed to win three out of 19 main draw singles matches on the ATP Tour. As a result, he has fallen down to 112th in the world. His lowest position since February 2010.

“It’s a difficult time, I’m without confidence, and it’s costing me a lot to compete. (This) year I’m not feeling the same competitively on the track compared to years ago.” He told El Espanol.
“I have to try to accept that I am not at my best level and start working to recover it as soon as possible.”

Granollers has also stated that he has considered taking a break from the sport, but has vowed to keep on playing for the immediate future.

“I notice that I’m mentally empty, as if it were difficult for me to compete.” The 31-year-old admitted. “Playing both the singles and doubles mode for so many seasons, whether you want to do it or not, it’s a lot of wear and tear.”

So far in his career, Granollers has won 18 ATP titles (14 in doubles and four in singles).

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‘Probably Gonna Quit’ – Tennys Sandgren Blasts Performance After missing Out On Olympic Medal

The tennis star described his fourth place finish as ‘dog s**t.”

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Former Australian Open quarter-finalist Tennys Sandgren said he is close to retiring from tennis after missing out on a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

 

Sandgren and doubles partner Austin Krajicek fell in straight sets to the New Zealand pairing of Michael Venus and Marcus Daniell, who are the first tennis players from their country in over 100 years to win a medal. The loss is a frustrating outcome for the American who wasn’t afraid to express how he felt after the match. Tokyo was the ninth doubles tournament Sandgren has played in this year.

“I mean, who f*ing cares you know, what do I have to show for it? We have a good week and fourth place is dog s**t.” He told the Olympic News Service.

Speaking straight after his loss, the highly emotional 30-year-old then cast doubt on his future in the sport. He is currently ranked 82nd in the world and has a win-loss record of 6-14 so far this year. However, he is yet to reach a quarter-final in singles.

I’m probably gonna quit. That might be my last match. I’m close, yeah, I’m close.” He replied when asked about his career.

As for if he would have done anything different in the bronze medal match, Sandgren replied ‘not to have been so bad.’ He also expressed disappointment that the tennis tournament took place behind closed doors. Prior to the Olympics, organisers decided to hold all events in Tokyo without fans due to a surge of COVID-19 cases in the city.

“It would have been a great event with fans,” he via via teamusa.org. “Playing on an outside court without fans, I mean, you might as well be playing in Idaho in the middle of nowhere.”

Sandgren and Krajicek were America’s last chance to win a medal in the tennis competition. It is the first time the country has failed to win any medal since tennis returned as an Olympic event in 1988.

“There’s not much you can say about that except it’s pretty, pretty devastating to lose that one. You know, give yourself a chance to get a medal and then to lose those two (matches – including the men’s doubles semifinal) is tough, but you have to give those guys credit today. They played well.” Krajicek concluded.

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Fabio Fognini Apologises For Use Of Homophobic Slur During Olympic Match

The Italian says he regrets using the ‘stupid expression’ during his third round clash.

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Fabio Fognini said the heat got to him during his third round clash with Daniil Medvedev at the Tokyo Olympics after he was caught saying a homophobic slur at himself.

 

The world No.31 lost to Medvedev in three sets during what was incredibly hot and humid conditions with both players taking a 10-minute break after the second set under the extreme weather policy. Frustrated with how his match was going, Fognini was caught by broadcasters saying the word ‘frocio’ which is an anti-gay term in his native language. The exact phrase he used was ‘Frocio, sei un frocio’ which was directed towards himself only.

Following his Olympic exit, the 34-year-old issued a statement on social media in which he apologised for making those remarks during his match. In a post uploaded onto his Instagram story which had a rainbow theme background, Fognini reiterated that he supports the LGBT community and the use of the slur was done in the heat of the moment.

The heat got to my head!” Fognini wrote.
“In today’s (Wednesday’s) match I used a really stupid expression towards myself. Obviously I didn’t want to offend anyone’s sensibilities.
“I love the LGBT community and I apologize for the nonsense that came out of me.”

It is not the first time a player has been caught using a homophobic term during a tennis match this year. Earlier in the season Denmark’s Holger Rune was fined for a term he used during a Challenger match. The former world No.1 junior player later apologised for those comments.

Unlike the women’s Tour, there are currently no publicly out players in men’s tennis and only a select few have come out in the past. In June former top 100 player Brain Vahaly, who came out as gay after retiring from the sport, spoke to UbiTennis about his experience.

Despite his loss, Fognini was the only player from his country to reach the third round of the men’s draw in Tokyo. Lorenzo Sonego, who was seeded two places higher than him, lost in the second round to Nikoloz Basilashvili.

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Why Newly Married Elina Svitolina Has No Plans To Change Her Surname

The Ukrainian explains why she isn’t using her husband’s surname of Monfils just yet as she books her place in the third round at Tokyo 2020.

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Just over a week ago Elina Svitolina tied the knot with her long-time partner Gael Monfils at a ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland.

 

Shortly after the world No.6 took to social media and changed her name on Twitter to Elina Monfils as part of the tradition that the woman takes on the man’s name once they are married. As a consequence, various websites started to identify the Ukrainian under that name. Although she would rather that they don’t do such a thing.

“I don’t know why they changed my surname. Maybe they saw that I had changed it on my social networks,” Svitolina told BTU.
“I’m going to play as Svitolina till the very end of my professional career and will change it only after retirement.”

Svitolina explains she believes it is better if all of her achievements are made under the same name instead of two. So far in her career she has won 15 WTA titles, reached two Grand Slam semi-finals and has earned more than $20.5M in prize money.

I had numerous achievements and people know me as Svitolina. My father would be upset if I changed the surname and played as Monfils,” she joked.
“I am proud to be Svitolina and my tennis career will always be connected with this surname.”

Over the coming week the 26-year-old is hoping to add an Olympic medal to her resume. On Monday Svitolina survived a stern scare after coming back from a set down to defeat Ajla Tomljanović 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 and move into the third round of the tournament. Her win came on the day where there were shocks galore in the women’s draw with seeds Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek and Petra Kvitova all crashing out.

Svitolina will play Greece’s Maria Sakkari in the next round whom she has lost to in two out of their three previous meetings.

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