Elena Vesnina Hits Out At Sharapova’s Critics, Accuses Rivals Of ‘Dirty Tricks’ - UBITENNIS
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Elena Vesnina Hits Out At Sharapova’s Critics, Accuses Rivals Of ‘Dirty Tricks’

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Elena Vesnina (zimbio.com)

Wimbledon doubles champion Elena Vesnina has questioned the level of fair play in the women’s game as she defended compatriot Maria Sharapova.

 

The Russian world No.17 has accused some of her opponents of attention seeking with their comments about the former world No.1. Sharapova returned to the tour in April after serving a 15-month doping ban. During her comeback, players have questioned the decision to award her wild cards into tournaments after breaking anti-doping regulations.

One of Sharapova’s critics is France’s Kristina Mladenovic. In march she said during an interview with Le Parisien that everybody on the tour thinks the Russian is a ‘cheater.’ Furthermore, Mladenovic claimed that Sharapova was rude and not liked on the women’s circuit.

“All the other players are saying she’s a cheater,” she said. “You sure doubt and think that she didn’t deserve all she won until now. That’s dreadful, but it’s good that it’s finally out.”

Five months later and 31-year-old Vesnina has brushed off Mladenovic’s claims. Instead, she has questioned the her motives and believes the comments were just for publicity. Caroline Wozniacki, Angelique Kerber and Eugenie Bouchard have also previously expressed scepticism over Sharapova’s return and hew wild card rewards.

“I talked with Mladenovic, but the topic wasn’t very interesting for her. It’s important for Kiki to get attention from the media, to cause a response. I think it’s the same for other girls.” Vesnina told Russian sports website Sovsport.
“Worth to mention that Maria’s critics can’t be compared to her when we speak about her achievements. I mean Serena Williams didn’t say a bad word about Maria for the whole time.”

Throughout her comeback, Sharapova has been reluctant to hit back at her critics. Writing for The Players Tribune, the 30-year-old insists that she maintains a ‘gracious attitude’ towards her opponents.

“I’ve always tried to keep a generous attitude toward critics in general — whoever they are, and whenever they’ve been there. I’ve never wanted to respond to the people trashing me by trashing them back; that’s always been important to me.” She wrote.

The dirty tricks

During Vesnina’s interview, she has also claimed that some players deliberately try to tease their opponents during matches. Providing an insight into her own experience, she believes a lot of players change their personality once they walk onto the court.

“They are some girls who behave like your friends: they say hi to you, say something funny and laugh at your joke. But during the match, they would do everything to drive you crazy.” She said.

One of the most intriguing comments from Vesnina was her allegation about other players deliberately learning Russian to intimidate her.

“There are many dirty tricks. Some girls even learn a few words in Russian to tease you even more! Nothing you can do, you just have to be ready.” She explained.

Vesnina will return to action next week at the Rogers Cup in Canada.

Note – Vesnina’s quotes were translated by Championat journalist Ilya Ryvlin (@ryvlin)

 

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Novak Djokovic secures win for Serbia in Davis Cup Finals in Innsbruck

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Novak Djokovic eased past Dennis Novak 6-3 6-2 to secure a 2-0 win over Austria in Group F at the Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals in Innsbruck. 

 

Djokovic did not face a break point and won nine of the last eleven games to seal the win after 60 minutes. Djokovic has won his 16th consecutive Davis Cup match. The Serbian player dropped six points on his first serve and never faced any break points. He converted three of his five break points. 

Djokovic earned his first break in the eighth game with an unreturned serve to open up a 5-3 lead and closed out the first set with a hold at 15 in the ninth game after 30 minutes. 

Djokovic went up an early break at the start of the second set and opened up a 3-0 with a double break. Both players held serve in the next five games without facing any break points. Djokovic hit a backhand down the line winner to close out the match, as he was serving for the win at 5-2. 

“It feels great to play for Serbia again. We are part of an individual sport, but I love to play for my country and I try to play when they need me. It has a long year, but you always find extra motivation playing for your country”, said Djokovic. 

Earlier today Dusan Lajovic earned a late break in the third set to battle past Gerald Melzer 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 7-5 to give Serbia an early 1-0 lead. Lajovic wasted a break point but he came back to convert his fourth match point after 2 hours and 42 minutes. 

Spain beats Ecuador 3-0

Olympic bronze medallist Pablo Carreno Busta battled past Ecuador’s Emilio Gomez 5-7 6-3 7-6 (7-5) to seal the win for Spain in Group A at the Caja Magica in Madrid. 

Carreno Busta wasted a 5-2 lead in the third set and two match points at 5-3, but he fought back to win the third-set tie-break 7-5 after 2 hours and 39 minutes. 

“I am very happy because it was a very important victory for the confidence and for the rhythm. In the second and third sets I felt more comfortable than in the first set. I had to continue fighting until the end because he played really well”, said Carreno Busta.  

Earlier on Friday Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez saved all five break point to beat Roberto Quiroz 6-3 6-3. 

“I still have the passion for the game. Without that passion I would not be here. I am 40 years old and have been playing on the Tour for such a long time and it is true without this passion it would not be possible to keep training each day. I have been waiting for moments like this, giving the first point to my country”, said Lopez. 

Carreno Busta and Marcell Granollers battled past Gonzalo Escobar and Diego Hidalgo 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-2) after 2 hours and 45 minutes. 

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Italy takes a 2-1 win over the USA in the Davis Cup in Turin

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Lorenzo Sonego and Jannik Sinner earned Italy a 2-1 win over the USA in the two singles matches in the Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals at the Pala Alpitour in Turin. 

 

Turin-native player Lorenzo Sonego beat US giant Reilly Opelka 6-3 7-6 (7-4) in 1 hour and 31 minutes minutes. Sonego won 90% of his first service points and saved the only break point he faced at 3-3 before earning his first break at deuce in the eighth game after a double fault from Opelka to take a 5-3 lead. The local favourite served it out on his first set point. 

Opelka fended off a break point in the seventh game to hold serve at deuce. Both players went on serve in the next games en route to the tie-break without facing any break points. Sonego earned the decisive mini-break on the first point and held on his serve to win the tie-break 7-4. 

“It was not easy. It was the first time for me competing at the Davis Cup and I am really happy about the match. Thank you everyone”, said Sonego.

Jannik Sinner cruised past John Isner 6-2 6-0 after 1 hour and 2 minutes. Sinner won 9 consecutive games from 3-2 in the first set. Sinner broke twice in the third and seventh games to seal the opening set 6-2. Sinner went up a break in the first game before saving three consecutive break points in the second game. The Italian player earned two more breaks in the third and fifth games to take a bagel win in the second set. Sinner hit 16 winners to just 4 unforced errors. 

“Playing here was very special. Today we have already won. We have a great team and everyone is a great guy as well, so we are just trying to stay together. I am very honoured to be a part of this”, said Sinner. 

Rajeev Ram and Jack Sock edged past Fabio Fognini and Lorenzo Musetti 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 after 1 hour and 36 minutes.  Fognini and Musetti went up a mini-break to take a 5-4 lead, but Ram and Sock won the final three points to win the tie-break 7-5. In the second set Fognini and Musetti wasted five break points. Ram and Sock earned two breaks in the first and fifth games to close out the second set 6-2. 

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Nicholas Mahut and Pierre Hugues Herbert take decisive doubles match win in the Davis Cup

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This year’s Nitto ATP Finals champions Nicholas Mahut and Pierre Hugues Herbert came back from one set down to beat Tomas Machac and Jiri Lehecka 3-6 6-4 6-3 in the decisive doubles match sealing a 2-1 win for France over Czech Republic in Group C of the Davis Cup by Rakuten in Innsbruck. 

 

Lehecka and Machac broke twice in the fourth and sixth games to win the first set 6-3. Lehecka saved four break points, but they dropped their serve in the 10th game to lose the second set 6-4. Herbert and Mahut converted their second break point to close out the third set 6-3. 

“It was difficult because the Czech team played very well, and we arrived late from Turin. I thought we had a slow start, but in the second and third sets we played well”, said Nicholas Mahut. 

Mahut and Herbert saved four of the five break points and hit five aces to seal the win after 2 hours and five minutes. 

Twenty-one year-old Machac gave an early lead to Czech Republic with a 7-6 (7-3) 6-2 over French veteran Richard Gasquet on his Davis Cup debut in the opening singles match. 

Machac came back from a break down and broke straight back to draw level to 2-2. The Czech player earned four mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-3. Gasquet saved four break points in the first game of the second set, but Machac broke serve twice to win the second set 6-2. 

“It feels really good. I am so happy I played today and won today for Czech Republic. It was a really tough match from the beginning, mentally especially. I am really happy. In the tie-break I played really well without any mistakes. That was the crucial moment”, said Machac. 

Adrian Mannarino came back from one set down to beat Jiri Vesely 6-7 (1-7) 6-4 6-2 after 2 hours and 38 minutes. Mannarino won 77% of his first serve points. Vesely came back from 2-5 down in the first set to win the win the tie-break 7-1. Mannarino earned a break at love in the third game to win the second set 6-2. Vesely saved four break points in the first game of the third set. Mannarino broke twice in the third and fifth games to seal the third set 6-2. 

“I was trying my best to keep fighting. I served very well in the key moments, which helps. I got used to the speed of his serve He was serving very fast and at beginning it was tough. On his second serve at the end, I was putting a lot of pressure on it”, said Mannarino. 

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