Feliciano Lopez Set To Take Over As Director Of The Madrid Open - UBITENNIS
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Feliciano Lopez Set To Take Over As Director Of The Madrid Open

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World No.36 Feliciano Lopez has been appointed the assistant director of the Madrid Open, in what is set to be the start of a new era for the Spanish tournament.

The announcement was made on Thursday during a press conference at the AC Cuzco Hotel by tournament CEO Gerard Tsobanian. Lopez will be deputy to four-time grand slam champion Manolo Santana, who is credited for bringing the combined event to Madrid. During 2018 Lopez will be mentored by both Santana and Tsobanian for his new role.

“I have a lot to learn from Manolo and from Gerard. I have seen them run this tournament for more than 15 years and I have always admired what they have achieved.” Lopez told reporters.
“As time has gone by the Mutua Madrid Open has become one of the best tournaments on tour and one of the most valued by the players. And that is thanks to both of them. It will be a huge responsibility to make sure that their legacy continues for many years to come.”

The Madrid Open is a combined event played on the clay. It is categorised as a Masters 1000 event for the men and a Premier Mandatory event for the women. This year’s edition, which was won by Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep, attracted a record audience of 260,228 spectators. An increase of over 15,000 compared to the previous year. The current owner is former player and multimillionaire Ion Tiriac.

Lopez’s appointment is the start of his path to the top position. In plans outlined by the tournament committee, the 36-year-old will take over from Santana after 2018 to become chief director. Santana will maintain ties with the Madrid Open, but in a different format as an ‘honorary president’ after he turns 80 next May. Both of those plans are subjected to the approval of the board of directors, who will be holding meetings in the near future to discuss the motions.

“The Mutua Madrid Open is and always will be my home. We put a lot of effort into getting this tournament off the ground and I will always be working to help it grow.” stated Santana.
“I am really happy that Feli is joining the team, he is a wonderful addition to it and I will try to teach him as much as I can. He knows the tournament very well because he has played in it in every year. At first he will be the person by my side to learn and then I will be the one who is by his side to support him in everything he does. We will make a great team.”

During his career, Lopez has played in the Madird Open 16 consecutive times between 2002-2017. Overall, he has won 21 out of 37 matches played at the event, reaching the quarter-finals on four occasions. The Spaniard has been ranked as high as 12th in the world and currently has six ATP titles to his name. Including one from this year’s Aegon Championships.

“I can still remember when Manolo gave me a wildcard to play in the first tournament in 2002. That was when I realised that I could take on the best in the world (and I came close to beating Agassi!). I have a very special bond with the Mutua Madrid Open and I feel very lucky to work at the tournament. Today I feel as if Manolo has given me another wildcard to work with him and I hope to be able to make the most of it.” He said about his new posistion.

Next year will be the 17th edition of the Madrid Open and the tenth anniversary of it being held at the Caja Magica. It will take place from 4th – 13th May.

(Video in Spanish)

 

Grand Slam

(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) The Wimbledon Clash Between Djokovic And Sinner Could Have Been Better

It was an epic five-set clash but imagine how better the match would have been if both were playing well at the same time…

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Hall of Famer Steve Flink and Ubitennis’ Ubaldo Scanagatta analyse the dramatic events that unfolded on Tuesday at Wimbledon.

 

Top seed Novak Djokovic staged an epic comeback to oust Jannik Sinner in a match of two halves. Meanwhile, Cameron Norrie brought delight to the British fans.

On the other side of the draw, how will Rafael Nadal fair against the in-form Taylor Fritz? The Spaniard recently sidestepped a question about a potential new injury. 

As for the women’s draw, Ons Jabeur made history by becoming the first Arab player to reach a major quarter-final. She will next play 34-year-old mum-of-two Tatjana Maria who had never been beyond the third round of a major until now. 

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WIMBLEDON: 10 Facts About Semi-Finalist Ons Jabeur

All you need to know about the Trailblazing Tunisian who has created history at The All England Club.

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image via twitter.com/wimbledon

Second seed Ons Jabeur achieved a new milestone for both her and her country at Wimbledon on Tuesday. 

 

The world No.2 battled back from a set down to defeat Marie Bouzkova 3-6, 6-1, 6-1, to reach the last four of a major event for the first time in her career. Jabeur has now dropped only one set in five matches played and is the highest ranked player remaining in the draw. Her major breakthrough comes seven years after she made her Grand Slam debut at the 2015 Australian Open. 

“I played really good from beginning of the second set, especially having a early break kind of helps me gain confidence,” said Jabeur.
“I know it wasn’t easy playing Marie. She gets all the balls and doesn’t make, to win a point, easy for me. I’m glad I stepped in with my game. I was more aggressive in the second set, and especially tactically I was playing some angles that she didn’t like much.”

To mark Jabeur’s Wimbledon milestone, here are 10 facts to know about her:-

  1. She is the first North African player – male or female – to reach a Grand Slam semi-final. The last woman from the entire African continent to reach a major semi-final was Amanda Coetzer at the 1997 French Open. 
  2. Her win over Bouzkova is Jabeur’s 26th Tour-level win on the grass.
  3. Jabeur has now won 83 matches over the past two seasons. This is more than any other player on the WTA Tour. 
  4. Has won 21 out of her last 23 matches.
  5. She is the only Tunisian woman currently ranked in the world’s top 700.
  6. Jabeur had failed to win back-to-back matches on her three out of her four previous appearances at Wimbledon in 2017, 2018 and 2019. She reached the quarter-finals in 2021.
  7. Coming into Wimbledon she has already earned more than $6.2m in prize money in her career.
  8. She has won three Tour titles in Birmingham (2021), Madrid (2022) and Berlin (2022). 
  9. Has beaten a top 10 player four times in her career – Dominika Cibulkova (2017 French Open), Simona Halep (Beijing 2018), Sloane Stephens (Moscow 2018) and Karolina Pliskova (Doha 2020).
  10. In October 2021 she became the first Arab player (mae or female) to crack the world’s top 10 in tennis. 

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Tatjana Maria – Reaching Wimbledon Semi-Finals is ‘Amazing’ But It Doesn’t Beat Parenthood

The underdog is enjoying her best-ever run at a major 15 years after making her debut.

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Image via twitter.com/wta

Germany’s Tatjana Maria reveals people once doubted her ability to return to tennis after having her first child. Now a mother-of-two, she has secured a place in the Wimbledon semifinals. 

 

The fairytale run of the world No.103 continued on Tuesday when she ousted compatriot Jule Niemeier 6-4, 2-6, 7-5, in her quarter-final match. Until the tournament, Maria had never been beyond the third round of a major event. However, that changed with high-profile wins over Sorana Cirstea, Maria Sakkari and Jelena Ostapenko prior to Niemeier.

“It’s amazing. I mean, I tried to calm down a little bit in the locker room and to realize something, but it’s still hard to realize it,” she said of reaching the last four at Wimbledon.

Whilst some players prepare for their Grand Slam matches in the gym, Maria’s routine is somewhat unique. She began her day by taking her 8-year-old daughter to her tennis lesson. It wasn’t enough to keep her busy, she also has a 15-month-old baby.

“Outside of the court, nothing changes for me for the moment,” she said.  “I try to keep this going, everything the same. We keep going (to the tennis lessons) even if I’m playing the semifinals.”

Incredibly the 34-year-old returned to the circuit following maternity leave less than a year ago. It was during that absence that she decided to switch to a one-handed backhand. She has been ranked as high as 46th in the world and has two Tour titles to her name. 

“A lot of people who never believed I would come back. This was already after Charlotte and when I changed my backhand,” she said.
“I showed it last time already that I am back. I reached the top 50 with Charlotte, and now I’m back with my second child. Still, everybody was doubting.’
“I’m still here and I’m a fighter, and I keep going and I keep dreaming.”

Relishing in her best-ever performance at a major event, Maria is another example of a player having a breakthrough later in their career. To put her run in perspective, in the Open Era only five other women have reached the semifinals at Wimbledon after turning 34.

However, in Maria’s eyes, her achievements on the court can’t beat her top priority off the court.

“To be a mum is for me on the top of my life. So I think it helps me in tennis too because now my priority is my kids,” she explains. “I play tennis, I want to do my best, that’s all that I want. But my kids are the priority.’
“If I go out there, I want my kids to be happy, that they are healthy, that everything is okay. That’s the most important thing for me in my life.”

Maria made her Grand Slam debut back at Wimbledon in 2007. 

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