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US Open TV rights deal struck, five-year contract

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Rafael Nadal took the Men’s Singles title in New York this year with victory over South Africa’s Kevin Anderson (Zimbio.com)

A major deal has been struck to award the broadcasting rights to the US Open. The calendar’s final Grand Slam has opted to continue its relationship with Eurosport, striking a five-year deal that gives the sports broadcasting giant the exclusive right to show the US Open across much of Europe.

 

The deal covers all major European countries where Eurosport has a presence, with the sole exceptions of the UK and Ireland. Eurosport has typically also struck an individual non-exclusive deal to also show the tournament there, but this deal does not cover those regions.

The US Open garners a significant amount of viewers, and was the site of the first Grand Slam title for Britain’s Andy Murray back in 2012. Eurosport has typically had to compete with the likes of Sky Sports for the rights in the UK and Ireland. The tournament this year was hit by a number of high-profile withdrawals including Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, defending champion Stan Wawrinka, and Kei Nishikori.

Eurosport CEO Peter Hutton: “The US Open is always a special occasion, an invitation to the world to join a two-week party to conclude the story of the Grand Slam year. We are excited to extend our partnership with the USTA until 2022 and strengthen our position as the place for fans in Europe to follow every thrilling moment of Grand Slam action. 
“The agreement maintains our focus on premium must-have content, delivering locally relevant coverage through dedicated country-specific production and talent.

USTA Chief Revenue Officer: “Eurosport is a deeply-valued broadcast partner that has significantly invested in high-quality production and proven they can grow the audience for the US Open.

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Former Top 50 Star Johanna Larsson Retires From Tennis

Another familiar face on the women’s tour has hung up her racket.

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Johanna Larsson (image via WTA Twitter)

Swedish tennis player Johanna Larsson has announced that she is stepping away from tennis with immediate effect at the age of 31.

 

Larsson, who has been ranked as high as 45th in the world back in 2016, said her passion to play at her very best was no longer there during an interview with tennis.se. The announcement comes after what has been a tough start to 2020 for the current world No.236. After winning three matches in qualifying at the Australian Open, she won only one game during her first round match against Paula Badosa. Then at a Fed Cup event, she lost two out of three matches played.

I’ve had these thoughts for a while, already during the Australian Open, but the real decision I made after the Fed Cup in February. Even though I was acknowledged that I was at a high level, the feeling was reinforced that I didn’t really have what it takes to play at the absolute top. I don’t want to do anything to 70-80 percent,” she commented on her decision to retire.

Whilst she never managed to break into the top 20, Larsson still managed to feature in five WTA finals during her career. Four of which were on the clay. She won her maiden title in 2015 on home territory at the Swedish Open before claiming a second trophy three years later at the Nuremberg Cup in Germany. She contested 37 grand slam main draws where she won a total of 16 matches.

Larsson’s grand slam main draw wins
-Australian Open 3
-French Open 8
-Wimbledon 0
-US Open 5

Larsson’s best achievements on the court took place in the doubles, where she was ranked as high as 20th in the world. Overall, she won 14 WTA titles on the tour. Her most successful partnership was with Kiki Bertens, whom she won nine trophies with. Together they were also runners-up at the 2017 WTA Finals. Larsson also reached the semi-finals of last year’s French Open with Kirsten Flipkens.

“I think I need some time now for it to really sink in.” Said Larsson. “Maybe it’s only in a month or two that you really understand that it’s over. Now it is nicer to have a morning sleep and not have anything planned, especially to not have to count down for days before I go out on the next trip. I can do things spontaneously with my family and friends, but it will level off and then I also think that missing and those pieces will come in.”

She was coached on the tour by Mattias Arvidsson, who also serves as the Swedish Fed Cup captain. In the team competition Larsson has achieved a total of 52 wins between 2005-2020, which is more than any other player in her country. She featured in a total of 48 ties.

“She has been a fantastic ambassador for Swedish tennis and has always given everything and never left anything to chance.” Said Arvidsson. “She has always been a role model at all levels, both in training and in competitions. It is clear that for all the younger players it was hoped that she would run for a while.”

Larsson ends her career with $4,033,736 in prize money earnings. She is currently the only Swedish female tennis player in history to win more than $3M in the sport.

Retired female tennis players in 2020

  • Caroline Wozniacki DEN
  • Maria Sharapova RUS
  • Ekaterina Makarova RUS
  • Vania King USA
  • María José Martínez Sánchez ESP
  • Carla Suarez Navarro ESP (to retire at the end of the season)
  • Johanna Larsson SWE

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Davis Cup

Australia Suffer Double Blow Ahead Of Davis Cup Tie

Two of the country’s top tennis players have confirmed that they will not be able to play.

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Australia’s chances in their upcoming Davis Cup tie has taken a knock after their top two singles players ruled themselves out of the competition due to injury.

 

World No.23 Nick Kyrgios has pulled out due to a wrist problem that also saw him retire from his first round match at the Mexican Open earlier this week. Kyrgios hasn’t been able to play a full match on the tour since his loss to Rafael Nadal in the fourth round of the Australian Open last month. He recently took a swipe at fans in Mexico after being booed off the court following his retirement from the competition, where he was aiming to defend the title he won 12 months ago.

‘I’ve been dealing with a bit of a wrist injury, obviously, for the last couple of weeks,’ said Kyrgios. ‘After the Australian Open I took like a week and a half off and then I started hitting again, I started feeling my wrist.
‘I didn’t play last week in Delray, still came here, thought I would be able to play, but my wrist is not ready to play. I can feel it on every backhand.
‘It’s unfortunate, you know. After the memories I had last year it was tough for me to come here and pull out.’

Kyrgios was also forced to pull out of his country’s quarter-final clash with Canada last November due to a collarbone injury.

Another notable absentee will be Alex de Minaur, who is ranked just two spot below his compatriot in the ATP rankings. Minaur is out of the team after aggravating an abdominal injury. An issue which forced him to miss the first grand slam of 2020. The 21-year-old returned to competition this week, but lost his opening match to Miomir Kecmanović.

“Both guys wanted to be named (in the team) hoping that they would be fine to play,” Australian captain Lleyton Hewitt told reporters.
“But as it has turned out, with Nick pulling mid-match, he has been struggling for a couple of weeks.
“And Alex, as that first match went on, he had probably come back a week or two too soon.”

Commenting further about Kyrgios, Hewitt said he believed he will be out of action for roughly another two weeks. At present, he is still down to play at the Indian Wells Masters, which begins on March 9th.

“For at least the next week, two weeks, he shouldn’t be picking up a racquet,“ he said.

Australia will play Brazil on home territory in Adelaide. It will be the first Davis Cup clash between the two countries 2001. Whoever wins will progress to the 18-team weeklong finals in November.

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Rafael Nadal Hoping Coronavirus Will Not Spoil His Olympic Dreams

The 19-time grand slam champion speaks out about the worldwide outbreak.

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World No.2 Rafael Nadal has said he is hopeful that a remedy can be found to contain the worldwide Coronavirus outbreak in order to stop what he describes as ‘fear’ erupting.

 

Several countries have declared major medical emergencies in order to tackle the illness, which also goes by the name of Covid 19. It is believed to have originated in China, where the most infections and deaths from the illness have been recorded. However, Iran is also struggling with an outbreak, Italy has quantified 11 towns, Saudi Arabia is preventing foreign pilgrims from entering their country and Japan has closed schools.

Coronavirus has also had an impact on various tennis events with a string of Chinese ITF and Challenger events cancelled. Meanwhile on Sunday, the final of the ATP Bergamo Open in Italy was cancelled due to concerns. Making it the first time an European event has been impacted by the threat posed by Coronavirus.

“I hope it is controlled, that a remedy is found and this uncertainty is stopped, this psychosis, this fear. It is the most important thing, not only for the Olympic Games, but for humanity, “ Nadal commented on the issue following his second round win at the Mexican Open.

One of the biggest sporting events is also under threat – the Olympic Games. This year’s edition will be held in Tokyo, Japan. IOC council member Dick Pound has recently said the sporting event will be cancelled if there is ‘world health at stake.’ The World Health Organisation is currently working with Olympic organizers, who are keen to empathise that they have no intention of cancelling the event.

“Our basic thoughts are that we will go ahead with the Olympic and Paralympic Games as scheduled,” Committee chief executive Toshiro Muto recently told Japanese reporters.
“For the time being, the situation of the coronavirus infection is, admittedly, difficult to predict, but we will take measures such that we’ll have a safe Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Nadal is one of many tennis players hoping to win a gold medal later this year. The Spaniard is already a three-time Olympic after competing in 2004, 2008 and 2016. He has previously won two gold medals. Claiming the singles title in 2008 and the doubles trophy alongside Marc Lopez in 2016.

“Regarding the Olympic Games, to say that it is one of the most special events in the world. It is a unique experience to be there and I consider it the most difficult tournament to win because you only have two or three chances in your career, “ Nadal commented.

The Olympic tennis tournament will get underway on July 25th. It will be held at the Ariake Coliseum.

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