Getting To Know: Reem Abulleil From Sport 360 - UBITENNIS
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Getting To Know: Reem Abulleil From Sport 360

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Leading up to the start of the new season, Ubitennis is launching our getting to know you series. Earlier this year we conducted a number of video interviews with numerous members of the tennis media. The series finds out about how each journalist got into the field and what advice that would give to others.

 

The first one focuses on Egyptian-born journalist Reem Abulleil. As an Arabic sports reporter, Abulleli has established herself as one of the most respected female tennis reporters in the world. Regularly travelling to tournaments, she has interviewed many of the biggest names in the sport. Most recently, she conducted a two-part interview with Novak Djokovic ahead of his return.

Abulleil is currently the managing editor of Sport 360. An English-language newspaper in the United Arab Emirates that focus solely on sports. A member of the International Tennis Writers Association, she has also written articles for Racquet magazine, The Daily News Egypt, Mada Masr, Vision magazine, WTAFinals.com and more.

During the ATP Finals in London, Abulleil spoke with Ubitennis about her work in sport.

You can keep up to date with Abulleil’s work by following her Twitter account @ReemAbulleil

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Steve Flink On The Decline Of American Men’s Tennis: “We Need To Start Attracting The Best Athletes Again”

UbiTennis CEO Ubaldo Scanagatta is back with a new video to talk about the crisis hitting the country that used to dominate the game until less than 20 years ago.

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After Mark Winters’ contribution, here is a new entry in our website’s enquiry into US tennis. This time another American, the Hall-of-Famer Steve Flink, tries to answer some recurring questions? Why are there no US players left at the top of the ATP Rankings? Could the trend be bucked? This and more in the following video:

 

00:00 – “The best American player is 35 and outside the Top 20, and the only up-and-coming standout appears to be 19-year-old Brandon Nakashima.” Is this the lowest point for US tennis?  

02:30 – “In 1973, there were 23 Americans in the world Top 100, six in the Top 20 and three in the Top 10.” What happened? Flink: “We had perhaps our greatest decade in the 1990s, and that is probably when things went awry…”

06:10 – Could this be a financial stability issue? “There aren’t many tennis players with a huge income, while in basketball, football, ice hockey or baseball the situation is different.”

07:40 – “The road to success and wealth in individual sports is certainly tougher, but Europe has the same issue vis-à-vis football, so what could be another factor in the decline?” The role of private investments: “The USTA federal programme was created in the late 1980s, but I do not think that an emphasis on public spending is the problem.” Could this be just a cyclical fluke?

14:00 – What if the issue was commitment? “You need to really want to succeed in tennis.”  

18:42 – Mark Winters’ theory revolves around this last theme, that there is no drive to reach the top of the game: “I’m not sure I agree, but he is an insider and certainly knows what he’s talking about.”

20:40 – “Tennis players now start to make real money between 23 and 25 years of age, how many can afford to wait that long while relying almost exclusively on prize money?”

24:15 – “There might be a continuity issue, because the USTA changes its president every four years, and that doesn’t allow the creation of a stable system.” The role of deputy chiefs.

27:45 – How much money is devoted to the development of youths in the US?

30:27 – “Over the years, I’ve noticed that coaches who are on a federal payroll tend to lack a little bit of that hunger…” Can a national movement rely on the investments of young players’ parents?

35:15 – Why is women’s tennis doing so much better in the US than the male counterpart? “Nobody really believed in Sampras, Agassi and their generation, so there is still hope for a sudden comeback…”

39:10 – The changing role of the college game in the US: “Does it still work as a preparation for high-level tennis, and do the players have the patience to wait before they start making money by turning pro?” Flink: “I think that the shifting towards success at an older age might help in this sense.”

42: 20 – The raging debate of American sports – should university athlete receive financial support besides scholarship money?

44:15 – “Could we interview Stacey Allaster, the USTA’s president, on these issues?”

47:00 – Is it be important for the game to have a successful player from a country hosting a Major?

48:15 – “It’s a shame that American and Australian tennis are lagging this far behind, but we need to recognise that the game wasn’t as global and globalised when they used to dominate…”

Transcript by Filippo Ambrosi; translation and editing by Tommaso Villa

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French Open, Steve Flink: “Nadal is inhuman. He can play three or four more years and retire with Djokovic”

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The CEO of UbiTennis Ubaldo Scanagatta comments on Sunday’s one-sided final. What has Nadal improved over the years? Had there ever been another player who was so dominant on one surface?

 

The magnitude of Rafa Nadal’s thirteenth French Open title certainly impressed our Ubaldo Scanagatta and Steve Flink, who atone for their botched prediction and compare these two phenoms who can appear unbreachable at their best, which is, very often. Here’s the analysis of Sunday’s final:

00:00 – “We were wrong in our prediction, but so were McEnroe, Wilander, Becker and Courier! However, the Swede foreshadowed a bit of what would happen…” Why did Djokovic look so tame?  

04:31 – “This was Nadal’s tactical masterpiece, he didn’t let Djokovic dictate the play.” How is the Spaniard still so quick around the court?

07:37 – “I think that Nadal is following in Federer’s footsteps in the way he preserves his body, the six months of inactivity he just had were the best thing to ever happen to him.” Will he play the ATP Finals at the O2 in November?

11:58 – What did Djokovic do wrong? “The overuse of the drop shot finally caught up with him…”

17:08 – Last year, Djokovic beat Nadal just as decisively in the Australian Open final – revenge time? “The opening set’s bagel was a half-truth to be honest, Djokovic had a few issues closing out matches this week…”

21:48 – “Even Borg pales in comparison to Nadal’s clay dominance!” Rafa lost just two matches at the French Open – could he have achieved a perfect record?

27:20 – A comparison between the two champions: “Nadal is better at the net while Djokovic has a serving edge, even though he didn’t really show that yesterday.” What about their groundstrokes and athleticism?

33:40 – Two aspects in which they are the very best are their defence and mental strength, but who comes out on top? Is Federer’s under-pressure game relatively subpar?

39:50 – “Djokovic seemed shocked after he realised that the conditions weren’t working in his favour as expected.” What were Nadal’s key adjustments?

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Scanagatta And Flink: “We Both Think Djokovic Will Win The French Open, So Nadal Will Definitely Pull It Off!”

The CEO of UbiTennis and the American Hall-of-Famer previewed tomorrow’s final and discussed Iga Swiatek’s dominant performance at the Roland Garros – will the young Pole win more in the future?

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We are at the end of the seven most intense weeks in the history of professional tennis, with two Slams and two Masters 1000/Premier 5 taking place. All this time, Ubaldo Scanagatta and Steve Flink’s videos have accompanied the reprisal of the action after months of hiatus. Now that that the French Open is concluding as well, they have met for one last time, discussing the women’s final and taking a stance on who will win what Flink has dubbed “the biggest final of their career.” Here’s their chat:

 

00:00 – Swiatek became the first Polish player to win a Major – a surprising feat? “Kenin just got outplayed, Iga is such a complete player.” On Monday, she will be N.17 in the world – will she make it to the Top 10? 

03:40 “Swiatek had never won a WTA title, just like Wilander did in 1982, also at the French Open.” Will she win more Slams in the future, and who could stop her? “She lost just 28 games in 7 matches; this is what you call ‘dominance’…”

07:48 – Kenin required an MTO and looked downtrodden throughout the match – was she injured, and if so, how much of an impact did her struggles have on the outcome of the match? 

11:40 – The men’s final. “This was probably the most predictable final match-up in the history of the tournament!” What do the numbers tell us about their previous encounters at this lofty stage? “Nadal won their two finals in Paris, but they were both a long time ago, while Djokovic won their most recent final…”

17:16 “Yannick Noah said that, as much as you can love a movie, you will never watch it 50 times – does he have a point?” 

18:42“Djokovic is 11 years older than Tsitsipas, but he looked a lot fresher by the end of the match!” Will Friday’s five-setter affect the Serbian’s fitness and/or confidence? 

19:50 “This is a particularly tough match to call, because I never felt like they were playing their best, either because their opponents were too inferior or because they had some lapses in concentration like Djokovic did. However, they both agreed on who is favoured by the conditions…” 

24:35 – Nadal and Djokovic played an epic French Open semifinal in 2013, which the Spaniard won 9-7 in the fifth set – should something similar be expected for tomorrow’s bout? “I think so, because they both have some good reasons to feel confident going in, so they will give all they have.”

28:06 – Both players have lost just once while leading by two sets to love – should one of the two be counted out if the other take a commanding lead? 

29:16 – Prediction time: who will win? 

33:30 “I want to conclude by going a little off-topic, because both the American and the French tennis federations (the USTA and the FFT), and especially the latter, were scorched for following through with their respective events. However, despite the difficulties and the criticism they drew, they managed to give us two great tournaments without exposing the players to the danger of contracting the virus.” 

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