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Roger Federer could force changes to ATP schedule

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(Roger Federer – photo via zimbio.com)

ATP Tour chief Chris Kermode has claimed that 19-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer’s knee injury that forced the Swiss superstar to spend six-months of 2016 on the bench could have dramatic consequences for the men’s game.

 

Kermode was appointed as the ATP’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) after Brad Drewett passed away in 2013 as he lost his battle with motor-neurone disease.

Federer, who was forced to end his 2016 season because of a chronic knee issue made a stunning comeback to the men’s circuit in 2017, winning the Australian Open and Wimbledon and collecting a tour-best seven titles. However, to achieve such great success, Federer opted not to play on the clay courts of Europe during the summer.

And according to Kermode, Federer’s decision could be emulated by many players, especially the ones who will be making their respective comebacks in 2018. 12-time Major winner Novak Djokovic, British No. 1 Andy Murray, former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka are the big names who will be back in action after their forced exile from the game due to their injuries.

He told Sky Sports: “I think this is the most unusual year we’ve ever had, and it’s a combination of the tour’s set plans before I was in charge, over 10 years ago, to enable a system with giving older players exemptions from certain Masters Series events so if they hit three different sets of criteria they can play three less Masters than everyone else.

“What that has done is enabled players to play older and longer, which was the intention, but what people didn’t see was that, with that, players are older and they’re going to get more injured. It’s that debate about whether it’s better to have Roger playing at 36 years old – is that good for the game but he’s going to play less and really work his calendar to reduce the number of matches, or do you have a system where people are playing at full pelt, overplaying and getting injured?

“This is the first year that I think we’ve had such high profile players being injured. That’s what has caused the story because, overall, the tour injuries are down six per cent. It’s a strange conundrum going on.

“It is something we need to keep looking at and reviewing and we’ve got huge medical teams looking at a large amount of data. What is causing injuries – is it that from a young age players haven’t been educated enough about hip injuries and stretching? Is it changes of balls across different surfaces and swings? Is it changing the surface?

“When you speak to most players, they’ll probably say it’s the surface change that causes a lot of the injuries. So rather than saying hard courts are more brutal on the body, maybe if everyone all played on the hard, maybe you would have fewer injuries. But then you get criticised because the game becomes homogenised and there are different styles of play and different speeds. It’s a constant balancing act.

“With all these injuries there’s a ‘is there a culture being formulated by Roger that he can take the time off’ that is different to the guys who are actually injured. Dipping in and out and taking the time off, I think that only happens when you are 36 and only happens when you are reaching Grand Slam finals so you reach that amount of points to remain at the top of the ATP rankings. That will only apply to very few players who are going to stay up there. That’s why people will play to keep their ranking up.

“The injuries are a different one. Players have had surgeries and I think we mix the Roger with the injuries and they are very different.”

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Anett Kontaveit beats Petra Martic to reach the final in Palermo

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World number 22 Anett Kontaveit from Estonia upset number 1 seed Petra Martic 6-2 6-4 to reach the final at the Ladies Open in Palermo. 

 

Martic has scored her third win in her seven matches against top 20 players after beating Belinda Bencic and Elina Svitolina. 

Kontaveit avenged her defeat against Martic in their only previous match played in Dubai last February before the lockdown. 

Kontaveit had to fight to hold her serve in the first game of the opening set at deuce and took control of the match by breaking in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead. 

Martic won only 56% on her first serve in the opening set. Kontaveit came back from 0-30 down to hold serve in the seventh game before breaking for the second time in the eighth game to win the first set 6-2. 

Martic earned an early break in the first game of the second set at deuce, but Kontaveit broke straight back to draw level to 1-1. The Estonian player saved a break point before holding serve to take a 2-1 lead. Kontaveit saved five of the six break points she faced. Kontaveit broke for the second time in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead. Martic held serve at 2-5 down before breaking serve at 15 in the ninth game to claw her way back to 4-5. The Croatian player received a medical time-out before Kontaveit for the third time in the tenth game at love to close out the second set 6-4. 

Kontaveit will chase her second title in tomorrow’s final three years after winning in S’Hertogenbosch in 2017.

“I felt like I played a very good match today. I was quite aggressive, consistent, and I served especially well in the first set. It got a bit close in the end, but I played a good game at 5-4 and I am happy to be in the final”, said Kontaveit. 

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Petra Martic comes back from one set down to beat Ludmila Samsonova in Palermo

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Top seed Petra Martic from Croatia came back from one set down to beat qualifier and world number 117  Ludmila Samsonova 5-7 6-4 6-2. 

 

Martic saved six break points in the 10th game of the opening set, but Samsonova converted her third break point in the 12th game to win the first set 7-5. 

Martic earned an early break in the first game to open up a 2-0 lead. Samsonova broke back at love in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Martic broke for the second time in the ninth game to win the second set 6-4. The Croatian player broke twice in the third and seventh games to close out the third set 6-2. 

Martic will face world number 50 Aliaksandra Sasnovich from Belarus in the quarter finals. Sasnovich came through the qualifying round before beating Jasmine Paolini in straight sets. 

Former top 30 Camila Giorgi rallied from losing the first set to beat Slovenian teenager Kaja Juvan 3-6 6-2 6-4 after 2 hours reaching her second WTA quarter final of the season. Before the outbreak of the Covid-19 outbreak Giorgi reached the top 8 in Lyon. Juvan qualified for the Main Draw at the Australian Open and beat five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams in three sets at the Abierto Mexicano in Acapulco. 

Giorgi started with an early break at deuce at the start of the first set and opened a 2-0 lead. Juvan broke twice to take a 4-3 lead. Giorgi dropped serve for the third time after a double fault on the set point. 

Giorgi came back from 1-2 down by winning five consecutive games with two consecutive breaks in the fifth and seventh games. 

Giorgi broke twice to race out to a 3-0 lead at the start of the third set. Juvan pulled one break back at love in the fourth game but Giorgi got another break to race out to a 5-1 lead. Juvan broke at 30, when Giorgi was serving for the match at 5-2. The Italian player earned two match points and sealed the win on her second chance. 

“I think I was more solid in playing my game. I was moving more forward, so it was much for me. At the start of the match, I was making too many tactical mistakes because I was trying to finish points for no reason. I started to adopt better tactics in the second set and that’s when things started working for me”, said Giorgi. 

Number 4 seed Anett Kontaveit from Estonia came back from one set down to beat Laura Siegemund 3-6 6-2 6-2 after 2 hours and 20 minutes booking her spot in the quarter finals at the Palermo Ladies Open. 

The Estonian player has reached her third quarter final this year after the Australian Open and Dubai. 

Kontaveit set up a quarter final against Elisabetta Cocciaretto, who became the youngest Italian player to reach the quarter final of a tournament since Sara Errani in 2006. 

“I am quite happy about the way I was handling close situations, playing the close games and turning the close games around. I thought I actually handled that sort of pressure, that I didn’t think I would be used to, quite well”, said Kontaveit. 

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Andrea Gaudenzi recognizes the contribution of the Italian Tennis Federation in staging the Internazionali d’Italia

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ATP President and former Italian tennis player Andrea Gaudenzi spoke in an interview to Italian TV channel Supertennis about staging the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome before the French Open and recognised the contribution of the Italian tennis Federation (FIT) in staging the tournament in the Italian capital. 

 

The Rome ATP Masters 1000 and WTA Premier 5 tournaments will be held from 20th to 27th September one week before the French Open (27th September to 11th October). 

“We are grateful to everyone, holding an event this year is difficult from an organizational and financial point of view. We thank the Italian Federation and those who organize the Challengers. Italy is making a great contribution. I think the players are waiting for the BNL Internazionali d’Italia. The Foro Italico is among the most beautiful venues in the world. Rome is splendid in September”, said Gaudenzi. 

During his tennis career Gaudenzi scored wins over Roger Federer in Rome 2002, Pete Sampras in the first round of the 2002 French Open, Jim Courier in the 1994 US Open, Goran Ivanisevic, Thomas Muster, Michael Stich and Yevgeny Kafelnikov. Gaudenzi claimed three ATP titles in Casablanca in 1998, St. Poelten and Bastad in 2002. He graduated in law at the Bologna University and obtained a MBA with Honours at IUM.

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