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Ernests Gulbis Calls For Action To Be Taken Over Players Finances

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Ernests Gulbis (zimbio.com)

Former French Open semi-finalist Ernests Gulbis believes too many players on the tour are facing financial uncertainty in their careers.

 

The 29-year-old Latvian has experienced life among the elite of men’s tennis as well as at the lower level. A former top 10 player, Gulbis has endured a roller-coaster career. Last year saw him play in both Challenger and ATP events as he bids to break back into the top 100 for the first time since September 2016. During a career that has been marred by injury, he currently finds himself at 195th in the world.

“I think it’s like everything in life, it’s the point of view from which you’re watching any given situation. For example if you’ve been playing Challenger qualies, it’s just gratifying being in an ATP 500 event. When everything is much better organised, you feel like a real tennis player, because in Challengers sometimes you don’t,” he told Sport 360.
“As much as the organisers are trying to make you feel good, they don’t have enough financial support, they don’t have the facilities, so the things that you’re used to, you don’t get them, and it somehow gets you down.”

Despite travelling the tour solo, Gulbis is not immuned from the costs of the sport. This week he is playing in the Dubai Tennis Championships after coming through two rounds of qualifying. He didn’t know he made the cut to play in the tournament until last Friday. Prompting him to book a last-minute flight from Vienna to Dubai at a hefty price of €2,800. That cost was just for a one-way flight.

“There has to be some kind of safety. Players nowadays ranked 100 or 150 they are really good players, they don’t have this safety. I think in other sports, the top sports, there is a bigger amount of people feeling secure,” he said about the financial situation players are facing.
“The amount of people feeling safe and secure about their future in tennis is too little…
“I think it’s really necessary for players to at least break even. You don’t break even if you travel alone, if you travel with a coach, forget about it. If I pass the qualies and I win two matches, I beat a guy who is ranked in the top-100, and the other is 120. I beat good players, and by beating these good players I cannot even break even; something is not right.”

In the year-to-date ATP rankings, only two players have surpassed the $1 million prize money mark so far this year – Roger Federer and Marin Cilic. In contrast, those currently ranked 85th or lower has earned just 10% or less of that figure. World No.100 Dudi Sela’s current earnings current stands at $84,720.

2018 prize money leaders (as of 26/2/18)
1) Federer, Roger – $3,656,655
2) Cilic, Marin – $1,631,735
3) Chung, Hyeon – $734,126
4) Edmund, Kyle – $714,926
5) Dimitrov, Grigor – $613,125
6) Schwartzman, Diego – $584,678
7) Berdych, Tomas – $462,970
8) Thiem, Dominic – $399,348
9) Monfils, Gael – $378,698
10) Sandgren, Tennys – $380,603
————————————
50) Basic, Mirza – $155,572
100) Sela, Dudi – $84, 720

To tackle the disparity, Gulbis believes that grand slams should share out a greater portion of their revenues to the players. In the last financial year the Australian Open made A$320M in revenue. The majors argue that there has been a rise in prize money in recent time, especially for the lowers rounds. Novak Djokovic raised the debate last month when he spoke at an ATP players’ conference. Mentioning the potential idea of introducing a union on the tour to protect the players.

“How much money do the Grand Slams make? What would happen if all four Grand Slams would give 10 per cent of the money they earn to all the top-100 players. Every player would get a certain amount of money and you can help them become competitive, they can hire a fitness coach or whatever,” Gulbis suggests.
“We have money in our sport, it’s just being channelled, not to the wrong, everybody has to make money, also the Grand Slams have to make money, but if you just take 10 per cent…”

Gulbis will take on second seed Lucas Pouille in Dubai later today.

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Another Defeat For Iga Swiatek – Should Her Fans Start To Worry?

Iga Swiatek unexpectedly lost to Beatrice Haddad Maia in the quarter-finals of the National Bank Open in Toronto. This was the third defeat of the WTA world No.1 in a month and a half. Is there anything to worry about?

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Iga Swiatek - Roland Garros 2022 (photo Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Article written by Dominik Senkowski (@dsenkowski07)

 

It was an extremely close match played in difficult conditions. Swiatek lost to Beatrice Hadad Maia 4:6, 6:3, 5:7 in Toronto.

The Polish woman admitted that she could not deal with the strong wind, saying during her press conference “I think without the wind I would manage. But it was pretty crazy out there.”

Haddad Miai, who is the first Brazilian to reach the last eight of a WTA 1000 event, revealed that she also had problems with the weather.

”We have no influence on the weather, we have to deal with it somehow. I think mentally I managed to overcome it,” she said.

Three failures

This was the third defeat for Swiatek in a month and a half. She had been undefeated since February, winning six tournaments in a row, including a Roland Garros. After that, however, she did not reach the semi-finals even once. In Wimbledon she was eliminated in the third round by Alize Cornet and then in Warsaw in the quarter-finals by Caroline Garcia. Now she did not make it past Beatrice Hadad Maia in Toronto. Do fans of the Polish woman have anything to worry about?

Of course, Swiatek as the top seed should have played better against the Brazilian. However, it must be remembered that she is still only 21 years old and has the right to fluctuate in form. Even the best tennis players of recent years – Roger Federer, Serena Serena, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic – did not win all the games in their best time. Swiatek still has a phenomenal balance of 49 wins to 5 defeats this year. She is the undisputed leader of the WTA rankings and will probably end the year as number one in the world.

There is no doubt that the rivals are more motivated to clash with Iga. In addition, they increasingly believe that they are able to defeat her since Cornet, Garcia and Hadad Maia did it. But still, it all depends on Iga. If she improves her serve, she can be unstoppable again. Recently with Garcia and Hadad Maia, she had problems with the second serve. She must pay more attention to it.

Time for Iga

Time should play in favour of Swiatek. Before Toronto, she played exceptionally on clay courts in Warsaw in a tournament organized by her father Tomasz. Frequent changes of the surface from grass to clay and hard courts in 1.5 months are not easy at such a young age. In Poland Iga said that she had no experience with it, she was just learning. She continues to learn valuable lessons and still can be better. We should remember it.

It seems that in the coming days she will be training on hard courts. She could feel more confident and come stronger as in spring. In Warsaw Iga said that she treats the first tournament before the US Open swing less seriously. She was aware that she needed more playing time to get better results. Her increasing self-esteem makes her behave calmer, even after defeats. That is why she can return to the right path soon.

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Rafael Nadal Returns To Cincinnati With Shot At No.1 Ranking

This is what the king of clay has to do to reclaim the top position.

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ATP RAFAEL NADAL OF SPAIN - PHOTO: DIEGO SOUTO / MMO

It has been over a month since Rafael Nadal last played a match on the Tour but in the coming days, he will have a chance to return to the top of the ATP rankings.

 

The 22-time Grand Slam champion has been absent from action ever since pulling out of his semi-final match at Wimbledon due to an abdominal tear. He was set to play at this week’s National Bank Open in Montreal but withdrew after feeling a ‘slight bother’ in his abdominal region following training. Nadal decided not to play after consulting with his doctor.

Instead, the Spaniard will return next week at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. He confirmed his return in an Instagram post, where he wrote: “Very happy to play again in Cincy. Flying there tomorrow (Thursday).”

Whilst the Spaniard will be finding his feet in the coming days, in Cincinnati he has a chance to dethrone Daniil Medvedev from the world No.1 position. Medvedev lost his opening match in Montreal to Nick Kyrgios. To do this he would need to win the Masters 1000 event for the second time in his career and hope that Medvedev doesn’t make the quarter-finals. Nadal won Cincinnati back in 2013 after defeating John Isner in the final.

So far in his career, Nadal has spent 209 weeks as world No.1 with his longest streak being 56 weeks in a row (2010-2011). In total, he has been at the top of the rankings for eight separate periods and last held the position in February 2020.

Nadal’s No.1 stints
-Aug 18 2008 – Jul 5th 2009 (46 weeks)
-Jun 7 2010 – Jul 3rd 2011 (56 weeks)
-Oct 7th 2013 – Jul 6th 2014 (39 weeks)
-Aug 21 2017 – Feb 18 2018 (26 weeks)
-Apr 2nd 2018 – May 13th 2018 (6 weeks)
-May 21st 2018 – Jun 17th 2018 (4 weeks)
-Jun 25th 2018 – Nov 4th 2018 (19 weeks)
-Nov 4th 2019 – Feb 2nd 2020 (13 weeks)

At present nine out of the world’s top 10 players will participate in the Western and Southern Open. The only exception is Novak Djokovic who is currently banned from entering America because he isn’t vaccinated against Covid-19.

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Jack Draper Considered Skipping Montreal Masters Before Getting Biggest Win Of Career

The rising star completes a trio of British players who have booked their places in the third round of the Masters 1000 event.

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Image via https://twitter.com/OBNmontreal/

British qualifier Jack Draper says his decision to play in Montreal this week has paid off after he scored his first-ever win over a top 10 player on Wednesday.

 

The 20-year-old stunned world No.5 and third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-5, 7-6(4), in what is only his fourth appearance in the main draw of a Masters 1000 event. Draper, who is currently ranked 82nd in the world, won 74% of his first service points and blasted 21 winners past his Greek rival. Recovering from a 1-3 deficit in the second set en route to a straight sets victory.

Leading up to this week, Draper and his team considered not playing in Montreal following his 6-4, 6-2, loss to Andrey Rublev in Washington. However, their decision to do so was the right one. After coming through two rounds of qualifying, he beat France’s Hugo Gaston in the first round before knocking out Tsitsipas.

“This is why I put in all the hard work, for nights like this on stages like this,” Draper said in an on-court interview. “Last week [after] Washington, me and my coach probably were thinking we weren’t even going to come here. We were going to maybe train a week, get a bit of confidence. But it paid off coming.”
“I didn’t really have much of a game plan. I just thought I needed to play good tennis to beat Stefanos. He’s at the top of the game for a reason. [He’s] someone I’ve looked up to the last few years. It’s just good to be out here and try to express myself on this stage.” He added.

Draper’s win comes during what has been a solid season for the Brit who has won four Challenger titles. A former top 10 junior player, he won his first main draw Grand Slam match in June at Wimbledon and reached the semi-finals of the Eastbourne International.

Awaiting the youngster in the third round will be French veteran Gael Monfils who is playing in his first tournament since May. Monfils defeated Maxime Cressy 7-6(10), 7-6(8).

Draper is one of three British players to have reached the last 16 in Montreal. Ninth seed Cameron Norrie will next play home favourite Felix Auger-Aliassime and Dan Evans faces Taylor Fritz.

According to the Pepperstone live ATP rankings, Draper will break into the world’s top 70 for the first time next week.

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