Stan Wawrinka Encouraged By Improvement Ahead Of Sofia Challenge - UBITENNIS
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Stan Wawrinka Encouraged By Improvement Ahead Of Sofia Challenge

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Three-time grand slam champion Stan Wawrinka believes he is heading in the right direction as he continues his comeback from a knee injury.

 

The former world No.3 missed six months of the tour after undergoing surgery on his left knee. He returned to action last month at the Australian Open, where he lost in the second round to Tennys Sandgren. It was the first time he lost in the second round at Melbourne since 2008.

Despite the defeat, Wawrinka is relishing his return to the tour. His next challenge will be at this week’s Sofia Open in Bulgaria where he is the top seed. Wawrinka steps in to replace Grigor Dimitrov, who pulled out of the tournament due to a shoulder problem.

“I am really happy to come for the first time in Bulgaria, in Sofia. I’ve heard a lot of good things about the tournament.” He said during an interview with Nova TV.
“I came back from Australia with a lot of work to do for my knee, for my tennis-wise. I felt better this week, so I decided that it may be a good option for me to start a little bit earlier with tournaments.”

Chasing after his first title since May, the 32-year-old believes that he is gradually returning back to top form. The Swiss player currently finds himself at 15th in the ATP Emirates rankings due to his recent absence. In Sofia he will be aiming to win back-to-back matches for the first time since his run to the French Open final.

“I am feeling better and better and starting to come back to my top level. I am happy with all the improvement I am making and I am happy to back in the tour.” He explained.

Wawrinka is eager to not be labelled a favourite for the title due to his recent injury woes. Although he is the only top 20 player participating in this year’s draw, the Swiss admits that he still has a way to go to return back to his best tennis.

“I always come into a tournament to play my best tennis. I am not even there yet.” He said.
“I didn’t play for six months and I had only one tournament in Australia. So I think it isn’t easy. I know what I can do, I know what my level can be when I am playing good tennis. But first of all I am really happy to be back on the Tour and to come to Sofia for the first time.”

Handed a first round bye, Wawrinka will get his Sofia campaign underway against either wild card entrant Alexander Donski or a yet to be decided qualifier.

List of seeds at the 2018 Sofia Open

Player Rank Seed
Stan Wawrinka 15 1
Adrian Mannarino 25 2
Gilles Müller 28 3
Philipp Kohlschreiber 35 4
Robin Haase 42 5
Viktor Troicki 67 6
João Sousa 68 7
Evgeny Donskoy 71 8

Note: rankings based on week commencing 5/2/18

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‘Probably Gonna Quit’ – Tennys Sandgren Blasts Performance After missing Out On Olympic Medal

The tennis star described his fourth place finish as ‘dog s**t.”

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Former Australian Open quarter-finalist Tennys Sandgren said he is close to retiring from tennis after missing out on a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

 

Sandgren and doubles partner Austin Krajicek fell in straight sets to the New Zealand pairing of Michael Venus and Marcus Daniell, who are the first tennis players from their country in over 100 years to win a medal. The loss is a frustrating outcome for the American who wasn’t afraid to express how he felt after the match. Tokyo was the ninth doubles tournament Sandgren has played in this year.

“I mean, who f*ing cares you know, what do I have to show for it? We have a good week and fourth place is dog s**t.” He told the Olympic News Service.

Speaking straight after his loss, the highly emotional 30-year-old then cast doubt on his future in the sport. He is currently ranked 82nd in the world and has a win-loss record of 6-14 so far this year. However, he is yet to reach a quarter-final in singles.

I’m probably gonna quit. That might be my last match. I’m close, yeah, I’m close.” He replied when asked about his career.

As for if he would have done anything different in the bronze medal match, Sandgren replied ‘not to have been so bad.’ He also expressed disappointment that the tennis tournament took place behind closed doors. Prior to the Olympics, organisers decided to hold all events in Tokyo without fans due to a surge of COVID-19 cases in the city.

“It would have been a great event with fans,” he via via teamusa.org. “Playing on an outside court without fans, I mean, you might as well be playing in Idaho in the middle of nowhere.”

Sandgren and Krajicek were America’s last chance to win a medal in the tennis competition. It is the first time the country has failed to win any medal since tennis returned as an Olympic event in 1988.

“There’s not much you can say about that except it’s pretty, pretty devastating to lose that one. You know, give yourself a chance to get a medal and then to lose those two (matches – including the men’s doubles semifinal) is tough, but you have to give those guys credit today. They played well.” Krajicek concluded.

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Fabio Fognini Apologises For Use Of Homophobic Slur During Olympic Match

The Italian says he regrets using the ‘stupid expression’ during his third round clash.

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Fabio Fognini said the heat got to him during his third round clash with Daniil Medvedev at the Tokyo Olympics after he was caught saying a homophobic slur at himself.

 

The world No.31 lost to Medvedev in three sets during what was incredibly hot and humid conditions with both players taking a 10-minute break after the second set under the extreme weather policy. Frustrated with how his match was going, Fognini was caught by broadcasters saying the word ‘frocio’ which is an anti-gay term in his native language. The exact phrase he used was ‘Frocio, sei un frocio’ which was directed towards himself only.

Following his Olympic exit, the 34-year-old issued a statement on social media in which he apologised for making those remarks during his match. In a post uploaded onto his Instagram story which had a rainbow theme background, Fognini reiterated that he supports the LGBT community and the use of the slur was done in the heat of the moment.

The heat got to my head!” Fognini wrote.
“In today’s (Wednesday’s) match I used a really stupid expression towards myself. Obviously I didn’t want to offend anyone’s sensibilities.
“I love the LGBT community and I apologize for the nonsense that came out of me.”

It is not the first time a player has been caught using a homophobic term during a tennis match this year. Earlier in the season Denmark’s Holger Rune was fined for a term he used during a Challenger match. The former world No.1 junior player later apologised for those comments.

Unlike the women’s Tour, there are currently no publicly out players in men’s tennis and only a select few have come out in the past. In June former top 100 player Brain Vahaly, who came out as gay after retiring from the sport, spoke to UbiTennis about his experience.

Despite his loss, Fognini was the only player from his country to reach the third round of the men’s draw in Tokyo. Lorenzo Sonego, who was seeded two places higher than him, lost in the second round to Nikoloz Basilashvili.

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Why Newly Married Elina Svitolina Has No Plans To Change Her Surname

The Ukrainian explains why she isn’t using her husband’s surname of Monfils just yet as she books her place in the third round at Tokyo 2020.

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Just over a week ago Elina Svitolina tied the knot with her long-time partner Gael Monfils at a ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland.

 

Shortly after the world No.6 took to social media and changed her name on Twitter to Elina Monfils as part of the tradition that the woman takes on the man’s name once they are married. As a consequence, various websites started to identify the Ukrainian under that name. Although she would rather that they don’t do such a thing.

“I don’t know why they changed my surname. Maybe they saw that I had changed it on my social networks,” Svitolina told BTU.
“I’m going to play as Svitolina till the very end of my professional career and will change it only after retirement.”

Svitolina explains she believes it is better if all of her achievements are made under the same name instead of two. So far in her career she has won 15 WTA titles, reached two Grand Slam semi-finals and has earned more than $20.5M in prize money.

I had numerous achievements and people know me as Svitolina. My father would be upset if I changed the surname and played as Monfils,” she joked.
“I am proud to be Svitolina and my tennis career will always be connected with this surname.”

Over the coming week the 26-year-old is hoping to add an Olympic medal to her resume. On Monday Svitolina survived a stern scare after coming back from a set down to defeat Ajla Tomljanović 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 and move into the third round of the tournament. Her win came on the day where there were shocks galore in the women’s draw with seeds Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek and Petra Kvitova all crashing out.

Svitolina will play Greece’s Maria Sakkari in the next round whom she has lost to in two out of their three previous meetings.

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