Johanna Konta Satisfied With 2018 Start As America Awaits - UBITENNIS
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Johanna Konta Satisfied With 2018 Start As America Awaits

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Johanna Konta (zimbio.com)

Heading into a tough stretch of American tournaments, Johanna Konta is satisfied with her start to the 2018 season. 

 

After a tough start to the season in Australia, the Brit has reacted well with tough losses to Angelique Kerber and Daria Kasatkina in Doha and Dubai respectively. Despite not reaching a semi-final this season, Konta is fairly satisfied with her season so far as she prepares for a tough run of American tournaments.

Results wise things haven’t always gone my way this year but from a personal point of view and in terms of where my tennis is at, it’s definitely been a great start to the year,” explained Konta, who also has to defend the Miami title starting from next week. “I had a lot of things that I wasn’t happy with at the end of last year that I needed to get right and I feel like I’m now getting my tennis back to where I want it to be. I’m happy to be healthy, first and foremost, but I’m also happy with where I’m at with my tennis and with my career.”

However the world number 11 is determined to improve and admits her matches with Kerber and Kasatkina will help her achieve this, “I played well in Dubai and Doha and I lost close matches to players who were having great weeks. When I played Kerber, I think she’d lost one match all year and I had match points against Kasatkina so I was right in that match as well. What we’re working on now is sustaining that really high level all the way through three sets and for however long it takes. That’s the next step and I feel like we’re really making some progress with that.”

Johanna Konta will play Marketa Vondrousova in her first match at Indian Wells on Friday morning at 11:00 local time.

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Neil Stubley: “It is impossible to host Wimbledon in late summer because the courts would become slippery”

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Wimbledon groundsman Neil Stubley explained to the British newspaper that the change of date was not possible at the All England Club. It is impossible to stage Wimbledon in late summer. Wimbledon became the highest-profile tennis tournament to be called off due to the coronavirus. The All England Club confirmed that the 134th edition of the Championships will be held from 28th June to 11th July 2021.

 

According to Stubley it is impossible to host Wimbledon in late summer because the courts would become slippery much earlier than in July. It would shorten the window for matches making it extremely difficult to organize many matches between 11.30am to 17pm.

“In late summer the sun gets lower in the sky. The dew point on the grass arrives earlier and the courts get slippery. The window for play becomes shorter at both ends. As much as it would be lovely to play in late summer and autumn. It’s not possible. We have indeed staged Davis Cup matches in September, but the the play would start at 11.30 or noon and finish by 5pm. Whereas, at the Championships, you are going from 11am until 9 pm every day. To get through 670 matches over 13 matches is a challenge in the height of summer, let alone at other times of the year”, said Stubley.

Stubley said that he will miss the adrenaline rush he gets on the first day of Wimbledon.

 “One of the beauties about my job is that to showcase my work to the world every day. When the eyes of the world are looking to how Centre Court is for that first day of the Championships, it’s always a nervous feeling. It will be a funny feeling, through June and July, not to have that adrenaline rush again”, said Stubley.

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‘He Did Everything I did, Only Better’ – Pat Rafter Names The Toughest Rival Of His Career

The two-time grand slam champion opens up about his toughest rivalry as he predicts a bleak outlook for the 2020 tennis season.

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Former world No.1 Pat Rafter has named an American tennis legend as the player who he struggled the most against throughout his professional career.

 

The 47-year-old was a star of Australian tennis during his playing days after achieving a series of milestones. His accolades include becoming the first player from his country in 28 years to reach the top of the ATP rankings in 1999 and becoming the first man to win the Rogers Cup, Cincinnati Masters and US Open within the same year. Rafter is also the last player outside of the Big Three to have won back-to-back US Open titles after triumphing in 1997 and 1998.

Despite his successes, there was one player that caused him difficulty. Rafter played Pete Sampras 16 times on the ATP Tour, but could only win four of those encounters. At one stage he lost to the 14-time grand slam champion eight times in a row.

“The toughest player I played against was definitely Pete Sampras – he did everything I did, only better.” Rafter told Eurosport.
“His record was the best so there’s no doubt about it Sampras the stand-out. I enjoyed playing Andre Agassi the most – I thought we had a really good battle, I really enjoyed playing him.”

The rivalry between the two was tense at times. Highlighted best by their encounter in the 1998 US Open semifinals. Sampras complained of a quadriceps injury following his loss to the Australian. Prompting Rafter to famously say ‘he’s becoming a bit of a crybaby.’ A few months before that comment, he admitted that his relationship with the American wasn’t solid by saying ‘We’re not the best of mates. I wouldn’t go out for a beer with him, put it that way.’

22 years on from the verbal exchange between the two, Rafter now describes it as a thing of the past. Insisting that his rival never took what he said to him ‘personally.’

“I can’t remember the exact words, but we had a run-in in Cincinnati one year – I probably told him to grow up.” He recounted.
“He cracked it when I beat him one time. But that was back in the old days, emotions were running high and don’t take it personally. It’s all good.”

No tennis in 2020

Besides reminiscing about his playing career with Eurosport, Rafter has also predicted a bleak outlook for this year’s tour. All professional tournaments have been suspended until July 13th due to the Covid-19 pandemic. For the first time since 1945 Wimbledon has been cancelled due to the situation.

Many are now speculating as to when it will be possible for the tour to resume. The US Open is still optimistic that they can hold their tournament as scheduled later this summer. Meanwhile, the French Open is set to be played during the later part of September. However, Rafter doubts that either of those tournaments will happen.

“No, I think this (the virus) is going to be around for a long time.” Rafter commented on the chances of the 2020 season resuming. “Until they get a vaccine I can’t see how anyone is going to be playing.’
“Personally, I think it’ll be like the flu and we’ll have to get used to it.”

Potentially one solution for the tournaments would be to host matches without spectators. In order to minimise the risk of the virus spreading. An approach that has already been taken by other sports such as football. However, Wimbledon refused to consider that option this year.

“I think they could. No spectators. Sure. No ball-boys – I’d love to see the players pick up the balls themselves!” he concluded.

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Judy Murray: “Wimbledon faces big challenges in terms of postponising it”

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The ATP and the WTA have extended the tour suspension due to the coronavirus outbreak until 13th July as Wimbledon was called off for the first time since the Second World War in 1945.

 

Judy Murray, former British Fed Cup captain and mother of Andy and Jamie Murray, explained why it was hard for Wimbledon organizers to postpone the tournament at the All England Club and find a new date in the calendar.

“I think the calendar is already starting to become congested towards the end of the year because everybody who has had tournaments cancelled is fighting for spaces to try to complete the season as best as they can. I think one of the big challenges for Wimbledon is that it’s played on grass, which is not an artificial surface and also the further that you go on in the year or down in the calendar you have less light and of course Wimbledon has just two covered courts. I think there are big challenges in terms of postponing it”, said Judy Murray on BBC Breakfast. 

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