Former Davis Cup Captain Slams Andre Agassi Following Departure From Djokovic’s Team - UBITENNIS
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Former Davis Cup Captain Slams Andre Agassi Following Departure From Djokovic’s Team

Radmilo Armenulic has questioned Agassi’s coaching abilities in a recent interview

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Andre Agassi has had no impact on Novak Djokovic during their time working together, according to the former captain of the Yugoslavian Davis Cup team.

 

Radmilo Armenulic has claimed during an interview with Kurir that Agassi left because ‘he had no idea what he was doing.’ Last week it was confirmed that the two have ended their 10-month collaboration. In a statement given to ESPN, the American has said he left due to disagreements with Djokovic. Something the Serbian is yet to comment on.

“I was opposed to that co-operation since the first day because he didn’t do anything for Novak,” said Armenulic. “I think Novak helped him more because he made Agassi a coach.”
“He left because he didn’t know what to do. He never worked as a coach and had no experience how to help Novak.”

Continuing with his criticism, the tennis coach believes Agassi lacked the ability to help Djokovic improve. He joined the team on a part-time basis last May with no contract in place. Agassi told reporters last year that he didn’t want any money for his services because he wanted to ‘help’ the 30-year-old.

“Novak plays from the baseline better than Agassi and his return is better. Then how can Agassi help him?” Argued Armenulic.

Armenulic, who guided his country to the Davis Cup semifinals in 1998, is known for his blunt speaking. Back in 2009 he made headlines for criticising a trio of Serbian players for their performances on the tour, including Djokovic. Last year he also urged the 12-time grand slam champion to hire back former mentor Boris Becker.

It is unknown as to who will be the next coach for Djokovic. Radek Stepanek is continuing with his coaching duties, but on a part-time basis at present. Since returning from a hiatus last year due to an elbow injury, Djokovic has won three out of six matches played in 2018. His most recent loss was a straight sets defeat to Benoit Paire at the Miami Open.

Djokovic is set to return to action at the Monte Carlo Masters. The event will start a week on Monday.

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Former No.1 Ana Ivanovic Names The Toughest Opponent Of Her Career

The three-time grand slam finalist didn’t chose the likely candidates such as Serena Williams or Maria Sharapova when asked about her most difficult rival.

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2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic has played many stars of the WTA Tour throughout her career, but has made a surprising revelation about who she felt was the most difficult to play.

 

Ivanovic took on the likes of Justine Henin, Maria Sharapova and Dinara Safina in all three of the grand slam finals she contested. She only managed to win one out of her 10 meetings with Serena Williams and formed a high-profile rivalry with compatriot Jelena Jankovic. Nevertheless, when asked who her ultimate test is on the Tour, she mentioned none of them names.

Instead, she said her most troublesome rival during her career was Karolina Pliskova. The 2016 US Open runner-up who is currently ranked third in the world on the WTA Tour. The two clashed five times over a two-year period (2014-2016) with the Czech winning all of those encounters. Overall Ivanovic won just one out of 11 sets played between the two.

“For me the hardest player to play against was Pliskova. It was really hard. The last few years (of my career) we played a few times and to read her serve, you wouldn’t expect the shot to be coming the way it was,” she told Eurosport’s Hanging out with Babsi.
“She could really disguise her game very well and I like to read and play the game. Which is why I love playing on the clay. But with her it was very difficult.“

Fellow former tennis pro Barbara Schett, who conducted the interview with Ivanovic, agreed with the verdict on Pliskova. Pliskova has won 16 WTA titles so far in her career and earned $19,997,689 in prize money. Which is $4 million more than what Ivanovic has earnt.

“She takes control really early in the rally and doesn’t give you any time. I’ve never played against her but I can imagine it is very uncomfortable,” said Schett.
“You don’t really get into rallies and she has a great serve. She disguises (her shots) very well and it is not always easy to see,” Ivanovic then added.

Tough task for Clijsters

Besides looking back on her career, Ivanovic is still keeping a watchful eye on what is taking in place in the sport. Recently another former rival Kim Clijsters began her comeback to the Tour at the age of 36. The mother-of-three has played in two tournaments so far, but has lost both of her opening matches to Garbine Muguruza and Johanna Konta.

Ivanovic, who is four years younger than the Belgian, says she has been impressed by the comeback. Although she believes it will be hard for her to return back to the top.

“I have been watching some of her matches and she has been striking the ball amazingly well, but I really hope she can get back to that level to play like she used to,” she said.
“Personally, I don’t think it’ll be easy after being out for so many years.”

Clijsters first retired back in 2007 before returning a couple years later by winning three out of her four grand slam titles. She then hung up her racket for a second time in 2012 before returning once again this season.

“It’s amazing what she achieved. I still respect her so much, it’s just difficult to imagine now after having three kids and being out for so long to make a comeback,” Ivanovic commented.
“Not because she’s not fit, but because your body just reacts differently. When you are out of competition you realise how much fine-tuning is necessary and she’s been out a while.”

Ivanovic retired from Tennis in December 2016 at the age of 29.

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Guy Forget thinks that more experienced players will be on top, when the tour resumes

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Former world number 4 and Roland Garros Tournament Director Guy Forget thinks that players with more experience will remain on top, when the ATP Tour resumes. The former world number 4 player spoke in an interview with Mats Wilander and Justine Henis on the latest edition of Tennis edition.

 

“When the Tour starts again, I think that the players with more experience will still be on top. When you are a younger player, you need to put those four, five hours a day and get some of the rhythm matches. I think that Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic with little practice, they can rely on their experience and they can still can be there on the big moments. The top 3 are still playing at the top even after so many years on the tour. They have been so good last year and the first part of the season. Novak has been unbelievable. Roger is just playing his best tennis and Rafa seems like he is a junior walking out on every court everywhere in the world like he is happy to be here ”, said Forget.

Forget is confident that the tennis will resume once the coronavirus pandemic problem will be solved and the French Open will be held later this year. Wilander asked Forget whether the whole year would be cancelled.

“I am pretty confident some tournaments will happen before Roland Garros. I think that’s for the good of the game and the good of the players”.

Forget defended the decision to re-arrange Roland Garros without consulting the rest of the tour.

“I think looking back, it was a very corageous move. Because as I told our President at that time, if we do that way, we are going to get criticised because we don’t know what’s going to happen. They are going to think it’s a very selfish move. Maybe we can talk to them about it. Our President’s responsibility is to save Roland Garros at any cost, otherwise our Federation is struggling, otherwise amateur tennis is going to suffer big time. Where could we possibly have Roland Garros without hurting any Grand Slam, without hurting the Davis Cup, without hurting any Masters 1000 ? Where could we possibly place Roland Garros ? That time in autumn, as late as possible, was the time we thought that was going to be the less hurtful for everyone. When you are running a Grand Slam event, there are the pillars of the game. Wimbledon, Roland Garros, the US Open and the Australian Open, are what people follow no matter what”.

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The Ultimate Guide To Tennis Tournaments Taking Place During The Tour Suspension

UbiTennis has compiled a comprehensive schedule of what players will be in action and where they will be playing in the coming weeks.

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National Tennis Center in Roehampton (image via LTA)

With all professional tennis tournaments suspended until at least July 31st due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many players have turned to other ways to maintain their match fitness. In the wake of the unprecedented break to the sport, various countries have created their own events to fill in the void. Although it is hard to keep track of what is going on and when.

 

To help solve this issue, UbiTennis has a guide to what will be occurring over the coming weeks across the world of tennis.

Hrvatski premier tennis
Location: Osijek, Croatia
Date: June 4-7

Starting this Thursday there will be a special all-Croatian tennis tournament in Osijek that will feature both current and past stars of the sport called the Hrvatski Premier Tennis Cup. One of the driving forces behind the initiative is current world No.23 Donna Vekic.

“This is a unique opportunity for all Croatian players to be in Croatia at the moment, which is why everyone was able to respond and support our idea. I am in contact with all the players and everyone can’t wait to come to Osijek. As for the format of the tournament itself, there will be one set of women’s singles, one set of men’s singles, men’s doubles, mixed doubles and the appearance of legends.” Vekic recently said at a press conference promoting the event.

The exhibition will take place over three days and be broadcasted by national network HTS. The 20-player showdown features Borna Coric, Marin Cilic, Ivan Dodig and Jana Fett. Ivo Majoli and Goran Ivanišević will also be attending the event which aims to raise money in the fight against COVID-19.

Tournament: Credit One Bank International
Location: Charleston, South Carolina
Date: June 23-28

Given the calibre of top names involved, the Charleston event is set to rival Novak Djokovic’s Adria Tour in terms of star quality. Taking place in South Carolina the field includes two reigning grand slam champions – Bianca Andreescu and Sofia Kenin. Also included in the strong 16-player field is 2016 Olympic champion Monica Puig, two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys.

Held behind closed doors, the tournament will be broadcasted by The Tennis Channel, who have agreed to broadcast more than 40 hours of action. During the matches player’s will call their own lines and receive assistance from one ball kid as well as the umpire.

The tournament takes place instead of the Volvo Open, which is one of the WTA tournaments cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be held between June 23-28.

List of players Players: Bianca Andreescu, Sofia Kenin, Sloane Stephens, Madison Keys, Victoria Azarenka, Amanda Anisimova, Monica Puig, Jennifer Brady, Danielle Collins, Emma Navarro, Alison Riske, Shelby Rogers, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Eugenie Bouchard, Leylah Fernandez, Ajla Tomljanovic

Schroders Battle Of The Brits
Location: Location: National Tennis Center in Roehampton
Date: June 23-28

London is set to be where three-time grand slam champion Andy Murray will make his competitive return to tennis. Murray hasn’t played since the Davis Cup Finals last November due to pelvic bruising.

The Schroders Battle Of The Brits has been organised by Murray’s brother Jamie and will take place over six days in Roehampton at the National Tennis Center (NTC). Besides showcasing some of Britain’s top players, organisers hope to raise at least £100,000 for the NHS. The line-up could change nearer the time, but at present joining Murray in the event will be Dan Evans, Kyle Edmund, Cameron Norrie, Jay Clarke, Liam Broady, Jack Draper and James Ward.

It is also important to note that the tournament have already secured a top broadcast deal. In the UK it will be shown exclusively by Amazon Prime, who already has the British rights to all ATP and WTA events. Furthermore Eurosport has picked up the rights to broadcast it internationally. Although it is unclear how much coverage they will provide.

The Adria Tour
Location: various Balkan countries
Date: June and July

Founded and organised by world No.1 Djokovic, the Adria Tour is set to take place in various countries across the Balkan region. The tour already has a stunning line-up with three current top 10 players already committing to play. Joining Djokovic will be Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev. Furthermore, Marin Cilic, Borna Coric and Grigor Dimitrov are set to feature. Not all of these players will be playing in every country where the Tour is taking place.

The duration of the event will be between June 13th and July 5th. According to the official Adria Tour Instagram account the schedule will be as follows:-

  • Belgrade, Serbia – 13-14 June
  • Zadar, Croatia – 20-21 June
  • Montenegro – 27-28 June
  • Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina – 3-4 July
  • Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina – July 5th (exhibition match between Djokovic and Damir Dzumhur).

The Ultimate Tennis Showdown
Location: Mouratoglou Tennis Academy, Boit, France
Date: June 13 to July 11

In France prestigious tennis coach Patrick Mouratoglou will be hosting his own series of matches over a five-week period. Starting from June 13th, the Ultimate Tennis Showdown (UTS) will feature a total of 50 exhibition matches taking place. It will kick off with a clash between David Goffin and Alexei Popyrin, whose father is the co-organiser. Other names included in the event are Benoit Paire and Lucas Pouille. Fabio Fognini was also down to play, but has since pulled out after recently undergoing ankle surgery.

All matches are set to be streamed live with the broadcaster yet to be confirmed. Prize money will also be up for grabs.

The Progress Women’s Championships
Location: Location: National Tennis Center in Roehampton
Date: July 14-18

Not to forget the ladies, the UK will also have a female equivalent of the Battle of the Brits. It will take place between July 14-18 at the NTC but will be without national No.1 Johanna Konta, according to BBC Sport. On the other hand, Harriet Dart and Naomi Broady are two names confirmed to play.

16 players will be split into two groups. There will be a round-robin format followed by knockout stages. Eight doubles teams are also set to take part with a total prize money pool of £30,000 available.

The British Tour
Location: National Tennis Center in Roehampton
Date: Throughout July

The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) has announced the return of the British Tour during July. A total of four events will take place over as many weeks. Each tournament will have a field of 32 players with 16 men and 16 women. Participants are eligible to take part based on their current ranking providing they are a member of the LTA. All four tournaments will be held over three days (Friday-Sunday) at the National Tennis Center in Roehampton. There will also be doubles action with eight teams featuring in a FAST4 format over one day each week.

Both Murray and Konta are among the names set to take part in the Tour. Weeks two and four will be classed a premier-level with a prize money pool of £16,000, including £2260 for the winners.

The entry list is yet to be confirmed.

Bett1 Aces
Location: Berlin, Germany
Date: July 13-16

The German capital of Berlin will host a six-player men’s and women’s tournament at two different locations. The Bett1 Aces Exhibition has been organised by the same company who is responsible for the Mercedes Cup is Stuttgart. The first will take part on the grass at the Steff Graf Stadium of the LTTC. Meanwhile, the second will be held on a hard court at Berlin’s former International airport.

So far eight out of the 12 players have been confirmed for the tournaments with all of them being ranked inside the top 100. On the women’s side there will be Elina Svitolina, Kiki Bertens, Andrea Petkovic and Julia Goerges. On the men’s side there will be Nick Kyrgios, Jannik Sinner, Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem.

For both events there will be a total prize money pool of €200,000 and matches will be broadcasted live. Although it is unclear on what network yet.

Moscow Calling Tennis Premier League.’
Location: Khimki, Moscow Oblast
Date: TBC

Details about this event are still emerging and the exact date is yet to be finalised with organiser Alexander Ostrovsky aiming for the second half of this month. In a recent interview with Kommersant.ru, Ostrovsky has said both Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev has signed on to his event. As for the women’s he has reached out to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Anastasia Potapova.

“The regulations for both men and women will be the same. We will divide eight athletes into two groups, from where the two best players will enter the second stage. Next – again a round robin tournament, already with the participation of four people. Following its results, the semifinalists will be determined,” he said.
“Each match will consist of two sets and, if required, a super tie-break. However, the rules can be adjusted in the regulations taking into account the recommendations of the channel, which has expressed its interest in the tournament.”

When is certain about the exhibition is that it will be called the ‘Moscow Calling Tennis Premier League.’

Thiem’s Seven
Location: Kitzbühel, Austria
Date: July 7-11

In Austria Dominic Thiem is set to front a tournament during July. It is being organised by Herbert Günther and Markus Bodner, who are also responsible for the Generali Open. Invites have already been issued by Thiem with Gael Monfils being the first to commit.

“Together with Wolfgang and Dominic, who is in contact with the players, we will invite seven other top European players to Kitzbühel for a week. In addition to top-class matches and appropriate competition practice, the stars can spend a wonderful time with their families in Kitzbühel,” a press release from Günther and Bodner explains.

There are currently few details concerning the event or how it will be broadcasted to the public. However, it has been confirmed that an impressive prize money pool of € 300,000 will be available with €100,000 going to the winner alone.

Women-Only Charity Tournament
Location: Barcelona
Date: TBC

In May UbiTennis spoke with tennis coach Carlos Martinez about his plans for a 32-player tournament being held at the Club de Tenis Mollet. Martinez, who is the current mentor of Daria Kasatkina, is aiming to hold the event between July and August with an exact date to be confirmed.

“The dates of the tournament will depend on when the tour will start but it will more or less be between the end of July and end August,” Martinez told Ubitennis.
“The format is the same as the normal situation with tournaments, but I will design four groups with eight players and they will all play against each other in the group. Then the first two players of each group will go straight to the main draw. Then they will play quarters, semis and final.”

Those interested in playing include Kasatkina, Carla Suarez Navarro, Kristina Mladenovic, Marie Bouzkova and Sara Errani. Other players have also expressed interest but their participation depends on travel restrictions. There will be no prize money available with funds instead going to local hospitals located near the venue.

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