Maria Sharapova Attributes New Changes To Her Resurgence At The Madrid Open - UBITENNIS
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Maria Sharapova Attributes New Changes To Her Resurgence At The Madrid Open

The Russian has won back-to-back matches for the first time since the Australian Open.




Former world No.1 Maria Sharapova continues to banish her recent series of disappointing losses on the tour with a 7-5, 6-1, win over Irina Camila-Bega at the Madrid Open

Prior to this week, the Russian hasn’t won a match on the tour since the Australian Open. Her jinx ended over the weekend with a straight sets win over Mihaela Buzărnescu. Keeping the momentum going on Monday, Sharapova illustrated glimmers of her fighting spirit with a total of 21 winners to 24 unforced errors against world No.38 Begu. The Russian also benefited heavily from her rivals unforced error count of 19.

“It was a lot of hard work. Obviously, being down a break to start off both of those sets didn’t make things easy for me.” Said Sharapova. “Although I didn’t play at my best level in the first set, I pulled it through. I played some really tough points.”

In both sets Sharapova found herself battling from behind. At the start of the match she was immediately broken by the two-time Madrid Open quarter-finalist. She managed to turn her fortunes around midway through the opening set by breaking back for 3-3 before breaking once again four games later to close the set out.

A case of deja vu erupted in the second set with the five-time champion once again dropping her serve at the start. This time round, she responded in a more powerful and decisive manner. As Begu’s service motion fell apart, only managing to claim two out of 14 points. Enabling Sharapova to cruise towards the finish line. At one stage during the second set, she claimed 19 consecutive points.

“She’s a good player. I thought I really had to win the match today. I went in with that attitude. I think that was the best part of that match for me.” She said about her tactics sued in the match.

A time to reflect

The past couple months have been far from perfect for the 30-year-old. A left forearm injury forced her out of the Miami Open. At the same time doctors found that she had an ‘air pocket’ in her lung and wasn’t allowed to fly for three weeks. An air pocket is a situation where there is an abnormal collection of air in the pleural space between the lung and the chest wall.

Besides her health, the Russian has also made changes to her coaching set up. Departing from Sven Groeneveld to return to the guidance of Thomas Hogstedt. Somebody who previously mentored her between 2010-2013.

“It just took time for me reevaluate where I was, where my body was.” She reflected about her start to the season.
“I also made changes within my team, especially in that period of time, which was not easy. As I said before: There’s never a bad time to make a good change. You do hope that those changes lead to better things and good things. It’s not because the past necessarily wasn’t working, but because you believe that there could be better things to come.”

Sharapova will play 2017 runner-up Kristina Mladenovic in the third round. Mladenovic defeated China’s Zhang Shuai 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

“I think there’s a lot of variety off her backhand. She doesn’t like to hit through the backhand as much as she does on the forehand.” Sharapova said about the French player. “You see a lot more of her, especially on the defense, slicing and dropshotting. That’s not a secret because we’ve played against each other a few times, even though it’s been about a year.”

In their head-to-head, Sharapova is tied at 1-1.

Grand Slam

Australian Open Chief Confident Event Will Take Place In January Amid COVID-19 Jump In Region

Craig Tiley has addressed concerns about the Grand Slam following a new outbreak in Victoria.



The tournament director of the Australian Open has insisted that plans for next year’s tournament are on track despite a spike in COVID-19 cases around Melbourne.


Craig Tiley has stated that the Grand Slam will only take place in the city and there are no backup plans to potentially relocate the event in a worst case scenario. The Australian Open is held annually at Melbourne Park and this year attracted a record attendance of 812,174 people. Although there are concerns about the threat posed by COVID-19 with the Victoria State Government reporting another 66 cases of the virus on Friday. Making it the 17th day the daily infection rate has been in double digits. It is possible that the number could be higher with health minister Jenny Mikakos confirming around 10,000 people have refused to be tested with some claiming the virus to be a ‘conspiracy theory.’

According to ABC News Tiley and his team are planning for six scenarios concerning the Australian Open taking place, including the possibility of holding it behind closed doors. Although he is optimistic that the event and others also set to take place next January will go ahead as planned.

“Nothing has changed for us in terms of our planning,” Tiley told AAP.
“The environment around us has changed, and will continue to change, as we’ve seen with the current spike in Victoria.
“We’re optimistic the additional measures currently in place will be successful — and restrictions will continue to be eased over the coming months.”

The Tournament director has also confirmed that there will be little flexibility concerning the staging of next year’s event. Saying it will only take place in Melbourne and during January if it goes ahead. Although he is keeping a close eye on the two Grand Slams that are set to take place later this season.

“The US Open and the French Open are exploring mandatory testing, varying levels of quarantine and limiting entourages,” he said.
“Of course we are looking at all these options, and more, as part of our scenario planning.
“It’s difficult to predict exactly what will need to be in place as guidelines and protocols are changing week by week, and sometimes even day by day.”

This year’s US Open is set to get underway on August 31st, but will be held behind closed doors for the first time. Meanwhile the French Open, which starts only weeks after the New York major, plans to allow up to 20,000 fans to attend daily. Working out to be roughly 60% of its maximum capacity.

The last time the Australian Open didn’t take place was in 1986 due to a change in its hosting date from December to January. Founded in 1905, it is the youngest out of the four grand slam tournaments.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas recalls his first training session with Roger Federer



Stefanos Tsitsipas became the youngest ATP Finals champion since Lleyton Hewitt in 2001 and the fifth youngest player in the 50-year history of the year-end tournament. Tsitsipas fended off 11 of the 12 break points against Roger Federer in the ATP Finals semifinals and 12 of the 12 break points he faced against the Swiss Maestro in the fourth round of the Australian Open before losing to Rafael Nadal in the semifinals. During 2019 Federer beat Tsitsipas in two finals in Dubai and Basel. Tsitsipas recalled his first training session with Federer.


“First time it was like unbelievable. I thought I was dreaming, honestly. As more you play with him, the more normal it seems but at the same time it can’t seem normal because it’s Roger Federer, it’s not any other player”, said Tsitsipas.

When Indian Wells was cancelled due to the pandemic, Tsitispas was never going to wait for the Tour to resume. As there was uncertainty about the Miami Open, he could not return to Greece. He made a short road trip to visit a group called “Yes Fam”, whose goal is to spread a philosophy of positivity. Tsitsipas talked about what he learnt from Federer.

“Expressing myself more. I spent a lot of time with him during the Laver Cup in September and I learned a lot of things from him. Even the way you carry yourself, the way you speak, the way you think you can pass this to someone else. I felt really inspired”, recalled Tsitsipas.

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‘Coronabros Stay In Your Basement’ – John Isner Plays Down Concerns Over COVID-19 Threat

The world No.21 believes players have to ‘learn and adapt’ to the virus.



America’s top tennis player have said the world ‘can’t come to a complete standstill’ due to the Coronavirus pandemic as he hit back at criticism concerning an upcoming exhibition tournament he is participating in.


John Isner weighed in on the debate following a comment from freelance writer Ben Rothenberg whom on Twitter voiced concerns that Atlanta and West Virginia is staging tennis events with crowds despite a rise in cases. The world No.21 is set to play in the DraftKings All-American Team Cup in Atlanta, which will feature the eight top male players in the country. Officials plan to allow 450 people to attend the event on each day, which is estimated to be around 30% of the stadium’s maximum capacity.

“Ben, your concerns are valid, but, as someone who covers our sport for a living it would be nice if you would be supportive of WTT and Atlanta with their efforts to put on safe events instead of posting spooky headlines like this one that are factually incorrect,” Isner said making reference to an article Rothenberg posted.

Other Twitter users have also questioned the decision to allow fans to attend the event. Georgia, which is the state Atlanta is in, officially reported 2946 daily cases of the virus on July 1st. The highest amount within 24 hours since the pandemic began. Furthermore, Reuters News Agency reports that there was a record rise of more than 47,000 cases on Tuesday in America.

Nevertheless, Isner has dismissed calls for the event to be held behind closed doors or even cancelled. Branding his online critics as ‘coronabros’ before saying he wants to go on and live his life.

“You coronabros can stay in your basement all you want. I choose to live my life and play/promote the sport I love in a safe manner,” he said.

Unsurprisingly Isner has now been accused of downplaying the severity of the virus, which has killed more than 500,000 people worldwide. Including 130,000 in his home country alone. Challenged by one Twitter user who said she lost a family member due to the virus, Isner replied:-

“I’m incredibly sorry to hear that. I, in no way, was downplaying the effect of the virus, but I understand that perception can be reality.”

It is not fully understood by what he means with the phrase ‘perception is a reality’. Although he did like one tweet which said ‘the virus is much less lethal than the first models predicted. It’s now close to the flu.’ Although some medical experts have a differnt view on the perspective. White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci has recently said the virus is “very different” from other outbreaks such as Ebola and HIV.

“We may not have a vaccine for a while and the world can’t come to a complete standstill. The reality is, we are going to have to learn and adapt to this virus in the safest manner possible,” he says.

The DraftKings All-American Team Cup in Atlanta will take place this weekend.

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