Tomas Berdych Announces Wimbledon Withdrawal Amid Back Injury - UBITENNIS
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Tomas Berdych Announces Wimbledon Withdrawal Amid Back Injury

Tomas Berdych has announced his withdrawal from WImbledon as he looks to recover from a back injury.

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Tomas Berdych (zimbio.com)

Tomas Berdych has announced his withdrawal from Wimbledon after revealing he has been fighting a back injury for the past few weeks.

 

The 2010 finalist has had a terrible European season after losing all three of his clay court matches as well as losing his first round match at Queens Club this week to Julien Benneteau. However it seems there has been a reason for his recent bad form as he announced that he has been suffering from back pains for quite a few weeks.

The Czech Republican released the following statement, which explained his withdrawal from Wimbledon this year:

“I am disappointed to inform you that I was forced to pull out of Wimbledon championship which will start next week. I have been struggling with back pain for a couple of months now and have tried every possible treatment and medical solution in order to be able to keep on competing. Unfortunately things have not got better and all my attempts to be ready and healthy for the grass season were not successful. I was very much looking forward to the Wimbledon Championship, where I have had great memories, however out of respect to my fellow competitors and to the Wimbledon Championship I will not be able to compete in great shape and in good health and I had to take a tough decision and give my back the necessary rest and  treatment for the next couple of weeks.”

The announcement comes as a big blow to Berdych, who is defending semi-final points that he won last year and has fantastic memories of reaching the final here in 2010. The 32 year old’s withdrawal means that he is likely to drop from world number 22 to outside the top 50 in the world when he returns later in the season.

Despite Berdych’s withdrawal, the Men’s draw still has a world class field with the tournament set to begin on the 2nd of July.

 

Grand Slam

Rafael Nadal Urges Calm Over Australian Open As Officials Search For Solution

The world No.2 has confirmed his intentions to play at the Grand Slam but there are fresh doubts over when it will be getting underway.

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20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal has urged his peers to remain patient amid growing uncertainty over what the start of the 2021 season in Australia will look like.

 

Earlier this week it was confirmed that the government of Victoria refused a plan for 550 players to travel to the region next month in a move that could force a delay to the start of the Australian Open. Instead players will not be allowed to arrive until January 1st and then they will have to undergo a 14-day quarantine process. As it stands during that time they are reportedly allowed to train but not play in tournaments.

The ATP has already acknowledged that ‘new challenges’ have arisen in an internal letter issued to their players. Should the Australian Open dates remain unchanged, there will only be a four-day break between quarantine ending and the Grand Slam starting.

Questioned about the situation following his exit from the ATP Finals on Saturday, Nadal said he and others just need to ‘accept the situation’ by respecting any decision taken by the government.

“I don’t know what’s the situation going to be yet,” he said. “We need to wait about what the (state) government there in Victoria says.
“We can’t do much from ATP position or just wait. We have nobody to say what they feel is better for his country.
“We just need to be patient and accept the situation that we are facing. That is difficult for everyone. We need to be flexible to understand the situation and to find a way to play as many tournaments as possible next year.”

The head of Tennis Australia, Craig Tiley, has tried to allay concerns in a statement released on Sunday. Providing an update on the current situation, he says a plan taking into account the ‘needs of the players, fans, partners and staff’ is currently being drawn up alongside the Victorian Government. Although it is unclear as to when it will be finalised or what the final decision will be.

“We are continuing our urgent talks with local health authorities regarding quarantining and bio-security requirements and are confident we will have decisions soon,” said Tiley.
“Tennis Australia is acutely aware of the need for certainty, but also conscious of reaching a solution with the State Government that ensures the safety of the entire community.”

The Australian Open isn’t the only issue, it is what will happen with other events such as the ATP Cup. Originally it was hoped that various tournaments which usually take place around the country would be moved to Melbourne in order to minimise travelling. Now due to the later than planned arrival dates and quarantine, it is possible some of these events could be axed. So far the only event confirmed to have the chop is the Australian Open junior tournament, which will take place later in the year.

Amid the uncertainty, Nadal says he is hopeful that the Tour would return to a degree of normality in the future.

“Hopefully with the vaccine, that ends soon and we can come back at least to close to normal in a couple of months, but now is a difficult situation,” Nadal concluded.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this week’s ATP Finals is taking place behind closed doors for the first time in its history.

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Bombshell Puts Australian Tennis Events In Doubt

It is looking increasingly likely that players will not be allowed to play any tournament leading up to the first Grand Slam of 2021.

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The start of the 2021 tennis season has been dealt a massive blow as it has emerged that players hoping to travel to Australia next month will not be allowed to.

 

It is being reported that initial plans by Tennis Australia to allow roughly 550 players to enter their ‘bubble’ within the coming weeks have been blocked by the government in a move which may force the cancellation of any tournament set to take place prior to the Australian Open. A plan had been set out for players to arrive in December so they can enter into a mandatory 14-day quarantine. However, it now appears that the proposal has been denied due to COVID-19 protocols.

Unless there is a change of heart, players will not be allowed into the country until January 1st and then they will have to go through quarantine. Then under the current schedule the Australian Open will start just four days after. Players are not allowed to play any tournaments whilst in quarantine. The ATP, which is the governing body of men’s tennis, has issued an internal statement acknowledging that there are ‘new challenges’ concerning arrival times.

“In discussions with Tennis Australia over the past 24 hours, we have been informed there are some new challenges around the previously planned arrival dates for players and team members,” the ATP told its members.
“We continue to work with Tennis Australia on confirming plans for January, and we will provide an update as soon as more information is available in the coming days.
“We understand there is uncertainty about the start of the 2021 season, and we are working as hard as possible to deliver the best possible calendar of events to players, maximising points, jobs and prize money opportunities.”

Less than a week before the bombshell, Tennis Australia confirmed their desire to relocate various tournaments to Melbourne due to travel restrictions. The idea was for events usually held in Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra and Hobart to be moved to the area. However, it is now unclear as to what if any will go ahead now.

There have been rumours of the Australian summer potentially being extended into February which will allow for more events outside of the Australian Open to take place in the region. However, this has not been confirmed and there is no indication yet that the date of the Grand Slam will be moved back.

“Whether (players) need to be here in December… I don’t know that that necessarily means there isn’t an Australian Open,” Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Wednesday.
“Whether there are lead-in tournaments, that’s to be worked through.”
“It has to be done safely, it has to be done properly. We are working very, very closely with Tennis Australia. They are working (with) all of their partners and we’re confident that we’ll finish up with an Australian Open.” He later added.

There is yet to be any public comment from Tennis Australia regarding the latest development. Although the CEO of the organisation, Craig Tiley, has confirmed to The Tennis Channel that the tune-up events for the Australian Open are now in jeopardy.

The Australian Open is scheduled to start on January 18th.

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Novak Djokovic Backs Removal Of Best-Of-Five Matches At Grand Slams

The unexpected comments came following his opening win at the ATP Finals on Monday.

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Novak Djokovic has reignited a fierce debate over what format should be used at tennis tournaments after admitting he would back scrapping the historical tradition of best-of-five matches at Grand Slams.

 

The world No.1 has said he is a ‘proponent’ of the use of best-of-three at every tournament on the calendar. Arguing that it would be better for players’ health due to the length of the season and may help attract a younger demographic to the sport. At present the longer format is only used at the four Grand Slams with each of them having their own rules concerning how the final set is played.

“I am more a proponent of two-out-of-three everywhere, even though of course slams have always been best-of-five. It’s historically been that way, so I don’t know whether there is a chance at all for it to change,” Djokovic said following his win over Diego Schwartzman.

Continuing his comments, the 17-time major winner says he ‘doesn’t see a reason’ why players should play best-of-five. Three of his major titles have been won after he went the full distance. Furthermore, he has won 32 out of 42 matches on the ATP Tour when they have gone to a fifth set so far in his career.

“I just feel like the attention span, as well as the fans, especially the younger generation, is shorter. So in order for us to really improve the product, so to say, of tennis I think commercially and marketing-wise I feel like we have to adapt to that younger generation.” He said.

One point Djokovic makes in his argument was in reference to a study which suggested that the average age of a tennis fan is 61. It is the same study which Patrick Mouratoglou mentioned when launching his Ultimate Tennis Showdown competition. However those findings have their shortfalls and can’t be applied to the sport globally. It uses only the Nielsen television viewership data, doesn’t take into account the global internet audience, is only based on one specific region and was conducted back in 2017.

Whilst it is unlikely that the best-of-five format will be dropped anytime soon, Djokovic has said more should be done in exploring new opportunities for the sport. Although he hints that progress in this area is hampered by the sports tradition.

“Obviously we have been one of those sports that has stuck with the tradition a lot, which I respect, and I feel like this is something we have to keep, but at the same time we haven’t been really exploring some changes,” he said. “Whether it’s score or less sets or whatever. We have not really looked into that. Every time someone mentions that, I feel like there is not much of a support, not much of a willingness to really address that and strategically think about the things that could attract a younger audience as well to our tour, to our sport.”

Not everybody has the same view. Rafael Nadal, who holds the record for the most Grand Slams won by a male player, says he would be against such a move in the future. Over the years best-of-five matches have been removed from the ATP Finals, Masters events and the Davis Cup.

I am completely against change in the Grand Slams. We have a day off. I think best-of-five makes a difference in these tournaments, on the slams and at the same time is part of the history of our sport.” Nadal commented said on Monday.

Djokovic will return to action on Wednesday at the ATP Finals.

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