After a disappointing performance at Wimbledon, the always optimistic Petra Kvitova focused on the positives once again.
The Czech entered the grass-court grand slam as one of the title favourites. She had already won five trophies on the WTA Tour this season on three different surfaces – hard court, clay and grass. The most singles trophies won by a female player so far this year. Yet at Wimbledon, she crashed out in the first round to Aliaksandra Sasnovich in what was her worst performance at the tournament since 2009. Resulting in Kvitova taking a 10-day break from the sport.
“It was brilliant,” Kvitova said during media day at the Rogers Cup on Sunday. “I even had 10 days without tennis, without fitness, without anything. It was very important for my mind as well that I just shut off. I’ve played lots of tennis in the last couple of months. But now I get to get back on the tennis court, back to work.”
Kvitova will be hoping to return back to winning ways in Montreal this week where she is the eighth seed at the Rogers Cup. It will be her 10th appearance in the main draw of the tournament. The last time she won the Rogers Cup was back in 2012 after defeating Li Na in the final.
“It feels like it was a long time ago,” Kvitova commented about her 2012 triumph. “Six years is a lot actually. That day was just amazing. I do remember I was here alone, just me and my PR manager, no coaches, so it was a pretty free tournament for me. Obviously I played great tennis.
“Different things have happened in my life and in tennis since.”
With every player from the world’s top 10 set to play in Montreal, Kvitova is under no illusion about the tough task she faces. Should the draw go according to the seeds, she could play Karolina Pliskova in the third round followed by Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber. Although she is hoping to replicate the same success that she has enjoyed during the first six months of 2018.
“Consistency was always my problem in my season, in my game,” she explained. “I’ve never played a whole season well. I’m glad I played well the first half of this season. That’s what I’m trying to improve, my level of the game, to play a little bit higher all the time.”
It isn’t just the players that pose a threat. It is the climate tool. Temperatures are set to range between 25-30 degrees throughout the week with humidity expected to be a factor. A far from ideal situation for a player like Kvitova, who suffers from asthma.
“I’m really trying to do everything I can, especially improving my fitness. That’s probably what would be best for these kinds of conditions. But with my asthma, it’s tough to do something special. I have my inhaler, and sometimes I need to use it. Overall, I think when I’m feeling better physically, everything goes better.” She explained.
A title this week would reward Kvitova her third premier title of the season and tenth overall. Receiving a first round bye, she will open up her campaign against either Ekaterina Makarova or Anell Kontaveit.
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.
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.
Why Ash Barty Isn’t Staying At The Olympic Village In Tokyo
The two-time Grand Slam champion has opted to stay at an alternate venue heading into the Games.
Ash Barty will prepare for her debut at the Olympic Games by staying at a base located outside of the athletes village as part of her ‘performance plan.’
The world No.1 heads into Tokyo as one of the favourites for gold following her triumph at Wimbledon where she defeated Karolina Pliskova in the final. She is one of six top 10 players set to play in the women’s singles tournament which will start on Saturday.
Leading up to the Games, the head of the Australian Olympic delegation has told reporters that Barty’s decision not to stay in the village will enhance her gold medal chances. In previous Games athletes have stayed outside of the villages but this year it is more challenging to do so due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tokyo is currently in a state of emergency and fans are banned from attending the event amid fears of the virus spreading if they do so.
“Ash is staying elsewhere,” chef de mission Ian Chesterman told the Australian Associated Press.
“We have a number of athletes staying outside the village. We allow that, it’s just what works best for them.
“Something I’ve always been very big on is driving performance takes a whole lot of flexible decisions, flexible options.
“In terms of her performance plan, it’s best served by her being able to control her environment and we respect that.”
The exact location of Barty’s base has not been disclosed but it is near to the village where she was said to have visited and had a cup of coffee on Tuesday morning.
“She is staying in an Australian environment where she can still easily access the village,” Chesterman stated.
The 25-year-old is bidding to become only the second Australian in history to win a medal in the women’s singles at the Olympics. The first was Alicia Molik who claimed a bronze medal back in 2004.
During a recent interview with The ITF, Barty said playing at the event is a dream come true for her as she describes representing her country as the ‘highest honour.’
“Being an Olympian has always been a dream of mine as a kid, I think representing your country is the highest honour,” Barty told the ITF.
“For an Aussie it’s the best thing you can do and I can’t wait to have an opportunity to wear the green and gold.
“You’re playing for something bigger than yourself. You’re playing to represent your nation. You’re playing to make people proud and that’s not just with results it’s with your attitude.”
Bianca Andreescu pulls out of Tokyo Olympics
The world number five has officially pulled out of the Olympics in Tokyo stating reasons due to the ongoing pandemic situation.
Bianca Andreescu will not be making the trip to Tokyo to play in the Olympics after withdrawing due to the current pandemic situation.
The former US Open champion issued a statement concerning what she describes as a ‘difficult decision.’ Andreescu is the latest top name to pull out of the Olympics. Last week Nick Kyrgios also said he wouldn’t be playing for similar reasons. Due to a a surge of COVID-19 cases in Tokyo, the city has gone into a state of emergency which prompted organisers to ban spectators from attending Olympic events in the city. Athletes will be subjected to tough restrictions during their time at the event, as well as regular testing.
” I would like to inform you that I have made the very difficult decision to not play in the Tokyo Olympics later this month,” Andreescu wrote on Instagram. “I have been dreaming of representing Canada at the Olympics since I was a little girl but with all the challenges we are facing as it relates to the pandemic, I know that deep in my heart, this is the right decision to make for myself. I look forward to representing Canada in future Fed Cup ties, and competing at the 2024 Olympics in Paris! “
The Canadian hasn’t played since losing in the first round of Wimbledon to Alize Cornet of France and most recently split with her coach Sylvain Brunneau after a four-year partnership.
Her 2021 season has been up and down starting in Australia where she lost in the second round before making the semifinals at the Phillips Island Trophy event. She then made the final at the Miami Open before taking a fall in the final against Ash Barty and was forced to retire due to injury.
Then the clay-court season came and Andreescu tested positive for Covid. She was forced to miss events in Madrid and Rome, so she headed to Strasbourg for some preparation before the French Open. The world No.5 won two matches in Strasbourg before pulling out due to an ab injury. She then lost in the first round of the French Open.
The Canadian moved on to the grass-court season heading to Berlin but again would get upset in the first round by Alize Cornet before winning one round in Eastbourne and losing to Anett Kontaveit.
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