Roger Federer Issues Stark Warning To Gerard Pique Over New Davis Cup - UBITENNIS
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Roger Federer Issues Stark Warning To Gerard Pique Over New Davis Cup

The world No.2 speaks out as the ITF and ATP clash over the future of men’s team events.

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20-time grand slam champion Roger Federer has spoken out against any potential interference by new investor Gerard Pique in the Davis Cup.

Next year the Davis Cup will be transformed into a 18-team end-of-year event after receiving official backing at an ITF AGM vote. The driving force behind the new development is Barcelona F.C. footballer Pique and his company Kosmos. Kosmos has pledged to invest $3 billion in the tournament over the next 25 years. An initiative that has divided opinion in the sport.

Details of where the first edition of the event will be is yet to be formally announced. Pique has also revealed that the weeklong tournament could also be moved from November to September to accommodate players’ needs. If this would be the case, it will be positioned on a potential collision course with the Federer-backed Laver Cup. Which is set to be hosted next year in Geneva between September 20-22.

“The good part of all this confusion is that everyone will have to sit around one table and listen to the other’s desires: the ITF, the ATP, the Laver Cup. It is true that the coming weeks may be very interesting.” Federer told French-speaking reporters at the US Open.

There is now a three-way fight in the world of men’s team events. Besides the Davis and Laver Cup’s, the ATP are also gaining in momentum with their plans. The governing body of men’s tennis intends to revive the World Team Cup in partnership with Tennis Australia. Offering ranking points to players who participate. They are hoping to re-launch the tournament in January 2020.

Speaking about Pique’s emergence as a powerful figure in tennis, Federer has issued a direct warning to the 31-year-old. Warning him against transforming the event into his own masterpiece.

“I haven’t spoken to Gerard Pique yet, but I admit that it’s a bit odd to see a footballer arrive and meddle in the tennis business. Be careful: the Davis Cup should not become the Piqué Cup.” Federer stated.
“I am globally for innovations. Our sport needs to think a little outside the box to innovate. But it’s a bit like in a game of Jenga: you have to be careful not to remove the piece that will bring down the whole building.”

Earlier this week, Pique spoke about Federer during an interview with Spanish website El Pais. Pointing out the Swiss world No.2 has cautiously backed the new tournament.

“I listened to his statements and they were not negative.” He said of Federer. “He said that it caused him sadness because there have been many years with that format, but he also said that he wanted to see how the new proposal would work.”

An announcement on the date and venue of the 2019 Davis Cup finals are expected later this year.

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Maria Sakkari Appoints Witt As Coach For American Swing

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Maria Sakkari - WTA Washington 2023 (foto Twitter @mubadalacitidc)

Maria Sakkari has enlisted the help of Jessica Pegula’s former long-time coach in a bid to regain her form on the Tour. 

Greek media has confirmed that the world No.9 has begun a partnership with David Witt, who has also previously coached Venus Williams. Witt had worked with Pegula since 2019 before the tennis star decided to end their collaboration earlier this year. During their time together he oversaw the American win two WTA 1000 events, reached the quarter-final of a grand Slam on six occasions and peaked at a ranking high of No.3. 

Sakkari’s appointment comes after she ended her six-year working relationship with Tom Hill. Highlights of their partnership include winning two Tour titles, reaching a Grand Slam semi-final twice and spending more than two years in the top 10. 

“Tom, thank you for all the emotions, the support on and off the court, and the belief you had in me since day one,” Sakkari wrote on Instagram last month. “We grew together, and you helped me realize that everything is possible.

“Not only did you make me a better tennis player, but you also made me a better person. Thank you for always wanting the best for me and for always having my back! Good luck on the next chapter in your career.”

Sakkari is looking to get back on track after what has been a disappointing start to 2024. She had won just two matches in her first four singles tournaments played and is yet to face an opponent ranked in the world’s top 20. However, she faired better at the United Cup, where she won three matches in the team event, including victories over Lelylah Fernandez and Angelique Kerber. 

It is understood that Sakkari will be working with Witt at both Indian Wells and Miami. If their partnership is successful, it could be extended further into the clay swing. The other members of her team will remain in the same roles. 

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Ugo Humbert saves three match points to beat Hubert Hurkacz in Dubai

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Fifth-seed Ugo Humbert came back from one set down to beat Hubert Hurkacz 3-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3. Humbert had beaten Hurkacz en route to his title in Marseille. 

Hurkacz converted his third break point in the fourth game to win the first set 6-3. Humbert saved three match points in the tie-break of the second set before converting his first set point to force the match to the decider. Humbert broke twice to seal the third set 6-3. 

“It was a great battle. I tried to battle for every point. In the tie-break I saved three match points, tried to do my best and thanks to those French fans for the amazing support”, said Humbert. 

Humbert set up a semifinal match against Danil Medvedev, who beats Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2 6-3. Humbert leads 2-1 in their head-to-head matches, but Medvedev won their most recent match in three sets at the China Open in their most recent head-to-head match in Beijing last year.

“It’s going to be a great challenge against Danil tomorrow. We had a few great fights. Hopefully I will recover well to be ready for this match”, said Humbert. 

Aleksander Bublik was leading Jiri Lehecka 6-4 4-1 when the Czech player was forced to retire due to an injury. Bublik set up a match against Andrey Rublev, who was leading Sebastian Korda 6-4 4-3  when the Czech player withdrew due to injury. 

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Brazilian Rising Star Joao Fonseca Waives College Eligibility To Turn Pro

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Image via https://twitter.com/RioOpenOficial/

One of Brazil’s most promising young tennis players has made the bold decision to abandon a dream of his to play college tennis in America to turn pro. 

17-year-old Jaoao Fonseca was committed to playing college tennis at the University of Virginia but says professional tennis has called him in a way he couldn’t refuse. The rising star has played just two Tour-level events so far in his career and is currently ranked 343rd in the world. 

At last week’s Rio Open, he became the second-youngest player after Alexander Zverev to reach the quarter-finals of an ATP 500 event since the category was introduced. In his home tournament, the Brazillian beat Arthur Fils and Cristian Garin before losing to Mariano Navone.

“It was an incredibly tough decision for me and my family as I have been dreaming about living a college life in Charlottesville, playing the sport that l love with a wonderful team and coach, but, in the last months, professional tennis called me in a way that I simply couldn’t say no,” Fonseca wrote in a statement published on Instagram
“Although I will not be attending school, I think it is an extremely valuable and viable path for young players in their way to professional careers,” he added.

Fonseca has already enjoyed success on the junior circuit. Last year he was runner-up in the doubles tournament at the Australian Open boy’s event. Then at the US Open, he won his first Grand Slam junior title in singles. He is also a former ITF Junior World No.1 and is currently ranked second in the standings. 

The youngster has already been hailed by compatriot Beatriz Haddad Maia, who is currently ranked 13th on the WTA Tour. Speaking to reporters at the San Diego Open, she has offered her support to Fonseca if he needs it. 

“João is a nice person. He has a great future, if he keeps working hard and keeps doing what he’s doing. I think he has a very aggressive mentality and tennis.” She said.

“We sometimes text each other, but not that much. But I’m always following.. not only him.. but the Brazilians. I’m proud of what he’s doing. He has a long way and he needs to understand that it’s a marathon, it’s not a 100 meter race.’
“Tennis has its ups and downs. I wish him all the best, for sure. I’ll be here whenever he wants. I’m happy with what he’s doing.” 

Fonseca played at the Chile Open this week but lost in the first round to Thiago Agustin Tirante.

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