Jelena Ostapenko Criticises On-Court Coaching Rules In Wake Of US Open Row - UBITENNIS
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Jelena Ostapenko Criticises On-Court Coaching Rules In Wake Of US Open Row

The Latvian number one has given her opinion about Serena Williams’ US Open outburst.

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Former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko believes the governing bodies of tennis needs to make a decisive decision about the future of on-court coaching at all events.

 

On-court coaching has been under scrutiny in recent days following the US Open final between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka. Williams was handed a warning for receiving coaching from the stands. An accusation the 36-year-old has fiercely denied. Although after the match her mentor, Patrick Mouratoglou, admitted that he was coaching (gesturing with his hands), but didn’t do it directly at Williams.

The WTA and grand slam board have different rules to on-court coaching. The WTA Tour has allowed coaches to interact with players during changeovers since 2009. A decision that was initially done to make matches more appealing to viewers. On the other hand, the four grand slam tournaments ban all forms of on-court coaching.

“I don’t know if it is very useful because at grand slams you cannot hear them (the coaches).” Ostapenko commented about the subject at the Korean Open in Seoul.
“I don’t know if there is any point of using it on the WTA Tour if you can’t use it in grand slams because in grand slams you have to play on your own.”
“I think they need to do same in all the tournaments. Either allow (on-court) coaching at all tournaments or no coaching at all.” She added.

The world No.10 is keeping an open mind about if the method should be permanently removed or not from the tour. There is currently no talk about the Grand Slam Board planning to implement on-court coaching in the near future.

“I think it depends on the situation. Sometimes I don’t think I need it. Even if I, for example, lost a set or something I know what I need to do or change.” She explained.
“But sometimes maybe it is good to have another opinion and hear something that could change the tactics of the game.”

Sympathy for Serena

Weighing in on Williams’ confrontation with umpire Carlos Ramos, the Latvian believes both were to blame. Williams received a total of three warnings, which resulted in her losing an entire game against Osaka. It has since been alleged that sexism played a part in the decision making. Although the International Tennis Federation (ITF) has backed Ramos by saying that he was correctly following the rules.

“I think in the final probably both of them was a little bit wrong.” Said Ostapenko.
“If she (Williams) won it, she would have made history. For her it was also a tough moment because she really wanted to win the title.
“Maybe the chair umpire shouldn’t have taken the game away from her because it was a grand slam final. It wasn’t a small tournament.”

During the fourth round of this year’s Wimbledon championships, Ostapenko was in a similar situation. Taking on Aliaksandra Sasnovich she was handed a coaching violation whilst trailing 2-5. At the time she said that decision made her ‘motivated and angry.’ Ostapenko went on to defeat Sasnovich by winning 10 out of the last 11 games played in the match.

“I was watching the final. I felt a bit bad for her because she wasn’t playing her best tennis. She was very emotional at that moment.” The 21-year-old commented about Williams at the US Open.

This week Ostapenko is the top seed at the Korean Open. She will play Spain’s Lara Arruabarrena in the first round.

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Tereza Martincova and Belinda Bencic reach the quarter final in Ostrava

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Czech wildcard Tereza Martincova upset Roland Garros Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (8-6) after 2 hours and 19 minutes to advance to the quarter finals at the J&T Banka Ostrava Open. 

 

Martincova claimed her third top 20 win of her career and reached her second quarter final on home soil this season after finishing fourth in Prague. 

Pavlyuchenkova earned the first break to take a 4-3 lead and served for the first set in the 10th game, but she never reached a set point. The Russian player came just two points away from winning the first set at 5-4 30-15, but Martincova won four consecutive points before winning the tie-break 7-5. 

Martincova dropped just eight points in the first six games of the second set. The Czech player fended off two break points to consolidate her lead for 2-0. She raced out to a 7-6 (7-5) 5-1 lead, but Pavlyuchenkova saved two match points to hold serve forcing Martincova to serve for the match. Martincova dropped four consecutive points. Pavlyuchenkova got another break, when Martincova was serving for the match for the third time at 6-5. Martincova went up a 4-1 lead in the tie-break, but Pavlyuchenkova drew level to 4-4 before saving a third match point. Martincova won the final two points to claim the tie-break 8-6. 

Martincova set up a quarter final match against Maria Sakkari, who beat last week’s Luxembourg finalist Jelena Ostapenko. 

This year’s Olympic champion Belinda Bencic cruised to a 6-2 6-3 win over Sara Sorribes Tormo in just 88 minutes. Bencic claimed her 15th win in her last 18 matches. Bencic broke six times and reeled off eight consecutive games from 2-2 in the first set to cruise through to a a straight-set win. Sorribes Tormo saved a break point to win her first game for 1-4 and pulled one break back in the sixth game, but Bencic sealed the win with her third break in the ninth game. “I think I prepared well for this match tactically, and also mentally, because it’s very tough. You have to win the point many times against her, especially on this surface, where it’s very slow. I am happy that I stayed disciplined for the whole match”, said Bencic. 

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Naomi Osaka Withdraws From Indian Wells, Unclear If She Will Play Again This Year

There is no official word but it looking increasingly likly that the world No.8 might have pulled the plug on her 2021 season.

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Japan’s Naomi Osaka has officially withdrawn from the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells just weeks after saying she will take a break from the sport due to personal reasons.

 

The former world No.1 hadn’t played a match since her loss to Leylah Fernandez in the third round of the US Open. Speaking to reporters in New York, Osaka said she didn’t know when she would play another match on the Tour. Earlier this year she opened up about her mental health struggles after revealing she has been suffering from social anxiety and depression. Osaka also took time away from the sport during the summer after pulling out of the French Open before deciding to skip Wimbledon.

“This is very hard to articulate. Basically I feel like I’m kind of at this point where I’m trying to figure out what I want to do, and I honestly don’t know when I’m going to play my next tennis match. Sorry,” she said following her loss to Fernandez.
“I think I’m going to take a break from playing for a while. How do I go around saying this? I feel like for me recently when I win I don’t feel happy. I feel more like a relief. And then when I lose, I feel very sad. I don’t think that’s normal. I didn’t really want to cry.”

Osaka’s withdrawal from Indian Wells was confirmed by the tournament who published an announcement on social media. Although they didn’t specify what reason she used to withdraw from the tournament which is one of the biggest events outside of the Grand Slams in terms of ranking points and prize money on offer.

It was Indian Wells where Osaka won her first prestigious title back in 2018 after defeating Daria Kasatkina in straight sets. The following year she was the top seed in the draw but lost to Belinda Bencic in the fourth round.

There has been no official comment from Osaka or her team about Indian Wells and if she will play again this season. Although it looks increasingly unlikely. She is in with a chance of qualifying for the WTA Finals in November but even if she does make the cut it is unclear if she will attend the event which has been relocated from China to Mexico.

This year Indian Wells will get underway on October 4th which is more than six months later than usual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Simona Halep Ends Six-Year Collaboration With Coach Cahill

One of the longest coaching partnerships on the WTA Tour has come to an end.

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Former world No.1 Simona Halep is on the lookout for a new coach after unexpectedly announcing her split from Darren Cahill on Wednesday.

 

The two-time Grand Slam champion has been working with the Australian mentor for most of the time since 2015. There was a brief period where Cahill stepped away from his duties to spend more time with his family before later returning. Under his guidance, the Romanian reached the top of the world rankings and featured in the final of three major tournaments, winning two of those.

“After six wonderful years working together, Darren Cahill and I have decided that it’s time to end our working relationship,” Halep wrote on social media. “Thank you D for everything, for making me a better tennis player and a better person.”

55-year-old Cahill is a former player himself who has also worked with a series of top players prior to Halep. In the past, he has coached both Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi to world No.1 at different stages of their careers. Doubles specialist Horia Tecău reportedly told Romanian TV that it was rumoured Cahill received an annual salary in the region of one million euros during his time with Halep. Although this has not been verified.

The announcement comes a week after Halep married Macedonian businessman Toni Iuruc. One of those who attended the event was Illie Nastase who was one of the world’s best tennis players during the 1970s, winning both the French Open and US Open.

I didn’t know anything about Simona’s intention to break up with Darren Cahill. It took me a little by surprise. But Simona Halep has proven she knows what she’s doing. As I did not know, I do not see what I could comment. But there is no question of collaborating (with her),” Nastase told playsport.ro.
I didn’t talk to her about this or to anyone else in her entourage… I think only Simona knows who her future coach will be. I trust her choices.”

So far in 2021 Halep has achieved a win-loss record of 15-7 during what has been a rollercoaster season. An Achilles injury forced her to miss both the French Open and Wimbledon, as well as the Tokyo Olympics. Since returning to the Tour from her injury she has won back-to-back matches in one out of three tournaments played. Reaching the fourth round of the US Open.

There has been no official word on who may replace Cahill as Halep’s coach.

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