Serena Williams ‘Trying To Recover’ From US Open Controversy, Defends Coach - UBITENNIS
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Serena Williams ‘Trying To Recover’ From US Open Controversy, Defends Coach

The 23-time grand slam champion has spoken out for the first time since the final at Flushing Meadows.

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Serena Williams believes sexism continues to be a factor in the world of tennis amid the fallout from her US Open final clash with Naomi Osaka.

Williams was fined a total of $17,000 for committing three code violations during what was an extremely tense match. They were for coaching, which the 36-year-old denied, racket abuse and verbal abuse towards umpire Carlos Ramos. During the confrontation, Williams said that she was have not been given the same punishment if she had been a man. Triggering a widespread debate in the sport.

“There are men out here that do a lot worse, but because I’m a woman you’re gonna take this away from me?” Williams told the US Open referee after being handed a game penalty in the final.

Concerning that specific match, the opinion is split as to if sexism played a factor in the final. Both the USTA and WTA have publicly backed the American over the incident. Although the head of the USTA, Katrina Adams, was later heard apologising to Ramos during the Davis Cup tie between the USA and Croatia. Meanwhile, the ITF has stated that Ramos correctly followed the procedures.

Speaking about the topic on Network Ten’s The Sunday Project, Williams paid tribute to Billie Jean King. One of the founding members of the WTA who has been an instrumental figure in women’s rights for decades. King accused Ramos of ‘aggravating’ the situation.

“I am always supportive of women no matter what and that’s how I’ve always been. I feel like Billie Jean has done the same thing with starting the tour and creating an opportunity for women like me to play.” Williams told interviewer Lisa Wilkinson.
“If you’re a female, you should be able to do even what half a guy could do and I feel right now that we are not, as it is proven, in that position. But that’s neither here nor there.
“I’m trying to recover from that (the US Open final) and move on.” She added.

Wilkinson’s interview was conducted under the watchful eye of Williams’ publicist. At one stage, proceedings were halted when she asked if Williams regretted smashing her racket on the court. A voice away from the camera was heard saying ‘Sorry, that’s four questions about the US Open, so …’ Williams never gave a reply, but she did answer another question related to the US Open afterwards.

The coach got ’confused’

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The trigger for the infamous outburst in New York was due to a coaching violation. Williams, who never receives on-court coaching on the WTA Tour, insisted that this was a mistake. Although her mentor, Patrick Mouratoglou, admitted that he was doing such actions during the match.

“I’m honest, I was coaching. I don’t think she looked at me so that’s why she didn’t even think I was,” he told ESPN.

Despite the admission, Mouratoglou’s comments have since been dismissed by Williams herself. Who says that there are ‘no signals’ used between them during matches. Instead she believes that there was a misunderstanding due to a ‘confusing situation’ for her coach.

“I just don’t understand what he was talking about because I asked him, you weren’t coaching, we don’t have signals, we’ve never had signals and he said he made a motion,” Williams told the program.

As things currently stands, Williams and Mouratoglou will continue working together. Their collaboration started in September 2012.

 

The Network Ten interview with Williams can be watched below

 

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Simona Halep Sheds Light On Potential New Coach To Replace Darren Cahill

The world No.1 has been spotted with a Belgian mentor at the Australian Open, who recently halted his partnership with another player on the ATP Tour.

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Simona Halep (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Simona Halep has confirmed that she is ‘talking’ with a Thierry Van Cleemput about the possibility of him joining her team in the future.

The two were spotted together at Melbourne Park on Monday whilst Halep was warming up for her match against Serena Williams, which she lost in three sets. Cleemput was also present at her fourth round match and sat a row behind her player’s box. Halep is currently without a coach after she split with Darren Cahill during the off-season. Cahill announced a 12-month break from coaching in order to spend more time with his family.

“We are talking, but he is not my coach officially, so we will see.” Halep said during her press conference.

Van Cleemput has worked as a coach since 1993 and has guided some of the best male players in his home country. Spending stints with Olivier Rochus and Steve Darcis. He was also the assistant team captain of the Belgian Davis Cup team between 2002-2005. Up until last week Cleemput had been working with David Goffin, but they have separated on ‘mutual grounds.’ A decision Halep has stated that she had no impact on.

“I have nothing to do with their split. I like him as a coach. I like him as a person.” She said.
“We haven’t decided anything yet. We just have to know each other better. We are just talking.”

Halep confirmed that she spoke with Cleemput after he had split with Goffin.  Although she remained coy when asked if she was the one who approached him first.

Reflecting back on her Australian Open campaign, the world No.1 says she is contempt with her performance. Prior to her loss to Williams, she scored wins over Kaia Kanepi, Sofia Kenin and Venus Williams. Prior to Melbourne, she hadn’t won a match since August after ending her 2018 season early due to a back injury.

“I haven’t been prepared for the highest level in tennis, but I did not play bad, so I’m happy about the way that it’s been going this tournament, and I take only the positives.” She said. “I had great matches. I had the toughest draw, but it was nice.”

As a result of her loss, Halep faces the possibility of losing her No.1 ranking next week. She has held the top spot since February 2018.

“I will not stress myself about this. I just go home, I will rest, and I will watch tennis. I am also curious who is going to win (the Australian Open).” She concluded about the situation.

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Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares reach the doubles quarter final after saving three match points

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Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares fended off three match points to take a come-from-behind win over Kevin Krawietz and Nikola Mektic by the scoreline of 6-7 (3-7) 6-2 7-5 after 2 hours and nine minutes in the doubles tournament at the Australian Open in Melbourne.

The British and Brazilian doubles team, who won the Australian Open doubles title in 2016, reached the quarter final, where they will face former Nitto ATP Finals Henri Kontinen and Jonathan Peers (Murray’s former partner) in the quarter finals.

Murray and Soares fought back from losing the first set by breaking serve in the second set and at the end of the end of the third set.

Murray and Soares reeled off five consecutive points to draw level to 5-5, as they were serving at 4-5 0-40, and won the final two games to seal their spot in the quarter final. Murray and Soares won 82 % of their first serve points.

Murray and Soares have reached the quarter final for the fifth time in their last nine Grand Slam tournaments.

Murray also reached the third round of the mixed doubles tournament. The Scottish player teamed up Bethanie Mattek Sands claimed a 6-4 6-4 win over Robert Lindsted and Kristina Mladenovic.

Reigning French Open doubles champions Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut came back from one set down to beat US Rajev Ram and Great Britain’s Joe Salisbury 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 setting up a quarter final clash against US legends Mike and Bob Bryan. Salisbury and Ram opened up a 5-2 lead in the tie-break of the second set, but they dropped five consecutive points to lose the second set.

Lukasz Kubot and Horacio Zeballos converted four of their eight break points in their 6-4 7-6 (7-4) win over Australian wildcards Blake Ellis and Alexei Popyrin setting up a quarter final match against either Ryan Harrison and Sam Querrey or Jack Sock and Jackson Withrow.

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Karolina Pliskova Thrashes Muguruza To Reach Australian Open Quarters

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Karolina Pliskova has continued her unbeaten start to 2019 with an emphatic 6-3, 6-1, win over two-time grand slam champion Garbine Muguruza at the Australian Open.

The Czech seventh seed recovered from a tentative start to the match to dominate proceeding on the Margaret Court Arena. In what was a battle of former world No.1 players, Pliskova produced a near-perfect performance. Hitting just three unforced errors during the 60-minute clash, compared to Muguruza’s tally of 20. Furthermore, she converted five out of her seven break point opportunities and blasted 23 winners past the Spaniard.

“I feel better with every match that I play here. It’s my first time on Margaret Court (this year) and I’m happy I got the win.” Pliskova said afterwards.
“I think I played well. Obviously the first set was important. We had some very close games. At the beginning we were both a bit nervous. It’s a bit windy, so the conditions are a bit tricky sometimes.”

It was the conditions that proved to be too problematic for Muguruza, who hasn’t won four consecutive matches on the tour for eight months. Since winning the 2017 Wimbledon Championships, Muguruza has only managed to reach the last eight of a major in one out of six attempts (French Open 2018).

“It was a very tough match. I was expecting it.” Muguruza said in her press conference. “Pliskova, you have to put a lot of intensity with her. She makes you be on every single ball. I struggled a little bit with the heat or the conditions. I don’t know. I felt it was a little bit heavy today.”

Pliskova now finds herself on a nine-match winning streak following her triumph at the Brisbane International earlier in the month. Her longest winning streak since May. During the off-season, she added Conchita Martinez to her team. A former Australian Open finalist back in 1998, who had previously worked alongside Muguruza on the tour. Also included in Pliskova’s team is former doubles specialist Rennae Stubbs.

“A lot of positive things.” Pliskova replied when asked what Martinez brings. “So far everything is working. I cannot be happier to have this team by me and everything is working well.”

Set to play in the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park for the third consecutive year in a row, the 26-year-old faces a potentially tricky task. Awaiting her will be either top seed Simona Halep or 23-time grand slam champion Serena Williams. Two players who she has a losing head-to-head record against.

“I know both of them. I have played both of them already. It is going to be definitely tough.” She previewed.
“Simona is world No.1 and it is always tough to play her. And Serena I think she is in great shape this tournament. So we will see.”

Pliskova is bidding to reach the last four of a grand slam for only the third time in her career this week.

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