Serena's Feminist Rant Overshadows Osaka's Triumph - UBITENNIS
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Serena’s Feminist Rant Overshadows Osaka’s Triumph

Serena claimed she felt the game penalty was a sexist act by the referee.

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Serena Williams at the 2018 US Open (photo Roberto Dell'Olivo)

What a final! And what an end to the final!

The mayhem caused by Serena Williams being given a point penalty and a game penalty during the final and her discussing repeatedly with the Tournament Referee Brian Earley about how all that was “unfair” obviously took over the wonderful story of a 20-year-old winning her maiden Major title.

Serena Williams came into the press room a mere 10-15 minutes after walking off the court for the award ceremony, when she asked the crowd to “stop booing and try to get through this the best way we can”. The 23,000 of the Arthur Ashe Stadium were overwhelmingly cheering for the 37-year-old American chasing her 24th Grand Slam title, and where all outraged at the score apparently not following the normal progression of points.

I don’t know how I’m feeling yet – she said at the beginning of her press conference – I haven’t had time to really process everything. But I’m just trying, like I said out there, to stay positive and to look at all the bright things and all the good things and just keep going forward with that”.

She kept denying receiving any advice from Mouratoglou, despite him admitting to ESPN that he did try to communicate something to Serena, despite the fact that she was on the opposite side of the court and that there is no signal system between the two: “don’t know. I literally just heard that, too, when they prepped me to come in. I just texted Patrick, like, what is he talking about? Because we don’t have signals. We have never discussed signals. I don’t even call for on-court coaching. I’m trying to figure out why he would say that. I don’t understand — I mean, maybe he said [that], you can do it. I was on the far other end, so I’m not sure. I want to clarify myself what he’s talking about”.

Patrick Mouratoglou tried to justify his action by saying that everybody does it, and then took to Twitter to say that the umpire became the most important element of the final, instead of the players: “The star of the show has been once again the chair umpire. Second time in this US Open and third time for Serena in a US Open Final. Should they be allowed have an influence on the result of a match? When do we decide that this should never happen again?

Serena maintained that she was not being coached and that after the warning she didn’t even look at her box any longer, which is a lie because the whole world saw her express her frustration to her camp after dropping her serve at 3-1 in the second set, just before smashing her racket and getting a point penalty.

Then it all turned philosophical and emotional, and then the two things together. “[If Olympia asks me about what happened today] I’ll tell her, first of all, if she sees it, that I stood up for what I believed in. I stood up for what was right. Sometimes things in life don’t happen the way we want them, but to always stay gracious and stay humble. I think that’s the lesson we can all learn from this, just like I did”.

Of course, we will never know how the match would have evolved without the disciplinary penalties against Serena, but the American champion felt that, as she had been able so many times in the past to raise her level, the result of the match was still uncertain: “I don’t know. I feel like she was playing really well, but I feel like I really needed to do a lot to change in that match to try to come out front, to try to come out on top. It’s hard to say because I always fight till the end and I always try to come back, no matter what. But she was also playing really, really well. It’s hard to say that I wouldn’t have got a new level, because I’ve done it so many times in my career. So it’s a tough question”.

The “grand finale” of ‘Serena the Diva’ is a paragraph worth of a whole separate essay:

I can’t sit here and say I wouldn’t say he’s a thief, because I thought he took a game from me. But I’ve seen other men call other umpires several things. I’m here fighting for women’s rights and for women’s equality and for all kinds of stuff. For me to say ‘thief’ and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark. He’s never taken a game from a man because they said ‘thief’. For me it blows my mind. But I’m going to continue to fight for women and to fight for us to have equal — like Cornet should be able to take off her shirt without getting a fine. This is outrageous. I just feel like the fact that I have to go through this is just an example for the next person that has emotions, and that want to express themselves, and want to be a strong woman. They’re going to be allowed to do that because of today. Maybe it didn’t work out for me, but it’s going to work out for the next person”.

At the end of this remark mixing together sexual discrimination and the Grand Slam Playbook, Serena’s agent Jill Smoller started an applause that prompted a tearful Serena Williams, together with her equally tearful sister Isha, to leave the room never to come back. Evidently the 23-time Grand Slam champion went through a mental process that made her see whatever happened to her on court as another page in the book of abuses: “I think it’s just instantly, just like, Oh, gosh, I don’t want to go back to 2004. Forget 2009, you know. It started way back then”. She is obviously referring to her quarterfinal against Jennifer Capriati, when there were so many wrong calls against her to prompt the USTA to issue an apology statement and to initiate researches for what has become the Hawk-Eye electronic calling system.

Completely different and remarkably composed was Naomi Osaka’s encounter with a full room of journalists who greeted her with the customary applause that is usually dedicated to Grand Slam champions. “I think my serve was important in the whole match. She’s such a good returner, and I really felt like I had to hit the spots today. It doesn’t really feel that real right now. I think maybe in a few days I’ll realize what I’ve done. Right now it just feels, like, I don’t know. Aside from the fact there’s a lot of press in this room, it feels just like another tournament”.

Naomi did not take part to the controversy claiming she did not hear what was happening: “The crowd was really noisy, so I really didn’t hear. And when I turned around, uhm, it was 5-3, so I was a little bit confused then. But for me, I felt like I really had to focus during this match because she’s such a great champion, and I know that she can come back from any point. I was just trying to focus on myself at that time”.

Her emotions overwhelmed her when she was asked about her admiration for Serena: “I was just thinking, I don’t know, like to have a huge reaction isn’t really me in the first place. It just still didn’t really feel that real. So for me it just felt like a normal match just walking up to the net. But it’s Serena that’s on the other side. She hugged me, and it was really awesome. I don’t know what happened on the court. I’m always going to remember the Serena that I love. It doesn’t change anything for me. She was really nice to me, like, at the net and on the podium. I don’t really see what would change”.

 

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Agnieszka Radwanska: The Pioneer Of The Golden Generation In Poland

Agnieszka Radwanska’s legacy is more than what it seems as she announced her retirement from Tennis.

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Agnieszka Radwanska (zimbio.com)

13 years ago, Agnieszka Radwanska started her career and evolved into a pioneer of a golden generation in Polish Tennis and now she exits the game having left a memorable legacy. 

Today is quite a sad day for many Polish tennis fans including myself who have watched Agnieszka Radwanska’s brilliant career evolve over the last 13 years. A talented player with many trick shots, a tonne of personality and some incredible achievements.

The Krakow-born star reached a grand slam final in 2012, where she forced the greatest player of all time to three sets at Wimbledon, a place that Serena Williams has made her second home. The 29 year old also won 20 WTA titles including a landmark title in Beijing as well as winning the biggest title of her career in Singapore at the WTA Finals in 2015.

A career high of world number two in 2012 consolidated what most fans knew, which was that she was a unique once in a lifetime player that fulfilled her potential. Even though injuries prevented her reaching further in the women’s game there was no doubting her achievements on the court.

The Polish Generation. 

Despite all these achievements, nothing will top what Radwanska has done in becoming a pioneer for Polish tennis and the success that may follow in the years to come.

The obvious example to her legacy is what Jerzy Janowicz was able to achieve at Wimbledon in 2013. The tall Pole was able to reach the semi-finals at SW19 in a historic event that saw Poland’s first men’s singles success since Wojciech Fibak. Although even he couldn’t reach a grand slam singles semi-final.

In the quarter-finals that year he competed in an all-Polish last eight match with Lukasz Kubot in a match that will never be forgotten.

Now the Radwanska link is that her success coinciding with Janowicz’s was a remarkable feat for Polish tennis that had the whole country invested in the sport.

Poland is a small nation in the tennis world and to see two singles successes in grand slams was pretty remarkable and set a standard in what was to come.

Although Radwanska couldn’t achieve grand slam success, a Polish grand slam winner would eventually evolve in Lukasz Kubot. The 36 year old has won two grand slams with two different partners and became the first Polish grand slam champion since Fibak. Not bad for a country of 35 million people.

There are also solid successes of Marcin Matkowski, Magda Linette, Alicja Rosolska as well as Michal Przysiezny, who is a former top 50 player and a big influence in Caroline Wozniacki’s recent Australian Open success.

Hopman Cup Success

Another achievement in Radwanska’s successful career was the Hopman Cup triumph in Perth with Jerzy Janowicz in what was a fun week.

Surprisingly it was Radwanska who took charge in that relationship and won a very emotional title in Perth, a week which signified how lucky Polish tennis was with this ongoing golden generation.

A title which will arguably be in the hearts of many Polish fans and is much more significant than people may assume.

The Legacy Continued: Fed Cup and Davis Cup. 

Although Radwanska had lead a golden generation in Polish tennis, there were still doubts whether this could be replicated in Fed Cup and Davis Cup.

Well those doubts were silenced when the Fed Cup team reached the World Group for the first time in their history. A magnificent achievement and a historic won even if they were eliminated by a Maria Sharapova-led Russia.

The Davis Cup team somehow equalled Radwanska’s Fed Cup team as they reached the World Group for the first time in their history. Caroline Wozniacki’s hitting partner, Michal Przysiezny sealed the winning rubber against Slovakia which had clearly shown how deep the talent was amongst the Polish players.

Away From The Legacy: The Turmoil Balanced With Personal Joy

Despite the legacy she had lead, the struggle was real on the tour for Radwanska as she started to develop injuries which prevented further progress.

This mental and physical turmoil unfortunately prevented her success in winning a grand slam and will probably go down as one of the best players never to win a grand slam.

After reaching the Wimbledon final in 2012 she only managed to reach a grand slam quarter-final seven times. Although the Pole was still capable of stunning upsets such as the one she pulled on Simona Halep in Miami this year.

This was of course managed by personal joy after getting married last year to Poland’s current Fed Cup captain, David Celt.

A tribute to a wonderful career

To put Aga’s career in perspective and how loved she was in her long and successful career, here is a tribute to her career by Radwanska herself.

Here is also reaction from other players just to show how loved Radwanska really is:

https://twitter.com/DonnaVekic/status/1062737073256456192

https://twitter.com/juliagoerges/status/1062758622453788672

The Future: Hotel Ventures and Polish Talent. 

Its not all bad news for Radwanska fans as she is continuing her legacy through her own hotel in Krakow, where she was born. For each room in the hotel she has a memory from each of her big trophy wins including Singapore and Beijing.

As for the legacy that Radwanska started it will continue into another generation of Polish tennis as Hubert Hurkacz and Kamil Majchrzak lead Male hopes in Poland. In-fact Hurkacz is now in the top 100 in the world and recently competed at the Next Gen Finals, a season that he will remember for a long time. 

The women also have a bright future with Iga Swiatek winning the Wimbledon juniors title this year as she keeps tearing it up on the futures tour. While Maja Chwalinska is slowly looking to join Swiatek as the future of Polish tennis.

Do Widzenia Radwanska

So in summary, the pioneer of a golden generation of Polish tennis players has retired, in what will be an emotional day for Polish tennis fans. Her legacy will be felt for a long time to come as Polish tennis continues to evolve. With the loss of Radwanska and potentially Janowicz it feels like the early stage of Polish tennis has finished in its chapter.

Congratulations on an amazing career to Aga as she now looks to live a healthy life outside of a tennis court. A nation will always be grateful for Aga’s long-lasting legacy and achievements on the court.

So as emotional as it sound, thank you for all that you have given Polish tennis Agnieszka Radwanska and as we say in Poland: Powodzenia an Do Widzenia (Good Luck and Goodbye).

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Lucie Safarova Announces Retirement At Australian Open Due To Health Problems

Former doubles world number one, Lucie Safarova has announced that the Australian Open will be her last tournament of her career.

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Lucie Safarova (zimbio.com)

Former doubles world number one Lucie Safarova has announced that she will retire at the Australian Open next year. 

The 31 year old made her announcement in a pre-Fed Cup press conference, where she explained that she’s been suffering from health problems for a while.

The former world number five in singles stated that she can no longer continue and admitted it was a hard decision to make, “I decided to end my career in Melbourne,” Safarova told sport.idnes.cz.

“Health complication were a big part in my decision. I’ve been thinking about it for a long time with Rob (Steckley, her coach) we talked that this would be the last season. I’ve had a great career but it’s not a healthier job.”

In her career Safarova reached a Roland Garros final in 2015 in singles, where she lost to Serena. The Czech Republican also had fantastic doubles success with Bethanie Mattek-Sands, winning three of the four grand slams.

“I don’t want to end by playing qualifying tournaments. I’m not playing any tournaments ahead of Melbourne,” Safarova concluded.

The former doubles world number one will now end her career by playing singles and doubles at the Australian Open as she can look back on her career with fond memories and great success.

 

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Darren Cahill Announces Shock Split From Simona Halep Due To Family Reasons

Darren Cahill has announced that he will not coach Simona Halep next season after wanting to spend more time with family.

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Darren Cahill and Simona Halep (zimbio.com)

Darren Cahill has announced his shock split from world number one Simona Halep due to family reasons. 

The Australian has been with Halep for four years in which he has turned her into a dominant world number one. As well as that he coached her to a first grand slam victory in Paris in May and it looked they would extend their partnership.

However just days after releasing a video dedicated to Simona Halep, the Australian has announced that he will no longer be coaching the Romanian as he plans to spend more time with family.

In a statement he Cahill said the following:

“I would like to announce that Simona and I will not be continuing our partnership in 2019 purely for family reasons on my part. After much thought and discussion, and many years with 30 plus weeks on the road away from my family, I’ve decided to take a 12 month break from coaching to be home more for support as our children enter important stages of their lives with the final year of high school, sports and college preparations all becoming more time consuming.
“I’d like to thank Simona for the last 4 amazing years. Her understanding, personality, work ethic, generosity and professionalism made it a pleasure to stand by her side as her coach. She’s a young woman of total class and someone I respect greatly which is something more important than any result achieved. Basically, I had the dream job and I want to thank her for making it that way, and the opportunity to work with someone so talented and dedicated. I wish Simo and her team nothing but continued success and I look forward to supporting her from the sidelines next year.”

The announcement means that their four year partnership ends despite a career-best season from the Romanian having been world number one for most of the year. The Australian confirmed he will still fulfil his TV commitments with ESPN.

“And finally, to the Romanian fans that show unwavering passion and support for their girl. You guys rock, seriously. Thanks for adopting this Aussie as one of your own for the last 4 years and making me feel welcome in your country. I will continue to work with the ESPN team at the AO, Wimbledon & US Open tournaments in 2019.”

The Romanian has since responded thanked the Australian for what has been an incredibly four year partnership.

Halep’s next steps remain unclear but it is clear that she will miss Cahill in her corner next season as he been the driving force behind her success. Although who knows if the Australian will return to her corner in 2020. 

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