Australian Open Prize Money Rises To New Record As Officials Ponder New Coaching Rules - UBITENNIS
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Australian Open Prize Money Rises To New Record As Officials Ponder New Coaching Rules

Talks are ongoing about the possibility of using on-court coaching during main draw matches in Melbourne.

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Tennis Australia has announced a 10% rise in prize money for next year’s Australian Open to bring the total amount above AUS$60 Million for the first time in history.

 

The grand slam will have a total prize money pool of AUD$60.5 million, which is a $5.5 million increase on this year. The rise coincides with a series of new changes being made to the grand slam event. From 2019, a 25-second clock will be used in all the matches. An initiative that has been implemented with the goal of speeding up matches. The Heat Stress Index, which asses hot environments and predict likely thermal strain on the body, will replace by the Extreme Heat Policy. Furthermore, the size of the women’s qualifying draw will be increased to 128 players to keep in line with the men’s tournament.

“We’ve always prided ourselves on listening to the players, and this year we’ve taken our consultation to a whole new level,” Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said.
“Our team has spent a lot of time this year talking to players, coaches and their teams about what’s important to them, what they like and what changes they want to see.
“From these discussions, held at tournaments around the world, we’ve come up with some changes we know the players want, including the Serve Clock and Electronic Review on all match courts, making conditions more consistent across the precinct.”

One of the most debated subjects concerning grand slams is the use of coaching during matches. In recent weeks there has been a debate about whether the major tournaments should allow on-court coaching in a similar fashion to that of the WTA Tour. At the US Open, Serena Williams was accused of receiving coaching during her final clash with Naomi Osaka. Resulting in a major bust-up with umpire Carlos Ramos. Williams, who also received warnings for racket abuse and verbal abuse, received a game penalty and was later fined $17,000.

At present, the Australian Open has no plans to change their current policy. Although talks are ongoing about the subject with other governing bodies. Currently, coaching is only prohibited in qualifying and junior tournaments only.

“Coaching is an issue we’ve all spoken a lot about over the past couple of months, which is good. As a sport, tennis needs to decide the best way forward. We’ll continue the on-court coaching trial during qualifying – for both men and women – as we progress discussions with the many stakeholders involved. The sport needs to have a consistent approach to all issues around coaching.” Said Tiley.

Australian Open chief Tiley has also confirmed that they will make a final announcement about their position concerning coaching in the ‘coming weeks.’ There has been calls for more consistency on the tour. Former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko has previously spoken in favor of getting rid of on-court coaching if it wasn’t implemented at all tournaments in the future.

“I think it’s really important that it’s consistent so fans and players don’t get confused on it so hopefully in the coming weeks we are able to make an announcement on our position.” Tiley outlined.

The Australian Open will take place between January 14-27 next year.

List of changes for the 2019 Australian Open

  • Prize money increased to AUD $60.5 million
  • 25 second Serve Clock for all main draw matches
  • Electronic Review System on all 16 match courts
  • Maintaining 32 seeds in the main draw and in qualifying for both men and women
  • Heat Stress Index to replace Extreme Heat Policy
  • Increased Australian Open qualifying draw for women, from 96 to 128 players
  • Qualifying tournament to start a day earlier, on Tuesday 8 January
  • Continued trial of on-court coaching in qualifying and juniors
  • Tie Break Tens returns to MCA on Wednesday 9 January
  • High-profile practice matches to be held at MCA on each day of qualifying.

Source – ausopen.com

 

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Grand Slam

Andy Murray’s Hunt For A Wimbledon Doubles Partner Sparks Interest From Women’s Elite

The chance to play alongside the former world No.1 at SW19 has attracted a lot of interest from past and present players from the WTA Tour.

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Sir Andy Murray of Great Britain is pictured during day four of ATP Fever-Tree Championships tennis tournament at Queen's Club in west London on June 20, 2019.

LONDON: Andy Murray’s recent difficulty in finding a mixed doubles partner for the upcoming Wimbledon Championships has prompted a series of WTA players to offer their services.

 

The three-time grand slam champion returned to competitive tennis on Thursday at The Fever-Tree Championships. Winning his first round doubles match alongside Feliciano Lopez. After the victory, the former world No.1 confirmed that he will be playing with Pierre-Hughes Herbert at the All England Club and he is also interested in contesting the mixed doubles.

“I’ve asked singles players who had already committed to playing doubles, and they didn’t want to commit to playing in three events, which I completely understand because it’s a lot. If you have ambitions to go far in the singles, you maybe don’t want to commit to playing all three.” He said.

One of those players Murray approached was French Open champion Ash Barty, who declined his offer. The Australian is currently in the race for world No.1 and is seen as one of the favorites to claim the ladies singles title in three weeks time.

“I’m sure I will find another great partner, providing I feel good enough to play the men’s and mixed doubles. That said, I need to wait and see how I’m feeling first.” Murray wrote in a piece for the BBC.

Fortunately for Murray, the offers to play alongside him has started flying in on social media. Kirsten Flikens, who is a top 30 doubles player, was one of the first to come forward. The Belgian teamed up with Murray before at the 2006 Wimbledon championships as well as the now-defunct International Premier Tennis League (IPTL).

Barbora Strycova has already won two doubles titles on the WTA Tour this season with Hsieh Su-Wei. On Instagram, the Czech expressed her willingness to work alongside the Brit.

“I heard rumors that you got rejected a couple of times when finding a partner for mixed doubles in Wimbledon. I swear I wouldn’t do the same mistake as that.” Strycova wrote.

Elsewhere on social media, there was a couple of other light-hearted offers made.

https://twitter.com/BillieJeanKing/status/1141872812841472001

https://twitter.com/CoCoVandey/status/1141860447936585728

https://twitter.com/caseydellacqua/status/1141861486538547200

It is safe to say that Murray can easily find a partner for Wimbledon, which will get underway a week on Monday. The only question is who will it be?

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Marcos Baghdatis And Iga Swiatek Among Initial Wimbledon Wildcards

Marcos Baghdatis and Iga Swiatek have received a wildcard for Wimbledon as the third grand slam of the year approaches.

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Marcos Baghdatis (@BNPPARIBASOPEN - Twitter)

Marcos Baghdatis and defending Juniors champion Iga Swiatek are among the initial wildcards for Wimbledon. 

 

The initial wildcards for Wimbledon have been announced this morning with former Wimbledon semi-finalist Marcos Baghdatis among the Men’s wildcards.

Having not played since May and not appeared on the main tour since February, Baghdatis is a surprise choice for a wildcard spot given the options.

Players such as Nicolas Mahut, Feliciano Lopez and Dustin Brown were seen as candidates for a main draw wildcard but it seems that at the moment that spot has been given to the Cypriot.

Joining Baghdatis as main draw wildcards on the men’s side is the British trio of James Ward, Jay Clarke and NCAA champion Paul Jubb.

Meanwhile on the women’s side, last year’s Women’s junior champion Iga Swiatek has been given a wildcard after her incredible rise.

Since winning the Juniors title last year, Swiatek has reached her maiden WTA final, risen to number 65 in the world and reached the fourth round at Roland Garros.

Joining Swiatek, as the British wildcards are Harriet Dart, Heather Watson and Katie Swan as there are four more spots to be announced.

As more wildcards are yet to be announced, the likes of Feliciano Lopez, Dustin Brown and Katie Boulter could still receive a main draw wildcard.

Meanwhile in the doubles event Lleyton Hewitt has once again received a doubles wildcard despite ‘retiring.’ The 2002 singles champion will team up with compatriot Jordan Thompson.

Here are the wildcards below, with the singles draws taking place a week on Friday:

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Greg Rusedski Tips Tsitsipas To Become The Next Federer

The Greek sensation has been backed to rise to the top of the world rankings.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas (photo by chryslène Caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Former US Open finalist Greg Rusedski has praised Next Gen star Stefano Tsitsipas by saying he has characteristics similar to that of Roger Federer.

 

The former world No.4 believes the greek has what it takes to conquer the men’s tour. So far this season Tsitsipas has played in four ATP finals, winning titles in Marseille and Estoril. In total, he has won 32 matches on the tour this year. The joint-highest alongside Rafael Nadal. At the age of 20, he is already the first man from his country to reach the semi-final of a grand slam and crack the top 10.

“He’s so much better as a player than he was a year ago and he’s getting better,” Rusedski told Amazon Prime.
“His transitioning game coming forward, playing doubles so much more this year. I think he will be a Wimbledon champion as well as a world number one. He’s that good.”

Continuing his tribute to the world No.6, the Brit believes he plays similar to some of the stars of the game. Tsitsipas is currently 10-15 against top 10 opposition in his career and has defeated every member of the Big Three at least once. The most recent being against Nadal at the Madrid Open.

“He reminds me of a young Roger Federer. A guy who’s got that full package.” Rusedski analyzed.
“He looks a little bit like Bjorn Borg the way he walks around the court but what I like, he’s a complete player and he has this mental fortitude where he believes he belongs.”

Tsitsipas is the top seed at this week’s Fever-Tree Championships in London. He will be hoping for a strong run ahead of the Wimbledon championships, which he reached the fourth round at last year. Looking ahead to the grand slam, he is optimistic about the prospect of ending the dominance of Nadal and Co. It has been 16 years since a player outside of the Big Four (counting Andy Murray) has won Wimbledon.

“I want to be honest. I would love to see something different this year,’ he said.
‘Hopefully, it can be me, but I think it’s good for the sport to have a bit of variety, something different. It’s boring to see all these guys winning all the time. Djokovic is the reigning champion.”

Tsitsipas will play Kye Edmund in his first match at Queen’s.

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