Elina Svitolina Proved She Can Perform At The Biggest Events With WTA Finals Win - UBITENNIS
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Elina Svitolina Proved She Can Perform At The Biggest Events With WTA Finals Win

Elina Svitolina proved her doubters wrong with a spectacular unbeaten week at the 2018 WTA Finals that may turn out to be career-defining.



When Elina Svitolina reaches the end of her career and reflects on her achievements, there is a good chance she will say that her WTA Finals win in 2018 was one of her most important.


Ahead of the event, the newly-installed World No.4 had more to prove than any of the other seven women competing. She has never gone past the quarter-final stage of a Grand Slam and has suffered some disappointing losses recently – most notably to Tatjana Maria in the first round at Wimbledon. She was also badly out of form and had under-achieved in the second half of the year, so not many in the tennis world expected her to make it past the group stage.

Furthermore, the Ukrainian’s struggles led some observers to suggest she did not deserve her place at the season-ending event, and their opinions did not go unnoticed by the player herself. In her press conference after she beat Petra Kvitova in her first round-robin match, Svitolina said, “I want to take this as one to go forward, and for all those people and haters that were saying that I don’t deserve to be here and I’m not good.”

While that first win was impressive, it was soon overshadowed by the Ukrainian’s subsequent victories over Karolina Pliskova and Caroline Wozniacki which ensured she finished top of the White Group. It would be interesting to hear what the ‘haters’ made of that achievement.

After she beat the Dane, Svitolina brought up the issue again. “I have to look only on my path,” she said. “There are a thousand opinions, million opinions. I just have to do my job and go on court. I’m trying to win every point. I’m not giving any free points, and I just want to continue that way.”

Svitolina shows her mental strength

Unsurprisingly, given her well-documented recent troubles, the Ukrainian also stressed the importance of mental strength in Singapore. Following her win over Wozniacki, she said, “We were both under pressure. This round robin is not easy, no easy matches, no easy scenarios. So I had to fight for every ball, and I think today I was really pushed mentally to go through really, really tough moments.”

Toughness was the theme of the week for Svitolina. She had to overcome harsh criticism, high-quality opponents and stressful match situations to reach her ultimate goal of lifting the Billie Jean King trophy.

However, difficult round-robin matches have a definite upside: they prepare a player perfectly for the semi-finals and the final. So when the Ukrainian geared up for a deciding set against Kiki Bertens in the last four, she knew exactly what to expect because she had already won two three-set matches.

And Svitolina delivered again to book her place in the final. Afterwards, she said, “I was just telling myself, ‘next point, just go for it, don’t wait for anything. Just be out there.’ As my coach said, ‘Just show up and do the job. And then if you lose, you have no regrets.’”

“That’s I think what I did. For me, that really showed that I can play great tennis in big stages. That’s what matters for me. I think it’s a good step for me for the future and for the Grand Slams as well.”

Svitolina passes final test

By the time the final came around, Svitolina had already proved so much to herself and to her doubters. She had proved she could beat the best players in the world, she had proved she can compete brilliantly in high pressure situations on one of the biggest stages in tennis, and she had proved she can handle criticism from others and use it to motivate her. Now she had the chance to give her week the perfect ending.

In the first set, that ideal finish seemed a long way off as Sloane Stephens produced some sparkling tennis to win it 6-3. But to Svitolina’s immense credit, she never let that get her down. She chased down every ball in the second set and continued to go for her shots when the opportunities presented themselves.

The Ukrainian’s attitude paid off. She won the second set 6-2, and then kept her composure in the decider to win it by the same score and clinch the title. It is hard to imagine how a victory could feel any sweeter for a player, or how such a triumph could arrive at a more perfect time, exactly when it was most needed to give that player belief for the challenges ahead.

A positive end to a difficult year

“I think I have nothing to prove anymore to anyone,” Svitolina said in her winner’s press conference. “The third set really showed that I was mentally tough. That’s what made the difference.”

The Ukrainian continued, “I was clear with what I had to do on court. I have been working really, really hard in these past five months even though my results weren’t good. That’s why for me it was a little bit disappointing, and I was trying to stay very positive, because I was giving everything on the practice court and results were not what I expected. That’s why I was a little bit sad.”

One thing is certain: Svitolina is not sad anymore. And, if she build on this success and uses it as a springboard to help her in the Grand Slams, 2019 could be the best year of her career so far.


India’s Sumit Nagal Receives Sponsorship Boost After Revelling Financial Struggles



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

A leading food and drink company has pledged to support India’s highest-ranked men’s player who was unable to train at his usual facility in Germany earlier this year due to a lack of money. 


Earlier this week world No.159 Sumit Nagal made a public plea for financial support to help him continue his career as a tennis player. In recent years he has been based at the Nansel Tennis Academy in Germany but was unable to train there during the first three months of the 2023 season due to a lack of funds. During this period he relied on his friends, including former player Somdev Devvarman, to help maintain his fitness. 

“If I look at my bank balance, I have what I had at the beginning of the year. It is 900 euros. I did get a bit of help. Mr Prashant Sutar is helping me with MAHA Tennis Foundation and I also get monthly (salary) from IOCL but I don’t have any big sponsor,” Nagal told the Press Trust of India.
“I am investing whatever I am making. The yearly cost where I travel with one coach is costing me around Rs 8 million to Rs 10 million (90,000-113,000 euros) and that is just with one travelling coach (no physio). Whatever I have made I have already invested,” he added.

Nagal, who is 26 years old, has reached the semi-finals of better at five tournaments on the lower-level Challenger Tour so far this season. His only Grand Slam result was at the US Open where he lost in the first round of qualifying to Taro Daniel. It was at the US Open where he took a set off Roger Federer before losing in 2019. 

Despite being the only player from his country to be ranked in the top 400, Nagal is currently not part of the Target Olympics Podium Scheme. An initiative set up by the Indian government to provide support to their top athletes.

After learning about Nagal’s ongoing struggles on the Tour, a leading company has decided to support the tennis player by signing a three-year deal with him. Gatorade specializes in sports drinks and is manufactured by PepsiCo. Under the deal, Nagal will receive support with his recovery and nutrition from experts at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI).  

“I am deeply moved and grateful to join hands with Gatorade. This association comes to me at a pivotal time, and I am thankful my hard work and passion is getting recognized and appreciated. With Gatorade by my side, I am sure I will reach new heights and give it my all both on and off the court,” the Indo-Asian News Service quoted Nagal as saying on Thursday. 

Speaking about the new partnership, Ankit Agarwal from PepsiCo India has hailed the collaboration. Agarwal is the company’s Associate Director of Energy & Hydration. 

“Sumit is a role model for the new-gen athletes of India with his career being a true example of hard work and sweat that makes talent shine,” he said.
“As a brand that is dedicated to supporting athletes in removing barriers to sporting success, we are delighted to welcome Sumit to the Gatorade squad.”

Nagal has been ranked as high as No.122 in the world. So far in his career, he has won four Challenger titles with two of those occurring this year in Italy and Finland. 

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(VIDEO): Malaga Line-Up Set As Davis Cup Most Unpredictable Tournament In History

UbiTennis founder Ubaldo Scanagatta explains why any of the eight teams in Malaga could win November’s Davis Cup Finals




(@DavisCup - Twitter)

The Davis Cup quarter-final line-up is set after an incredible Group Stage over Bologna, Split, Manchester and Valencia.


Now eight teams remain including Novak Djokovic’s Serbia, Great Britain and Australia.

However surprise teams such as the Netherlands, Finland and the Czech Republic will also appear in the quarter-finals.

Ten-time champions Great Britain will face Serbia with the winners taking on the winner of the quarter-final between Italy and the Netherlands.

In the other half of the draw Canada will be heavy favourites against Finland while the Czech Republic face Australia.

The final eight tournament will take place in Malaga and will take place between the 21st and the 26th of November.

However this year’s Davis Cup could be the most unpredictable version in the tournament’s history with there being no Spain or USA.

It really could be anyone’ tournament with Tennis’ most prestigious team competition up for grabs in November.

In this video UbiTennis founder Ubaldo Scanagatta explains why this year’s Davis Cup finals could be the most unpredictable edition of all-time and why any of the teams could win the title.

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Simona Halep Claims Doing Ban Is ‘Based On Scenarios’ Without Proof




Former world No.1 Simona Halep has questioned the fairness of her anti-doping hearing after being suspended from the sport for four years. 


The two-time Grand Slam champion is suspended from tour events until 2026 after an independent tribunal concluded that the Romanian broke rules set out in Tennis’ anti-doping program. In a 126-page report by the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA), investigators accepted that the collagen supplement taken by Halep – called Keto MCT – was contaminated with Roxadustat “on the balance of probability.” However, they stated that there must have been another source of Roxadustat based on the level detected in her sample taken during the 2022 US Open. 

Furthermore, three experts in the area said they have ‘a high degree of confidence‘ that there was not an ‘innocent explanation’ for the abnormalities detected in Halep’s Athlete’s Biological Passport (ABP). They reported that ‘likely doping’ occurred based on an analysis of 51 valid samples of Halep’s blood and rejected her explanation for the irregularity. The tennis star cited blood loss during surgery and spells when she was inactive as her defence. 

Despite the comprehensive ruling, Halep has insisted that she is innocent and never intentionally took any banned substances. During an interview with Front Office Sports on Monday, the 31-year-old claimed that the ITIA’s four-year ban handed to her was based on ‘scenarios’ instead of any proof. 

“I was confident after the hearing because there were so many things that made no sense and that are not fair,” she said.
“When I received the decision, I was in complete shock. I could not believe that they suspended me for four years when we found the contamination and my blood was totally normal. They didn’t find anything bad in my blood. It’s crazy that they made this decision with everything [her legal team presented]. They judged me on scenarios. There is no proof. It’s just insane.”

The ITIA originally requested a six-year ban for Halep due to what they described as ‘repetitive and sophisticated’ doping practices. She is accused of using blood doping to improve her performance during Wimbledon and the US Open last year. However, the report found it was not ‘completely satisfied’ that Halep has been doping since March 2022 despite there being ‘strong grounds for suspicion.’

As for the substance Roxadustat, Halep says she would have never deliberately taken the drug as it would ‘work against her.’ She says that the drug would have worsened a thyroid issue which she has been dealing with for several years. Front Office Sports referred to a European Medicines Agency study which finds a possible link between the drug and decreased thyroid function. 

“There was no point for me to take this,” Halep said. “It’d work against me. It wouldn’t help me.”

The study couldn’t establish how common this side effect is due to the amount of data available at the time. 

In the wake of Halep’s ban, some have publicly expressed their views on the matter. One of the most notable to do so was Serena Williams who wrote on social media ‘8 is a better number” in a jibe at her former opponent. The reference was to the 2019 Wimbledon final when seven-time champion Williams lost in straight sets to Halep. 

“I think everyone has the right to judge me because the tribunal decided that I have the fault here,” Halep commented. “Someone told me today that those players who are hating on me because I beat them.”

Halep is set to appeal against her ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). 

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