Li Na Wins Fan Vote To Edge Closer To Historic Hall Of Fame Induction - UBITENNIS
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Li Na Wins Fan Vote To Edge Closer To Historic Hall Of Fame Induction

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The chances of an Asian player being inducted into The International Tennis Hall Of Fame for the first time has received a boost after Li Na topped the fan vote.

 

The two-time grand slam champion fought off competition from the likes of Goran Ivanisevic and Mary Pierce to top the public poll. For the first time this year, the general public was allowed to vote who they believe should be awarded the honour. The number of votes during the six-week process have not been disclosed, but officials had said that 130 countries took part.

“It is a great honour to be nominated for the International Tennis Hall of Fame and I’m so grateful for the fan support in this process.” Said former world No.2 Li.
“My fans were such a huge part of what made my playing career special for me, and it’s really wonderful to have this opportunity to continue that relationship with them today.”

China’s first ever grand slam champion finished ahead of Ivanisevic and Pierce, who take the second and third position respectively. The public vote is just part of the decision making process about what player will be inducted. Another factor will be the combination of the results from the Official Voting Group, which is comprised of journalists, historians, and Hall of Famers.

To be elected into the Hall of Fame, a candidate must secure at least a 75% backing. 36-year-old Na already has 3% points bonus in her favour after winning the fan vote. Ivanisevic receives 2% and Pierce 1%.

“I’m honoured to be nominated for this great accolade,” Li said. “I look forward to hearing the Hall of Fame voting results in January.”

In 2011 Li she became the first Chinese player to win a grand slam title after defeating Francesca Schiavone at the French Open. Three years later she added to her major tally by claiming the Australian Open trophy in 2014. Li ended her career with a total of nine WTA titles.

The class of 2019 will be officially announced on January 22nd at the Australian Open. The induction ceremony will then take place on July 20th at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, USA.

Full list of nominees for the class of 2019

  • Li Na – 3% fan vote
  • Goran Ivanisevic – 2% fan vote
  • Mary Pierce – 1% fan vote
  • Jonas Björkman
  • Sergi Bruguera
  • Yevgeny Kafelnikov
  • Conchita Martínez
  • Thomas Muster

Target for nomination – at least 75% backing

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Simona Halep, Garbine Muguruza Withdraw From Stuttgart

The draw for the women’s tournament has been redone after the two former world No.1 players pulled out.

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

The Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart has been hit with a double withdrawal after Simona Halep and Garbine Muguruza pulled out for different reasons.

 

Reigning French Open champion Halep is currently suffering from a hip injury that she sustained over the weekend in his country’s Fed Cup tie against France. The Romanian played in two singles and one doubles match during her country’s 3-2 defeat.

“It happened against Garcia in the first set, when I fell down,” Halep commented about her injury on Tuesday. “I felt pain in the hip.
“If I’m not 100%, I don’t want to step on the court. I’m also exhausted mentally because I gave my everything in that tie.
“It feels bad because I gave everything. I’ve been very sad for the last two days. I’ve been through these moments many times, but I just need to relax and recover.”

Despite the setback, it is understood that the injury is not serious and will unlikely have an impact on Halep’s plans for the rest of her clay-court campaign. So far this season, the 27-year-old has won 18 out of 24 matches played. Reaching the semi-finals in Miami and the final in Doha.

“I stopped because there’s a two-week break, so it’s enough time to recover. I just want to go home and relax myself,” she said.

Halep was in a three-way race to claim the No.1 spot this week prior to her withdrawal. Now the only way Naomi Osaka can lose her top spot is if she crashes out in her opening match and Petra Kvitova goes on to win the title.

Elsewhere, Muguruza will miss the tournament for the first time since 2014 due to Gastrointestinal illness. It is the second consecutive year the Spaniard has been forced to quit the tournament. In 2018 she retired during her second round match due to a lower back injury. Muguruza recently won her first title of the season at the Monterrey Open in Mexico.

In the women’s draw, Angelique Kerber has now moved into Halep’s second seed position. Muguruza’s planned opponent Victoria Azarenka will now play lucky loser Vera Zvonareva. Meanwhile Donna Vekic, who would have played Kerber, faces Giulia Gatto Monticone.

 

 

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Tennis Player Robbed At Challenger Tournament

An 27-year-old player from Argentina was left with only two tennis rackets after having a series of items stolen by somebody wearing a tournament badge.

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Andrea Collarini (photo via https://twitter.com/andreacollarini)

Argentinian world No.304 Andrea Collarini has fallen victim to crime after having a series of his belongings stolen from his bag whilst at a Challenger event in America last week.

 

The incident took place shortly after his third round win over seventh seed Bjorn Fratangelo at the Sarasota Open. Collarini said he left his bag ‘for two minutes’ whilst going to book an appointment with the physio. When he returned, he discovered a man in his 50s looking through his bag. The individual is described as having a Portuguese accent and was wearing a tournament badge. Although nobody knew who he was.

“I try to chase him, but unfortunately the parking lot was next door and he was probably already in his car.” Collarini wrote on Twitter. “This person who stole from me had a tournament badge, but nobody knew him. Some players told me he asked for photos and he had a Portuguese accent.”

The items that were stolen from the Argentine include three tennis rackets, numerous pieces of clothing and a bag of 25 wristbands.As a result of the robbery, Collarini said he was left with only two rackets to use for the remainder of the tournament. Something that affected his practice sessions.

“I went to ask for help from the organization of the tournament, and the only measure they took was to walk through the courts, as if by doing so they would find the thief. I asked them to close the country club’s exit and verify the belongings of the people who were leaving, but nobody did anything.” The former top 200 player recounted.
“It is a shame that these things happen in professional tournaments, which could be avoided by complying with the required security established in the ATP rulebook.” He added.

It has emerged that the security cameras at the tournament was turned off at the time. Although it is unclear as to why this was the case. A police report has been submitted and an image of the alleged thief has been posted on social media by the tennis player.

Despite his ordeal, Collarini reached the semi-finals in Sarasota. His best performance at a Challenger event since Panama City in April 2018. He was knocked out of the tournament by Tommy Paul, who went on to win the title.

Collarini’s full statement

 

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Monte Carlo Unlikely To Stage Women’s Tournament Despite Its Success

Will the world’s best players on the women’s tour ever get a chance to place at the Monte Carlo Country Club?

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photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision

The chances of the Monte Carlo Masters staging a WTA event are slim due to a series of barriers, according to the tournament director.

 

This year marked the 113th edition of the Monte Carlo Open, which was won by Fabio Fognini on Sunday. The tournament has been categorised as a Masters 1000 tournament since 2009 and welcomes top players to the venue every year. Rafael Nadal is the most successful player at the event with 11 titles to his name.

At the Monte Carlo Country Club in France, the tournament has been a hit with both players and fans due to it’s breathtaking views. This year 135,656 spectators travelled to the event along with 400 journalists from 16 countries. Despite the popularity, tournament director Zeljko Franulovic admits that hosting a women’s event is not feasible due to a lack of space.

“There were some ideas, proposals, even projects that have been envisioned, but when you think about the fact of adding 56 or 60 players in the main draw plus doubles, plus training courts, and you have to deal with all the scheduling, and you have men and women, it is quite complicated.” Franulovic told reporters on Sunday.
“So even though we have managed to change for the better, we do not have more square meters. The surface still stays the same. So it’s not the same as if it was Miami or Indian Wells where there is no problem of space. But we have made the decision to keep our men’s tournament and improve the quality.”

During the clay season, there are three tournaments that host both men’s and women’s tournaments. The Madrid Open, Italian Open and the French Open. Whilst it may not be feasible for Monte Carlo to stage both tournaments at the same time, would they contemplate holding a WTA competition at a different date?

“We have to be aware of the fact that in the Principality, the dates and the seasons along the year are very specific. For instance, in spring we have our tournament here. Then we have the Formula 1, the Grand Prix. And then summer arrives very soon, and people go on holidays. People are on the beach.” Franulovic explained.
“It is difficult to organize such a tournament and expect to have a big development of such women’s tournament. So if we separate men’s tournament from the women’s tournament, we are not going to benefit from the power and the attraction that the men’s tournament will have. For instance, if we decide to organize it in July, it’s going to be, like, on their own.”
“Another point is that we need to assess the price, particularly the costs and the prize money, because of course the prize money has to be at the same level for the women as for the men. So we need to draw a really solid business plan and do our accounting before actually going into that venture.”

The Monte Carlo Masters are not actually located in Monaco, despite its name. It is held in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, which is located in south-eastern France.

Next year’s tournament will get underway on April 13th.

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