Agnieszka Radwanska: The Pioneer Of The Golden Generation In Poland - UBITENNIS
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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.

https://twitter.com/michal1497/status/1048868251323830272

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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Rising Star Mirra Andreeva Teams Up With Wimbledon Champion Martinez

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Mirra Andreeva – Australian Open 2024 (foto: X @WTA)

Teenage sensation Mirra Andreeva has begun working with a former Grand Slam champion on a trial basis ahead of the French Open.

The 16-year-old has linked up with Conchita Martinez, who is overseeing her run at this week’s Rouen Open in France. Martinez peaked at a ranking high of No.2 during her career and won 33 WTA titles. After retiring from the sport, she has coached Garbine Muguruza and Karolina Pliskova. 

Andreeva’s latest partnership was formed with the help of her agent ‘two or three weeks ago.’ According to the WTA website, their practice week went well and now they are testing working together during a tournament. 

“So far, so good,” said Andreeva“I like it, I hope she likes it too. We will see how it will go and then we will decide about our next tournaments. I cannot say there are special aspects we are working on. But the first thing we worked on was my slice, because she was a good slicer. So she told me some tricks, and I’m trying to use it when I have time and a good possibility on court.”

Andreeva is currently ranked 43rd in the world and is the youngest player in the top 100. She has already reached the fourth round of both Wimbledon and the Australian Open but is yet to win a WTA title. So far this year the Russian’s best result was a quarter-final appearance at the Brisbane International. 

Martinez, who also reached the last 16 of a major at the age of 16, spoke about the teenager with Ubitennis during last year’s Wimbledon Championships. At the time she pointed out that consistency is key for the youngster.

“The most important thing is that she keeps practising and focusing on what she has to do to get better. It’s great what she is doing now but she has to maintain it,” she commented.

Andreeva kicked off her campaign in Rouen with a 6-1, 6-3, win over Nadia Podoroska. 

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Red-Hot Danielle Collins Ready To Take On Red Clay After Charleston Triumph

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

Just how good is Danielle Collins?

Right now, she may be as good as anyone on the WTA Tour.

Just think about it. Who’s better?

Winning a seven-round near-major one week on hard courts, then putting together six straight victories the next week on green clay is fairly significant.

Collins didn’t go against a lame duck field in either tournament, especially at the Credit One Charleston Open where she defeated three of the best clay-courters on the tour in Ons Jabeur, Maria Sakkari and Daria Kasatkina, as well as the likes of Sloane Stephens and Paula Badosa. She defeated a Wimbledon champion, Elena Rybakina, on hard courts in the Miami final.

ONLY TWO LOSING SETS IN 28

Collins lost only two of the 28 sets she played in Miami and Charleston.

Of course, second-ranked Aryna Sabalenka and third-ranked Coco Gauff are power players on any surface. But after those two, Collins looks capable of winning anything in sight. It would be interesting to see Collins take on either of those two on Europe’s red clay.

Collins now has played about as brilliantly in these two tournaments as Sabalenka, Gauff or top-ranked Iga Swiatek have played within the last year.

Collins has the type game no one wants to play against right now. She has jumped all the way to 15th in the world after her success at Miami and Charleston.

COLLINS DOMINANT IN FINAL

Against 2017 Charleston winner Kasatkina in Sunday’s final, Collins was dominant in a 6-2, 6-1 victory. The Russian didn’t have the game to match up with Collins’ power. Collins played to win, and wasted few opportunities.

No one on the WTA Tour attacks more aggressively than the 30-year-old Collins. Short balls end up being a “done deal” when Collins moves in on them and smashes forehands, backhands and lobs away. She nails high back-handed returns of lobs to the corners with the same type of precision she connects with high forehand put-aways inside the court. Few players can hit that type of backhand high volley with such power and precision.

 She also plays the baseline as aggressively as anywhere else, and her serve is solid enough to keep her out of early trouble. Few double-faults find her racket.

LOCKED INTO PROCESS

“I think one of my biggest areas of improvement over the course of the last few weeks has been my concentration and focus and really being locked into my process,” Collins said after winning Charleston.

“These women that I’m playing against, they’re the best in the world, and it’s — sometimes things go your way and then sometimes things don’t go your way, and you have to be open to that when those times do happen.

“I’m really looking forward to getting home (Bradenton, Fla.) and getting some time to spend where I don’t think about tennis, and then hopefully when Madrid comes around I am back in ‘Danimal’ mode. Then it’s back to reality. So it’s like spring break for me. I feel like a kid at spring break.”

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Danielle Collins Extends Winning Streak To 12 Matches

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image via https://twitter.com/CharlestonOpen/

Danielle Collins just goes out and wins.

She wastes few shots and is a master of shot placements.

The court surface doesn’t seem to matter. She did it a week ago on hard courts to win the Miami Open. And she is doing it again at the Credit One Charleston Open on clay courts.

Collins has won 12 straight matches and is one win away from a coveted second straight title on the WTA Tour.

She’s unseeded, but keeps winning. She is the last American standing.

In Saturday’s Charleston semifinals, Collins scored a relatively easy 6-3, 6-3 win over third-seeded Maria Sakkari of Greece.

KASATKINA STANDS IN COLLINS’ WAY

Just 2017 Charleston champion Daria Kasatkina is standing in the 30-year-old Collins’ way of a second straight tour title.

Oh, yes, Collins is playing her final year on the WTA Tour. She wants to go out a winner badly.

Kasatkina is the fourth seed, and she may already have played a key role in Collins’ drive to another title. Top seed Jessica Pegula appeared to be unbeatable in this Charleston Open until running  into Kasatkina in Saturday’s first semifinal and simply couldn’t close out the Russian when their  match was on the line.

PEGULA’S LOSS BIG SURPRISE

Pegula’s 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (5) loss to Kasatkina was the biggest surprise of this tournament. Pegula had won the last 12 games of a 6-1, 6-0 win over Kasatkina in 2023 in Tokyo’s Pan Pacific Open.

Very tough match,” the ultra-conservative playing Kasatkina said about Saturday’s long match that ended in a third-set tiebreaker.
“Really happy with my win, with the way how I did it. And, yeah, really happy to be in the finals here again.”

Kasatkina has been impressed by Collins’ outstanding recent play.

“Danielle is, I think, playing the best tennis of her career right now. She’s fearless. When she feels her game, she’s one of the most dangerous players on tour, and she definitely feels it right now,” Kasatkina said.
“So, yeah, it’s going to be very tough battle. And it’s finals. I mean, it’s so nice. I’m so happy to be in the finals, and I think it’s going to be a good one. I think the atmosphere is going to be great because playing an American in the United States, it always brings some extra electricity on court. So, I’m really looking forward to it.”

COLLINS IMPRESSED BY KASATKINA’S PLAY

Collins also has respect for Kasatkina’s style of play.

“We’ve played so many matches against each other over the years and battles. She’s one of my favorite players to watch because she makes these matches so interesting,” Collins said about Kasatkina.

“The way that she plays and her tennis IQ, how creative she is on court is phenomenal. I think against Daria I have to be very flexible. She has just about every tool in her toolbox. She can hit big. She can hit with shape. She can hit slices. She can come into the net. She does everything very, very well. She serves and returns well. She mixes up her pace. She’s just solid all over. And so, it’s going to be a battle, and I have to be ready to play a long, tough match, if that’s what’s needed.

“I’ll have to kind of take a little bit more of a look statistically at some things and some different patterns, but I think the biggest thing is just fighting until the end and being adaptable out there.”

About her win over the usually solid Sakkari, Collins said, “I think my aggressive game style helped me. I had to stick with it. And she was throwing a lot at me and doing a lot of different things.
“So, I had to try to counter that and use my aggressive game style as much as I could.”

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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