Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep named the 2018 ITF World Champions - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep named the 2018 ITF World Champions

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Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep have been named the 2018 ITF World Champions by the ITF. Djokokovic, who also ended the year as world number 1 in the ATP Ranking, receives the ITF honour for the sixth time in his career after a successful season in which he won two Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon and at the US Open, and two Masters 1000 tournaments in Cincinnati and Shanghai.

 

He also finished runner-up in two more finals at Queen’s and Paris Bercy. The Belgrade-native star became the first player to be ranked outside the top 20 and climb to the top of the ranking in the same season. He finished the year as the world number 1 for the fifth time in his career after 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015. Only US legend Pete Sampras did better with six end-of season top rankings.

With the win in Cincinnati Novak became the first player to clinch all nine Masters 1000 title at least once in his career completing the “Career Golden Masters”.

“I am very honoured to be named ITF World Champion again. I am particularly proud of this achievement all that I have been through physically this year, but part of me always believed I could make it back to the top. It is satisfying to join Pete Sampras by winning the sixt award”, said Djokovic.

Simona Halep receives the ITF orld Champion for the first time in her career. The Romanian star lifted her maiden Grand Slam title at Roland Garros after beating 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens. The Romania star two more WTA tournaments in Shenzhen and at the Rogers Cup in Montreal. She had lost her three previous Grand Slam finals at Roland Garros in 2014 against Maria Sharapova and in 2017 against Jelena Ostapenko, and at the 2018 Australian Open against Caroline Wozniacki.

“It’s a great honour to be named as ITF World Champion for the first time. I had an incredible year, winning my first Grand Slam at Roland Garros and finishing the year as world number 1. To be recognised inthis way is really special and provides extra motivation to keep working for the next season”, said Halep.

US Mike Bryan and Jack Sock will receive the ITF World Champions Award in the men’s doubles department. Since they teamed up at the Queen’s they won two Grand Slam tournaments at Wimbledon and at the US Open and at the ATP Finals in London. Bryan receive this award for the 12th time in his career, while it’s the first ITF World Champion Award for Sock.

Czech team Barbora Krejicikova and Katerina Siniakova won the ITF World Champions Award in the women’s doubles category after winning Wimbledon and Roland Garros and the Fed Cup Trophy with Czech Republic.

Chinese Taipei’s Tseng Chun Hsin won the ITF Junior World Champion Award. He lifted back-to-back titles at Roland Garros and Wimbledon and finished the season at the top of the world junior ranking. Year-end world number 1 Clara Burel from France receives the ITF World Junior Champion Award. Burel reached the junior singles final at three major events, the Australian Open, the US Open and the Youth Summer Olympics in Buenos Aires. She won the mixed doubles title teaming up with his compatriot Hugo Gaston at the Olympic Youth Games. She won her first major title at the ITF Junior Masters and became junior world number 1 last October.

Shingo Kunieda from Japan, Diede De Groot from the Netherlands, and Dylan Alcott receive the men’s, the women’s and the quad winners in the wheelchair category.

The ITF Award selection considers all results during the year, but gives special weight to the Grand Slam tournaments and the two ITF international team competitions, the Davis Cup and the Fed Cup.

The ITF World Champions will receive their awards at the 2018 ITF World Champions Awards on 4th June 2019 during Roland Garros in Paris.

“Congratulations to our 2018 ITF World Champions, who have demonstrated immense skill, talent and dedication on their way to achieving great success on the court. They are a credit to our sport and have all contributed to another memorable year for tennis”, said ITF President David Haggerty.

 

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Richard Gasquet upsets Danil Medvedev in Geneva

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Richard Gasquet upset Danil Medvedev 6-2 7-6 (7-5) with three breaks of serve in 90 minutes to reach the second round at the Gonet Geneva Open. 

 

Gasquet scored his first win over an opponent ranked in the top 2 since he beat world number 1 Roger Federer at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters 2005. 

Medvedev had beaten Gasquet in their only previous head-to-head match at the 2021 US Open en route to his first Grand Slam title. 

Medvedev was playing his first match since Miami in March after undegoing hernia surgery.

Gasquet won six consecutive games from 2-2 in the first set and built up a 6-2 2-0 lead.  

Medveved dropped his serve after three double faults with three double faults. The Russian player broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3 and held serve at love with an ace. 

Medvedev recovered from a mini-break down in the tie-break. Gasquet earned his third mini-break to win the tie-break 7-5. 

The Frenchman will face Kamil Majchrzak, who cruised past Marco Cecchinato 6-2 6-3.

Thanasi Kokkinakis earned his first win on clay in seven years with a 6-4 6-3 win over Fabio Fognini in 1 hour and 28 minutes. 

Kokkinakis went up a break to take a 4-1 lead. Fognini broke back in the seventh game to draw level to 4-4.  Kokkinakis broke serve at love in the tenth game to claim the first set 6-4. 

Fognini made two double faults and missed three game points before dropping serve in the second game of the second set. Kokkinakis did not face any break points in his remaining four service games. 

Christopher O’Connell edged past Albert Ramos Vinolas 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 to set up a second round match against Reilly Opelka. 

Paulo Sousa cruised past 2021 semifinalist Pablo Andujar 6-1 6-4. Sousa will face Nikoloz Basilashvili, who was leading 6-4 before Facundo Bagnis retired from the match.

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Former Finalist Marketa Vondrousova To Miss French Open Following Surgery

The Olympic silver medallist will miss a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in two-and-a-half years.

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Image via https://twitter.com/WTA_insider

Czech world No.35 Marketa Vondrousova has pulled out of next week’s French Open after undergoing what she describes as a ‘small surgery.’

 

Vondrousova, who reached the final at Roland Garros back in 2019, underwent a procedure on her left wrist after experiencing recurring pain. She decided to do so following a medical consultation and will be soon going through rehab. It will be the first Grand Slam event she has missed since the 2019 US Open which she also withdrew from due to a wrist injury.

“The last few weeks were not easy, I have been experiencing recurring pain in my wrist,” Vondrousova wrote in an Instagram post published on Monday. “After seeing a couple of doctors I decided to get this small surgery done to be able to play pain-free.”
“Staying positive through the recovery and can’t wait to be back on the court soon,”
she added.

The 22-year-old last played on Tour at the Stuttgart Open where she lost in the first round to Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur. So far this season she has achieved a win-loss record of 13-5 with her best run being to the semi-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships as a qualifier. Vondrousova also reached the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and defeated Emma Raducanu in the Billie Jean Cup.

A former junior world No.1, Vondrousova has been ranked as high as 14th in the world. So far in her career, she has won just one WTA title which was back in 2017 at the Lugano Open in Switzerland. However, she has reached the final at another four events with the last being at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. She has scored a total of six wins over top 10 players.

Another player in doubt for the French Open is defending champion Barbora Krejcikova who hasn’t played a match on the Tour since February. The world No.2 has been sidelined from action due to an elbow injury but remains on the entry list for the Grand Slam which will begin on Sunday.

The French Open draw will take place on Thursday.

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Roger Federer’s Team8 Considering Bid To Buy Cincinnati Masters Rights From USTA

The potential move has gained support from one former world No.1 player who says ‘it is nice to see responsible names’ in the mix to buy the prestigious event.

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Roger Federer Wimbledon 2021
Roger Federer (SUI) playing against Adrian Mannarino (FRA) in the first round of the Gentlemen's Singles on Centre Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 2 Tuesday 29/06/2021. Credit: AELTC/Jed Leicester

It is understood that sports and entertainment company Team8 which was co-founded by Roger Federer is looking into potentially submitting an application for ownership of the Cincinnati Masters, according to two sources.

 

Sports business publication Sportico and Steve Weissman from The Tennis Channel have both reported that the business is among a number of interested parties who want to buy the event that is best known as the Western and Southern Open. In February this year it was confirmed that the USTA is selling their 93.8% stake in the tournament for a ‘nine-figure sum.’ It is understood that the organization doesn’t want the event to be relocated from Cincinnati in part of any deal.

“The USTA’s Board of Directors believes now is the right time to explore potential strategic options and alternatives in order to optimize the long-term growth of the tournament and take the tournament to the next level,” the USTA said in a statement published by tennis.com.

The USTA brought the rights to the men’s event back in 2009 for $12.5M and has since spent an additional $65M. Whilst Cincinnati is a combined tournament, the ongoing negotiations only apply to the men’s section. The women’s tournament is overseen by Octagon management.

Neither Federer or a member of Team8 have commented on the reported plans. The company was founded by the 20-time Grand Slam champion and his agent Tony Godsick back in 2013. Since then they have been involved in the creation of the Laver Cup, became a ‘major investor’ in the Universal Tennis system and are a ‘strategic investor and partner’ to On Running.

Should Team8 become the new owners, questions may arise about conflicts of interest with Federer still being an active player on Tour. The 40-year-old is currently sidelined from action due to a knee injury but is aiming to stage a comeback at the Swiss Open later this year. However, former world No.1 Andy Roddick has given his full backing to the possible takeover.

“In the world of tennis, where conflicts of interest know no bounds at all, Roger can do this. He has, obviously, been a great steward for the game and has created an incredible relationship with the fans in the city of Cincinnati. You’d like to see it stay in the tennis family with someone who actually knows and loves our sport.” Roddick told The Tennis Channel.

Federer has won the Cincinnati Masters a record seven times in his career.

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