Rising Stars Not Ready To Dominate WTA Tour Yet, Says Donna Vekic - UBITENNIS
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Rising Stars Not Ready To Dominate WTA Tour Yet, Says Donna Vekic

The Croatian No.1 shared her views about the next generation of women’s tennis as she reviews her 2018 season.

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Donna Vekic is unsure that the rising stars of the women’s game are at a level of consistency to dominate the tour despite three players under the age of 21 finishing in the top 15.

 

22-year-old Vekic has hailed the achievements of her younger rivals before pointing out that they are yet to maintain their form. Citing Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko as an example. Ostapenko has only managed to win one title since her triumph at the 2017 French Open and only managed to reach one final on the tour this season.

“There are a lot [of 21-and-under players] in the top-20. There are a few of them winning, like Osaka and [Jelena] Ostapenko last year winning the Slams but you still don’t see it throughout the whole year,” Vekic told Sport 360.
“So for sure there are special moments like that, but can they have the consistency to be top-10, top-five the whole year? I’m not sure yet. But everyone can beat everyone at the moment and I think that’s what’s so good about women’s tennis right now, you don’t know who is going to win the tournament at the end whereas in men’s tennis it’s a little bit different.”

Naomi Osaka, Daria Kasatkina and Aryna Sabalenka are three players under the age of 21 who has ended the year in the world’s top 15. World No.4 Osaka has enjoyed the biggest success after winning the US Open in September. Since then, the Japanese player reached the final of the Japan Open and the semi-finals in Beijing. However, she lost all three of her round-robin matches at the WTA Finals. Kasatkina and Sabalanka have also won WTA titles in 2018.

Vekic’s comments are one that stems from experience. At the age of 17 she won her first tour trophy at the Malaysian Open, in what was the start of a roller coaster journey. She wouldn’t win her second title until three years later at the 2017 Nottingham Open. Meanwhile, she didn’t reach the fourth round of a major until this year’s Wimbledon Championships. Vekic made her grand slam debut at the 2013 Australian Open.

“There were lots of ups and downs. I was very good when I was very young and then I was struggling a little bit at 18, 19, but I feel like at 22 I’ve been through everything,” she reflected.
“I’ve been through the highs and through the lows and now I’ve matured a lot in the last couple of years and finally in the last two years I have some consistency throughout the year and this is really important to me because before when I used to play finals, I would lose first round the next couple of tournaments.”

The ability to find consistency in her game has elevated the Croat to a current ranking best of 34th in the world. Reaching the final of the Washington Open in July. Nevertheless, there is still room for improvement. Overall, Vekic has reached the quarter-finals or better at six out of 25 tournaments played this season.

Guiding Vekic on the tour is coach Torben Beltz. A German coach known best for guiding Angelique Kerber to her first two grand slam titles in 2016. The two have been working together for nearly 12 months.

“I really enjoy working with Torben. We’ve been working together since the off-season last year and we’ve been working really hard.” Said Vekic.
“He’s a really positive guy and he has a lot of experience and he’s definitely helped me a lot. Improved my game and gave me some insurance that if you do the right thing then the hard work will pay off and we’ve been working really hard and it’s definitely paying off and I’m really, really happy to be working with him.”

Vekic will kick-off her new season at the Brisbane International during the first week of January.

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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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