Most people are familiar with the concept of Instagram. Members upload a bunch of appealing and entertaining photos with the objective of getting a mass amount of likes and publicity. But for world No.152 Noah Rubin, he is using the platform to show the reality of life as a tennis player.
Earlier this year, the 22-year-old launched ‘Behind The Racket’ on Instagram. His aim is to show both the highs and lows tennis players experiance. In each picture is a person holding a tennis racket in front of their face. Attached to the photo is a paragraph detailing their thoughts. Topics include financial struggles, mental health, living up to family expectations and bereavement.
“To let down the people closest to me, my friends and family, is my most daunting fear. From an early age I was pretty aware about how many lives I affected. How many people had to sacrifice time, energy and money. The idea that it may not be worth it, or there might not be a way to repay them, haunts me at times. It’s what will take me to that next level, or break me, but to impact the world you cannot let that happen and I won’t.” Noah wrote in his first post on January 19th.
Since the launch, numerous tennis players have gotten involved in the initiative as they shared their own personal story. They include Nicole Gibbs, Mitchell Krueger, Chris Eubanks, Jamie Loeb and Bjorn Fratangelo.
Five stories from Behind The Racket
– Nicole Gibbs on suffering from depression
– Jamie Loeb coming to terms with her mother suffering from a stroke
– Ernesto Escobedo on coping with a stutter
– Bjorn Fratangelo on the difficulties he experienced as a junior player
– Marcos Giron on his hip injury and coping with his parents divorce at the same time
The most recent post was from former Australian Open quarter-finalist Tennys Sandgren, who recounted the moment he discovered his father had died.
”My dad passed away in October of 2011. I had been pro for only about three months at this point. I received one of the worst phone calls anyone could ever get. I was at a 10k future in Texas when I entered my housing for the week. It was around 8 or 9 p.m when my mother called me. I think a part of me is still in that room to this day.” Sandgren wrote.
In a recent interview with NY Sports Day, Rubin said he has been inspired by a photoblog called ‘Humans of New York.’ A hugely popular website that collects stories and photos from people on the streets of the American city to show everyday life. Something Rubin is now bringing to the world of tennis.
“Besides winning a grand slam or getting a gold medal, a true dream of mine is to bring the excitement and awareness back to American tennis.” He said.
“This guy (Brandon Stanton) created something called Humans of New York. It’s kind of a every day look into the life of a new yorker and telling their story. I want to bring this to tennis and I want to use my reach (to do so) and say ‘this is us.'”
Behind The Racket currently has nearly 3000 followers (as of 13/2/2019). Although the account is still in its early stages, it has already proven to be a hit with many on the tour.
“People have been incredibly receptive. The players have taken it to heart and are using it as an outlet to share their story.” Rubin explained.
“I’ve been getting some incredible feedback and I’m really enjoying the process. Through playing the tournament I’ll have some bigger guys (posting) and I should be having Nick Kyrgios do one in the next few days.”
On the tour Rubin played in the New York Open this week. He lost in the first round to seventh seed Jordan Thompson.
You can keep up to date with Rubin’s project by following https://www.instagram.com/behindtheracquet/.
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.
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.”
Unfortunately no good news in the morning. @Simona_Halep has been forced to withdraw due to a left hip injury! 🤕
Get well soon, Simona! We hope to see you next year! 🍀#porschetennis #PTGP19 #centreofattraction pic.twitter.com/Rrle4YlqUl
— Porsche Tennis (@PorscheTennis) April 23, 2019
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.
Revised Main Draw @PorscheTennis after the withdrawals of Simona Halep (left hip) and Garbiñe Muguruza (GI illness).
Kerber moved to Halep’s No.2 seed position. Azarenka will now face LL Zvonareva, Vekic now plays LL Gatto Monticone. pic.twitter.com/fXSnbvN3Ha
— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) April 23, 2019
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.
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.
This is the person who stole my things. These images are from the video (livestream) of my match vs Fratangelo. Please let me know if you recognize him. pic.twitter.com/cuIr6W8XSS
— Andrea Collarini (@andreacollarini) April 21, 2019
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
Robbery in Sarasota challenger pic.twitter.com/aLPG6EBGjZ
— Andrea Collarini (@andreacollarini) April 21, 2019
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?
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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