Victoria Azarenka Believes Shortening Of Men’s Matches Will Improve Quality At Grand Slams - UBITENNIS
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Victoria Azarenka Believes Shortening Of Men’s Matches Will Improve Quality At Grand Slams

The former world No.1 has outlined the reasons why she believes both men and women should play best-of-three matches.

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Victoria Azarenka (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka has spoken in favour of reducing men’s matches from best-of-five to best-of-three sets at grand slam tournaments.

 

Azarenka, who is currently has a world ranking of 61, wrote on Twitter that reducing the length of men’s matches will help improve the overall quality of the tennis that is played. In recent years there has been a debate concerning the use of best-of-five matches. A format that has been already removed from the Davis Cup and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games by the International Tennis Federation.

“Men should just play best of three in my opinion! Will be much better quality of tennis and hopefully no ruined finals or semifinals because of the exhaustion… like has happened quite a bit.” Azarenka wrote in reply to a question she was asked on Twitter.

During the Wimbledon Championships, two marathon men’s semi-final matches impacted on the scheduling. Kevin Anderson’s win over John Isner and Novak Djokovic’s triumph over Rafael Nadal amounted to more than 11 hours of playing time combined. Djokovic’s match had to be finished the following day, which resulted in a delay to the women’s final.

In light of the marathon encounters, three out of the four grand slams have introduced a final set tiebreak. The French Open is the only exception. Supporters argue that some of the most memorable and greatest comeback matches in the history of the sport have been five-sets. One example was Djokovic’s epic win over Nadal at the 2012 Australian Open that lasted just under five hours.

On the other hand, Azarenka argued that many top quality men’s matches would continue to happen if they were played over three sets instead of five.

“Why wouldn’t there be those matches? So in your opinion there never been an amazing 3 set match for the history books? Really? Makes not that much sense to me. But that’s my opinion. I’m not trying to change yours.” She said in one reply on social media.

Azarenka is not the first player to express this opinion. Last year Billie Jean King said she would like there to be the same format for both men and women in the majors. In an editorial for the Times, King wrote ‘The men wouldn’t wear out as fast. Best-of-five is way too much for them.’ Angelique Kerber spent a total of nine hours and 53 minutes on on the court on route to winning the women’s title at Wimbledon. In comparison, Djokovic required almost double at 17 hours and 53 minutes.

Since voicing her support for the shortening of matches, Azarenka has been hit with a series of comments from those who disagree with her view.

“All I’m saying is different people like different things, so if it’s not what you like just go on and move along and do what makes you happy. But stop forcing what you like or your opinion on other people. Voice your opinion and be free, but it’s okay to disagree, just be nice.” She said.

At present, no grand slam tournament is considering a reduction in the length of men’s matches to three sets.

Azarenka is currently playing at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart. She will take on fourth seed Karolina Pliskova is her second round match on Thursday.

Grand Slam

Australian Open Chief Confident Event Will Take Place In January Amid COVID-19 Jump In Region

Craig Tiley has addressed concerns about the Grand Slam following a new outbreak in Victoria.

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The tournament director of the Australian Open has insisted that plans for next year’s tournament are on track despite a spike in COVID-19 cases around Melbourne.

 

Craig Tiley has stated that the Grand Slam will only take place in the city and there are no backup plans to potentially relocate the event in a worst case scenario. The Australian Open is held annually at Melbourne Park and this year attracted a record attendance of 812,174 people. Although there are concerns about the threat posed by COVID-19 with the Victoria State Government reporting another 66 cases of the virus on Friday. Making it the 17th day the daily infection rate has been in double digits. It is possible that the number could be higher with health minister Jenny Mikakos confirming around 10,000 people have refused to be tested with some claiming the virus to be a ‘conspiracy theory.’

According to ABC News Tiley and his team are planning for six scenarios concerning the Australian Open taking place, including the possibility of holding it behind closed doors. Although he is optimistic that the event and others also set to take place next January will go ahead as planned.

“Nothing has changed for us in terms of our planning,” Tiley told AAP.
“The environment around us has changed, and will continue to change, as we’ve seen with the current spike in Victoria.
“We’re optimistic the additional measures currently in place will be successful — and restrictions will continue to be eased over the coming months.”

The Tournament director has also confirmed that there will be little flexibility concerning the staging of next year’s event. Saying it will only take place in Melbourne and during January if it goes ahead. Although he is keeping a close eye on the two Grand Slams that are set to take place later this season.

“The US Open and the French Open are exploring mandatory testing, varying levels of quarantine and limiting entourages,” he said.
“Of course we are looking at all these options, and more, as part of our scenario planning.
“It’s difficult to predict exactly what will need to be in place as guidelines and protocols are changing week by week, and sometimes even day by day.”

This year’s US Open is set to get underway on August 31st, but will be held behind closed doors for the first time. Meanwhile the French Open, which starts only weeks after the New York major, plans to allow up to 20,000 fans to attend daily. Working out to be roughly 60% of its maximum capacity.

The last time the Australian Open didn’t take place was in 1986 due to a change in its hosting date from December to January. Founded in 1905, it is the youngest out of the four grand slam tournaments.

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Grand Slam

Patrick Mouratoglou Cast Doubt On US Open Taking Place As Covid-19 Cases Soar

One top health expert has warned American lawmakers that the country could reach 100,000 cases of the virus per day.

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The coach of Serena Williams has said he is unsure ‘if it is a good move’ for the US Open to go ahead amid the ongoing COVID-19 crises.

 

Patrick Mouratoglou told Sky Sports that he believes it is ‘a bit crazy’ for the event to be going ahead as planned. This year’s Grand Slam in New York is taking place behind closed doors for the first time in history and will be implementing strict measures to deal with the threat of COVID-19. Including regular testing and temperature checks. Players will also be kept essentially in a ‘bubble’ throughout and limited to where they can go. All tennis tournaments have been suspended since March due to the Pandemic but the Tour is set to resume in August.

”With what’s happening at the moment in the US, with the number of cases of COVID-19 going higher and higher every day, I don’t think how that can happen,” Mouratoglou told Sky Sports.
“From outside, it looks a bit crazy to try to make it happen. So, I don’t know if it’s a good move.
“I wouldn’t say that if the situation was more stable like it is in Europe, then it’s a different story. But in the US and especially in New York and around New York is… I mean, the number of cases is increasing incredibly. So, I don’t know how reasonable that is to try to make it happen. And I don’t know if last minute the governor of New York will decide to cancel it because of course health first.”

Recently Dr Anthony Fauci, who is a top disease expert, told the United States Senate that he would not be surprised if the country soars to 100,000 cases of the Coronavirus each day. His warning comes as Reuters News Agency reports that there was a rise of more than 47,000 cases on Tuesday. The biggest jump in daily cases since the pandemic started.

As a result of the rise, New York has said that people travelling from 16 different states in America are now required to self-quarantine for 14 days if they visit the city. According to USA Today this ruling applies to roughly 48% of the entire American population. Due to the uncertain situation, Mouratoglou believes it is still possible the US Open could get cancelled nearer the time.

“I think it’s completely possible that two weeks before he [Andrew Cuomo] decides I mean, considering the situation, this is not reasonable to bring people from all over the world there, mix them together and potentially put them in touch with one of the countries that has the most cases at the moment.” He said.

Some players are yet to clarify their plans for the Grand Slam and if they will be playing. Rafael Nadal, Petra Kvitova and Simona Halep are some of those who have previously expressed their concerns. However, former champion and world No.1 Andy Murray says is it a ‘positive’ move for the event to be going ahead as well as the French Open which will follow shortly after.

“Getting the US Open and the French Open played this year is a good thing, I think. It’s positive, I just don’t like the way the French Open went about scheduling their event,” Murray told the BBC. “But we’re going to have to go back to playing at some stage. The most important thing is that the events are safe.”

The US Open is set to get underway on August 31st.

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ATP

Novak Djokovic Hails Return Of Grand Slam Tennis Amid Speculation Over US Open Attendance

The Serbian tennis star is yet to confirm his calendar for the 2020 season.

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World No.1 Novak Djokovic says he is ‘happy and excited’ that professional tennis will be resuming in the coming weeks without confirming if he would play in both grand slam tournaments later this year.

 

On Wednesday it was announced that the ATP Tour will be restarted in August ahead of the US Open later that month. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all tennis tournaments have either been suspended or cancelled since March. However, certain restrictions will be in place for the upcoming events with the US Open set to be played behind closed doors for the first time in its history.

“I’m extremely happy and excited to see that all the tournaments; especially Grand Slams, are organising their events,” Djokovic told Eurosport’s Tennis Legends podcast.
“I think that a lot of people were sceptical, especially for the US events considering what the US went through as a country during this pandemic. So a lot of people, including myself; were quite sceptical on whether it would happen or not.”

Djokovic, who started 2020 by winning 18 matches in a row on the ATP Tour, had previously voiced concerns over playing in New York. Labelling the rules as ‘extreme’ with the idea that players can only bring one member of their team to the site. However, the USTA confirmed on Wednesday that these plans have now been eased in order to accommodate bigger entourages. Players can now take three members each with them to the event, which has scrapped draws in a bid to limit the number of people. Something that has caused outcry among wheelchair tennis players.

“Obviously the regulations and measures as of today are quite strict, I must say. With quarantine and with some players; especially those from South America, not being able to travel out of their countries to come to the States. Hopefully that will change: the ATP and the USTA, everyone is working on it. The worst case scenario is that it remains like this, but there is time.” He said.
“Hopefully every single player who is participating, chosen by ranking and who deserves their place at the US Open; will have an equal opportunity to travel there and compete as everybody else. This is very, very important because this is the foundation of the ATP and the foundation of international tennis.
“We will all collectively try to make sure that this is the priority. Let’s hope that in the next two months some of those restrictions will loosen up a bit and that we will have a great, great tournament.”

Whilst remaining coy about his plans for North America, the 33-year-old has stated his intention to play at the French Open. Which is set to get underway two after the conclusion of the US Open. Djokovic last won the tournament back in 2016 and reached the semi-finals last year.

Tournament director Guy Forget has said he was confident that fans will be able to attend Roland Garros in some capacity. Although the final decision will be made by the French government. Qualifying rounds will also be played.

“It is great that we have a roof, obviously, on Philippe Chatrier this year, so those are the positive things and I look forward to it. I mean it’s one of the most important and one of the nicest tournaments in the world. I always enjoy playing there and I can’t wait to go back.” Djokovic commented.

More clarity about Djokovic’s calendar could emerge this week. He is currently in Croatia for the second leg of the Adria Tour and will be undertaking various media commitments.

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