Gabriela Sabatini Hits Back At Critics Of Women’s Tennis - UBITENNIS
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Gabriela Sabatini Hits Back At Critics Of Women’s Tennis

The 49-year-old former grand slam champion shares her opinion about the WTA Tour.

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Gabriela Sabatini pictured at the 2019 ITF Awards (Credit ITF/Paul Zimmer)

Former US Open champion Gabriela Sabatini believes there are more positives than negatives when it comes to players lacking consistency on the women’s tour.

 

Sabatini, who is a former world No.3, was questioned about the current state of the WTA Tour by media at the French Open. In this year’s tournament, only four top 20 players have managed to make to the quarter-finals. The highest ranked of which is defending champion Simona Halep. Halep is bidding to become the first player since Justine Henin (2005-2007) to win consecutive titles in the Paris capital.

“I don’t see it that way. I think you see a lot of — you know, the level of tennis on women’s is very good these days.” Said Sabatini. “I see so many new athletes coming out. Physically, they are much stronger. And I see some of them that I really like the way they play, and their charisma.”

So far in 2019, there has been 22 different winners on the WTA Tour. Out of that group, only four players have managed to win multiple titles. Kiki Bertens, Karolina Pliskova, Petra Kvitova and Dayana Yastremska each have two trophies. It is a similar trend on the men’s tour too with 23 different winners and five of those winning multiple titles. There is yet to be as a player – man or woman – to win three titles in 2019.

Whilst there are similarities between the two tours, inconsistency is still more commonly associated with the women. Partly due to the dominance of the ‘Big Four’ in the men’s game. Nevertheless, Sabatini believes it is a good situation to be in.

“That could also be positive, that you don’t have the same players winning all the time.” She said.
“I see a lot of new players that I don’t know and that I haven’t seen before and that I’m surprised the way they play, which is, I think is good to have more competition.’
“You still see Halep being up there. Some of them, okay, they did well in one year and another year not so much. They come and go.”

One player who has caught the eye of the Argentinian is Ash Barty. The Australian is currently experiencing her best ever run at the French Open. Dropping one set in four matches played. She will play Madison Keys in the last eight on Wednesday.

“I saw her in Miami. I really like the way she plays. Her slice, backhand slice, I like very much. I think she’s a very strategic player.” She said of Barty.
“That’s the one (player) that I like the most these days as far as her game.”

On Tuesday Sabatini was presented with the Philippe Chatrier Award. Named after the former president of the International Tennis Federation, the honour recognizes individuals or organisations who have made a significant contribution to tennis. Both on and off the court. Stefan Edberg, Martina Navratilova, John McEnroe, Margaret Court and Gustavo Kuerten have all previously received the award.

“The ITF Board of Directors are delighted to award the ITF’s highest accolade to Gabriela, a great champion and inspirational role model who has given so much to the sport through her contributions to many organizations for the benefit of young people and aspiring tennis players around the world,” ITF President David Haggerty said in a press release.

Sabatini won 27 singles and 14 doubles titles during her career. She retired from the sport in 1996.

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‘My Body Is Not Use To Playing At 2am’ – Kristyna Pliskova Stuns Sakkari In Late-Night Palermo Duel

The Czech player has caused the biggest upset of the draw so far.

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Kristyna Pliskova has started her return to professional tennis following the five-month break by recording one of the biggest wins over her career at the Palermo Open.

 

The Czech tennis player held her nerve to knockout world No.20 and third seed Maria Sakkari 6-4, 6-4, in a late-night encounter. The first day of the WTA event saw a series of matches go the full distance, leading to Pliskova’s opening match taking place in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Despite the later than expected encounter, a sleepy Pliskova still managed to come out on top to record only her seventh win over a top 20 player and second this year. She also beat Aryna Sabalenka at the Shenzhen Open in January. During her latest match, the Czech stood firmly behind her serve as she won 80% of her first service points and saved all three break points she faced. Overall, she won 69 points in the match compared to Sakarri’s 60.

“The conditions were really tough,” wtatennis.com quoted Pliskova as saying. “Before the match, I was also sleeping a little bit! We stayed so late here, I think it’s tough for [Sakkari] as well.”
“The body is not used to playing at 2:00 a.m.,”
she added.

Pliskova broke Sakkari twice in the match by doing so at the start of each set. The triumph avenges her loss to the Greek in their previous meeting that took place at the 2017 Wimbledon championships. On that occasion Sakkari fought back from a set down to win.

Former Wimbledon girls champion Pliskova is seeking her first WTA title in almost four years this week in Palermo. Her next opponent will be Italian veteran Sara Errani, who required almost three hours to oust Sorana Cirstea 7-5, 1-6, 6-4, in a roller-coaster encounter.

“[Errani is] at home here, so for sure the people will cheer for her,” Pliskova commented on her next test. “She had quite a tough match, I saw. It’s very different from today, but I will try to hold my serve and hopefully I will also break her!”

Pliskova is currently ranked 69th in the WTA rankings.

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Fabio Fognini is planning to return in Kitzbuhel

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Fabio Fognini is currently training in Puglia to prepare his return to the ATP Tour in Kitzbuhel next September after undergoing ankle surgery two months ago. His coach Corrado Barazzutti confirmed that Fognini will not play in the Cincinnati Masters 1000 tournament and at the US Open. 

 

Fabio knows what he has to do to recover from the injury and is working very hard. He trains every day from 10 to 14.30. I am happy with his committment and his hard work”, said Barazzutti, who is also the Italian Davis Cup captain. 

“I think that Fabio will be ready in two weeks. We will work for four weeks in Rome to prepare for Kitzbuhel, which will mark his come-back. If everything goes to plan, Fabio will play there. We are confident because his preparation is going well well”. 

Fognini is spending his time with his wife Flavia Pennetta and his children Federico and Farah. “I think that spending with his family will be very positive for Fabio. They give him the strength to overcome the recovery from injury. Living with injuries is normal for all athletes, but it is not very easy. He is now more relaxed”, concluded Barazzutti

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REPORT: Madrid Open To Be Axed Amid COVID-19 Concerns In Latest Setback For Tennis

Hopes of Spain holding their top tennis event in 2020 are over.

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The world of tennis is set to suffer another severe blow with multiple media sources confirming that organisers of Spain’s most prestigious tennis tournament will officially cancel their event on Tuesday. 

 

The Mutua Madrid Open will be removed from the 2020 calendar following a meeting involving tournament owner Iron Tiriac. Recently doubts have been cast on the event after local health officials called for it to be suspended due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. Although the final decision was up to Tiriac and his team. It had been due to take place between September 12 to 20, following the conclusion of the US Open. 

“We have to be realistic now, we have to accept that health is always the priority. We must not endanger anyone, neither the fans, nor the players, nor the staff, all those who come to Madrid in September,” tournament director Feliciano Lopez told L’Equipe over the weekend. 

Spain has seen their rate of COVID-19 cases rapidly rise since the country ended its lockdown. According to El Pais, the number of cases recorded within 24 hours is eight times the amount compared to 40 days ago. Rising from 334 (June 20) to 2,789 (between July 29 and 30). On Friday July 31st there were 3092 new cases in the country in what is a post-lockdown record.

Held at the Caja Magica, the Madrid Open is a key event for both men and women. It is currently classed as a Masters 1000 for the men and as a Premier Mandatory for the women. Last year each of the singles champions took home €1,202,520 in prize money. It was originally set to be played in May but was postponed due to the pandemic.

The demise of Madrid this year is another setback for what is becoming a rapidly thinning 2020 tennis calendar. Within the past two weeks China has confirmed that they will not be hosting any tournaments this year, Japan’s scrapped it’s premier women’s event and the Italian Open has been advised to not allow any fans to their event this year. 

As a result of the latest development, only two WTA clay-court events will take place after the US Open leading up to Roland Garros. They are both set to get underway on September 21st in Rome and Strasbourg. As for the men, Rome will be their only point of call. 

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