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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Alexei Popyrin and Alex Bolt crown a perfect day for Australian tennis at Wimbledon’s first qualifying round

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All eight Australian players came through the first Wimbledon qualifying round at Roehampton.

 

Teenager Alexei Popyrin defeated Argentina’s Federico Coria 6-2 7-5. The Aussie 19-year-old Next Gen player is currently in 11th place in the ATP Race to Milan and reached the third round at last January’s Australian Open, where he lost to eventual semifinalist Lucas Pouille. Popyrin has not played a match on grass since playing the Wimbledon Junior tournament in 2016.

Former Australian star Pat Cash, who won at Wimbledon in 1987, has joined Popyrin’s team at Wimbledon and was in his corner.

“I slipped a couple of times here and there, but I like the grass. It suits my game pretty well and we have got a few things to work on with the team, but we will get there”, said Popyrin.

Alex Bolt came back from a set and a break down to beat Italian 17-year-old rising star Jannik Sinner 2-6 7-5 12-10 after 2 hours and 36 minutes.

“I got out of jail free card there. I don’t know how I won that. For a set and and a half Jannik completely outplayed me and I could not have a play on the ball. He was by far the better player on court. He played some quality tennis and I just weathered the storm”, said Bolt.

Jason Kubler overcame Switzerland’s Henri Laaksonen 6-2 5-7 7-5. Kubler was just two points away from losing the match, as he was serving at 4-5 0-30, but he reeled off 12 points to clinch a hard-fought win.

 Germany’s Dustin Brown beat China’s Zhe Li 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 after 1 hour and 21 minutes. The German player of Jamaican origin recently beat Alexander Zverev to reach the quarter final in Stuttgart. Four years ago he upset Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon.

 

 

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Simona Halep Threatens To Boycott Fed Cup If Revamp Takes Place

The 27-year-old has criticised proposals to change the format of the team competition.

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Simona Halep (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Former world No.1 Simona Halep has said she will stop playing in the Fed Cup if the International Tennis Federation removes home and away ties from the competition.

 

In recent months there has been speculation that the women’s team event will soon follow the path of the Davis Cup, which has undergone a controversial reform. Where the finals will take place at the end of a year over a week in a neutral location. The driving force behind the changes to the Davis Cup is Kosmos. An investment company founded by Barcelona footballer Gerald Pique. Kosmos has pledged to invest $3 billion over 25 years.

“I love the Fed Cup and I would never change that,” Reuters News quoted Halep as telling reporters in Eastbourne on Monday.
“If Fed Cup changes I won’t play any more. I like the format now so if they change, it will be tough because Fed Cup means to play home and away.”

Halep helped guide Romania to the semi-finals of the Fed Cup this year in what has been their best performance since 1973. Overall, she has won 22 out of 32 matches played since her debut back in 2010.

“To play at home, it’s the best feeling,” she said.
“I’ve played many years in Fed Cup and the best feeling is to be at home with all the people that come to support and also away you have to manage the emotions and the pressure.”

Earlier this month, ITF president Davis Haggerty vowed to revamp the Fed Cup in order to keep it in line with the men’s equivalent. Although he hasn’t outline an exact date as to when this will take place. Haggerty is seeking re-election this year and has outlined his plans in his manifesto.

“Fed Cup reform is a key focus of the Board in 2019, with the ambition to implement a similar Fed Cup World Cup of Tennis with a minimum of 16 teams in the World Group 2020 and to play one round of qualifying and an eight or 12-team Fed Cup Final in April 2020 in one location. This also aligns with the ITF Gender Equality initiative that we introduced in 2018 and continues to ensure tennis is a welcoming sport.” Sport Business quoted Haggerty as saying.

On Thursday an announcement is expected to be made about the future of the Fed Cup by the ITF in a press conference.

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‘Devastated’ British No.3 Katie Boulter Withdraws From Wimbledon

There is bad news for home fans at this year’s Wimbledon Championships.

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Katie Boulter (photo by Chryslène Caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

One of Britain’s top female players has said they are ‘absolutely devastated’ to withdraw from the Wimbledon Championships after failing to recover in time from injury.

 

Katie Boulter confirmed on Sunday that she has decided to withdraw from the grand slam following medical advice. The world No.127 hasn’t played a match since the Fed Cup back in April due to a back injury. Pulling out of French Open, where she still received a payment of £20,000, as well as a series of grass-court events.

‘As you are all aware, I’ve recently been recovering from a back injury that I suffered during Great Britain’s Fed Cup victory back in April,’ Boulter said in a statement published on social media.
‘The road to recovery has had its ups and downs; at various points along the way I’ve been very close to getting back on court and competing, but unfortunately I’m not quite ready in time for Wimbledon, and on the advice of my medical team, I’ve made the decision to give my recovery a couple more weeks.”

Boulter has been ranked as high as 82nd in the world and claimed two ITF titles in 2018. However, she is yet to achieve such success so far this season. Failing to win back-to-back main draw matches at six consecutive tournaments prior to her back injury.

‘I am absolutely devastated to be missing my home Grand Slam and the opportunity to play in front of our incredible fans but sadly I won’t be 100% fit.’ Boulter explained.
‘Wimbledon is the most special tournament of the year for me and I can’t wait to get back on the grass courts next year. I’d like to thank everyone for their support over the past few months; it’s only motivated me to come back stronger.’

The 22-year-old made her main draw grand slam debut in Wimbledon back in 2017 where she lost in the first round to Christina McHale. 12 months later she won her first ever grand slam match at the All England Club when she defeated Aleksandra Krunic.

The Wimbledon Championships will get underway a week on Monday.

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