Serena Williams A Couple Steps Slower Than Normal But Can Still Win Wimbledon, Says Evert - UBITENNIS
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Serena Williams A Couple Steps Slower Than Normal But Can Still Win Wimbledon, Says Evert

The former world No.1 has been tipped to win the grand slam title as long as she is at least ‘80% fit.’

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Serena Williams (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Chris Evert believes Serena Williams remains a contender ‘to win anything’ on the women’s tour ahead of the Wimbledon Championships.

 

The 37-year-old will be bidding to win her 23rd grand slam title at the All England Club and her first since becoming a mother. Williams hasn’t played a match since losing in the third round of the French Open. So far this season, the American has played in five tournaments. Winning nine out of 12 matches contested.

Williams enters the grand slam with a question mark over her current form. She had previously indicated that she might play a warm-up event on the grass prior to Wimbledon, but didn’t do so. Something Evert believes could go against her in the coming weeks.

“I think it would have helped, for sure, just so she can gauge where she is on the grass and what she needs to work on.” Evert told reporters at an ESPN press event.
“Even if she would have lost in the second round or quarters, Serena is the type of player that learns a lot from her losses. She can make those adjustments.”

Since starting her comeback last year, Williams is yet to win a title. Although she did reach back-to-back major finals in 2018 at both Wimbledon and the US Open. Losing to Angelique Kerber and Naomi Osaka. However, she is yet to reach the quarter-final stage at any event outside of the grand slams during that period.

“The one difference that I see in Serena is since she’s come back, she’s been one or two steps slower than normal. I think that’s a little bit of fitness.” Evert explained.
“I think it’s a little bit of match play. I think it’s a little bit of confidence.”

Whilst the previous dominance by the American player has gone, the threat she poses to her rivals is still there. She is already a seven-time Wimbledon champion and only Martina Navratilova have won more singles titles than her at the tournament in the Open Era. Overall, she has won 92 out of 103 main draw matches played at Wimbledon since 1998.

“On the grass, we also can’t forget that’s her best surface. That’s a surface that her game, with the power, with the free points on the serves, she’s the most effective on the grass. I have a feeling she’s been practicing hard, and I never think you can count her out.” The 64-year-old said of Williams.
“As long as she’s playing, she’s going to be a threat to win anything. But it’s just now there’s more things that can go wrong, I suppose, like more days where she might not have it and other days where players won’t give in as easily. So that just makes it more difficult.” She added.

As to how fit Williams needs to be to win the title, Evert believes she ‘doesn’t need to be 100%.’ Putting the figure down to an estimated 80%.

The draw for Wimbledon will take place on Friday with the tournament getting underway on Monday.

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Father Of Dayana Yastremska Reveals The Reasons Behind Her Lacklustre Season

Alexander Yastremsky says his daughter was ‘mentally broken’ in recent weeks due to a personal issue.

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Rising star Dayana Yastremska struggled on the Tour during the second half of 2020 due to a family-related issue, according to her father.

 

The world No.29 closed out her season with three consecutive first round losses at the French Open, Ostrava and Linz to players who were ranked lower than her. Yastremska looked to be on course for a strong year after reaching the final of the Adelaide International in January. However, since then she has only managed to reach the quarter-final stage in one out of 10 tournaments played.

Reflecting on his daughter’s difficult season during an interview with Ukrainian Tennis, Alexander Yastremsky says she had been ‘mentally broken’ in recent weeks due to her mother having a series of surgeries on her eye.

“People were complaining like why Dayana had such poor results at Roland Garros and afterwards but they didn’t know it was a hard time for her mother,” he said.
“Before the first round she had a retinal detachment. She went through three surgeries in Paris and two more at home. Everything is fine now but at that time Dayana was broken mentally.”

Besides her mother’s health scare, Yastremska had to find a new structure in her team after the departure of Sasha Bajin following the US Open. Bajin, who is the former coach of Naomi Osaka, worked with her for less than a year. Last week it was confirmed that he will be working with Karolina Pliskova in the new year.

“Sascha Bajin is a good coach, very helpful but it turned out he wasn’t ours,” said Alexander. “I don’t look at this partnership as a mistake for Dayana, it was another experience for her but I don’t see any advantages either.”
“Everyone looks only at how good you play and what result you get.”

Prior to Bajin, Yastremska worked with Belgium’s Olivier Jeunehomme who guided her to three WTA titles between 2018-2019. Since his departure, she is yet to add to her title tally but did rise to a ranking high of 21st earlier this year.

“It’s not easy to work with Dayana she has a tough personality,” her father admits. “Relationships on and off the court are very important for her.
“Right now we have a new team, very positive and committed . That’s the key for us. There’s no need to brag about their achievements. Results will come and time will tell. Our focus is on the off-season and hard work.”

Yastremska has started her off-season in Dubai. She ends the year with a win-loss record of 15-12 and has made just over $486,000 in prize money.

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Leylah Annie Fernandez talks about the challenge to balance tennis and school

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Leylah Annie Fernandez told her story on Noah Rubin’s website Behind the Raquet. 

 

Fernandez won the French Open Junior title in 2019. The Canadian teenager born in 2002 made her Grand Slam debut at the 2020 Australian Open. She got through the qualifying round before losing to Lauren Davis in the opening round. 

Fernandez lost a WTA final against Heather Watson in Acapulco in 2020. One week later she upset Grand Slam champion Sloane Stephens to reach the quarter finals at the Monterrey Open before losing to eventual champion Elina Svitolina. 

Fernandez is now ranked world number 88. 

“I started playing tennis on a recreational level. At the age of ten, I decided to compete and become a professional player. My father was my coach, but is new to the tennis world since he was a soccer player. My dad surrounded us with other coaches who understood our philosophy, style and game. I never felt pressure from my father to play sports or do anything in life. He gave me the green light to make my own decisions and introduced me to many different activities. I played baseball, soccer, volleyball and ran on the track. However I loved tennis and once I realized there were Junior Grand Slams, I set the goal to win one. Last year I reached the Junior Australian Open final and was disappointed to lose. A few months later, I won the Junior French Open and became the first Canadian player in seven years to capture a Junior Grand Slam. This year I started playing on the WTA Tour”, said Fernandez. 

Fernandez spoke about the start of her career, the challenges she had to face and the balance between her tennis career and school. 

“It’s difficult to balance tennis, school and friends. When I started playing tennis, I was in regular school. I had friends and teachers who supported me but I constantly traveled to compete. I missed moments in my friends’ lives so it was hard to reconnect when I returned. I put my dream first and we had disagreements. I realized I wanted to play tennis full-time. My friends are now acquaintances but my family is always by my side. My two sisters are my best friends. They keep me going on the court and encourage me to achieve more in the sport”. 

Fernandez is planning to study at the University to secure her future after the end of her career. “I want to graduate from University and earn a college. I am currently attending the online programmme of Indiana University East. After tennis, I want to be involved in different business ventures and be able to help businesses succeed. I hope to inspire young Canadian players and show them we can become professionals in tennis and in the business world”, concluded Fernandez. 

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Casper Ruud Opens Up About What It Is Like Playing Roger Federer

The 21-year-old explains what it is like to face somebody who is considered by some as the ‘greatest legend’ in tennis.

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Norway’s top tennis player admitted that he had difficulty sleeping the night before he was set to play Roger Federer for the first time in his career.

 

Casper Ruud has shed light on what it was like for him playing the Swiss Maestro during an interview with TV 2. The 21-year-old took on Federer in the third round of the French Open last year which he ended up losing 6-3, 6-1, 7-6. At the time it was only Ruud’s fourth appearance in the main draw of a Grand Slam.

“When you meet the man who is considered the greatest legend in your sport in history, it is clear that then you were a little extra nervous,” he said of 20-time Grand Slam winner Federer.
“I remember before I was going to play against Federer, it was a bit difficult to sleep the night before. When you lie with your head on the pillow, your thoughts come.”

Ruud says Federer’s achievements in the sport made him feel more nervous about playing him. Overall, the 39-year-old has won 103 ATP titles and currently holds the record for most time spent holding the world No.1 ranking at 310 weeks. He played his first ATP event at the 1998 Gstaad Open, which was a year before Ruud was born.

Although the Next Gen star says he has admiration for all members of the Big Three, which also include Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. The two highest ranked players currently on the men’s tour.

“It was in Melbourne a few years ago, and then I remember that we sat in a large cafe where all the players sit to eat. When Federer came in, it was completely quiet and everyone turned around. Now the legend is here,” he said.
“These three legends, they look taller than they might be. They are probably around 1.85 meters, but it may seem that they are two meters because of the respect you have for them.”

Since his meeting with Federer in Paris, Ruud has managed to make a name for himself as he gradually climbs up the world rankings. In February he won the Argentina Open to become the first Norwegian player in history to have won a title on the ATP Tour. He also reached the final of another tournament in Santiago. In September he defeated Matteo Berrettini in the Italian Open to record his first and so far only win over a top 10 player in his career.

“I do not remember everyone in my career. But there are some matches that stand out a bit, and that you remember extra well. Some ball exchanges, some punches here and there that you get, which you usually do not do. It is something that stands out a bit,” Ruud explains.

Unusually Ruud confirmed that both of his parents are now classed as his employees. He is coached by his father Christian who is a former player himself. Christian is a former world No.39 who was his country’s highest ranked male player in history until his son.

“The ultimate boss is probably (my) mother. She rules over both of us. In between at least,” he jokes.

After ending his season with three consecutive Tour losses, Ruud closes out 2020 with a win-loss record of 22-13 and has won $965,653 in prize money. He is currently ranked 27th in the world.
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