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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Jannik Sinner: “My dream is to beat Roger Federer at Wimbledon and win the US Open”

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Jannik Sinner is spending his lockdown period at home in Monte-Carlo where he he is following the training plan of his coach Riccardo Piatti to remain in shape during this uncertain and difficult period caused by the outbreak of Covid -19.

 

“I am working to strengthen my arms and legs at home and I play with the raquet three or four times a week, as the Monte-Carlo Country Club is closed. I spend my time watching many TV series on the computer and I play in online tournaments with Playstation with my friends and make phone calls with my parents. The priority is not tennis, we have to fight against Coronavirus. The come-back to the tennis court will be exciting. Everyone will have more adrenaline. It will be a battle and I like battles.”, said Sinner.

Jannik and his management agency Starwingsports have launch a Pizza Challenge contest to help raise funds to donate vital medical supplies.

“Whilst we are at home in confinement I thought it could be appropriate time to throw a little donation challenge for our country. Myself and my management agency are going to donate vital medical supplies to help Italy through this tough time due to Covid-19. Every photo you guys upload of a Pizza looalike of myself or any Italian figure from the past or present we will donate 10 Euros. Upload a photo of your homemade pizza using SinnerPizzaChallenge to build awareness and hopefully inspire others to donate as they can in order to help us all get through this. If you wish to donate as well free to do so using the link in my bio. It is important we stick together in these times of need I look forward to seeing your photos”.

Sinner is not worried about the prospect of playing Roland Garros one week after the end of the US Open.

“I am 18 years old. I want to play. The more I play, the more I enjoy. I would like to win the US Open. My big dream is to beat Roger Federer at Wimbledon. I hope Federer will play for another year, so our match on the Centre Court is postponed until 2021. I am also inspired by Rafael Nadal. I trained with Rafa in Melbourne. I would like to have his personality. The toughest goal is to play at his level and reach his consistency. The main enemy in tennis is to have rush. My coach Riccardo Piatti knows that I am ambitious, but he asks me to be patient. I will stay patient”

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Tour Suspension A ‘Dire And Bleak’ Situation For Players, Warns Johanna Konta

The world No.14 also comments on the decision to move the French Open to September.

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British No.1 Johanna Konta admits that any system put into place to financially support players in the wake of the tour suspension will only have a ‘minimal’ effect.

 

Tennis is currently at a standstill due to the Covid-19 pandemic with doubts cast over when play will resume again. As a consequence, many players are looking into alternative ways to generate an income. Unlike team sports where athletes have a contract, those in the world of tennis are essentially self-employed. Meaning they will only earn money in the sport if they play at tournaments. Although the top players have the luxury of endorsements to also support them.

Weighing in on the situation, Konta has described it as ‘fire and bleak.’ She is one out of 90 female players to have made more than $100,000 in prize money this year before the tour was suspended. Her current earnings for the season stands at $105,703.

“The reality is that there is no tennis player earning any money right now; all the tennis players have taken a 100 per cent salary cut,” Konta told The Evening Standard.
“Everyone is trying to find the best way possible to stand by a team and support the people you work with and feel close to while not bankrupting yourself.
“[A support system] is being worked on right now, but the reality is that even if it is possible – and let’s hope it is – it’s going to be very minimal.
“It’s a very bleak and dire situation especially for the lower ranked players.”

In light of the financial concerns, world No.371 Sofia Shapatava recently set up an online petition on change.org calling for support from the ITF, WTA and ATP. More than 1300 people have signed the petition.

“I started the petition to help tennis players to be heard by ITF, after I talked to many of the people I know and about their plans for the next three months, I realised that some people won’t even be able to have food,” Shapatava told the AFP News Agency.
“My problem is that my sport will die as it is, it will die, because players who are ranked lower then 150th in the world will not be able to play.”

In comparison to Konta, Georgian player Shapatava has made $2,896 so far this season. That works out as 0.09% of what prize money leader Sofia Kenin has made ($3,012,043). Kenin is one of four players to earn more than a million in 2020 on the women’s tour. The other are Garbine Muguruza, Simona Halep and Ash Barty.

The WTA have said they are looking into the possibility of extending this year’s calendar is order to provide players with more earning opportunities when the sport resumes.

French open approach disappointing

Konta has also criticised the French Tennis Federation (FFT) over their management of the French Open. Officials at the FFT recently announced that the major would be delayed until September due to the Covid-19 outbreak. A move that caught many off guard, including some governing bodies. Konta reached the semi-finals of the French Open last year after previously losing in the first round four times in a row.

“It’s a really sad situation and it’s very disappointing for them to release their decision in the way that they did,” she said.
“It’s not the act itself, but the manner which was disappointing to everybody in the tennis community. It’s left a sour taste in a lot of people’s mouths.”

Lionel Maltés is the economic director of the FFT. He has defended their approach to the situation by saying the organisation had no choice but to act. Arguing that their (the FFT) first priority is French tennis. The controversy surrounding the date change is that it will take place a week after the US Open ends. Leaving players with little chance to prepare for the switch of surfaces.

“The decision was not made overnight, it was far from an outburst. We had been clear for some time that it was going to be impossible to play the tournament on the established dates and we knew we had to do something.” Maltés recently told French newspaper L’Equipe.
“There was no hint of conversation collective with the other Grand Slams so we did the only thing we had to do for French tennis. Don’t doubt that Wimbledon and US Open would have made the same decision if they could. In fact, other tournaments have backed us up by saying they understood us and that if they had been in our position, they would have done the same.
“We were aware that we would be highly criticized for this, but the safeguard of French tennis is above all,” he added.

The French Open was scheduled to run from 24 May to 7 June. Officials are now hoping that the tournament will start on September 20th.

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Madrid Open Chief Outlines Target Date For Tournament In 2020

How would players feel about having a top clay court event sandwiched between two grand slam tournaments?

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The Caja Magica, venue of the Madrid Open

Whilst the future of the 2020 tennis season remains unclear due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, organisers of the Madrid Open are not giving up hope of hosting their event this year.

 

Gerard Tsobanian, who is the CEO of Spain’s biggest tennis tournament, has set his sights on hosting the event during September ahead of the French Open. The clay-court grand slam has recently delayed their event until later this year in a move that caught some off guard. Should play resume later this year, it is possible that players will play two grand slam tournaments within five weeks. The US Open concludes a week before the French Open is set to begin. Tsobanian has outlined September 14-20 as a potential time slot to host the event.

“That date is the best, yes, but we cannot go ahead and give a date as Roland Garros did. Currently you cannot establish a fixed calendar, it is difficult.” He told L’Equipe.
“If it is to change it in two or three weeks because the situation does not begin to improve It would not be a serious thing. Now we have to watch how the pandemic evolves and, in case there is an improvement, then we can make serious forecasts that guarantee the dispute of an event.”

At present both the ATP and WTA tours have been suspended until June 8th, but it is likely to be extended into the summer. The Wimbledon Championships are on the verge of cancelling their event for the first time since 1945 due to the pandemic. Meaning that the grass season will be wiped off the calendar this year.

Should the Pandemic slow by the summer and play resumes, there are still concerns about the potential date of the Madrid Open. Sandwiched between two grand slam tournaments, there are concerns as to if top players would skip the tournament in order to focus on the majors. Although Tsobanian is optimistic about this scenario.

“I think the tennis players would accept it given the urgency and complexity of what remains to be played.” He said.
“Not all tennis players reach the final of the Us Open, some fall in the first week or at the beginning of the second, which gives time for Prepare to play Madrid on clay. The finalists of the US Open would be the only ones to feel the change, but that is a lesser evil compared to the joy of playing again.”

Both the ATP and WTA have expressed their desire to get the sport going again before 2021, but things are very much still up in the air. On Tuesday the John Hopkins University estimated that there have been 800,000 cases of Covid-19 worldwide with 37,500 deaths. It is currently unclear as to how or when the virus will be under control.

“As a member of the Board of Directors of the ATP and WTA tournaments I am in constant discussion with the players, with all the tournament directors and the leaders of the two circuits to see a little what the ideas are. There are many options and variables, but the more the weeks go by, the more the possible options fall. Whatever happens, the tennis year of 2020 will be severely damaged.” Tsobanian concluded.

The Madrid Open is currently categorized as a Masters 1000 event on the men’s tour and as a Premier Mandatory for the women.

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