Despite New WTA Guidelines, Could Kim Clijsters' Return Be Marred By Aberration? - UBITENNIS
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Despite New WTA Guidelines, Could Kim Clijsters’ Return Be Marred By Aberration?

Kim Clijsters will not have any restriction in the number of wildcards she receives. But she also deserves more in her upcoming third stint on the Tour

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Kim Clijsters, 2010 US Open, US Open
Photo Credit: WTA Tennis/Getty

By the time, Kim Clijsters makes her return to professional tennis in 2020, around eight years will have passed since her second retirement from the WTA Tour. In this near-about octet of years, there have been several changes on the Tour, especially for those women attempting a return post maternity. But where does the 36-year-old stand amid these alterations?

 

The Belgian was one of the earlier trendsetters – of this decade – to resume her professional activity after becoming a mother for the first time. In 2009, when she returned during the American hard-court summer, the subject never gained as much traction as it did when Williams returned to the game, in 2018 after her pregnancy hiatus in 2017.

Clijsters’ win at the US Open that year – the first for an unseeded player – stifled the mushrooming of any possible avenues of such ranking tweaks back then. Over the next couple of years, as Clijsters ascended in the rankings boosted by her performances, including re-attaining her career-high of no. 1, the topic became moot.

Now, after all these years, in spite of the WTA bringing in modifications to its rules – by way of provision of special ranking to women re-joining the Tour after motherhood, among other factors – Clijsters’ continues to remain an outlying scenario. The obvious reason for this is the lapsing of time of the four-time Major champion’s returning to pro tennis. According to the new rules, a player who is out of the Tour on account of pregnancy must make a comeback within three years after her child’s birth, at most.

Her previous successes and titles ensure Clijsters will never lack for wildcards from tournaments, as per the WTA regulations. However, the question stemming here is should an exception be made for the former world no. 1 vis-à-vis the special ranking while overlooking the passing of years?

When announcing her imminent return to the Pro Tour on the WTA Insider podcast, Clijsters mentioned about challenging herself. “I don’t feel like I want to prove something. I think for me it’s the challenge…,” she said.

“The love for the sport is obviously still there. But the question still is, am I capable of bringing it to a level where I would like it to be at and where I want it to be at before I want to play at a high level of one of the best women’s sports in the world. I don’t feel like I need to prove anything, but I want to challenge myself and I want to be strong again. This is my marathon. This is where I’m saying, ‘OK, let’s try this’.”

Clijsters’ path to trying this while taking it on as a challenge need not come at a cost of her being immediately pushed off the deep end in terms of encountering a higher-seeded opponent. The present state of the WTA would make it for an interesting match-up – whenever it happens – but it would also be akin to defeating the purpose underlining her return, regardless of how confident the 2011 Australian Open champion is with her timing.

The norms, too, could be nudged into further relooking easing them towards a player’s preference in ascertaining her post-childbirth return instead of clubbing them, at large. After all, as significant as Williams’ laurels were to usher in changes, Clijsters’ stunner yet again proves the variety that exists in women’s decision-making.

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Gerard Tsobanian: “I can’t see the events being held behind closed doors”

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The ATP and WTA have suspended the tennis season until 13th July cancelling all the clay and grass tournaments, but players expect the suspension to get expected.

 

The Madrid Mutua Open was originally scheduled from 3 to 10 May 2020. Madrid Masters Chef Executive Officer Gerard Tsobanian doubts that the tennis season will resume this year. Tsobanian said that playing tournament behind closed doors is not possible during an interview to French sports daily L’Equipe.

“I am worried about the future. There are so many question marks. Playing without fans is an option but I doubt that the events will go that route. I can’t see the events being held behind closed doors. It will take time for everything to return to normal in tennis”, said Gerard Tsobanian.

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Wimbledon Announces Cancellation As Coronavirus Continues To Affect Tennis Calendar

For the first time since World War Two, Wimbledon has been cancelled.

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Wimbledon has announced it has cancelled this year’s tournament due to health fears over the coronavirus. 

 

This is the first time since world war two that the famous grass-court tournament at SW19 has been cancelled as the coronavirus continues to impact the tennis calendar.

In a statement, Wimbledon confirmed that the next edition of the tournament will occur in 2021, “It is with great regret that the Main Board of the All England Club (AELTC) and the Committee of Management of The Championships have today decided that The Championships 2020 will be cancelled due to public health concerns linked to the coronavirus epidemic,” they said on their website.

“The 134th Championships will instead be staged from 28 June to 11 July 2021. Uppermost in our mind has been the health and safety of all of those who come together to make Wimbledon happen – the public in the UK and visitors from around the world, our players, guests, members, staff, volunteers, partners, contractors, and local residents – as well as our broader responsibility to society’s efforts to tackle this global challenge to our way of life.

“Members of the public who paid for tickets in the Wimbledon Public Ballot for this year’s Championships will have their tickets refunded and will be offered the chance to purchase tickets for the same day and court for The Championships 2021. We will be communicating directly with all ticket-holders.”

Speaking on the decision, All-England Club chairman Ian Hewitt admitted that health and public safety was more important than tennis right now, “This is a decision that we have not taken lightly, and we have done so with the highest regard for public health and the wellbeing of all those who come together to make Wimbledon happen.”

“It has weighed heavily on our minds that the staging of The Championships has only been interrupted previously by World Wars but, following thorough and extensive consideration of all scenarios, we believe that it is a measure of this global crisis that it is ultimately the right decision to cancel this year’s Championships, and instead concentrate on how we can use the breadth of Wimbledon’s resources to help those in our local communities and beyond.”

As a result of today’s announcement, all grass-court tournaments in England and abroad have been cancelled as there will be no tennis until the 13th of July at the earliest.

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Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova splits with coach Sam Sumyk after seven months

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Sam Sumyk will no longer coach Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova. The Russian player got off to a good start to her 2020 season under the guidance of the French coach reached the quarter finals before losing to eventual finalist Garbine Muguruza at the Australian Open but she has split from the French coach after seven months. Sumyk has confirmed the news to the French tennis website We love tennis. Earlier this yera Pavlyuchenkova won 19 of her 27 matches and reached the final in Moscow in the seven months under the guidance of Sumyk.

 

Pavlyuchenkova won two Junior Grand Slam titles and became the Junior world number 1 at the age of 14 in 2006. She reached her career-high of world number 13 in July 2011. The Russian player has won 12 singles titles and 5 doubles titles. She also reached six quarter finals at Grand Slam level at the 2011 French Open, at the 2011 US Open, at Wimbledon 2016 and at the Australian Open in 2017, 2019 and 2020.

Sumik had previously coached two-time Australian champion Victoria Azarenka, former Wimbledon and Roland Garros champion Garbine Muguruza, former world number 2 Vera Zvonareva and 2014 Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard.

Under the guidane of Sumik Azarenka won her first Grand Slam title in 2012. The Belarusian player defended her title in Melbourne and climbed to the world number on eone year later.

The 53-year-old coach helped Muguruza clinch her maiden Grand Slam title at 2016 Roland Garros and Wimbledon in 2017.

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