Grand Slam Champion Marion Bartoli Criticises Decision To Host WTA Finals In China - UBITENNIS
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Grand Slam Champion Marion Bartoli Criticises Decision To Host WTA Finals In China

The former player has accused the the women’s tour of being motivated by money.



The decision to relocate the season-ending WTA Finals to the Chinese city of Shenzhen over the next 10 years could be counterproductive, according to 2013 Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli.


Bartoli, who peaked at a ranking best of seventh in the world during her career, has said the move of the tournament is centred around money and not exposing women’s tennis to a wider audience. Shenzhen will host the end-of-year extravaganza with a record prize money pool of $14 million. An undefeated singles champion will earn $4.75 million, which is $900,000 more than what this year’s US Open champion will receive.

“I am not sure about putting the championship for 10 years in China.” Bartoli recently said on Eurosport. “I think the time difference, when it is live, is the wrong time in the US and the wrong time in Europe.’
“I am not sure there is a lot of attraction for women’s tennis in China. Yes, when Li Na was playing. Unless Roger or Rafa was playing then they weren’t really filling the stadiums.”

Elaborating further, the Frenchwoman claimed that The ATP has a better understanding of how to promote tennis. The men’s equivalent, the ATP Finals, has been hosted in London at The O2 Arena for more than a decade. However, from 2021 the tournament will relocate to Italy. Although the Chinese City of Shanghai previously hosted the event in 2002 and then again between 2005-2008.

“I think the men’s game has a better understanding that it’s not about the money on the table, but about the exposure of the game. When you have the end-of-season championships in London and then Torino you are going to places were fans have an awareness of tennis.” Bartoli explained.
“We have two Grand Slams in Europe – how many are there in China? I think the WTA need a long-term vision of where they want to be which is to recognise the top players of the game.”

There are currently four Chinese women in the top 50 in the WTA rankings. It is hard to place an exact figure on how popular the sport is in the Asian country. In a recent article published by the South China Post, a member of the Shanghai Tennis Association said 70,000 people play regularly in the city and there are an additional 980,000 people who are either occasional players or are interested in the sport.

Besides the location, Bartoli believes that women’s tennis are having problems selling out tennis events because the tour lacks rivalries similar to those of the past.

“When Serena isn’t playing, how many times are you going to fill a stadium for women’s tennis? That should be the bigger question – how can they promote the players in a way that will fill stadiums? “ She said.
“It comes to identification – people used to root for Steffi or they used to root for Martina, and now we are struggling to have that rivalry. For me, it’s not about the money, it’s about how they promote the game to get people to watch women’s tennis.”

The Shenzhen WTA Finals will get underway on October 27th. Only the eight highest ranked player will be eligible to participate in accordance to the WTA Race to Shenzhen.

Locations of the WTA Finals

Years City Surface
1972–1973 Boca Raton, USA Clay
1974–1976 Los Angeles, USA Carpet
1977 New York City, USA Carpet
1978 Oakland, USA Carpet
1979–2000 New York City, USA Carpet
2001 Munich, Germany Hard (i)
2002–2005 Los Angeles, USA Hard (i)
2006–2007 Madrid, Spain Hard (i)
2008–2010 Doha, UAE Hard
2011–2013 Istanbul, Turkey Hard (i)
2014–2018 Singapore Hard (i)
2019–2028 Shenzhen, China Hard (i)


Daniil Medvedev Scores Sponsorship Deal With BMW

The 23-year-old is set to attend a series of activities organised by the car manufacturer over the coming months.



Daniil Medvedev’s recent surge in success on the tour seems to be also boosting his profile away from the court after he teamed up with car manufacturer BMW.


The world No.4 will take part in a series of activities involving the Russian branch of the BMW company in both his home country and abroad. A contract was signed earlier this week following a meeting in St Petersburg, where Medvedev is playing his latest competition on the ATP Tour. He has agreed to feature in a series of campaigns promoting the BMW M, which specialises in sports cars. No financial details of the contract have been published.

“BMW M is BMW’s fastest, most powerful and most innovative sports car. And Daniil Medvedev is the brightest and most titled Russian tennis player right now.” The director general of BMW Russia, Stefan Teuchert, said in a statement.
“On the tennis court, Medvedev demonstrates qualities typical of BMW sports cars – speed, power, intelligence and a strong character. We are glad that we managed to agree on cooperation, and we look forward to future joint projects.”

23-year-old Medvedev has triggered a surge of interest in him following his summer breakthrough. Prior to the final grand slam of the season, he reached three consecutive finals in Washington, Canada and Cincinnati. Becoming only the third man in history to do after Ivan Lendl and Andre Agassi. It was in Cincinnati where he won his first Masters title. Then at the US Open, Medvedev finished runner-up to Rafael Nadal after contesting a five-set epic against the Spaniard.

Medvedev will be hoping to continue his surge of form this week at the St Petersburg Open where he is the top seed. He is yet to contest an ATP final on Russian territory. However, the rising star has stated that his recent surge in success has given him extra belief on the tour.

“I have become convinced: when I am in good shape, I can beat anyone, or at least give a fight. It is most important. I seemed to know this before, but was not completely sure. Now I know this for sure.” Medvedev said during an interview with Sport Express.

According to the ATP, Medvedev has been the most successful player in indoor tournaments on the Tour within the past 52 weeks. Claiming two trophies and winning 22 matches overall. Giving him a 0.786 winning percentage.

He will open up his campaign in St Petersburg on Thursday against compatriot Evgeny Donskoy.

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Pre-Wimbledon Shake-Up Sees Birmingham Lose Premier Status And Mallorca Gain Men’s Tournament

Changes have been made to the grass-court season from 2020 onwards.



A Premier grass-court women’s event have been moved to another country following changes made to the schedule of tournaments leading up to Wimbledon.


The Birmingham International, which is the only woman’s-only event held in the UK, has had their status reduced. Going from Premier level to international and subsequently dropping down from offering $1 million to $250,000 in prize money. The move comes after organisers of the event admitted they have found it financially tough to maintain the event and make a profit. Birmingham had held a premier status since 2014 with past winners including Ash Barty, Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber.

Instead the German capital of Berlin will host a new Premier event. It will take place at the Lawn Tennis Turnier Club Rot-Weiß (LTTC), which once held the German Open between 1979-2008. A clay-court tournament that was also part of the WTA Tour. However, this time round the surface will be grass. In a statement published by the LTTC, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has agreed to be a patron for the new event and there will some redevelopment of the venue in the coming months.

“We are looking forward to welcoming the absolute world-class women’s tennis on the grounds of the LTTC “Rot-Weiß” In the coming summer from 15 to 21 June 2020! Twelve years after the last German Open, our club will live up to many expectations with this worldwide international tournament.” A press release reads.

There have also been proposals for a separate WTA tournament to take place in Germany the week after Berlin in Bad Homburg. The event would replace the Istanbul Open, however, it is still subject to approval from the WTA board.

On the ATP Tour, there has been a change to one of the events taking place during the week before Wimbledon. Mallorca will now hold a 250 tournament instead of Antalya. Raising speculation about if Rafael Nadal could play in the event in the future. Nadal hasn’t played a grass-court event outside of Wimbledon since 2015, but lives in the Balearic Island.

“A strong and successful grass court season is absolutely critical to the future of grass court tennis and thus the future success of The Championships.” The chairman of the AELTC, Philip Brook, said in a statement.
“Having worked to expand the grass court season to be a meaningful gap between Roland-Garros and Wimbledon, we are pleased to be making these significant further investments into ensuring that quality grass court tournaments can be provided at all levels of the professional game for the best interests of the players and the broader tennis family.”

The 2020 grass swing of the tour will get underway during the week commencing June 8th.

Full schedule

Week 1: Nottingham (WTA International), S’Hertogenbosch (ATP 250/WTA International), Stuttgart (ATP 250)

Week 2: Berlin (WTA Premier), Birmingham (WTA International), Queen’s (ATP 500), Halle (ATP 500)

Week 3: Mallorca (ATP 250), Eastbourne (WTA Premier) – TBC: Bad Homburg (WTA International)

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French Open Finalist Marketa Vondrousova Undergoes Surgery

It is a premature end to what has been a breakthrough season for the Czech.



Czech rising star Marketa Vondrousova will miss the rest of the season after undergoing an operation on her left wrist.


The 20-year-old made the announcement on her Instagram account where she uploaded a picture of herself after undergoing the procedure. Vondrousova hasn’t played a match on the tour since Wimbledon, where she first sustained the injury. According to Czech media, she received treatment at the same facility which Petra Kvitova attended following a knife attack that severely injured her playing hand.

“For two months I tried to treat my wrist conservatively and tried everything possible. Unfortunately, nothing led to a significant improvement. That is why I decided on this solution, which should relieve me of my pain for good,” Vondrousova said is a statement issued by her team.
“Unfortunately for me, 2019 ended earlier than I wanted. I can’t wait to play back on the courts without pain anymore, she added.

The premature end draws the curtain on what has been a breakthrough season for Vondrousova. At the French Open she defeated Petra Martic and Johanna Konta en route to the final. Becoming the youngest player to do so at the tournament since Ana Ivanovic back in 2007. She was denied the title by Ash Barty, who prevailed in straight sets.

Yet to win a title, Vondrousova has managed to remain consistent on the tour by reaching the quarter-finals or better at six consecutive tournaments between February and June. Including the final of the Budapest Open. During that time, she managed to score two wins over Simona Halep. The highest ranked player she has defeated so far in her career.

Vondrousova is currently ranked 22nd in the world. She ends the season with a win-loss record of 29-9.

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