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)

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Jannik Sinner and Roberto Bautista Agut start their campaign with convincing wins in Berlin



Last year’s Next Gen ATP Finals champion Jannik Sinner beat German veteran Tommy Haas 6-4 3-6 10-8 in the opening match at the Bett1 Aces, a grass exhibition tournament at the Steffi Graf Stadium. This event features ATP and WTA players and is played in front of a limited number of fans.


Sinner converted his only break point in the fifth game of the first set with two return winners and held on his service games to win the first set 6-4. Sinner converted his third break point to take a 3-2 lead in the first set. Haas broke straight back to draw level to 3-3. The German player broke for the second time in a row and won 12 of his 16 rallies to win the second set 6-3. Sinner bounced back in the match tie-break and raced out to a 5-2 lead. Haas clawed his way back to 7-8, but Sinner earned two match points with a forehand passing shot. The young Italian player sealed the match tie-break 10-8 on his second match point setting up a semifinal against Dominic Thiem.

Roberto Bautista Agut battled past Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3 3-6 10-7. In the first set Bautista dropped his serve to go down 0-2 in the opening game and faced two break points on his serve, but he came back by breaking serve twice in the sixth and eighth games to win the first set 6-3.

Struff won the second set with a break in the sixth game, but Bautista Agut took the 10-7 edge to win the match tie-break 10-7. Bautista Agut set up a semifinal against Matteo Berrettini.

Anastasja Sevastova was leading 6-4 4-3, as Julia Goerges was forced to retire injured from the match in the seventh game of the second set.  Sevastova got two breaks in the third and ninth games to win the first set 6-3.

In the final match of the day two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova cruised past Andrea Petkovic 6-4 6-1. Kvitova earned the first break in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. Petkovic broke straight back in the fifth game for 2-3. Kvitova converted his second break point in the 10th game to win the second set 6-4. Kvitova broke twice in the second and sixth games to win the second set 6-1.

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Jannik Sinner dreams to win the US Open and beat Roger Federer on Centre Court at Wimbledon



Last year’s Next Gen Finals champion Jannik Sinner revealed that his dream would be to beat 20-time Grand Slam champion and eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer on the Centre Court at the All England Club at Wimbledon.


Sinner was bidding to make his debut at Wimbledon last year, but he lost in the first round of the qualifying round.

Many fans predict that Sinner has the chance to win a Grand Slam title and become world number 1.

Sinner advanced to Antwerp ATP 250 semifinals last October at the age of 18 after beating Gael Monfils. He became the youngest ATP Tour semifinal since Borna Coric, who reached this stage in Basel at the age of 17. He saved one match point against Steve Johnson in Masters 1000 debut in Rome. He got through to the qualifying round to reach the main draw at the US Open before losing to Stan Wawrinka in the opening round.

This year Sinner beat world number 10 David Goffin in Rotterdam second round for the biggest win of his career. The Italian teenager coached by Riccardo Piatti earned his first Grand Slam main draw win at the Australian Open before losing to Marton Fucsovics.

“I know that I am only 18, but I like to play. The more I play, the more I like it. My goal is to win the US Open but I have the dream of beating Roger Federer on the Centre Court at Wimbledon”, said Sinner.

Federer underwent second arthostocopic knee surgery and announced that he will make his comeback in 2021. The Swiss player was sidelined by injury for six months in 2016 and made a successful return in January 2017 by winning an epic five-set Australian Open final against Rafael Nadal. He went on to win Wimbledon later that year and another Australian Open trophy in 2018.

“I hope Roger will play again next season”, said Sinner.

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US Open Must Allow Entourages Of Three Or Four People, Says Thiem

The world No.3 says he is feeling good ahead of the return of professional tennis next month.



Dominic Thiem has come out against proposals to restrict the number of coaching staff that can travel to this year’s US Open amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


This year’s New York major will be held behind closed doors for the first time in history and will be implementing a series of measures to help minimise the threat posed by the virus. Part of their plan is to limit how many people a player can bring with them to the tournament. It was originally reported that only one team member per player would be allowed to travel, but it has emerged that the limit has since been extended to three.

Speaking about the limits, three-time Grand Slam finalist Thiem said the idea of only allowing one member of his team to travel with him would be a risk for some players on the Tour.

*”I do not think so. Three or four people must be allowed. It would be extremely risky to travel without your own physio. You need a local coach for this,’ Thiem told The Kronen Zeitung newspaper on Sunday.

Thiem last played a match on the ATP Tour at the Rio Open in February where he lost in the quarter-finals. However, throughout the lockdown he has still managed to maintain his match fitness by participating in numerous tournaments. In total he has played 24 matches across three different countries, including one named after him called Thiems 7.

“Right now I feel very good,” he said. “I have played a lot of exhibition games in the last two months and I am not tired at all. I really wanted to play tennis again, since my start of the year was very good.’
“During This period of confinement at home I have been crushing myself a lot in the physical aspect and already when I returned to training. I have decided to improve the backhand and the serve a little more.”

The ATP Tour will resume next month with Thiem hoping that he can continue his form generated from earlier this year. At the Australian Open he reached the final for the first time in his career before getting edged out by Novak Djokovic. Although when he returns, tournaments will not be the same as before due to the ongoing pandemic with strict safety measures and reduced crowds in place.

“When the circuit returns, the matches will be exactly the same as we had previously, but the atmosphere will be different,” he said.
“All tennis players will miss playing tournaments where many people travelled to see us every day. In New York, Paris or Melbourne there are between 60,000 and 70,000 people every day in the facilities. That previous life we ​​had will not be the same and we may have to get used to this new normal for a few years.”

Thiem is one of only four men to have already made more than $1 million in prize money so far this year on the ATP Tour.

*NOTE: Since the publication of this article quotes have been edited following a translation mix-up.

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