“If I’m Healthy I Can Do Even Bigger Things” - Bianca Andreescu Aims To Inspire And Excel - UBITENNIS
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“If I’m Healthy I Can Do Even Bigger Things” – Bianca Andreescu Aims To Inspire And Excel

Olympic glory is one of the many things on the mind of Tennis’ newest superstar.

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Newly crowned US Open champion Bianca Andreescu has stated that she is aiming to win ‘many grand slams’ after her historic triumph in New York on Saturday.

 

The 19-year-old downed Serena Williams in straight sets to become the first ever Canadian player in history to win a singles title at any major tournament. Within the past month she has cracked the top 20 for the first time of her career before rising to a current best of fifth in the world. The join-highest ranking ever achieved by a Canadian woman alongside Eugenie Bouchard.

Andreescu has now shot to the limelight with a surge of interest from both tennis fans and endorsements. Her clash with Williams was the most watched live tennis match in her home country of all time for networks TSN and RDS. Elevating her to a level of fame she would have never anticipated 12 months ago. Not that she is letting it get to her.

There’s always going to be external pressure, I’m sure Canada wants me to do really well and most importantly I want to do really well. So I think that pressure helps me.” Andreescu said during a press conference hosted by Tennis Canada on Wednesday.

It is hoped that the achievements of the teenager will help trigger another surge in the popularity of tennis in the North American country. In recent years Tennis Canada has managed to produce a group of promising stars, which also include Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime. Two of the youngest players currently in the top 100 on the men’s tour.

The prospect of Andreescu playing a key role in promoting her sport is one she is relishing. In recent days she has received numerous messages from members of the public who have said they have been inspired by her. According to data provided by Social Blade, Andreescu’s Twitter followers have risen from 71,000 to more than 166,000 since winning the US Open on Saturday.

“One of my goals was to be able to be an inspiration to many people. I think I’m starting to do that, which means a lot to me.” She said.
“If I step on the court and show a good example, I think it can drive a lot of people to pick up a racket.’
“I’ve been getting some messages from people saying that they have never watched tennis before but now they will. I’ve gotten some (messages) where they said they were starting to play tennis because of me. That’s amazing. I’m really humbled.”

The next step

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Now a grand slam champion, the world No.5 now has to live up to the hype generated. A similar scenario to what Naomi Osaka faced this time last year. However, Andreescu has already proven her credentials. Earlier in the year she won titles in Indian Wells and at the Rogers Cup. Furthermore, she is eight out of eight when playing top 10 players. The only thing that seems to be slowing her down is her own body. During 2019 she missed a few months of the tour due to a shoulder injury. Should she manage to avoid any misfortunes like that in the future, the skies the limit.

“I think if I’m healthy I can do even bigger things in this sport.” She stated.
“One of an athletes biggest enemies is injuries because we’re sitting on our butts watching others play and we don’t like that.’
“So I think the main goal right now is to stay as healthy as I can because I’ve been injured quite a bit in my short career.”

One event she has set eyes on is the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo next year. Only two players from Canada have ever won a medal in tennis at the games. That was Sebastian Lareau and Daniel Nestor, who won the men’s doubles title back in 2000.

“I’ve been thinking about playing in the Olympics for a couple of years. I think it is a very special event. You get to be a part of a team and I think it is different to any other tournaments on the tour. If I do get to play that it would be pretty awesome.”

Besides Andreescu’s desire to conquer the world of tennis, she admits that there is a long way to go when it comes to her game. Her goal for the rest of the season will be to qualify for the WTA Finals, which has moved to Shenzhen this year. The season-ending event will have a record prize money pool of $14 million.

“There’s always room for improvement in anything so I’m just gonna keep improving my game.” The rising star explained.
“I know it’s been working pretty well for me so far so I’m definitely going to improve that. The shot-selection part will be an emphasis and I will keep doing what I do on the mental side.’
“Get stronger physically as much as I can, which is a crucial part of this game. But it’s not easy.”

Andreescu is targeting a return to competition at the China Open. The Premier event will get underway on September 30th.

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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.

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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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‘Relaxed’ Su-Wei Hsieh Saves Match Point To Oust Muguruza In Osaka

Su-Wei Hsieh saved match point to eliminate Garbine Muguruza from the premier-level tournament in Osaka.

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Su-Wei Hsieh (@Wimbledon - Twitter)

Su-Wei Hsieh was in a relaxed mood as she saved match point to edge out Garbine Muguruza 3-6 7-6(1) 6-1 in Osaka. 

 

The Wimbledon doubles champion claimed her second straight win over the Spaniard having saved match point in the contest.

After winning a tight second set, Hsieh cruised through the deciding set to secure a spot in the second round against Elise Mertens.

Even though this final part of the season can prove quite tiring, Hsieh is approaching in a more relaxed manner, “I know that anything can happen because this is almost the end of the year,” Hsieh said to the press after the win.

“I just want to be more relaxed, going more to my game. Sometimes I lose a little bit of rhythm at the beginning, so I just need to play more games to get the rhythm.

“In the second set, I felt a little bit more rhythm, and more stable myself, my personal style. It helped me a lot to get into the match and to get more game.”

As for Muguruza, this loss would have hurt her confidence a lot having not won a WTA match since June and her ranking slowly falling by the week.

Next for Hsieh will be US Open doubles champion Elise Mertens, where they have split their opening two meetings which came last season.

In other results today there were comfortable wins for Madison Keys and US Open quarter-finalist Donna Vekic over Daria Kasatkina and Caroline Garcia respectively.

Here is the second round line-up, which matches will be played across Wednesday and Thursday:

Naomi Osaka (1) v Viktoriya Tomova – Wednesday

Varvara Flink v Yulia Putintseva – Thursday

Sloane Stephens (3) v Camila Giorgi – Thursday

Su-Wei Hsieh v Elise Mertens (9) – Wednesday

Madison Keys (5) v Zarina Diyas – Wednesday

Nicole Gibbs v Angelique Kerber (4) – Wednesday

Donna Vekic (7) v Misaki Doi – Thursday

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova v Kiki Bertens (2) – Thursday

 

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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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