Former Top 10 Star Was Drunk During Grand Slam Final, Claims Banned Tennis Player - UBITENNIS
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Former Top 10 Star Was Drunk During Grand Slam Final, Claims Banned Tennis Player

Daniel Koellerer provides some insight about his time as the most controversial player in tennis.

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Controversial former tennis pro Daniel Koellerer has said he was inspired to start drinking alcohol after watching one of his former rivals on the tour at the Australian Open.

 

The 36-year-old has alleged that Russia’s Marat Safin was drunk during his clash with Thomas Johansson in the 2002 final. Safin, who was seeded ninth in the draw, lost in four tight sets to the Swede. According to Koellerer, the Russian had been drinking heavily the night before to celebrate his birthday.

“The first time I started drinking alcohol I was like 24 and I just started because I saw Marat Safin drinking before he played the Australian Open final.” Koellerer said during a recent interview.
“I said ‘ok, now I am all the time between 150-180 and I don’t get up, and this guy is playing the Australian Open final, he is so drunk he can’t even walk on his two feet, cannot be that bad.'”
“He could never win because he was so drunk, that was unbelievable. The night before he was celebrating his birthday. For me he looked like he was celebrating he already won already the Australian Open.”

Former world No.1 Safin was renowned for his occasional party antics during his time as a player. After defeating Pete Sampras in the final of the 2000 US Open he celebrated at a disco with singer Lenny Kravitz. Drinking champagne and vodka throughout the night. The following day he had to conduct media commitments after just one hour of sleep.

Kollerer’s claims are disputed given his track record on the tour. A former world No.55 player, he has been caught up in numerous controversies throughout his career. Nicknamed ‘crazy Dani’ he was suspended for six-months in 2006 for his bad behaviour. In another incident, he was accused of being racist by another player. Speaking about his behaviour, Koellerer said it was partly because of how he was trained at a younger age.

“I was trained to behave like this and after 4 years I couldn’t stop doing it. Now I know that I did a lot of bad things to other rivals both on and off the court. Now, that it has been more than 10 years, I’m sorry to behave like this.” He said.
“He (the coach) punished me with more exercise if I didn’t provoke my rivals in the games. After that, I could not change any more. When I hired another coach, he told me that he could not continue like this and punished me with 2 hours of cycling if I did something wrong. The first week I was 16 hours on the bike, but then I got better although my game got worse. I no longer had tension because if I broke my racket I was riding the bike and I wasn’t Armstrong.”

The ban

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In May 2011 Koellerer became the first player in history to be banned for life after an investigation found him guilty of match-fixing violations between October 2009 – July 2010. The investigation, conducted by the Tennis integrity Unit, also fined him $100,000 for match-fixing offences. He lodged an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The CAS upheld the ban in 2012, saying in a statement that ‘The panel ruled that the tennis governing bodies had met their burden of proof’. They did, however rule that he didn’t have to pay the $100,000 fine as ‘he didn’t financially benefit’ from the charges.

However, the Austrian has maintained his innocence throughout the allegations. Saying that the action was taken because it was the the only way the ATP could remove him from the tour. He has also said that he had reported incidents when he was offered money to throw matches on purpose.

“In 50 years, when I have only 3 minutes left to live, I will say the same. The ATP expelled me and used that because it was the only way to get rid of me.” Koellerer insists.
“There were tennis players who pointed to me without proof. A player recognized that I had never met him, said that I called him to rig a game. If I never met him, how could he know it was me?’

Still banned for life from the sport, Koellerer says he still has a love for tennis and would even return to the tour if his ban was to be ever lifted. Comparing himself to somebody who has been falsely accused of a crime.

“I have several operations on my wrists and others on my back. I am far from being able to be a tennis player but if tomorrow my phone rang, I would go to the first tournament I could. It’s like the murderer who is in the jail, knowing that he did nothing and wishing that one day they would tell him that they found the real murderer to be able to leave. Tennis has been my whole life and is still within my heart. “

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Great Britain and Germany secure their spot in the quarter finals

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Great Britain secured their spot in the quarter final of the Davis Cup at the Caja Magica in Madrid with a 2-1 win over Kazakhstan.

 

Kyle Edmund, who replaced Andy Murray, beat Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3 6-3 in the first singles match. Edmund saved all the break points he faced and broke serve in the sixth game of the second set to take a 4-2 lead and converted his first match point when Kukushkin hit a forehand long.

Alexander Bublik came back from losing the first set to beat Dan Evans 5-7 6-4 6-1. Bublik broke serve in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead. Evans broke straight back to draw level to 4-4. Evans rallied from 15-40 to break serve at deuce in the 12th game to take a 7-5 lead.

Bublik converted his fourth break point in the ninth game to win the second set 6-4 sending the second set 6-4. Bublik broke three times to clinch the third set 6-1.

Jamie Murray and Neal Stupski beat Mikhail Kukushkin and Alexander Bublik 6-1 6-4. Murray and Kukushkin cruised through to a 6-1 win in the first set before breaking twice in the second set. The British team secured the win on their second match point.

“We played a great match from start to finish. We started quickly, were aggressive and did not give them time to settle”, said Jamie Murray.

Germany set up a quarter final against Great Britain after beating Chile 2-1. Phillip Kohlschreiber beat Nicolas Jarry 6-4 6-3 in the opening match. Christian Garin came back from losing the first set to beat Jan Lennard Struff 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (10-8) after saving three match points. Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies beat Barrios and Tabilo 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 to secure Germany the decisive 2-1 win.

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American No.3 Reilly Opelka Blasts ‘Shocking’ ATP Cup

The new event has been described as unfair and a embarrassment by the American.

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MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 19: Reilly Opelka of United States during the Group F match between USA and Canada during Davis Cup by Rakuten Madrid Finals 2019 at Caja Magica on November 19, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Corinne Dubreuil / Kosmos Tennis)

With the Davis Cup currently under close scrutiny this week, one player on the tour have turned his criticism to a brand new team event coming to the tour in 2020.

 

Reilly Opelka has launched a verbal attack on the ATP Cup, which will get underway in January. The event features 24 teams playing in three cities across Australia. Unlike the Davis Cup, both prize money and ranking points are available. Many of the world’s top players have already confirmed their intention to play in the event. Although one noticeable absence will be Roger Federer.

“The ATP Cup is pathetic. I think it’s shocking on behalf of the ATP for them to pass that and allow that.” The 22-year-old told reporters in Madrid.
“It’s pretty embarrassing, actually. It’s pretty bad for the sport. It makes it (the tour) more top-heavy than it already is.”

The teams for the ATP Cup are determined by the ranking of the country’s highest ranked player. However, with only two singles players allowed to play in each team some countries find themselves in a tough spot. Once being America, who currently has eight players in the top 100. Opelka argues that due to the rules of the competition, the distribution of ranking points is unfair.

“I’m 35 in the world. I’m not going to play because I’m the second- or third-highest ranked American, and only the top two guys play.” He stated.
“It counts as an additional 19th tournament. So every player gets 18 tournaments on their ranking card. So you have to take your top 18 results, those go for your ranking. Those that play ATP Cup gets a 19th. So it’s unfair, there’s not equal opportunity for everyone.”

Opelka used the example of Moldova playing in the ATP Cup as one of the reasons why he is frustrated. The country has qualified due to the ranking of their top player Radu Albot, who is currently ranked 46th in the world. However, Moldova’s second highest ranked player is outside the top 800.

Fortunately concerning the Davis Cup, the former Wimbledon junior champion has a much more favourable view. This week is the inaugural week-long finals, which has encountered some blips already. The most being the schedule of the event with some ties now finishing until as late as 4am.

“I’m a fan of the new format. Maybe making it every two years or every three years would be I think the next step in the right direction.” Opelka concluded.
“Tennis players are pretty good at that. You don’t really know when you’re going to play matches. You can go really long, or you can go really quick. We’re used to being on standby.” He added.

This week is Opelka’s debut in the Davis Cup.

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Dayana Yastremska Appoints Former Naomi Osaka Mentor As Coach

The youngster is hoping to build on her 2019 breakthrough next year with a new coach by her side.

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Dayana Yastremska - Zhuhai 2019 (photo credit: WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai)

Rising star Dayana Yastremska will head into the 2020 season under new guidance of the 2018 WTA Coach of the Year winner Sasha Bajin.

 

The 19-year-old confirmed her new coach in a Facebook post published on Thursday morning. Bajin is best known for his work with former world No.1 Naomi Osaka, who won two grand slam titles whilst working with him, as well as her first Premier title in Indian Wells. The two ended their collaboration shortly after the Australian Open earlier this year. Since then, Bajin briefly worked with Kristina Mladenovic before deciding to depart.

“I am very happy to share the news that I am starting the 2020 season with a new coach!” Yastremska wrote.
“I am extremely happy, and I am very excited to start our collaboration as it is going to be very interesting and impressive work. I am confident that he (Bajin) can help me in achieving my ambitions.’
“I’m Super excited for the beginning of our pre-season preparation and I am confident that everything works out!”

In recent weeks there has been speculation about the two joining forces on the tour. During the WTA Elite finals in China, the world No.22 was asked about the rumours concerning her team speaking with Bajin. However, at the time she dodged the question by replying ‘I would like to build a great team, but for now I won’t say anything about it.’

Yastremska has enjoyed her best season on the tour yet in his career and broke into the world’s top 30 back in September. She is currently at a career ranking high of 22nd. On the tour in 2019, the Ukrainian has clinched two WTA titles in Hua Hin and Strasburg. In the grand slams, she reached the fourth round at Wimbledon for the first time.

As of this week, Yastremska is one of only four players under the age of 20 who are in the world’s top 30.

Elsewhere on the WTA Tour there has been another development on the coaching front. Former world No.1 Angelique Kerber has confirmed that she will be working with Didi Kindlmann. A former hitting partner with Maria Sharapova, who have previously worked with Elise Mertens and Ajla Tomljanović. Kerber is currently ranked 20th in the world compared to 12 months ago when she was in second spot.

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