Wawrinka, Medvedev To Play In Saudi Arabia’s First Ever International Tennis Event - UBITENNIS
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Wawrinka, Medvedev To Play In Saudi Arabia’s First Ever International Tennis Event

Four players, including a multiple grand slam champion, has been confirmed for the brand new event which will launch later this year.

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Stan Wawrinka and Daniil Medvedev will be among eight players who will travel to Saudi Arabia in December to play in the country’s first ever tennis tournament.

 

The inaugural Diriyah Tennis Cup will take place over three days between December 12-14. It will be held on the outskirts of Diriyah at the same venue where the boxing world heavyweight title rematch between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr will take place a week prior. The venue has a capacity of 15,000 spectators with players battling it out for a prize of $3 million.

“Hosting world class international tennis in Saudi Arabia for the very first time is another watershed moment for the Kingdom. There’s a deep passion for sport in Saudi Arabia and the Diriyah Tennis Cup will see us reaching new tennis fans, welcome even more international visitors as well as creating amazing memories for all.” Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki AlFaisal Al Saud, chairman of the General Sports Authority of Saudi Arabia (GSA), said in a statement.

Prince Abdulaziz is hoping the event will help inspire people in Saudi Arabia to take up the sport. The country currently doesn’t have a player, male or female, with a professional ranking in tennis. The event will be working alongside the Saudi Tennis Federation.

“We want to contribute in achieving the goals of the sports sector, which have been defined in the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, to transform the Kingdom into a destination for sports tourists from around the world.” He said.
“We hope that the announcement of the tennis cup would motivate Saudi players to invest more in the game so that they could compete at international levels in the future.”

Also confirmed for the event are Italy’s Fabio Fognini and David Goffin. Fognini won his first Masters title earlier this year in Monte Carlo and Goffin is currently ranked 14th in the world.

The announcement comes just days after the conservative country changed the rules to their visas for tourists. Renowned for its strict laws, unmarried couples are now allowed to rent hotel rooms together and women can stay alone.

In 2018, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic were due to clash in the Kingdom before their exhibition was called off. The decision was made in the aftermath of the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered inside the Saudi Arabian embassy in Turkey. Both players were also criticised for agreeing to play in the country that has a questionable human rights record.

The full line-up for the Diriyah Tennis Cup will be announced shortly.

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Garbine Muguruza Doesn’t Care About Her Ranking As Australian Open Run Continues

The Spanish star has now achieved her best grand slam run in almost two years at Melbourne Park.

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After experiencing a roller coaster 2019 on the tour, Garbine Muguruza looks to be back on track at the Australian Open following her latest triumph.

 

The former world No.1 extended her winning run in Melbourne on Monday with a 6-3, 6-3, win over ninth seed Kiki Bertens. Making it the second top 10 player she has defeated in the tournament after Elina Svitolina. In her latest clash, the Spaniard was broken at the start of both sets, but managed to turn her fortunes around with the help of a dominant display behind her first serve. Where she won 28 out of 31 points. Muguruza also hit 19 winners to 18 unforced errors.

“I feel good in this tournament. I’m super concentrated on every single match, especially because I started the tournament so-so. I feel like my body’s getting healthier.” Said Muguruza.
“It’s a Grand Slam, we are all very concentrated here. For me, it’s one of the tournaments that motivates me the most.”

As a result of her latest win, Muguruza is through to the last eight of a major for the first time since the 2018 French Open. It is only the second time she has managed to reach the quarter-final stage in Melbourne and first since 2017.

The surge comes at a time where the 26-year-old is trying to establish her footing on the tour. Unseeded in the draw, she is currently ranked 32nd in the world. 14 places lower than where she was 12 months ago. Not that it bothers her in any way.

“You know what? Who cares about the ranking, honestly. I feel like it’s just a sign of probably the last results. At the end you go out there and you play.” She explained.
“I don’t even know the rankings of the ones I’m playing. I know who they are. I know the matches we’ve had. But it doesn’t affect me so much.’
“Of course, the higher you are, the more beautiful it is. But it’s not that important to me no more after these years.”

Muguruza’s laid back approach to her current position is understandable given the openness of women’s tennis. The past 12 major tournaments have been won by 10 different players. During that period Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep are the only players to win multiple titles. At present there are 16 active grand slam champions playing on the WTA Tour.

The question remains about whether Muguruza has what it takes to go all the way in Melbourne. No Spanish woman has reached the final of the tournament since Conchita Martinez back in 1998, who coincidentally is now coaching Muguruza on the tour.

“She’s very, very aggressive as she was when she was playing her best tennis.” Martinez told reporters about Muguruza’s current form.
“Physically, I see her (playing) very well. She’s getting to the balls early enough. You can see she’s holding her ground really well, accelerating, finishing at the net a lot. That’s always nice to see.’
“Things like that you can see a little bit more and more. So it’s good to see.”

Muguruza will play either Angelique Kerber or Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the next round.

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(VIDEO) Australian Open Day Seven: Roger Federer Fights Back Once Again

Ubaldo Scanagatta analysis the key matches that took place in Melbourne on Sunday, which includes the roller-coaster win of the Swiss Maestro.

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Sunday in Australia saw two of the big favourites in the men’s draw progress, but it was far from straightforward for one. Roger Federer had to battle back from a set down to edge out Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics. Setting him up with a clash against world No.100 Tennys Sandgren. Meanwhile, defending champion Novak Djokovic is rapidly gaining in momentum following his triumph over Diego Schwartzman.

 

In the women’s draw, Ash Barty has given herself a shot of revenge after setting up a quarter-final meeting with Petra Kvitova. The same player who beat her in the last eight of the tournament 12 months ago.

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Thomas Musters Hints At Conflict With Thiem After Sudden Axe From Team

The unexpected move by Thiem has left more questions than answers.

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Australian tennis legend Thomas Muster has seemingly suggested that a difference in opinion was behind his sudden departure from Dominic Thiem’s team after just two weeks.

 

On Saturday the world No.5 unexpectedly confirmed that the former French Open champion has left his team. Exactly 18 days after Thiem said during a press conference at the ATP Cup that the two have arranged a ‘working relationship.’ The announcement followed Thiem’s four-set win over Taylor Fritz in the third round of the Australian Open.

“We ended our working relationship,” He told Austrian reporters in Melbourne. “It did not fit. It’s easy like that. It is just about work. We get along well personally, and we said in the beginning, if anything is not all right we will tell each other.”

Questions are left remaining about what the exact reason for the two to go their separate ways. Especially given their short period spent working together. Both have been coy on the subject, but Muster has shed some light during an interview with Eurosport.

Speaking with fellow former world No.1 Becker, Muster said he was initially expecting to be working with Thiem for a two-year period. Adding to the mystery, the 52-year-old fuelled further speculation when he gave a cryptic insight about the two-time French Open finalist. Who had previously said that his career was to emulate and surpass Muster’s career achievements.

“To be honest, I have seen myself in this role for the next two years.” He told Becker.
“Why he chose differently…l I know why, but I don’t want to say the details.’
“It’s like this. There are houses which look nice from the outside, wonderfully from the outside, but you rarely know who lives inside.”

Speaking about Thiem’s performance on the court, Muster believes there are still areas of his game that requires further improvement. Last year the 26-year-old won five titles on the ATP Tour, including his first at Masters level. Something that was only matched by Novak Djokovic.

“He’s a fine guy and likes to learn a lot,” he told Eurosport.
“But he has also got some shortcomings, he has to work on if he wants to be at the top. He has improved a lot, but he to catch up in the technical, physical and foremost in the mental area.”

Muster isn’t the only former professional with a view that Thiem needs to improve. Mats Wilander recently called on the tennis star to improve his attitude on the court.

Thiem will play fifth seed Gael Monfils in the fourth round of the French Open on Monday.

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