Gael Monfils joins star-studded line-up at Mubadala World Tennis Championships - UBITENNIS
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Gael Monfils joins star-studded line-up at Mubadala World Tennis Championships

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Eight-time ATP Tour champion and former world number 6 Gael Monfils is the latest addition to the 2019 star-studded line-up at the Mubadala World Tennis Championships at Abu Dhabi’s International Tennis Centre at Zayed Sports City from 19th to 21st December. The tournament features four of the top six players.

 

Monfils will join the line-up which features world number 1 and 2019 Roland Garros and US Open champion and Davis Cup winner Rafael Nadal, reigning Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic, 2019 ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas and this year’s Cincinnati and Shanghai Masters 1000 champion Danil Medvedev. Five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova will face rising star Amanda Anisimova in the women’s match on day one.

Monfils will start his season at the Abu Dhabi exhibition only for the second time in his career. He is set to make his come-back in Abu Dhabi for the first time since 2012. The Frenchman, who reached the semifinals at Roland Garros and at the US Open, was beaten by Novak Djokovic in the quarter finals in his first appearance at the popular Abu Dhabi exhibition tournament.

“Having played in Abu Dhabi before, I know the special atmosphere of this Championship and I am really excited to be coming back. I am looking forward to going up against a strong field and I believe that it will be the perfect way to begin an important season”, said Monfils.

 Organisers previously announced four-time Mubadala World Tennis Championships Novak Djokovic, who enoyed a successful 2019 season, in which he won the Australian Open final against Rafael Nadal and beat Roger Federer in an epic Wimbledon final. Djokovic won the 2018 final of the Mubadala World Tennis Championships beating Kevin Anderson 4-6 7-5 7-5.

“Abu Dhabi is a special place and one where I have tasted success consistently. The courts are great, the spectators know their sport. The atmosphere is thoroughly enjoyable. The line-up for the tournament is really strong. You always want to play challenging opponents early in the season in order to get a good measure of yourself and I am hoping I can put in place a few things that I have been working on in the off-season”,said Djokovic.

Stefanos Tsitsipas confirmed that he will take part in the 12th edition of the Abu Dhabi tournament. The Greek player reached the semifinal at the Australian Open, and won three titles in Marseille, Estoril and at the ATP Finals in London one year after clinching the Next Gen ATP Finals trophy in Milan. He became the youngest ATP Finals champion since Lleyton Hewitt in 2001. Tsitsipas beat top 10 players Danil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, Roger Federer and Dominic Thiem en route to winning his maiden ATP Finals title at the London O2 Arena.

 

“I have amazing things about the Mubadala World Tennis Championships and Abu Dhabi. The weather and the facilities make for the perfect destination to start the 2020 season and the organisers are putting together a strong line-up”,said Tsitsipas.

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Barty’s father said that her daughter was sad and wanted to step away from tennis in 2014

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Ashleigh Barty rose up the ranking sas a teenager after finishing runner-up at three Grand Slam doubles tournaments with Australian veteran Casey Dellacqua at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open in 2013. The Aussie team also won one title at the Birmingham Classic. Barty decided to step away from tennis in 2014 to play women’s cricket and started playing for the Western Suburbs Cricket Club, a local team that competes in Brisbane Women’s Premier Cricket Twenty League.

 

“It was too much too quickly for me as I have been travelling from quite a young age. I wanted to experience life as a normal teenaged girl and have some normal experiences”, said Barty at that time.

 Ashleigh’s said during a webinar organised by the Active SG Voyager Tennis Academy that he was not surprised when his daughter decided to step away from the sport after the 2014 US Open.

“Ash was sad all the time. She was not herself on the court. I said to my wife that we had just got to make sure that Ashleigh was happy. Her happiness was more important. Were we disappointed ? Of course we were, because we love watching tennis and we were hooked on tennis. To see Ash happy and see her around her sisters and having fun again was so much better than having her miserable and going out and playing tennis”, said Rob Barty.

Barty started her 2019 season with a runner-up finish to Petra Kvitova in Sydney. The Aussie player reached her first quarter final at the Australian Open, where she beat Maria Sharapova before losing again to Kvitova. Barty won her first maiden Premier Mandatory title in Miami and claimed her first Grand Slam trophy at Roland Garros. Barty became the first Australian player to win at Roland Garros since Margaret Court in 1973.

Barty followed up her Roland Garros with a back-to-back title in Birmingham on grass. She has become the second Australian player to be number 1 in the WTA Ranking since Evonne Goolagong Cawley. Barty’s winning streak came to end when she was beaten by Alison Riske in the fourth round at Wimbledon.

Barty reached the semifinal in Wuhan before winning the WTA Finals in Shenzhen beating Elina Svitolina in the final. Barty finished the season as the world number 1. Last January she started the 2020 season with a title in Adelaide before losing to eventual champion Sofia Kenin in the semifinal at the Australian Open. During her career Barty clinched eight singles titles and ten doubles titles.

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Juan Martin Del Potro Splits From Coach

The tennis star has announced a big change to his team.

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Former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro is on the hunt for a new coach after agreeing to end his collaboration with Sebastian Prieto to continue focus on his rehabilitation from injury.

 

Del Potro has been working alongside Prieto since 2017 and achieved a series of career milestones under his guidance. Including winning his maiden Masters 1000 title at the 2018 BNP Paribas Open and reaching a ranking high of third in August that same year. Their decision has been made to allow Prieto to focus all of his attention on Juan Londero. Another Argentine player who is currently ranked 62nd in the world.

“I want to share that I have agreed with Sebastian Prieto to end our partnership, so that he can work with Juan Londero, while I continue my rehab process,” Del Potro said on Twitter.
“I’m very thankful to Piper for all of these years together. He is a great coach and even a better person. All the best!”

45-year-old Prieto is a former ATP player who peaked at a ranking high of 22nd in the doubles. During his career, he won 10 Tour titles with all of those occurring on the clay. He also reached the quarter-finals of the men’s doubles tournament at the 2003 French Open.

It is currently unknown as to who will be taking over as Del Potro’s new coach. The former grand slam champion hasn’t played a competitive match since last June due to a serious knee injury. At the Fever-Tree Championships in London, he fractured his right kneecap and was forced to undergo surgery to repair it. The second time he had to undergo that procedure within as many years after also suffering a similar injury at the 2018 Shanghai Rolex Masters.

Del Potro is currently undergoing rehabilitation and it is unclear as to when he will be able to return to the Tour again. All professional tennis tournaments have been either suspended or cancelled until at least July 31st due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although both the US Open and French Open are hoping to go ahead as planned.

So far in his career, the 31-year-old has won 22 ATP titles and earned almost $26 million in prize money. Earning more money than any other player from his country in the history of the sport.

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Former No.1 Karolina Pliskova Hits Out At Men Worrying About Equal Pay In Tennis

The world No.4 explains why she personally doesn’t want equal pay on the tour, but criticises those who worry that women players might do so in the future.

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Czech tennis star Karolina Pliskova has labelled men who voice opposition against equal pay as ‘super weak’ as she becomes the latest player to throw her backing behind the possibility of a merger of the two premier tennis Tour’s.

 

Pliskova, who is a former US Open finalist, spoke out about the topic when questioned by the PA Press Agency. In recent weeks there has been growing calls for the ATP and WTA to be merged into one. Support for the idea gained momentum when Roger Federer tweeted his support for it. However the heads of the two governing bodies have already been in discussions about working closer together in some capacity since the start of this year.

Although the prospect of a merger remains low due to the complex process that it would involve, both the ATP and WTA have vowed greater collaboration to help enhance the future of the sport. One of the main talking points behind the calls is pay. There is equal prize money at all of the grand slams, however, it does differ behind the men and women on the Tour. Last year six men earned more than $7 million in prize money compared to one on the WTA Tour (Ash Barty).

Weighing in on the topic, Pliskova has interestingly said that she is not interested in campaigning for her to be paid similar to her male counterparts. Arguing that the two genders should not be compared. However, she has voiced her frustration at those who are against the concept of equal pay.

“I don’t think so and I am not the one who wants it. But I don’t like the men who are complaining that we would get the same money. I think it is super weak from them that they complain we have the same money as them,” she said.
“The only time it is true is at grand slams. I understand they play longer, but they are men. They are stronger than us. I don’t see the reason why we should compare each other. I don’t need to have the same prize money as men. But to have the same chance to play on centre court or to have the same chance to be on TV, that should be possible with these changes.”

As of March 20th Pliskova has made $19,997,689 in prize money throughout her career, which is the 19th highest tally in the history of women’s tennis.

Speaking more specifically about a possible merger, the 28-year-old believes it would help enhance the women’s tour. Although she is staying cautious about the prospect of such a thing happening in the future.

“I think for the women’s tour it can only help. I don’t know exactly what they are discussing but if there is any chance to say yes, then I would say yes,” Pliskova said.
“It needs to be positive also for the ATP so they need to find a balance so it is a forward step for both. It might take a couple of years to get going. It will be different, but I don’t think for the players it would change that much. It would be a good step.”

Pliskova is currently ranked third in the WTA rankings and has won 16 WTA titles. She is set to return to action next week at the LiveScore Cup in Prague.

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