Alex Corretja On Why He's Backing Garbine Muguruza For Australian Open Glory - UBITENNIS
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Alex Corretja On Why He’s Backing Garbine Muguruza For Australian Open Glory

The two-time French Open finalist explains why he believes Muguruza is the favourite in the final.

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Former world No.2 Alex Corretja believes Garbine Muguruza has the upper hand heading into the women’s title match at the Australian Open on Saturday.

 

Muguruza, who is unseeded in the draw, will take on 21-year-old American Sofia Kenin. Who will be playing in her first ever grand slam final. The Spaniard has endured a revival in her form at the Melbourne major as she dropped just two sets in six matches played. Both of which was during the first two rounds. En route to the final, she has knocked out top 10 players Kiki Bertens, Elina Svitolina and Simona Halep.

“I’m feeling good.” Muguruza told reporters on Thursday. “I think I played many top-10 players in a row and got victories. It’s definitely a sign that my tennis is good.’
“I’m excited to have one more match here (in Melbourne), and hopefully get it.”

Looking ahead to the final, Corretja believes Muguruza’s previous experience gives her an advantage against Kenin. She won the 2016 French Open and 2017 Wimbledon Championships. Muguruza was also runner-up at Wimbledon back in 2015. However, the Spaniard lost to the world No.15 in their only previous meeting at the China Open last year. Kenin defeated world No.1 Ash Barty in her semi-final match.

“For Garbine, we’ve been talking about her a lot and I always trusted her because she has got the potential and it was just a matter of time before she got back the pieces of the puzzle.” Corretja said on Eurosport.
“She found them a few months ago, started working with Conchita (Martinez), it was good she worked hard in the off-season and then played a lot of matches before coming here. Even though she got ill, she was ready, if she didn’t have those kinds of matches before she got ill she would be panicking because she knew she was in good shape and she overcame it strongly.’
“I think Garbine showed she is aggressive, she is serving well, she’s going to try to dictate and put pressure on her opponents. Kenin can defend well, hit good groundstrokes and she’s also a good mover. But I am thinking considering Garbine has been there and she knows what it takes to deal with those emotions of a final, I give her the advantage.”

Coach Conchita Martinez admits that aggression will be key for Muguruza in the upcoming final. A former Australian Open finalist herself back in 1998, the 47-year-old reunited with her compatriot at the end of 2019 after working with Karolina Plskova. She previously worked with the former world No.1 between 2017-2018 and guided her to her only Wimbledon title.

“She is a great player, a very good fighter. She strikes the ball good. She is aggressive. So the key is going to be to stay with her, to stay aggressive, try to be the one in command.” Martinez said of Kenin.
“It’s not going to be easy, but hopefully she (Muguruza) can do it.”

Women’s grand slam tennis has been renowned for its unpredictability in recent years. 10 out of the last 12 major tournaments have been won by different players. During that period, Halep and Naomi Osaka are the only ones to have claimed multiple titles. At the Australian Open, the last woman to win back-to-back titles was Victoria Azarenka in 2012 and 2013.

Should Muguruza win the title in Melbourne Park on Saturday she would become the first Spanish woman in history to ever do so.

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Kim Clijsters starts the World Team Tennis tournament with a win over Bernarda Pera

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Former world number 1 and multiple Grand Slam champion Kim Cljisters made a winning start to her 2020 World Team Tennis campaign with a 5-2 win over US player Bernarda Pera. World team Tennis is a mixed gender professional tennis league played with a team format in the United States.

 

The Belgian player rallied from 0-40 down twice and won two of three deciding points to seal the win. The 2020 World Team Tennis season will be the 45th season of the league and features nine teams and each team will play a 14-match regular-season schedule.

Clijsters has won 41 WTA singles titles and 11 doubles titles and lifted three WTA Tour Championships. She has won the Australian Open singles title in 2011 and three US titles in 2005, 2009 and 2010 and two Grand Slam doubles titles at Roland Garros and Wimbledon in 2003.

Cljisters retired from tennis in 2007 at the age of 23 to start a family. She made her come-back in 2009 and won her second US Open title as unranked player in just her third tournament of the comeback. Kim won her back-to-back title at the US Open in 2010 and the Australian Open in 2011. She became the first mother to be ranked world number 1 by the WTA. She holds the record for most Grand Slam singles titles won as a mother and was the first to win one since Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1980.

Clijsters retired again after the 2012 US Open.

Cljisters returned to professional tennis at the Dubai Tennis Championships more than seven years of retirement. She lost to Garbine Muguruza in the opening round.

Cljisters is determined to return on the court after the WTA Tour was suspended since March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The most important lesson for me is to trust the process. It does not mean because COVID happened that I am not interested in playing more tennis. There are some challenges and combining parenting at home and teaching the kids at home and still going to practice and things like that, so it was challenging but at the same time you get through that together”, said Cljisters.

 

Several precautions are in place at the World Team Tennis to avoid the risk of contracting Covid-19. No more than 500 spectators are allowed inside the 2500-seat stadium.

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Angelique Kerber suggests she won’t travel to New York

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Three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber suggested she won’t travel even if the US Open gets the go-ahead.

 

The US Open organizers are determined to hold their tournament despite the restrictions imposed to fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

The German star says travelling to New York to play at the US Open is the last thing she wants to do due to the coronavirus crisis.

“As of today, I say quite honestly, I cannot imagine it. I don’t think anyone wants to get in a plane and fly to New York. At the moment no one knows what’s happening and how it will go on. I have the greatest respect that I or a member of my team could be infected and we are stuck without knowing how to proceed”, said Kerber.

Kerber is not optimistic that the WTA Tour will resume according to plan.

“Who knows, perhaps we will not play tennis in the next two years. It’s hard to say. We will also start again in three weeks”, said Kerber.

Daria Gavrilova said that she needs to play the US Open for financial reasons. The Australian tennis player has not played since the US Open last year due to injury and the shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“For me it’s important to make a living, to make some money. We have a choice. Personally I like to know that I have an opportunity to play and earn, but I feel like the players just don’t want to make a tough decision and maybe would feel a relief if the tournament is cancelled”, said Gavrilova.

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REPORT: Japanese Tennis Association To Lose One Billion Yen In 2020

The loss of a key men’s event in the country has resulted in millions of dollars being loss in revenue.

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Venue of the 2019 Mens Japan Open (image via https://twitter.com/rakutenopen)

The cancellation of a premier tennis event in Japan due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is set to have a massive financial impact on the country’s governing body.

 

Last month organisers made the decision to scrap the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships this year amid fears of a second wave of the virus in October when the it is set to take place. The tournament is currently categorised as an ATP 500 event and has been held annually since 1973. In 2019 Novak Djokovic won the tournament for the first time in his career without dropping a single set throughout. Other previous winners also include Roger Federer (2006), Rafael Nadal (2010) and Andy Murray (2011).

“Given concerns about a second wave of the infection both in Japan and overseas, we came to the anguished conclusion that we had to cancel,” organisers said in a statement.

It has been estimated that as a result of the move, the Japanese Tennis Association (JTA) will lose millions of dollars in revenue. National news agency Kyodo has estimated the loss to be at least 1 billion Yen ($9.4 million) based on this event alone and no others.

JTA executive director Naohiro Kawatei told Kyodo that moving athletes in and out of the country is problematic due to the current situation. Tokyo has recently raised it’s Coronavirus alert level to the top of a four-point scale after there have been more than 100 new daily cases of the virus in the city for six days in a row. Furthermore, The Bank of Japan has revised down their growth forecasts.

“In addition to players coming from overseas, it is the responsibility of organizers to facilitate their departure, so there are some differences between our sport and others,” said Kawatei.

At present the women’s top tournament in the country is still on the 2020 schedule. The Pan Pacific Open, which is classed as a Premier event, is currently set to take place during the week commencing November 2nd.

Recently the Asian swing of the tennis season has been thrown into jeopardy after the Chinese General Administration of Sports recommended that no sports events take place in the country unless they are related to Olympic qualification. Although sports federations, including both the ATP and WTA, are seeking clarity from officials before they make their next move. China is usually where the majority of Asian tennis events are played, including the WTA Finals.

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