No.1 Status Irrelevant For Ash Barty And Her Quest For First Win Of 2020 In Adelaide - UBITENNIS
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No.1 Status Irrelevant For Ash Barty And Her Quest For First Win Of 2020 In Adelaide

The grand slam winner believes she has work to do in order to become a ‘complete player.’

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Ash Barty has stated that her current place at the top of the WTA rankings doesn’t guarantee anything as she aims to reach her best form in time for the Australian Open.

The French Open champion will return to action in Adelaide following a disappointing start to her season in Brisbane last week. At the event the Australian crashed out of her opening match to Jennifer Brady in straight sets. A rare occurrence for Barty, who only lost her opening match in one out of 15 tournaments played last year. Not to be disheartened by her latest loss, the 23-year-old is hoping to get back on track.

“I can’t wait to start. Every match I play here will be a bonus, I’ve done my preparation well. I’ve put myself in a position to try and play my best tennis,” Barty told reporters.
“At the moment, this event is all that’s on my mind.”

Whilst Adelaide is at the top of her priorities at present, Barty is hoping the tournament will place her on a good footing heading into the Australian Open. Where she will be bidding to become the first home player to win a singles title there since 1978. Last year she reached the quarter-finals in Melbourne for the first time in her career.

Currently ranked No.1 in the world, there are high expectations for Barty to deliver in front of her home crowd. Although she is yet to win a WTA title of any sort in Australia. Last year she made $11,307,587 in prize money on the tour.

“Regardless of what number is next to my name – and whether it’s one, two, 10, 20, 50 – it’s not going to make me any more or less hungry to try and be the best that I can be,” she explained. “That is what we’re striving for every single day, to try and improve every single day and try and bring the best out of myself.
“And I have an exceptional team of people around me that help me do that and that is all we worry about – there certainly won’t be any stresses about whatever number is there.”
Having a number next to your name doesn’t guarantee anything – it doesn’t guarantee wins.
“You still have to go out there and do the work … and do your best every single match.
“And that is how I’m going to approach this week here in Adelaide; that is how I’m going to approach the Australian Open.”

Despite her rise in the sport to become one of the most formidable players in the women’s game, Barty believes she still has a way to go to reach her maximum potential. So far in her career, she has won seven WTA titles with four of those occurring during the 2019 season.

“I want to be the complete tennis player,” she states.
“… The challenge is now to continue to try and improve as a tennis player and that’s all I can really ask of myself.
“It’s going to be small improvements but improvements nonetheless every single day.”

Barty, who has a bye in the first round, will start her Adelaide campaign against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

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Maria Sakkari Appoints Witt As Coach For American Swing

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Maria Sakkari - WTA Washington 2023 (foto Twitter @mubadalacitidc)

Maria Sakkari has enlisted the help of Jessica Pegula’s former long-time coach in a bid to regain her form on the Tour. 

Greek media has confirmed that the world No.9 has begun a partnership with David Witt, who has also previously coached Venus Williams. Witt had worked with Pegula since 2019 before the tennis star decided to end their collaboration earlier this year. During their time together he oversaw the American win two WTA 1000 events, reached the quarter-final of a grand Slam on six occasions and peaked at a ranking high of No.3. 

Sakkari’s appointment comes after she ended her six-year working relationship with Tom Hill. Highlights of their partnership include winning two Tour titles, reaching a Grand Slam semi-final twice and spending more than two years in the top 10. 

“Tom, thank you for all the emotions, the support on and off the court, and the belief you had in me since day one,” Sakkari wrote on Instagram last month. “We grew together, and you helped me realize that everything is possible.

“Not only did you make me a better tennis player, but you also made me a better person. Thank you for always wanting the best for me and for always having my back! Good luck on the next chapter in your career.”

Sakkari is looking to get back on track after what has been a disappointing start to 2024. She had won just two matches in her first four singles tournaments played and is yet to face an opponent ranked in the world’s top 20. However, she faired better at the United Cup, where she won three matches in the team event, including victories over Lelylah Fernandez and Angelique Kerber. 

It is understood that Sakkari will be working with Witt at both Indian Wells and Miami. If their partnership is successful, it could be extended further into the clay swing. The other members of her team will remain in the same roles. 

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Ugo Humbert saves three match points to beat Hubert Hurkacz in Dubai

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Fifth-seed Ugo Humbert came back from one set down to beat Hubert Hurkacz 3-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3. Humbert had beaten Hurkacz en route to his title in Marseille. 

Hurkacz converted his third break point in the fourth game to win the first set 6-3. Humbert saved three match points in the tie-break of the second set before converting his first set point to force the match to the decider. Humbert broke twice to seal the third set 6-3. 

“It was a great battle. I tried to battle for every point. In the tie-break I saved three match points, tried to do my best and thanks to those French fans for the amazing support”, said Humbert. 

Humbert set up a semifinal match against Danil Medvedev, who beats Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2 6-3. Humbert leads 2-1 in their head-to-head matches, but Medvedev won their most recent match in three sets at the China Open in their most recent head-to-head match in Beijing last year.

“It’s going to be a great challenge against Danil tomorrow. We had a few great fights. Hopefully I will recover well to be ready for this match”, said Humbert. 

Aleksander Bublik was leading Jiri Lehecka 6-4 4-1 when the Czech player was forced to retire due to an injury. Bublik set up a match against Andrey Rublev, who was leading Sebastian Korda 6-4 4-3  when the Czech player withdrew due to injury. 

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Brazilian Rising Star Joao Fonseca Waives College Eligibility To Turn Pro

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Image via https://twitter.com/RioOpenOficial/

One of Brazil’s most promising young tennis players has made the bold decision to abandon a dream of his to play college tennis in America to turn pro. 

17-year-old Jaoao Fonseca was committed to playing college tennis at the University of Virginia but says professional tennis has called him in a way he couldn’t refuse. The rising star has played just two Tour-level events so far in his career and is currently ranked 343rd in the world. 

At last week’s Rio Open, he became the second-youngest player after Alexander Zverev to reach the quarter-finals of an ATP 500 event since the category was introduced. In his home tournament, the Brazillian beat Arthur Fils and Cristian Garin before losing to Mariano Navone.

“It was an incredibly tough decision for me and my family as I have been dreaming about living a college life in Charlottesville, playing the sport that l love with a wonderful team and coach, but, in the last months, professional tennis called me in a way that I simply couldn’t say no,” Fonseca wrote in a statement published on Instagram
“Although I will not be attending school, I think it is an extremely valuable and viable path for young players in their way to professional careers,” he added.

Fonseca has already enjoyed success on the junior circuit. Last year he was runner-up in the doubles tournament at the Australian Open boy’s event. Then at the US Open, he won his first Grand Slam junior title in singles. He is also a former ITF Junior World No.1 and is currently ranked second in the standings. 

The youngster has already been hailed by compatriot Beatriz Haddad Maia, who is currently ranked 13th on the WTA Tour. Speaking to reporters at the San Diego Open, she has offered her support to Fonseca if he needs it. 

“João is a nice person. He has a great future, if he keeps working hard and keeps doing what he’s doing. I think he has a very aggressive mentality and tennis.” She said.

“We sometimes text each other, but not that much. But I’m always following.. not only him.. but the Brazilians. I’m proud of what he’s doing. He has a long way and he needs to understand that it’s a marathon, it’s not a 100 meter race.’
“Tennis has its ups and downs. I wish him all the best, for sure. I’ll be here whenever he wants. I’m happy with what he’s doing.” 

Fonseca played at the Chile Open this week but lost in the first round to Thiago Agustin Tirante.

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