Amelie Mauresmo Fears 2020 Season Is Over, But Becker Disagrees - UBITENNIS
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Amelie Mauresmo Fears 2020 Season Is Over, But Becker Disagrees

Two former world No.1 disagree on what will happen to the sport this year, but what is the current stance of the governing bodies?

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Former world No.1 Amelie Mauresmo has said she is doubtful that there will be any more competitive tennis played this year due to the covid-19 pandemic.

 

Both the ATP and WTA tours are currently suspended until June 8th due to the deadly virus. According to the John Hopkins University there has been an estimated 800,000 cases of Coronavirus globally that has killed over 37,500 people. The disease is particularly dangerous to the elderly and those with pre-existing medical problems.

In light of the epidemic, it is likely that the Wimbledon Championships will be officially cancelled later this week following a series of emergency meetings. Making it the first time the grand slam has been scrapped in peace time. Wimbledon wasn’t played 10 times during the first and second World Wars. It is expected that a decision concerning a potential extension of the tour suspension will be made after the announcement.

Weighing in on the situation, two-time grand slam champion Mauresmo believes officials could be soon forced to cancel the entire season. Echoing similar comments that were previously made by Craig Tiley, who is the chief of Tennis Australia.

“I think that we are going to have to draw a line under the 2020 tennis season.” Said Mauresmo.
“The international circuit = male and female players of all nationalities including their coaching staff, spectators and people from all over the world who bring these events to life.
“No vaccine = no tennis,’ she added.

Due to the unpredictability of the epidemic, it is unclear as to when life around the world will return to normal. However, not everybody is thinking the worst when it comes to tennis this year. German legend Boris Becker has called for an end to what he describes as ‘doom and gloom.’

“We should stop with all this doom and gloom — of course tennis will be played this year,” he tweeted in a reply to an article concerning Mauresmo comments.

Looking beyond Wimbledon, two grand slam tournaments are still hoping to take place this season. The US Open is scheduled to get underway on August 24th in New York. Although the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, which hosts the tournament, has been turned into a 350-bed hospital to help New York cope with the Covid-19 outbreak. Meanwhile, the French Open is optimistically intending to play their event the week after the US Open concludes.

What are the governing bodies saying?

In regards to planning for the future of the tennis season, the women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has shed some light on their potential plans. In a statement sent to Reuters News Agency on Tuesday, they are pondering the possibility of extending the calendar beyond the first week of November. Allowing more tournaments to be played and therefore more players can earn money.

“The WTA is diligently working with our tournaments to maximize earning possibilities when the professional tennis circuit is able to resume and is considering an extension to the current 44-week season to enable more tournaments to take place,” the WTA statement reads.
“It is our sincere hope to return to the court as soon as possible – when the health and safety or our players, fans and staffs can be guaranteed, we will be back competing.”

It is likely the male equivalent, the ATP, is considering similar approaches. Although they have yet to publicly comment on their potential plans. ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi admitted on March 24th that it is unknown as to when the tour will be able to resume.

“This is bigger than any sport. The current situation raises many questions which we empathize with greatly, and we are working hard on evaluating all options.” He said.
“Our ability to address any supportive measures will be best guided once we know the duration of the crisis and when the Tour will resume, which remains unknown at this time.“

Finally, the International Tennis Federation is also pondering what their next move will be. The ITF is responsible for the Olympic tennis event, as well as both the Davis Cup and Fed Cup. Later this year Madrid, which has been severely hit by Covid-19 cases, is set to hold the 18-team Davis Cup Finals. Although ticket sales for the event has been halted with a release date yet to be confirmed.

“Due to the current global situation caused by the impact of Covid-19 it is yet to be determined when tickets for the 2020 Finals will go on sale.” Officials said in a statement obtained by the Guardian.

There are also questions concerning how future decisions will be made. The suspension of play saw a joint-statement from the ATP and WTA. A rare glimmer of unity in a sport split up by various governing bodies with their own interests. Although the head of the WTA, Steve Simon, insists that all the relevant bodies are working together on a regular basis.

“It’s very important right now for our sport to be working together. We are in contact on a daily basis with the ATP, as well as the ITF and grand slams. I think the sport is working very well together. There are obviously, when you go through these things, blips in the script.” Simon told The Tennis Channel.

Both the men’s and women’s rankings have been frozen until play resumes.

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Felix Auger Aliassime set to grab headlines at the Ultimate Tennis Showdown

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Canadian Next Gen star Felix Auger Aliassime has signed up to play at the Ultimate Tennis Showdown. The 2019 Miami Masters 1000 semifinalist, who has been practicing at the Moratoglou Academy in Southern France, will play his first competitive tennis match since the coronavirus lockdown.

 

The Ultimate Tennis Showdown will feature competitive matches between some of the best professional players and will be streamed live into the homes of millions of fans from around the world.

The tournament will start on 14-15 June with the match between David Goffin and Alexei Popyrin. The list of players, who have confirmed that they play in France in mid-June, also features Benoit Paire, Dustin Brown and Lucas Pouille.

Throughout a five-week period starting on 13th June, the Mouratoglou Academy-hosted series will feature ten UTS events per weekend that will broadcast into the homes of fans around the world. A grand total of 50 matches will be played in a round-robin format among the ten competitors.

For the first time, millions of tennis fans are not only watching a gripplingly entertaining match between two of the world’s best tennis players live, but spectators play a role in what unfolds. They interact with the players and can ask questions at changeovers, see what’s happening behind the scenes in the lives of players, and hear every word exchanged between coaches and players.

“The idea behind the highly entertaining tennis platform came about when renowned coach Patrick Moratoglou and tech entrepreneur Alex Popyrin were brainstorming new ways of revoulutionizing the way tennis is played, watched and appreciated. UTS organizers are viewing this challenge as a window of opportunity. Aligned with local social distance requirements, the Mouratoglou Academy will host an invitation-only showdown series for five consecutive weeks starting on 13th June featuring real tennis matches between many household names in tennis, such as David Goffin, Fabio Fognini, Alexei Popyrin, Benoit Paire, Lucas Pouille and Dustin Brown”,wrote organisers.

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Severin Luthi: “For Roger, it is not necessary to be hitting balls too much”

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Paul Annacone talked to Roger Federer’s coach Severin Luthi in Tennis Channel’s Coaching in the Bigs’ series.

 

Luthi and Annacone coached Federer together for four years from 2010 to 2013.

Annacone asked Luthi how Federer was doing during the lockdown.

“For Roger, it is not necessary to be hitting balls too much. The volley challenge that he put up on social media was more for fun, there is no stress on him to practice a lot as there is time for tournaments to start”, said Luthi.

Luthi was asked whether there was anything about Roger Federer that most fans don’t know.

“Roger is a funny and nice guy. He is funnier than most people might think. Not too many people know that. Most people only know how good he is in tennis”.

Annacone said that most people don’t know how hard Roger works on the court.

“It’s almost unfair that Roger makes things look so easy. What you see is what you get from him. Most people don’t know how hard and smart he works so that we get to watch his magical stuff on the court”, said Annacone.

 Luthi said that Federer is still working very hard at 38.

“What’s fascinating for me is that he is still doing that stuff at 38. He is asking himself those questions. You need to analyse and ask yourself the right questions. You need to look forward again. He steps up for the next game and next practice. I have learnt a lot of things from him”, said Luthi.

Federer did not convert two championships points in the epic Wimbledon final against Novak Djokovic last July and lost the match in five sets.

“Sometimes you win matches you should not. Sometimes you lose matches you shouldn’t. It is all about not getting too negative on yourself. You would get a second chance”.

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Novak Djokovic accepts that playing in front of empty stands is the only solution to continue the tour

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Novak Djokovic talked about the problems tennis players are facing in this difficult period in a recent interview to three-time Grand Slam champion Guga Kuerten. The Serb said that he cannot imagine the idea of playing behind closed doors.

 

The interview was part of a promotion for Kuerten’s “Vencendo Juntos” programme to raise 10 Million Brazilian Real to help 35000 Brazilian families affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. Djokovic and Roger Federer have agreed to show their support for the initiative.

“I honestly don’t dream to play in front of empty stands, but it looks like that it’s going to be the reality of tennis. We have probably to accept that if we want to continue the tour, then we have to be playing in restricted conditions that will at least allow us to play and compete. Of course it is not ideal. Of course, I play for me and my family. My opinion is that I personally don’t play tennis for me only. Of course, I play for me and my family. I feel like tennis gives me so much joy and I love playing it and of course, I practice. I don’t need to have people there every practice. I think the advantage of tennis in these circumstances compared to many other sports is that you can play national level tournaments if countries between themselves allow people and players to travel between the countries”, said Djokovic.  

Tennis players are going through a lot of challenges in this difficult period.

“We have earned enough money to have comfortable lives. We are lucky and grateful to have this life, but 95% of tennis players and also the people in the world, but also the people in the world, but we are talking about tennis now, they are fighting. This is the reality. Especially those in the lowest positions. They do not have the opportunity to compete and earn money. For many of those players, this is about surviving, continuing to play professional tennis or quitting. I have spent a lot of time in the last two months helping the Serbian Tennis Federation organize a tour. I also spend a lot of time talking to the ATP and the Council, trying to understand the players, with the ATP, with the President and player representatives, about the best ways to help lower-ranking players. I hold myself accountable not only because I am the President of the ATP Council but also as one of the best players in the world and someone was very successful in tennis and made a lot of money from it. I need to be present as much as I can, be available to contribute in any way possible. I spoke with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal there was a lot of communication. I am very happy with how the world of the men’s tennis responded in these difficult times”, said Djokovic.

Djokovic said that he would like to visit Rio de Janeiro to play an exhibition match with Kuerten. The Serb visited Rio de Janeiro in November 2012 for the opening of a tennis court in the Rocinha part of the city, one of the largest slums in South America.

“I remember the day we played at Macaranazinho. I remember Rio well. I remember well. It was one of the best days of my life”, said Djokovic.

 Djokovic showed his appreciation for Guga Kuerten.

“Guga is one of the most charismatic players to have been involved in tennis and today he showed why. Brazilian tennis has a great spirit and big soul. Serbia is a small country but it has a lot of common with Brazil. We are very emotive people”, said Djokovic.

 

Djokovic started the 2020 season with an unbeaten streak of 18 wins and claimed three titles at the inaugural edition of the ATP Cup in Australia, the Australian Open in Melbourne and Dubai.

 

The Serbian star saved two match points to beat Roger Federer in an epic five-set Wimbledon final last July. He won his 17th Grand Slam title in Melbourne by beating Dominic Thiem.

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