OFFICIAL: Coronavirus Brings Tennis Season To A Halt - UBITENNIS
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OFFICIAL: Coronavirus Brings Tennis Season To A Halt

The coronavirus pandemic has halted the tennis season for the next six weeks.

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The clay-court swing has been placed in serious jeopardy following the suspension of the ATP calendar. 

 

The ATP has confirmed that there will be no more tennis tournaments taking place in the next six weeks due to the worldwide Covid-19 crises.

Meetings took place behind closed doors on Wednesday between players and officials about the current status of the sport following the suspension of Indian Wells earlier this week. A tournament dubbed the ‘fifth grand slam’ that sold over 475,000 tickets last year.

It is understood that the ATP and WTA had separate meetings, but it is unclear as to how much communication there was between the two governing bodies. Multiple player’s were reported to express concerns about having to continue playing during the Coronavirus outbreak.

But now the ATP World Tour has announced a six week suspension following the coronavirus outbreak with the main and challenger tours returning on the 27th of April.

“This is not a decision that was taken lightly and it represents a great loss for our tournaments, players, and fans worldwide,” Andrea Gaudenzi, the ATP World Tour chairman said.

“However we believe this is the responsible action needed at this time in order to protect the health and safety of our players, staff, the wider tennis community and general public health in the face of this global pandemic.

“The worldwide nature of our sport and the international travel required presents significant risks and challenges in today’s circumstances, as do the increasingly restrictive directives issued by local authorities.

“We continue to monitor this on a daily basis and we look forward to the Tour resuming when the situation improves. In the meantime, our thoughts and well-wishes are with all those that have been affected by the virus.”

Also in the statement, the ATP World Tour announced that a decision surrounding the ranking points will be made in due course.

Prior to the announcement, some players had already taken action. Marco Panichi, who is Novak Djokovic’s fitness coach, confirmed that the team was already on a flight to Europe in an Instagram post. World No.1 Djokovic is the president of the ATP Player Council. On the same day as their departure, the American government confirmed the country will be new travel restrictions placed on 26 European countries in a  bid to curb the spread of Coronavirus.

“I agree with most players, although I understand why some of the players think the tour should continue.” Djokovic told Republika.rs on Wednesday.

“To date, the decision-making process has been based on individual cases depending on the “viral situation” in a given city, state. But after the WHO declared Pandemic, it affects the entire world.

I honestly do not know what can happen under these new circumstances and I do not know if we can play Miami or any other tournament until the WHO removes the status of the pandemic.” He added.

This announcement comes after Miami Mayor, Carlos Gimenez, announced a state of emergency in the local area therefore cancelling this year’s tournament.

Hours later the tournament confirmed this and also stated that the tournament will not be re-scheduled for later in the year.

Speaking about the ongoing situation, Heather Bowler from the ITF has told Ubitennis that they are working closely with the other two governing bodies (ATP and WTA). Assuring that collective approach is being taken to cope with the current threat of Covid-19, which has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The ITF recently confirmed the suspension of the Fed Cup playoffs and finals.

“We are of course working closely with the WTA and ATP as well as with the IOC to minimise the health risk due to the spread of COVID-19.” Said Bowler.

“There will be further announcements as the situation is evolving on a daily basis and tennis is working collaboratively to handle the impact on our sport. 

“Since early Feb 2020, the ITF formed a dedicated COVID-19 Advisory Group comprised of medical, travel and security experts which is continuously monitoring the data, WHO guidelines and the steps announced by national authorities.”

There is still to be confirmation from the WTA and ITF about a possible suspension on their tours but if this was to be the case then there would be no tennis until the 27th of April.

This means tournaments like the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, ATP Barcelona and WTA Stuttgart would be amongst the casualties.

The ATP World tour is set to resume with 250 events in Estoril and Munich.

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Updated Entry Lists For Great Ocean Road Open and Murray River Open

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The two ATP 250 tournaments will be played in Melbourne just before the Australian Open.

 

The Melbourne Summer Series will start with an updated schedule to give more time to the quarantined tennis players to get ready. Three men’s tournaments will take place in the first week: the ATP Cup and two ATP 250 events, where the entries are reserved for the players who are already in Australia.

Melbourne-1 and Melbourne-2 are scheduled to happen from the 1st to the 7th of February with a special format: the main draws have been expanded to 56 players and the qualifying tournament has been cancelled. That should give the chance to compete to the players who could not practice at all during the hard quarantine.

David Goffin, Karen Khachanov, Hubert Hurkacz, Jannik Sinner, Feliciano Lopez and many more players are committed to play the Great Ocean Road Open (Melbourne-1). Stan Wawrinka, Grigor Dimitrov, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Borna Coric lead the field for the Murray River Open (Melbourne-2).

Great Ocean Road Open (AUS, Hard), entry list:
Goffin, David (BEL)
Khachanov, Karen (RUS)
Hurkacz, Hubert (POL)
Sinner, Jannik (ITA)
Basilashvili, Nikoloz (GEO)
Opelka, Reilly (USA)
Kecmanovic, Miomir (SRB)
Bublik, Alexander (KAZ)
Sandgren, Tennys (USA)
Querrey, Sam (USA)
Thompson, Jordan (AUS)
Djere, Laslo (SRB)
Bedene, Aljaz (SLO)
Andujar, Pablo (ESP)
Pospisil, Vasek (CAN)
Lopez, Feliciano (ESP)
Koepfer, Dominik (GER)
Cuevas, Pablo (URU)
Travaglia, Stefano (ITA)
Caruso, Salvatore (ITA)
Delbonis, Federico (ARG)
Anderson, Kevin (RSA)
Monteiro, Thiago (BRA)
Herbert, Pierre-Hugues (FRA)
Martinez, Pedro (ESP)
Gombos, Norbert (SVK)
Balazs, Attila (HUN)
Mager, Gianluca (ITA)
Kwon, Soonwoo (KOR)
Carballes Baena, Roberto (ESP)
Hanfmann, Yannick (GER)
Martin, Andrej (SVK)
Lu, Yen-Hsun (TPE)
Uchiyama, Yasutaka (JPN)
Seppi, Andreas (ITA)
Majchrzan, Kamil (POL)
Ivashka, Ilya (BLR)
Dellien, Hugo (BOL)
Dzumhur, Damir (BIH)
O’Connell, Christopher (AUS)
Stebe, Cedrik-Marcel (GER)
Laaksonen, Henri (SUI)
Alcaraz, Carlos (ESP)
Van de Zandschulp, Botic (NED)
Cressy, Maxime (USA)
Coppejans, Kimmer (BEL)
Safiullin, Roman (RUS)
Vilella Martinez, Mario (ESP)
Torpegaard, Mikael (DEN)
Vukic, Aleksandar (AUS)
Haase, Robin (NED)
Stakhovsky, Sergiy (UKR)
(WC)
(WC)
(WC)
(WC)
Alternates:
Alt.1 Harris, Andrew (AUS)
Alt.2 Purcell, Max (AUS)
Alt.3 Mott, Blake (AUS)
Alt.4 Kubler, Jason (AUS)
Alt.5 Nam, Ji Sung (KOR)

Murray River Open (AUS, Hard), entry list:
Wawrinka, Stan (SUI)
Dimitrov, Grigor (BUL)
Auger-Aliassime, Felix (CAN)
Coric, Borna (CRO)
Ruud, Casper (NOR)
Fritz, Taylor (USA)
Humbert, Ugo (FRA)
Evans, Daniel (GBR)
Sonego, Lorenzo (ITA)
Mannarino, Adrian (FRA)
Cilic, Marin (CRO)
Ramos-Vinolas, Albert (ESP)
Kyrgios, Nick (AUS)
Gasquet, Richard (FRA)
Paul, Tommy (USA)
Fucsovics, Marton (HUN)
Tiafoe, Frances (USA)
Simon, Gilles (FRA)
Chardy, Jeremy (FRA)
Norrie, Cameron (GBR)
Vesely, Jiri (CZE)
Berankis, Ricardas (LTU)
Giron, Marcos (USA)
Gerasimov, Egor (BLR)
Cecchinato, Marco (ITA)
Moutet, Corentin (FRA)
Londero, Juan Ignacio (ARG)
Albot, Radu (MDA)
Ruusuvuori, Emil (FIN)
Kukushkin, Mikhail (KAZ)
Harris, Lloyd (RSA)
Coria, Federico (ARG)
Ymer, Mikael (SWE)
Sugita, Yuichi (JPN)
Duckworth, James (AUS)
Sousa, Pedro (POR)
Popyrin, Alexei (AUS)
Daniel, Taro (JPN)
Polmans, Marc (AUS)
Nagal, Sumit (IND)
Bolt, Alex (AUS)
Mmoh, Michael (USA)
Ferreira Silva, Frederico (POR)
McDonald, Mackenzie (USA)
Machac, Tomas (CZE)
Troicki, Viktor (SRB)
Ymer, Elias (SWE)
Halys, Quentin (FRA)
Muller, Alexandre (FRA)
Gojo, Borna (CRO)
Tomic, Bernard (AUS)
Kokkinakis, Thanasi (AUS)
(WC)
(WC)
(WC)
(WC)
Alternates:
Alt.1 Harris, Andrew (AUS)
Alt.2 Mott, Blake (AUS)
Alt.3 Kubler, Jason (AUS)
Alt.4 Smith, John-Patrick (AUS)
Alt.5 Ebden, Matthew (AUS)

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Next Gen Star Carlos Alcaraz Praises ‘Idol’ Nadal

The rising star talks Nadal, Ferrero and his hopes for the future.

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Growing up in Spain is unsurprising that Carlos Alcaraz is inspired by the achievements of tennis legend Rafael Nadal.

 

The 17-year-old tennis star is labelled as one of the most promising youngsters on the ATP Tour following a breakthrough 2020 season where he won a trio of Challenger titles. Becoming the second-youngest player in history to do so after Richard Gasquet. It was also during the same season where he became the youngest player to win an ATP 500 match since the series began in 2009 and he ended the year ranked 136th in the world.

Finding his footing on the Tour, Alcaraz is hoping that he will be able to follow in the footsteps of his idol Nadal who has won 20 major titles so far in his career. The teenager believes the mentality of his compatriot is one that can serve as an example for everybody to follow.

Rafa is my idol,” Alcaraz told itftennis.com. “His hunger, his attitude. It doesn’t matter if he plays a first match or a final, his level of concentration is the same. He wants to win every match.
“His mentality is an example for anyone, a tennis player or any person. He motivates everyone because he never surrenders. Everyone wants to be the best, no matter if you´re an athlete, a football player, a doctor, a journalist… everyone has an objective in life.”

Alcaraz is currently preparing for the Australian Open after successfully qualifying for the tournament earlier this month. In Doha he scored wins over Filip Horanský, Evgeny Karlovskiy and Hugo Dellien. It is the first time he has qualified for a grand Slam main draw in his career. An impressive achievement for a player who is also currently studying for his Segundo de Bachiller exams and driving test.

Guiding the tennis prodigy on the Tour is Juan Carlos Ferrero. A former world No.1 player who won the 2003 French Open. The two have been working together since 2019.

“I’m very proud to have Juan Carlos as a coach,” said Alcaraz. “He has great experience and knowledge and I’m very proud to be able to learn from him.
“He contributes to my knowledge in a way that other coaches probably wouldn’t be able to. He understands the situations that I’m living now, because he experienced them in the past. He knows how to manage the pressure.”

It remains to be seen just how successful Alcaraz will become but the expectations are high. He is already the youngest player ranked in the world’s top 600 and the only player born in 2003 to be inside the top 400.

“I don’t focus on the records or if I’m the youngest player,” he stated. “I want to improve every day and to focus on my objectives. My aims in 2021 are to play at Roland Garros, to be in the top 100 and to finish the season in the top 50.”

Alcaraz is set to return to competitive tennis next week.

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Dominic Thiem Training At ‘High Level’ Despite Absence Of Coach Massu

The manager of the US Open champion has given an update on his current condition ahead of the first Grand Slam of 2021.

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Dominic Thiem will play the Australian Open without his principal coach Nicolas Massu after it was confirmed that he is unable to find a way to travel to the region.

 

Massu, who has been part of the Austrian’s team since 2019, was unable to travel to Australia earlier this month after testing positive for COVID-19. An unfortunate situation that also affected former world No.1 Andy Murray. Thiem had originally hoped that his mentor would be able to join him at a later date but that is no longer possible under strict regulations set out by Australian health officials. All players and their teams are required to quarantine for 14 days in a hotel before they are allowed to play a professional match in the country.

The absence of Massu has been confirmed by Thiem’s manager Herwig Straka who is currently in Adelaide with the tennis player. Straka is a top tennis official who also sits on the ATP Board of Directors and is in charge of the Vienna Open.

Dominic’s father Wolfgang leads the training and is in contact with Nico a lot. Although he is now negative, he will still not make it to the Australian Open,” he told neue.at.

Fortunately for Thiem he has avoided the fate of many of his peers who have been forced to go into a strict quarantine after being declared a close contact of somebody who tested positive for COVID-19. All 72 players who have been affected are staying in Melbourne. Thiem is among the top three players in the world who have been allowed to quarantine in Adelaide under a deal struck by Tennis Australia.

The training is going well and it is at a very high level. In his room he passes the time with series shows, computer games and reading,” Straka commented.

The 27-year-old is bidding to go one step better at the Australian Open than 12 months ago where he finished runner-up to Novak Djokovic. In that final he led the match by two sets to one before losing. Since then Thiem has broken new territory by winning his maiden major title at Flushing Meadows in New York.

‘Like a student’

Providing a glimpse into what it is like staying in Adelaide, Straka says he still had ‘much to do’ during the two-week period as he drew parallels between the current conditions and when he was studying. He studied law and Business before going into the sports industry.

“Since there is no room service for security reasons, we have to make the beds, do laundry and cook ourselves. A washing machine, a microwave and a stove are available in the room. It feels like back in the college days.”

Some have said Thiem and Co are receiving preferential treatment from Tennis Australia with their current living conditions. In a recent interview with UbiTennis, doubles player Marcelo Demoliner said ‘the top tennis players always had these extras, we (the players) are kinda of used to it.’’ Craig Tiley, who is the head of Tennis Australia, has also previously conceded that those in Adelaide are getting a better deal.

Although Thiem’s manager has played down just how significant the difference in treatment is between the two bubbles.

“It’s not that much better in Adelaide. The few advantages are that the player’s team can be bigger, that it doesn’t get so jammed during training times and that the rooms have a balcony,” he said.

Later this week Thiem will return to professional tennis by taking part in a one-day exhibition. Then he heads to Melbourne where will be leading the Austrian team in the ATP Cup which will be captained by his father Wolfgang.

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