Relief And Disappointment At Once: The World Of Tennis Reacts To Olympic Postponement - UBITENNIS
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Relief And Disappointment At Once: The World Of Tennis Reacts To Olympic Postponement

Ubitennis looks at how players and governing bodies have reacted to the one-year suspension of one of sport’s biggest events.

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The Olympic Tennis Center in Barra da Tijuca, venue of the 2016 Olympic Tennis tournament. (image via Wiki commons)

The world of tennis has united in support for the suspension of the Tokyo Olympic Games amid the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic.

 

On Tuesday it was announced that the four-year event would be delayed until 2021 due to uncertainty over the virus and the lack of preparation athletes have been able to do. It is only the fourth time in history the event has been affected by outside forces since the birth of the modern Olympics back in 1896. The first three were due to the first and second world wars where they were cancelled outright.

Kei Nishikori was set to be one of his country’s headline acts at the games this summer. In 2016 he won a bronze medal in the singles tournament. Becoming the first Japanese tennis player to win a medal at the Olympic Games since 1920. It is important to note that Tennis wasn’t an Olympic event between 1928–1984.

“I was a little relieved to hear the news of the Olympics this (Tuesday) morning.” Nishikori said in a video published on his personal app.
“I think that it is good for every athlete that it was not a cancellation and that it was postponed. Of course, for those who were well prepared, I think there are things that are difficult, but in this situation I think there are players who can not practice well and there are various differences coming out. ‘
“I’m glad to see the Olympics in Tokyo in 2021, and I’ll be preparing myself for a good opportunity a year later, and look forward to this period. Let’s all work together and do our best so that this painful situation can be cured as soon as possible.” He added.

Yoshihto Nishioka had planned his 2020 around peaking in Tokyo this summer. The world No.48 was set to make his debut at the games at the age of 24. Earlier this year he reached only the second ATP final of his career at the Delray Beach Open

“I was looking forward to the Olympics very much,” he wrote on Twitter in Japanese.
“This year’s goal was to put the Olympics first, but more should now be put on human health.’
“I really want to maintain this ranking for next year.’

Petra Kvitova has hailed the decision as the right move. Four years ago, she won a bronze medal after defeating Madison Keys. She is one of only two Czech players to win an olympic medal in singles competition during the Open Era. The other was Jana Novotna back in 1996.

Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens described it as a ‘logical move.’ Her only taste of the event was back in 2016, where she stunned Venus Williams in three sets en route to the third round in Rio de Janeiro.

“I think it is only a logical decision. No matter how difficult for all athletes (and specifically the athletes who have been working towards this goal for 4 years), health ALWAYS comes first,” she said.

ITF and USTA give full backing

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) oversees the running of the Olympic tennis event and qualification criteria. It is yet to be confirmed if there will be any changes made to who can participate in the games next year. At present ranking points are not on offer at the event. Although it has been previously suggested that this may change in the future.

“The global health situation continues to evolve at an extraordinary pace and we are faced with an unprecedented situation that calls for responsible leadership and making informed decisions. Whilst this is a bitter disappointment for all those who have been preparing and training hard, we all understand that the protection of human life, health and safety, comes first.” ITF President David Haggerty said.
“The ITF supports this decision and will continue to collaborate fully with the IOC and the IPC going forward to 2021. We look forward to seeing all athletes, volunteers and fans when it is safe for us to meet and participate at our best at the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.”

In North America, The United States Tennis Association (USTA) sympathised with the frustration of athletes training for the event. America is the world leader when it comes to Olympic tennis. The country has won 24 medals over the past 28 years with 14 of those being gold.

“The decision to postpone the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo was obviously a difficult one, and we under the frustration and disappointment that so many of the athletes are experiencing right now,” the USTA said in a statement published by Tennis World USA.
“Ultimately, though, with the ongoing and evolving situation surrounding the COVID-19 virus, this was the most prudent and appropriate decision. The USTA is in full support of this move, as the health and safety of the athletes, fans, volunteers, staff and all those involved with Tokyo 2020 are the highest priority.”

The dates for the 2021 Games are yet to be confirmed. Should it mirror this year, they are set to take place between Wimbledon and the US Open.

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Another Defeat For Iga Swiatek – Should Her Fans Start To Worry?

Iga Swiatek unexpectedly lost to Beatrice Haddad Maia in the quarter-finals of the National Bank Open in Toronto. This was the third defeat of the WTA world No.1 in a month and a half. Is there anything to worry about?

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Iga Swiatek - Roland Garros 2022 (photo Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Article written by Dominik Senkowski (@dsenkowski07)

 

It was an extremely close match played in difficult conditions. Swiatek lost to Beatrice Hadad Maia 4:6, 6:3, 5:7 in Toronto.

The Polish woman admitted that she could not deal with the strong wind, saying during her press conference “I think without the wind I would manage. But it was pretty crazy out there.”

Haddad Miai, who is the first Brazilian to reach the last eight of a WTA 1000 event, revealed that she also had problems with the weather.

”We have no influence on the weather, we have to deal with it somehow. I think mentally I managed to overcome it,” she said.

Three failures

This was the third defeat for Swiatek in a month and a half. She had been undefeated since February, winning six tournaments in a row, including a Roland Garros. After that, however, she did not reach the semi-finals even once. In Wimbledon she was eliminated in the third round by Alize Cornet and then in Warsaw in the quarter-finals by Caroline Garcia. Now she did not make it past Beatrice Hadad Maia in Toronto. Do fans of the Polish woman have anything to worry about?

Of course, Swiatek as the top seed should have played better against the Brazilian. However, it must be remembered that she is still only 21 years old and has the right to fluctuate in form. Even the best tennis players of recent years – Roger Federer, Serena Serena, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic – did not win all the games in their best time. Swiatek still has a phenomenal balance of 49 wins to 5 defeats this year. She is the undisputed leader of the WTA rankings and will probably end the year as number one in the world.

There is no doubt that the rivals are more motivated to clash with Iga. In addition, they increasingly believe that they are able to defeat her since Cornet, Garcia and Hadad Maia did it. But still, it all depends on Iga. If she improves her serve, she can be unstoppable again. Recently with Garcia and Hadad Maia, she had problems with the second serve. She must pay more attention to it.

Time for Iga

Time should play in favour of Swiatek. Before Toronto, she played exceptionally on clay courts in Warsaw in a tournament organized by her father Tomasz. Frequent changes of the surface from grass to clay and hard courts in 1.5 months are not easy at such a young age. In Poland Iga said that she had no experience with it, she was just learning. She continues to learn valuable lessons and still can be better. We should remember it.

It seems that in the coming days she will be training on hard courts. She could feel more confident and come stronger as in spring. In Warsaw Iga said that she treats the first tournament before the US Open swing less seriously. She was aware that she needed more playing time to get better results. Her increasing self-esteem makes her behave calmer, even after defeats. That is why she can return to the right path soon.

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Rafael Nadal Returns To Cincinnati With Shot At No.1 Ranking

This is what the king of clay has to do to reclaim the top position.

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ATP RAFAEL NADAL OF SPAIN - PHOTO: DIEGO SOUTO / MMO

It has been over a month since Rafael Nadal last played a match on the Tour but in the coming days, he will have a chance to return to the top of the ATP rankings.

 

The 22-time Grand Slam champion has been absent from action ever since pulling out of his semi-final match at Wimbledon due to an abdominal tear. He was set to play at this week’s National Bank Open in Montreal but withdrew after feeling a ‘slight bother’ in his abdominal region following training. Nadal decided not to play after consulting with his doctor.

Instead, the Spaniard will return next week at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. He confirmed his return in an Instagram post, where he wrote: “Very happy to play again in Cincy. Flying there tomorrow (Thursday).”

Whilst the Spaniard will be finding his feet in the coming days, in Cincinnati he has a chance to dethrone Daniil Medvedev from the world No.1 position. Medvedev lost his opening match in Montreal to Nick Kyrgios. To do this he would need to win the Masters 1000 event for the second time in his career and hope that Medvedev doesn’t make the quarter-finals. Nadal won Cincinnati back in 2013 after defeating John Isner in the final.

So far in his career, Nadal has spent 209 weeks as world No.1 with his longest streak being 56 weeks in a row (2010-2011). In total, he has been at the top of the rankings for eight separate periods and last held the position in February 2020.

Nadal’s No.1 stints
-Aug 18 2008 – Jul 5th 2009 (46 weeks)
-Jun 7 2010 – Jul 3rd 2011 (56 weeks)
-Oct 7th 2013 – Jul 6th 2014 (39 weeks)
-Aug 21 2017 – Feb 18 2018 (26 weeks)
-Apr 2nd 2018 – May 13th 2018 (6 weeks)
-May 21st 2018 – Jun 17th 2018 (4 weeks)
-Jun 25th 2018 – Nov 4th 2018 (19 weeks)
-Nov 4th 2019 – Feb 2nd 2020 (13 weeks)

At present nine out of the world’s top 10 players will participate in the Western and Southern Open. The only exception is Novak Djokovic who is currently banned from entering America because he isn’t vaccinated against Covid-19.

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Jack Draper Considered Skipping Montreal Masters Before Getting Biggest Win Of Career

The rising star completes a trio of British players who have booked their places in the third round of the Masters 1000 event.

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

British qualifier Jack Draper says his decision to play in Montreal this week has paid off after he scored his first-ever win over a top 10 player on Wednesday.

 

The 20-year-old stunned world No.5 and third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-5, 7-6(4), in what is only his fourth appearance in the main draw of a Masters 1000 event. Draper, who is currently ranked 82nd in the world, won 74% of his first service points and blasted 21 winners past his Greek rival. Recovering from a 1-3 deficit in the second set en route to a straight sets victory.

Leading up to this week, Draper and his team considered not playing in Montreal following his 6-4, 6-2, loss to Andrey Rublev in Washington. However, their decision to do so was the right one. After coming through two rounds of qualifying, he beat France’s Hugo Gaston in the first round before knocking out Tsitsipas.

“This is why I put in all the hard work, for nights like this on stages like this,” Draper said in an on-court interview. “Last week [after] Washington, me and my coach probably were thinking we weren’t even going to come here. We were going to maybe train a week, get a bit of confidence. But it paid off coming.”
“I didn’t really have much of a game plan. I just thought I needed to play good tennis to beat Stefanos. He’s at the top of the game for a reason. [He’s] someone I’ve looked up to the last few years. It’s just good to be out here and try to express myself on this stage.” He added.

Draper’s win comes during what has been a solid season for the Brit who has won four Challenger titles. A former top 10 junior player, he won his first main draw Grand Slam match in June at Wimbledon and reached the semi-finals of the Eastbourne International.

Awaiting the youngster in the third round will be French veteran Gael Monfils who is playing in his first tournament since May. Monfils defeated Maxime Cressy 7-6(10), 7-6(8).

Draper is one of three British players to have reached the last 16 in Montreal. Ninth seed Cameron Norrie will next play home favourite Felix Auger-Aliassime and Dan Evans faces Taylor Fritz.

According to the Pepperstone live ATP rankings, Draper will break into the world’s top 70 for the first time next week.

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