Stefanos Tsitsipas Launches Player COVID-19 Fundraiser With Coach Of Serena Williams - UBITENNIS
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Stefanos Tsitsipas Launches Player COVID-19 Fundraiser With Coach Of Serena Williams

The two tennis figures has pledged to help support those struggling during the crises through a special online auction.

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Greek rising star Stefanos Tsitsipas is the latest high profile figure to weigh in on the debate surrounding financial support for players during the Tour suspension after revealing a new initiative he is sponsoring.

 

‘Beyond 100 Support’ has been created by the world No.6 along with Patrick Mouratoglou. The current coach of Serena Williams and founder of the prestigious Mouratoglou Academy in France. A website has been set up to raise money for players ranked outside the top 100 on the ATP and WTA Tours affected by the shutdown of the sport. All professional tennis tournaments have been suspended until at least July. Meaning that players will not be earning during the period unless they have endorsements or other commitments.

“As the youngest player in the top 10, I feel responsible to help the future of tennis. I understand how critical it is for the sustainability of both ATP and WTA players ranked beyond the top 100 and how difficult it is to make a living from professional tennis, especially with no tennis events going on for an undefined period of time,” Tsitsipas said in a statement. “Through the creation of “Beyond 100 Support”, I hope to start a movement that my fellow players will follow suit.”

There are two ways members of the public can donate. They can do so via a direct link or make bids in the silent auction. Items available range from a bandana to a sporting weekend away for two people. Each item has a minimum price with the most expensive being $500. The top prizes include a ‘virtual meeting’ with both Tsitsipas and Mouratoglou, as well as an hour-long hitting setting with Williams’ mentor.

According to a press release, the money raised by Beyond 100 will be contributed towards a ‘broader approach by the ATP and WTA aimed at supporting lower ranked players.’ Earlier this week the governing bodies of the sport confirmed that they are working on developing a player relief program that is estimated to be worth in the region of $6 million. The fund will be administered by the ATP and WTA with all seven stakeholders set to make ‘a significant contribution.’

49-year-old Mouratoglou has previously called for urgent support to be given to lower ranked players struggling due the crises. In an open letter he wrote that it was ‘revolting’ that those players are unable to make a living.

“The situation of players ranked beyond the top 100 is becoming more and more worrying as they might not be able to pursue their careers — their passions — if the current health crisis were to last for too long.” He commented on the new latest initiative.
“Beyond 100 Support” emerged as a much-needed initiative to improve the conditions of those players in the immediate term, and gives us more time to build a solution for the long term.”

A full list of available items for the auction can be viewed here.

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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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