Tour Suspension A ‘Dire And Bleak’ Situation For Players, Warns Johanna Konta - UBITENNIS
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Tour Suspension A ‘Dire And Bleak’ Situation For Players, Warns Johanna Konta

The world No.14 also comments on the decision to move the French Open to September.

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British No.1 Johanna Konta admits that any system put into place to financially support players in the wake of the tour suspension will only have a ‘minimal’ effect.

 

Tennis is currently at a standstill due to the Covid-19 pandemic with doubts cast over when play will resume again. As a consequence, many players are looking into alternative ways to generate an income. Unlike team sports where athletes have a contract, those in the world of tennis are essentially self-employed. Meaning they will only earn money in the sport if they play at tournaments. Although the top players have the luxury of endorsements to also support them.

Weighing in on the situation, Konta has described it as ‘fire and bleak.’ She is one out of 90 female players to have made more than $100,000 in prize money this year before the tour was suspended. Her current earnings for the season stands at $105,703.

“The reality is that there is no tennis player earning any money right now; all the tennis players have taken a 100 per cent salary cut,” Konta told The Evening Standard.
“Everyone is trying to find the best way possible to stand by a team and support the people you work with and feel close to while not bankrupting yourself.
“[A support system] is being worked on right now, but the reality is that even if it is possible – and let’s hope it is – it’s going to be very minimal.
“It’s a very bleak and dire situation especially for the lower ranked players.”

In light of the financial concerns, world No.371 Sofia Shapatava recently set up an online petition on change.org calling for support from the ITF, WTA and ATP. More than 1300 people have signed the petition.

“I started the petition to help tennis players to be heard by ITF, after I talked to many of the people I know and about their plans for the next three months, I realised that some people won’t even be able to have food,” Shapatava told the AFP News Agency.
“My problem is that my sport will die as it is, it will die, because players who are ranked lower then 150th in the world will not be able to play.”

In comparison to Konta, Georgian player Shapatava has made $2,896 so far this season. That works out as 0.09% of what prize money leader Sofia Kenin has made ($3,012,043). Kenin is one of four players to earn more than a million in 2020 on the women’s tour. The other are Garbine Muguruza, Simona Halep and Ash Barty.

The WTA have said they are looking into the possibility of extending this year’s calendar is order to provide players with more earning opportunities when the sport resumes.

French open approach disappointing

Konta has also criticised the French Tennis Federation (FFT) over their management of the French Open. Officials at the FFT recently announced that the major would be delayed until September due to the Covid-19 outbreak. A move that caught many off guard, including some governing bodies. Konta reached the semi-finals of the French Open last year after previously losing in the first round four times in a row.

“It’s a really sad situation and it’s very disappointing for them to release their decision in the way that they did,” she said.
“It’s not the act itself, but the manner which was disappointing to everybody in the tennis community. It’s left a sour taste in a lot of people’s mouths.”

Lionel Maltés is the economic director of the FFT. He has defended their approach to the situation by saying the organisation had no choice but to act. Arguing that their (the FFT) first priority is French tennis. The controversy surrounding the date change is that it will take place a week after the US Open ends. Leaving players with little chance to prepare for the switch of surfaces.

“The decision was not made overnight, it was far from an outburst. We had been clear for some time that it was going to be impossible to play the tournament on the established dates and we knew we had to do something.” Maltés recently told French newspaper L’Equipe.
“There was no hint of conversation collective with the other Grand Slams so we did the only thing we had to do for French tennis. Don’t doubt that Wimbledon and US Open would have made the same decision if they could. In fact, other tournaments have backed us up by saying they understood us and that if they had been in our position, they would have done the same.
“We were aware that we would be highly criticized for this, but the safeguard of French tennis is above all,” he added.

The French Open was scheduled to run from 24 May to 7 June. Officials are now hoping that the tournament will start on September 20th.

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Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos win their doubles team title in 2020 in Rome

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Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos clinched their third doubles team title in 2020 after beating Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin 6-4 5-7 10-8. They are the only team to win multiple ATP Tour trophies this year. 

 

Granollers and Zeballos won their second ATP Masters 1000 trophy as a team after lifting the Rogers Cup in Canada last year. They earned a championships point when Zeballos hit a forehand return winner at 8-8 in the Match Tie-Break. Zeballos and Granollers have improved their record on clay this season to 16-1. They won two consecutive titles in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janiero last February and reached the final in Kitzbuhel. 

“This is one of the best moments in my career. This tournament has a lot of history. I watched it for many years, since I was a little kid, so this tournament is really important. Winning Rome is a huge thing for me and for sure for Marcell too, so can I say ? I am so happy. You could see in our faces when we finished the match”, said Zeballos. 

“After Buenos Aires and Rio, I think we felt very good on clay playing together. We both grew up playing on clay when we were young and we feel very good on clay. I think we can play very good and we are very happy to win our third title of the year on clay”, said Granollers. 

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Diego Schwartzman battles past Denis Shapovalov to reach his first Masters 1000 in Rome

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Argentine’s Diego Schwartzman battled past Denis Shapovalov 6-4 5-7 7-6 after three hours and 15 minutes to reach his first Masters 1000 final at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. 

 

Schwartzman broke six times and hit 25 winners to 27 unforced errors. The Argentine held serve in the first game when Shapovalov hit a forehand error. Schwartzman broke serve at 15 when Shapovalov made a double fault in the second game. 

Schwartzman held his service game to open up a 3-0 lead when Shapovalov netted a forehand. Shapovalov held serve at love with a smash winner to claw his way back to 1-3. Both players went on serve in the next four games. Shapovalov forced an error from Schwartzman to convert his third break point, as the Argentine player was serving for the set at 5-3. Schwartzman sealed the first set 6-4 with a break in the 10th game after 48 minutes, as Shapovalov netted a forehand. 

Shapovalov earned two breaks and dropped his serve once to win the second set 7-5. Both players held serve in the first four games, before Shapovalov got the break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. The Canadian player consolidated the break with a service winner for 4-2. 

Schwartzman saved two break points in the seventh game before Shapovalov held serve at 15 to build up a 5-3 lead. Schwartzman held serve at love in the ninth game and got the break back to draw level to 5-5, when Shapovalov made a double fault as he was serving for the set.

Schwartzman wasted a game point in the 11th game before dropping serve in the 11th game at deuce. Shapovalov fended off a set point and served out the set at deuce to force the match to the decider. 

Shapovalov saved three break points in the second game before breaking serve with a smash winner to take a 2-1 lead. Schwartzman broke straight back to draw level to 2-2. Shapovalov broke serve to take a 3-2 lead, as Schwarzman sent a forehand wide in the fifth game. Shapovalov held serve at 15 to build up a 4-2 lead. Schwartzman broke back in in the eighth game. Shapovalov got his third break in the decisive set with a volley winner. 

Schwartzman broke back to draw level to 5-5, as Shapovalov netted a backhand. They held serve in their next service game to send the match to the tie-break. Shapovalov got an early mini-break in the tie-break, but dropped his serve in the second point, when he sent a forehand wide. Schwartzman open up a 3-1 lead, when Shapovalov made a double fault and hit a drop shot error. 

Shapovalov got the mini-break back, but he made a forehand error to fall behind 2-4. Shapovalov drew level to 4-4 when Schwartzman hit a backhand wide. Schwartzman took a 5-4 lead, as Shapovalov made a backhand error. 

Schwartzman opened up a 6-4 lead after a forehand wide from Shapovalov and converted his first match point to reach his first Masters 1000 final. 

“I am very happy. I think today was a crazy match. It was really tough for us. On my side I am very happy because I won the match. I have two dreams tomorrow. One is winning a tournamnent like this and the secondo ne is being top 10. I need to play more than my 100 per cent. I don’t want to say i twill be impossible because it is not impossible. I know I can beat him, but it’s going to be difficult.”, said Schwartzman.  

Schwartzman will face Novak Djokovic in tomorrow’s final. If the Argentine wins the title match, he will break into the top 10. 

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Karolina Pliskova wins all-Czech semifinal against

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Defending champion Karolina Pliskova cruised past 2019 French Open finalist Marketa Vondrousova 6-2 6-4 on the Central Court after 82 minutes to set up a final against Simona Halep at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia at the Foro Italico in Rome.

 

Pliskova has reached her second consecutive final in the Eternal City. 

Pliskova had already beat Vondrusova last year in Miami en route to reaching the final, where she lost to Australia’s Ashleigh Barty. 

Pliskova got her first break in the fourth game to open a 4-1 lead. Vondrousova earned a break point in the seventh game, but Pliskova saved it with an overhead. Vondrousova saved two set points in the eighth game, but she faced a third chance after a forehand error. Pliskova broke serve with a backhand return on her third set point. 

Vondrousova broke serve in the first game of the second set with backhand. Pliskova broke straight back in the second game at deuce and saved two break point in the third game to hold serve for 2-1. Pliskova converted her third break point chance in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead. Vondrousova broke straight back at 15 and held her service game to draw level to 4-4. Pliskova saved a break point to hold serve for 5-4 and sealed the win with a break at 30 in the 10th game. 

Pliskova set up a final against Simona Halep, who beat Garbine Muguruza in the first semifinal. Pliskova won her last two head-to-head against Halep in 2019 in Miami and at the WTA Finals in Shenzhen, but Halep leads 7-5.  

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