EXCLUSIVE: Denis Istomin Doubtful 2020 Season Will Resume As He Backs Djokovic’s Vaccination Stance - UBITENNIS
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EXCLUSIVE: Denis Istomin Doubtful 2020 Season Will Resume As He Backs Djokovic’s Vaccination Stance

Ubitennis has spoken to the former top 40 tennis star about how he is coping during the Tour shutdown and what he thinks the future has in store for the sport.

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Many tennis fans know Denis Istomin thanks to his second-round victory at the 2017 Australian Open over the then world number 2 and defending champion Novak Djokovic. In the current ATP ranking, the 33-year-old Uzbek tennis player can be found in 156th place, but he has a best ranking of 33 achieved in 2012. 

Where have you been during the lockdown?

 

I have been spending this time in Almaty [city in Kazakhstan, Ed.] with my family.

Did you resume training and playing tennis in this period?

Tennis clubs in Almaty have just reopened again, so for now I am still focusing on fitness training. Most likely, I will start playing tennis again on May 25th.

During this time, did you have a chance to talk to any of your colleagues about the current situation? Nadal thinks that the ATP Tour will not resume in 2020. What is the other pros’ viewpoint on this? 

Indeed, I spoke with some colleagues who are also my friends about the current situation in which we are living. If you ask me and other players, professional tennis will not resume in 2020.

Do you think it is the same for the remaining two Grand Slam tournaments – the US Open and the French Open?

I would like them to take place. However, I think the chance that it happens is really, really low.

What do you think of the French tennis federation’s decision to postpone the event?

They took the most convenient decision for them, but they did not take the calendar or the players into consideration. In this situation, if the tournament takes place anyway, then surely it will benefit most players, since what they really want is to just be able to play.

Djokovic, Federer, and Nadal suggested the creation of a Player Relief fund to help players ranked outside the top 100 in the ATP ranking. What do you think of this initiative?

I think it is a great idea, because this is a very difficult time for all tennis players, especially those with low ranking who do not have a chance to play the Slams and the ATP tournaments – certainly, many of them are considering giving up professional tennis. I hope that the money pledged through the Fund will help motivate them to keep playing.

Dominic Thiem initially criticised the project, saying that some players are not really committed when playing minor tournaments like Futures. Do you agree with this statement?

I haven’t played Futures for quite some time, but anyway everyone is entitled to their own opinion! Surely, there are players who are not always 100% committed! Likewise, there are many players who work very hard and do not have enough money to travel to and play in those tournaments. Perhaps, these players do not even have a chance to be accompanied by a coach, given that the Futures prize money hasn’t increased by much in the last 20 years. I cannot say I fully agree or disagree with that statement. Both viewpoints make sense. The only thing I didn’t like much was that Dominic’s statement was public – he should have discussed the matter with the ATP or with the players beforehand.

Thiem as well as Matteo Berrettini said that everyone should be free to decide which charitable donations to make and to whom – for instance, hospitals or other organisations – and that the ATP should not force anyone to endorse the Player Relief Fund. What do you think about this?

I agree. Everyone’s own financial situation is different, and I believe that everyone should be able to contribute according to their available resources – no one should feel compelled. Each of us should be able to decide by themselves whom to help and how.

Novak Djokovic revealed that he would be against a potentially compulsory vaccine for COVID-19. This statement caused an uproar among many people who accused Novak to be against science. What is your viewpoint?

Let them accuse me too then! I agree with Novak! There cannot be a compulsory vaccine – every person should be able to decide whether they want to get vaccinated or not.

Do you have any idea of when ATP tournaments will resume on the tennis tour?

I think that the next two years will be really hard for the ATP tour! I hope we can start again soon, but we must be prepared for the worst-case scenario. Since the pandemic is not over yet, the main goal remains staying healthy.

What do you think of Patrick Mouratoglou’s initiative – the Ultimate Tennis Showdown (i.e., the exhibition tournament organised by him)?

It is an excellent idea! Tennis players need to play matches, no matter if they are exhibitions or actual tournaments. I hope that all tennis federations will follow his example and organise something similar for their own players.

Interview conducted by Silvia Aresi
Translation by Riccardo Superbo

 

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Cameron Norrie ‘Happy’ With Performance After Extending Winning Run Against Kyrgios

Cameron Norrie spoke about his confidence after reaching the last eight in Atlanta.

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Cameron Norrie (@the_LTA - Twitter)

Cameron Norrie is satisfied with his recent performances after reaching the Atlanta quarter-finals.

 

The in-form Brit extended his winning streak to five matches after defeating Nick Kyrgios in Atlanta.

Norrie eased to victory with a 6-1 6-4 win in a match which saw three breaks of serve from the Brit to make the last eight.

After winning his maiden title in Los Cabos, Norrie now is starting to feel confident in his game.

In his post-match interview the world number 29 insists that he is happy with his level as he continues his great season, “It’s very nice to be back here in Atlanta,” Norrie explained.

“It’s good to have Nick back… really enjoyed the match and really happy with my level. It’s cool to be playing at this level and [I am] happy and satisfied to be getting some wins. I’m enjoying my tennis.”

Next for Norrie will be Emil Ruusuvuori as he looks to continue his momentum and solidify his status as the man to beat in US hard court swing.

The other quarter-finals will see Los Cabos finalist Brandon Nakashima take on Jordan Thompson, Taylor Fritz will face fellow American Reilly Opelka.

While five-time champion John Isner will face Christopher O’Connell in the last eight with the American serving 49 aces in two matches so far.

Play will begin at 17:00 BST while Norrie’s match will likely take place at 20:00 BST.

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‘Probably Gonna Quit’ – Tennys Sandgren Blasts Performance After missing Out On Olympic Medal

The tennis star described his fourth place finish as ‘dog s**t.”

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Former Australian Open quarter-finalist Tennys Sandgren said he is close to retiring from tennis after missing out on a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

 

Sandgren and doubles partner Austin Krajicek fell in straight sets to the New Zealand pairing of Michael Venus and Marcus Daniell, who are the first tennis players from their country in over 100 years to win a medal. The loss is a frustrating outcome for the American who wasn’t afraid to express how he felt after the match. Tokyo was the ninth doubles tournament Sandgren has played in this year.

“I mean, who f*ing cares you know, what do I have to show for it? We have a good week and fourth place is dog s**t.” He told the Olympic News Service.

Speaking straight after his loss, the highly emotional 30-year-old then cast doubt on his future in the sport. He is currently ranked 82nd in the world and has a win-loss record of 6-14 so far this year. However, he is yet to reach a quarter-final in singles.

I’m probably gonna quit. That might be my last match. I’m close, yeah, I’m close.” He replied when asked about his career.

As for if he would have done anything different in the bronze medal match, Sandgren replied ‘not to have been so bad.’ He also expressed disappointment that the tennis tournament took place behind closed doors. Prior to the Olympics, organisers decided to hold all events in Tokyo without fans due to a surge of COVID-19 cases in the city.

“It would have been a great event with fans,” he via via teamusa.org. “Playing on an outside court without fans, I mean, you might as well be playing in Idaho in the middle of nowhere.”

Sandgren and Krajicek were America’s last chance to win a medal in the tennis competition. It is the first time the country has failed to win any medal since tennis returned as an Olympic event in 1988.

“There’s not much you can say about that except it’s pretty, pretty devastating to lose that one. You know, give yourself a chance to get a medal and then to lose those two (matches – including the men’s doubles semifinal) is tough, but you have to give those guys credit today. They played well.” Krajicek concluded.

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Updated Entry List For Washington

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photo by atptour.com

The US Open Series is ready to get to the heart, with the historic tournament of Washington D.C.

 

The Citi Open in Washington, the only ATP tournament to be contested next week, will follow Atlanta in the American summer tour. The event has been taking place on hard-courts since 1969, when Thomaz Koch from Brazil won the first edition defeating Arthur Ashe in the final.

Rafael Nadal, who has received a Wild-Card, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Alex De Minaur will be the first three seeded players. Jannik Sinner, Aslan Karatsev, Karen Khachanov and the defending champion Nick Kyrgios are committed to play as well, while Milos Raonic and John Isner have withdrawn. Denis Kudla, Brandon Nakashima and Feliciano Lopez will play with a Wild-Card.


ATP 500 Washington (DC, USA), entry list:
OUT Shapovalov, Denis (CAN)
Auger-Aliassime, Felix (CAN)
De Minaur, Alex (AUS)
OUT Hurkacz, Hubert (POL)
Auger-Aliassime, Felix (CAN)
Dimitrov, Grigor (BUL)
OUT Raonic, Milos (CAN)
Sinner, Jannik (ITA)
Karatsev, Aslan (RUS)
Evans, Daniel (GBR)
Khachanov, Karen (RUS)
Opelka, Reilly (USA)
OUT Isner, John (USA)
Norrie, Cameron (GBR)
Bublik, Alexander (KAZ)
OUT Ramos-Vinolas, Albert (ESP)
Fritz, Taylor (USA)
Millman, John (AUS)
Paire, Benoit (FRA)
Kecmanovic, Miomir (SRB)
Korda, Sebastian (USA)
Harris, Lloyd (RSA)
Paul, Tommy (USA)
Nishikori, Kei (JPN)
Querrey, Sam (USA)
Tiafoe, Frances (USA)
Nishioka, Yoshihito (JPN)
OUT Pella, Guido (ARG)
Kyrgios, Nick (AUS)
OUT Koepfer, Dominik (GER)
Pospisil, Vasek (CAN)
Giron, Marcos (USA)
Popyrin, Alexei (AUS)
Sandgren, Tennys (USA)
Munar, Jaume (ESP)
Kwon, Soonwoo (KOR)
(SE)
WC Nadal, Rafael (ESP)
WC Kudla, Denis (USA)
WC Nakashima, Brandon (USA)
WC Lopez, Feliciano (ESP)
(WC)
(WC)
Alternates:
IN Gerasimov, Egor (BLR)
IN Johnson, Steve (USA)
IN Ruusuvuori, Emil (FIN)
IN Thompson, Jordan (AUS)
IN Ivashka, Ilya (BLR)
IN Berankis, Ricardas (LTU)
OUT Monteiro, Thiago (BRA)
IN Seppi, Andreas (ITA)
IN Duckworth, James (AUS)

IN Anderson, Kevin (RSA)
OUT Daniel, Taro (JPN)
OUT Kukushkin, Mikhail (KAZ)

Alt.1 Martinez, Pedro (ESP)
Alt.2 McDonald, Mackenzie (USA)
Alt.3 Galan, Daniel Elahi (COL)
Alt.4 Kudla, Denis (USA)
Alt.5 Uchiyama, Yasutaka (JPN)


ATP 500 Washington, qualifying:
OUT Ivashka, Ilya (BLR)
OUT Thompson, Jordan (AUS)
OUT Duckworth, James (AUS)

OUT Ruusuvuori, Emil (FIN)
OUT Johnson, Steve (USA)
OUT Berankis, Ricardas (LTU)
OUT Seppi, Andreas (ITA)
OUT Ymer, Mikael (SWE)

McDonald, Mackenzie (USA)
OUT Kudla, Denis (USA)
OUT Daniel, Taro (JPN)

Bonzi, Benjamin (FRA)
Galan, Daniel Elahi (COL)
OUT Sugita, Yuichi (JPN)
OUT Anderson, Kevin (RSA)

Uchiyama, Yasutaka (JPN)
Wolf, J.J. (PR, USA)
(WC)
(WC)
(WC)
(WC)
Alternates:
IN O’Connell, Christopher (AUS)
IN Broady, Liam (GBR)
IN Donskoy, Evgeny (RUS)
IN Brooksby, Jenson (USA)
IN Gunneswaran, Prajnesh (IND)
IN Cressy, Maxime (USA)
IN Marchenko, Illya (UKR)
IN Gomez, Emilio (ECU)
IN Jung, Jason (TPE)
IN Ofner, Sebastian (AUT)
IN Ymer, Elias (SWE)
IN Soeda, Go (JPN)
IN Mmoh, Michael (USA)
IN Escobedo, Ernesto (USA)
IN Kokkinakis, Thanasi (AUS)

IN Fratangelo, Bjorn (USA)
Alt.1 Krueger, Mitchell (USA)
Alt.2 Ito, Tatsuma (JPN)
Alt.3 Eubanks, Christopher (USA)
Alt.4 Ramanathan, Ramkumar (IND)
Alt.5 Torpegaard, Mikael (DEN)

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