Lleyton Hewitt Sees Flaws In Novak Djokovic’s Donation Plan - UBITENNIS
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Lleyton Hewitt Sees Flaws In Novak Djokovic’s Donation Plan

The former grand slam champion has lent his backing behind fellow critic Dominic Thiem by arguing that it is unfair to expect some players to make a donation given their personal circumstances.

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Former world No.1 Lleyton Hewitt has become the latest high profile figure to voice his concerns over an initiative urging top tennis players to donate money to a fund helping those ranked lower than them.

 

The Australian tennis legend said the proposals set out by Novak Djokovic was a ‘touchy subject’ for him as he questioned the fairness of it. Djokovic, who is the president of the ATP Player Council, recently sent out a letter outlining how funding to those affected during the current tour suspension would be raised. In part of the proposal, he has asked the top 100 singles and top 20 doubles players to make a contribution towards the fund. Should they all get on board, more than $1 million would be raised.

However, not everybody supports the idea. World No.3 Dominic Thiem has come out against the move by arguing that he doesn’t want to donate to some players who are not fully committed to the sport. A relief fund is being set up to help those ranked between 250-700 who are unable to make an earning at present due to the pandemic.Thiem’s view has now been backed by Hewitt.

“This has been taken out of proportion. I know Dominic well and he was basically saying ‘well, I have no problem giving money to certain organisations that really need it at the moment,‘ Hewitt told World Wide of Sport.
“He had a problem with some of the lesser ranked tennis players that day in and day out aren’t giving 100% of themselves to the sport to maximise their potential.”

Elaborating further, the Australian Davis Cup captain believes there is also a flaw to Djokovic’s plan when it comes to asking for a donation from those in the bottom part of the top 100. Highlighting the case of James Duckworth.

“I look at someone who’s worked extremely hard like James Duckworth,” Hewitt said.
“In the last few years he’s done everything right to give himself the best opportunity to get himself back in the top 100.
“He’s making no money right now, he’s running at a loss, yet the ATP wants him to potentially donate five or ten thousand dollars to players ranked just outside 100.
“I don’t think that sits well, I don’t think it’s going to get over the line with a lot of those lesser players.”

28-year-old Duckworth is currently ranked 83rd in the world. Under the proposal, he would be asked to donate $5000. This would equate to roughly 4% of what he has made so far in 2020 ($121,317) on the singles Tour. In comparison Djokovic would donate $30,000, which is 0.7% of his yearly earnings ($4,410,541). These figures doesn’t take into account costs such as travel, equipment, accommodation and paying members of their teams.

In their careers overall, Duckworth has made $1.6 million compared to Djokovic’s record tally of $132 million.

Joining in on the debate, former top 60 player Sam Groth believes a fairer way to solve the ongoing crises would be to distribute the amount of prize money at tournaments on a more even basis. It has already been discussed that the prize money pool at the season-ending ATP Finals would be cut and invested into the relief fund if the tournament goes ahead. Although there is yet to be any formal plan in place.

“It’s hard isn’t it because you’ve worked hard to be one of those top guys and they make a lot more,” Groth said to Hewitt.
“I also think the prize money isn’t distributed evenly enough. You look at a guy like Novak Djokovic winning the Australian Open, you’re talking $4-5 million for winning a final in a grand slam.
“If you were to go and take $500,000 off the men’s and women’s purse from that winners’ purse and distribute it, there’s all of a sudden $8 million a year, or $4 million a year, depending on how much you take and where you take it from.”

All professional tennis tournaments have been suspended until at least July 13th.

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Playing Clay Events After Wimbledon Was A Mistake, Says Diego Schwartzman

The former French Open semi-finalist is seeking to win his first title since March 2021 at the Tel Aviv Open this week.

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Diego Schwartzman (Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Diego Schwartzman will likely reevaluate his schedule for next year after admitting that part of his plans for this summer backfired. 

 

The world No.17 enters into the final quarter of the season with 31 wins against 22 losses on the Tour but is yet to win a title. Although he did reach back-to-back finals back in February in Argentina and Brazil. He has won two out of eight matches against top 10 opposition, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas at the ATP Cup and Felix Auger-Aliassime in Barcelona. 

Reflecting on his performance, Schwartzman admits that his decision to return to European clay after playing at Wimbledon was a mistake. He lost his second match in Gstaad to Pablo Carreno Busta and then his first in Hamburg to Emil Ruusuvori. 

“It’s difficult to play at the same level every tournament, I’ve made a bad decision playing clay tournaments after Wimbledon, I didn’t have time to rest,” he said during his pre-tournament press conference at the Tel Aviv Open. “I paid the price and had some bad losses. But I started to feel much better in USA hard court season, lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas who reached the final in Cincinnati and to Frances Tiafoe at the US Open. Now I am feeling very good, I really love playing indoor tournaments.”

The 30-year-old has headed straight to Tel Aviv from the Laver Cup where Roger Federer played the last match of his career. Despite Schwartzman’s Team World winning the title for the first time, his only contribution to the tie saw him lose 6-1, 6-2, to Tsitsipas. 

Retirement was very much the topic of conversation during the Laver Cup with others such as Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic questioned by reporters about their plans in the sport. As for Schwartzman, he stayed coy about how much longer he would continue playing after saying in the past he might stop at the age of 33. 

“33 — is a good age to retire, isn’t it? South Americans are in different situations compared to European players. We travel too much, and sometimes we are not coming back home for 2-3 months, while Europeans can fly home every week. It’s tough,” he said. 
“As for Roger — he’s a special player, I think he is just the greatest in our sport.”

The Argentine is seeded third this week in Israel and will begin his campaign against Arthur Rinderknech who defeated qualifier Marius Copil in his opening match. 

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Laver Cup Daily Preview: Team Europe Goes for a Fifth Straight Laver Cup

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The lineup for Day 3 (twitter.com/lavercup)

Heading into Day 3, the 2022 Laver Cup is feeling extremely familiar.  Team Europe has an 8-4 advantage, and only needs two wins on Sunday to secure their fifth consecutive Laver Cup.  Team World needs to win three matches to pull off the upset and obtain their first. 

 

Sunday’s play gets underway in London at 12:00pm local time.  And each match on Sunday is worth three points.


Matteo Berrettini and Andy Murray (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime and Jack Sock (Team World) – 12:00pm

Berrettini was victorious in both singles and doubles on Saturday, defeating Auger-Aliassime in singles, and teaming with Djokovic to overcome Sock and de Minaur in doubles.  So Matteo gained victories over both of his Sunday opponents on Saturday.  Murray lost to de Minaur in singles on Friday.  Andy and Jack are the most accomplished doubles players in this match, as Sock is pretty much Team World’s doubles specialist.  If he and Felix cannot pull of the victory on Sunday, it could be a pretty short day.


Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (Team World)

Like Berrettini, Djokovic won in singles and doubles on Saturday, comfortably dispatching of Tiafoe in singles.  While it was his first match in over two months, Novak showed no rust whatsoever.  Auger-Aliassime’s loss to Berrettini on Saturday will not help his confidence against the 21-time Major champion.

Novak and Felix have only played once before, and that occurred four months ago in Rome on clay.  It was a pretty tight affair, but Djokovic prevailed 7-5, 7-6(1).  And there’s not much evidence to support a different outcome on Sunday.  Novak is surely eager to re-assert his authority after missing so much of this season due to his vaccination status.


Stefanos Tsitsipas (Team Europe) vs. Frances Tiafoe (Team World) – If Necessary

Tsitsipas easily beat Diego Schwartzman on Friday, dropping just three games.  He is 3-2 against Tiafoe, and 3-1 on hard courts.  However, Frances claimed their most recent encounter, last fall in Vienna, which was also on an indoor hard court.


Casper Ruud (Team Europe) vs. Taylor Fritz (Team World) – If Necessary

Ruud defeated Sock on Friday, while Fritz defeated Norrie on Saturday.  If this match takes place, it will be their first career meeting.


The full Laver Cup schedule is here.

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Laver Cup Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic to Play Singles and Doubles on Saturday

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The lineup for Day 2 (twitter.com/lavercup)

In the wake of Roger Federer’s incredibly emotional retirement on Day 1, the focus of this event shifts to the rest of the competitors on Day 2.  And for the first time in the five-year history of the Laver Cup, Team World goes into Day 2 without a deficit.  With both Federer and Rafael Nadal replaced by alternates for Day 2 and Day 3, is this Team World’s opportunity to capture their first Laver Cup? 

 

Each day, this preview will look at all four scheduled matches, while taking an extended look at the most notable match of the day.  Saturday’s day session gets underway in London at 1:00pm local time, and the night session at 7:00pm.  And each match on Saturday is worth two points.


Matteo Berrettini (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (Team World) – 1:00pm

These two good friends have played four times, with Berrettini winning on three of those occasions.  Matteo’s wins came three years ago in the final of Stuttgart on grass, in the quarterfinals of last year’s Wimbledon, and a year ago in this event.  Auger-Aliassime’s only win occurred last summer in Cincinnati.  Matteo is coming off a quarterfinal run in New York, as well as three victories last week in Davis Cup.  Felix was upset in the second round of the US Open by Jack Draper, and went 2-1 in Davis Cup.


Cameron Norrie (Team Europe) vs. Taylor Fritz (Team World) – Second in the Day Session

Norrie was also an alternate in last year’s Laver Cup, but did not play.  Fritz was a part of Team World in 2019, when he went 1-1 in singles, defeating Dominic Thiem during Sunday’s play in a must-win match to keep his team alive.  Cam is now 45-22 on the year, while Fritz is 36-17.  Both men achieved their best-ever Major performances two months ago at Wimbledon.  They played each other just last week in Davis Cup, with Norrie prevailing after three tight sets.  Overall they have split 10 previous meetings.


Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Frances Tiafoe (Team World) – 7:00pm

Is Tiafoe ready to upset another member of “The Big Three” on Saturday?  He earned the biggest win of his career by taking out Rafael Nadal at the US Open, and defeated Nadal and Federer in doubles on Day 1 alongside Jack Sock.  Meanwhile, this will be the first match for Djokovic in over two months, since he won the Wimbledon final over Nick Kyrgios.  The unvaccinated Novak was unable to travel to North America for the hard court summer season.

Djokovic has only played seven tournaments this year, amassing a record of 23-5.  Tiafoe is 26-19, and is coming off his exciting semifinal run in New York.  Their only previous matchup was at the 2021 Australian Open, when Novak defeated Frances in four sets.  Frances is certainly the much more match-tough player on this day.  But despite his recent inactivity, Djokovic should still be considered the favorite.


Matteo Berrettini and Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Alex de Minaur and Jack Sock (Team World) – Second in the Night Session

Novak will have only a few minutes of rest ahead of this doubles match, so the length of his match with Tiafoe could impact the result here.  This will be Novak’s first time playing doubles since last year’s Davis Cup finals.  Berrettini played three doubles matches this past January at the ATP Cup, going 1-2.  De Minaur overcame Andy Murray in singles on Friday in what was a grueling contest, while Sock was defeated in singles and victorious in doubles.


The full Laver Cup schedule is here.

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