Madrid And Rome With 48-Player Draws And Finals On Tuesday - UBITENNIS
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Madrid And Rome With 48-Player Draws And Finals On Tuesday

To save both Masters 1000, even in the event of a dispute with the US Open and wait for the big names, here are the compromise solutions. Heavily reduced prize money for everyone. June 15th the deadline for the final decision?

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Every day the situation of the tennis calendar seems to be changing. The various hypotheses of summer and post-summer programming follow one another at exorbitant speeds.

 

Just 24 hours ago I wrote a long and detailed article on the situation of the US Open which affects the whole calendar to come, on the possible effects on Madrid and Rome if in New York you had to play regularly (more or less …) ‘US Open.

In fact, some news emerged that seem to change certain sceneries, even for Madrid and Rome whose prize money and draws would be significantly reduced (40 or 50% less prize money for draw limited to 48 tennis players, with 16 byes) and whose finals would not be played on Sunday, but on Tuesday with some rules imposed on the various tournaments to protect the television coverage of the same finals.

Moreover, even virologists seem to emit new pronouncements every day, often contradicting each other and even themselves. The tennis world can’t be an exception.

Meanwhile, a different optimism seems to have leaked – as they say – as if the sensations of a progressively less lethal coronavirus had spread globally (as has almost always happened with the arrival of summer).

I indicated that in the United States the will to give rise to the US Open was strongly characterized and confirmed by what the CEO of the USTA Stacey Allaster said despite a cautious premise “We have not taken any decision, but everything is … fluid”.

Allaster, in an interview granted telephonically to the Associated Press, however, makes it clear that in case that it is decided by June 15th (this seems to be the deadline for everyone) to confirm the dispute of the US Open, the USTA already knows how this thing will go.

In summary charter flights are planned to transport players with small teams and only from certain airports (Rome and Milan are not among them …), COVID-19 test before start of the trip, daily temperature checks at the National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows. Discarded imaginative Indian Wells-like hypotheses, etc. Doors closed to the public. Few officials, locker rooms closed on training days.

But I’m going back to Madrid and Rome. The deadline for all decisions appears to have been set for June 15th. If the virus had given us truce in Europe and not in New York there would be no problems either for Madrid or for Rome. Madrid could take place shortly after early September, Rome soon after.

Otherwise the last idea is to extend the duration of Madrid, which could begin in the first days of the week from September 14th to 20th, but end on Tuesday 22nd. This would allow, with a billboard of 48 tennis players and 16 byes, to wait for any New York finalists for several more days. Theoretically, they could take the field for their first round (second of the tournament) on Thursday 17th or even Friday 18th. There would be five days to carry on the tournament (which has three retractable roofs in case of rain), from Friday to Tuesday .

At the same time, the Internazionali d’Italia could have run smoothly, starting on Monday 21st or Tuesday 22nd September, but to protect Madrid’s TV rights, on the day of the Castilian final (Tuesday 22nd) Rome for one day should not be able to show his games on TV. Or maybe it could be held to a television black-out only for those games simultaneously with the Madrid final (last year in Madrid the women’s final was played on Saturday, the day before compared to the male one, while Rome made them play on the same day).

The finals of Rome should take place on Monday 28th September, simultaneously with the second day of Roland Garros. For Italy there should be no problems of television conflicts: the Masters 1000 are broadcasted by Sky, the Roland Garros by Eurosport.

Paris and Rome, French Federtennis and ATP with Federtennis Italiana should almost certainly find an agreement not to bother with TV rights problems. It is an emergency situation, and everyone should understand it. Players included: they are asked to give up a lot of prize money – a sacrifice that the organizers would like by 50%, perhaps they will agree on 40% or even 35% – but a solution must also be found for those players who would have entered the 56- or 64- player boards and now will be out of it. But in short, it seems that goodwill, even among conflicting interests, will end up prevailing.

Article translated from Italian by Tommaso Villa

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Former Roland Garros champions and five top 20 players to highlight a great edition of the Ladies Open in Palermo

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The Ladies Open WTA International in Palermo will be the first tournament to be held next August since last February.

 

The Italian tournament will feature a great line-up which includes two confirmed past Roland Garros champions Svetlana Kuznetsova and Jelena Ostapenko and five top 20 players. There is a good chance that 2018 French Open and 2019 Wimbledon champion Simona Halep could be added in the field.

“We are glad about Simona Halep’s great interest in Palermo Ladies Open. We will be waiting for her at the Country Club for an historic edition of the Palermo tournament. We have been in contact with Halep’s manager for some time. We have been talking for days about her potential participation in Palermo. She is one of the best players in the world and her presence would contribute to make an already high-level tournament extrahordinary. We will leave our doors open to her for as long as possible, as well as for other top ten players that will want to resume their season in Palermo”, said tournament’s CEO Oliviero Palma.

The other stars who have signed up to the Ladies Open are 2019 Roland Garros champion Marketa Vondrousova, two Grand Slam semifinalists Elise Mertens (2018 Australian Open) and Anastasija Sevastova (2018 US Open), Aryna Sabalenka (winner at the Wuhan Open in 2018 and 2019, WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai in 2019 and Doha in 2020) and Elina Rybakina (winner in Hobart and finalist in St. Petersburg and Dubai in 2020), Dayana Yastremska (winner of three tournaments in Hong Kong in 2018, Thailand and Strasbourg in 2019).

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Lorenzo Sonego and Liudmila Samsonova lift the titles in Perugia

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Lorenzo Sonego and Liudmila Samsonova won the Zzz Quill Tennis Tour in Perugia. Sonego followed up his Italian title won the previous week in Todi with a 3-6 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 win over Croatia’s Viktor Galovic (world number 269 and number 7 seed) in the final of the Perugia tournament.

 

“Galovic started very well. It was difficult to adjust to his game and improve during the match. I maintained the right attitude and I managed to win the title. I enjoyed two fantastic weeks in Todi and Perugia. This confirmed my good work in training in the past two weeks. I gave my best and I am confident for the rest of the season”, said Sonego.

World number 117 Liudmila Samsonova won the women’s title came back from one set down to beat world number 307 Stefania Rubini 4-6 6-4 7-6 (8-6) in the women’s final after saving two match points.

“I won a very tough final with a lot of ups and downs. I am happy that I played many matches. It was one of my goals on the eve of the tournament. I showed that I am able to keep the level of my tennis high, when I play focused”, said Samsonova.   

 

 

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[EXCLUSIVE] Brandon Nakashima: “I Love Federer, But My Game Resembles More Djokovic’s”

Nakashima speaks to UbiTennis about his liveliest memory of training with Nadal at Wimbledon. The duels he had with Lorenzo Musetti and Tseng Chun-Hsin, the high praise for Sebastian Korda and Hugo Gaston. Why he doesn’t like clubbing and what his new coach Pat Cash has been advising him to do.

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The latest instalment of UbiTennis’ video series sees Ubaldo Scanagatta and Steve Flink speak with Brandon Nakashima. An 18-year-old American tennis star born on August 3, 2001, who goes by the nickname B-Nak.

 

He is at No.220 in the ATP Rankings (with a career best at 218) and is second-best among those who were born in 2001, trailing only Jannik Sinner. His surname is of Japanese origin, but it was his Vietnamese maternal grandfather who initiated him to the game of tennis when he was three. He is 1.85 metres tall and weighs 78 kilograms. He was born in San Diego, and his father Wesley was also born in California – his parents are both pharmacists. He played for the University of Virginia, where he was the Freshman of the Year for the Atlantic Coast Conference, before moving on to the pros.

Since Delray Beach, in February, he’s been working with Pat Cash, immediately reaching the quarter finals and beating four Top 100 players. His best shot is his two-handed backhand, and his favourite player is Federer. A superb athlete, he is considered the best American prospect. He is self-described as shy, but he actually isn’t that much, once he gets going. He loves sushi, but also admits to having a sweet tooth. Given the status of some of his victims, it can be assumed that he’s already better than his ranking.

VIDEO SCHEDULE

Minute 00:00: Introduction and recap of his highest-profile wins.

03:40: His behaviour during the Covid-19 pandemic: “I wear a mask whenever I’m outside. I’ve been trying to stay cautious as much as possible in public areas”. He also appreciates the chance of being able to train at some local private courts.

05:07: The special relationship with his grandfather: “My mom’s dad is from Vietnam. He first started to get me out on the court when I was about three and a half years old, just feeding me balls at a local park and from that time onward I started practicing more and more everyday”.

06:45: Bonding with his main coach, Pat Cash, during the pandemic.

07:38: Cash claims he noticed immediately Brandon’s “extraordinary racquet control” – does he think that this is his best quality too?

08:42: Their first meeting: “We had a couple of mutual friends; at the time I had just turned pro and I was looking for a good coach…”

11:53: His idols growing up: “I always liked to watch Federer play, but I think now my game is more similar to Djokovic’s”.

12:40: The experience of hitting with Nadal: “A couple of years ago I was playing the junior Wimbledon tournament…”

14:36: His thoughts on the best future prospects…

17:20: His transition as a pro aged only 17: “It was crucial on and off the court for me to go to college and to then play a full season at 17 [Editor’s Note: at the University of Virginia], it helped my game and made me mature as a person. I’d advise most players to go to college and get that experience…”

19:45: Recapping his best junior Slam results.

21:25: Developing his game with Pat Cash: “During these training blocks here in California, we definitely decided to work a lot on the transition and net game to add more variety into my game…”

23:55: What are his current plans? “It’s tough to plan tournaments right now since we don’t know when or if they’re even starting…”

25:35: How does he feel about the issue of playing behind closed doors? “It will be interesting, everybody is so used to people watching, so I think most players will find it maybe a little weird at the beginning…”

26:47: His off-court life: “I try to relax and have fun. I like playing other sports, on days off I play golf with friends or relax at home watching TV, just getting the mind away from tennis. I don’t like going to dance or clubs, it never was my type of feeling of going out; I like a more chill state with my friends.”

30:04: His knowledge of tennis history.

31:30: Where does Brandon see himself in 2022/23? “The goal is to keep improving my results and my rankings, and maybe…”

33:20: After the Big Three era, who is his pick to become the next world N.1?

36:10: Pat Cash’s most frequent tip: “I have to train to get ready for the Slams…”

Article written and translated by Tommaso Villa

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