Tennis Returns: WTA Sets Out Desire To Go To China, But ATP Not So Sure - UBITENNIS
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Tennis Returns: WTA Sets Out Desire To Go To China, But ATP Not So Sure

Full details concerning the remainder of the 2020 season has been confirmed by the two governing bodies.

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Professional tennis will resume on August 3rd with the WTA set to play their first tournament a week before the men’s tour.

 

Both organisations have published their provision schedules at 15:00 on Wednesday afternoon to coincide with the USTA hosting their virtual press conference concerning the upcoming US Open. On the WTA Tour, the Italian city of Palmo will be where the Tour will resume. The clay-court event will take place two weeks prior to the start of the Western and Southern Open, which will also take place at the same venue as the US Open this year. A total of 20 tournaments is set to take place before the year concludes.

“Having assessed the global outlook for travel in the latter half of the year, working with our medical experts on providing the safest environment possible, and working through the diverse operational challenges for running events safely in the context of COVID-19, the WTA is pleased to release a calendar for the remainder of the 2020 season,” WTA Chairman Steve Simon said in a statement.
“For now, the vital energy of spectators in stadiums will be greatly missed, but our athletes are eager to return to competition and our broadcast and social media partners are exploring new ways to engage with our fantastic fans. It is our sincere hope and desire that we will be able to return to play this summer.”

The provisional schedule also includes the Asian Tour, which the men’s governing body is yet to commit to. Officials are hoping to stage events across China, which include the city of Wuhan. A city where the COVID-19 outbreak is said to have originated from. The WTA Finals are also set to go ahead in the country during the week commencing August 23rd.

ATP still pondering

On the men’s Tour they have published a more specific schedule that goes up only until the end of September. At present only seven events have been named on their schedule with four of those taking place on the clay. Washington and Kitzbuhel are the only men’s event that has been given the green light. However, the ATP confirms others could be added ‘should circumstances allow’ them to do so.

“Our objective has been to reschedule as many tournaments as possible and salvage as much of the season as we can,” said ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi. “It has been a truly collaborative effort and we hope to add more events to the calendar as the situation evolves. I would like to recognise our tournaments’ efforts to operate during these challenging times, as well as our players who will be competing under different conditions. At every turn, ensuring that the resumption of the Tour takes place in a safe environment will be paramount.”

The ATP is set to provide a final decision regarding the last quarter of the 2020 season by mid-July with hopes that the ATP Finals in London will be hosted as usual. Although the prospect of a crowd being at that event will be subject to government approval.

As for the ATP Challenger Tour, it will resume from the week commencing August 17th in line with the International Tennis Federation and their tournaments.

The reviewed schedules have been drawn up following a collaboration between the WTA, ITF, USTA and FFT.

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‘My Body Is Not Use To Playing At 2am’ – Kristyna Pliskova Stuns Sakkari In Late-Night Palermo Duel

The Czech player has caused the biggest upset of the draw so far.

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Kristyna Pliskova has started her return to professional tennis following the five-month break by recording one of the biggest wins over her career at the Palermo Open.

 

The Czech tennis player held her nerve to knockout world No.20 and third seed Maria Sakkari 6-4, 6-4, in a late-night encounter. The first day of the WTA event saw a series of matches go the full distance, leading to Pliskova’s opening match taking place in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Despite the later than expected encounter, a sleepy Pliskova still managed to come out on top to record only her seventh win over a top 20 player and second this year. She also beat Aryna Sabalenka at the Shenzhen Open in January. During her latest match, the Czech stood firmly behind her serve as she won 80% of her first service points and saved all three break points she faced. Overall, she won 69 points in the match compared to Sakarri’s 60.

“The conditions were really tough,” wtatennis.com quoted Pliskova as saying. “Before the match, I was also sleeping a little bit! We stayed so late here, I think it’s tough for [Sakkari] as well.”
“The body is not used to playing at 2:00 a.m.,”
she added.

Pliskova broke Sakkari twice in the match by doing so at the start of each set. The triumph avenges her loss to the Greek in their previous meeting that took place at the 2017 Wimbledon championships. On that occasion Sakkari fought back from a set down to win.

Former Wimbledon girls champion Pliskova is seeking her first WTA title in almost four years this week in Palermo. Her next opponent will be Italian veteran Sara Errani, who required almost three hours to oust Sorana Cirstea 7-5, 1-6, 6-4, in a roller-coaster encounter.

“[Errani is] at home here, so for sure the people will cheer for her,” Pliskova commented on her next test. “She had quite a tough match, I saw. It’s very different from today, but I will try to hold my serve and hopefully I will also break her!”

Pliskova is currently ranked 69th in the WTA rankings.

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Fabio Fognini is planning to return in Kitzbuhel

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Fabio Fognini is currently training in Puglia to prepare his return to the ATP Tour in Kitzbuhel next September after undergoing ankle surgery two months ago. His coach Corrado Barazzutti confirmed that Fognini will not play in the Cincinnati Masters 1000 tournament and at the US Open. 

 

Fabio knows what he has to do to recover from the injury and is working very hard. He trains every day from 10 to 14.30. I am happy with his committment and his hard work”, said Barazzutti, who is also the Italian Davis Cup captain. 

“I think that Fabio will be ready in two weeks. We will work for four weeks in Rome to prepare for Kitzbuhel, which will mark his come-back. If everything goes to plan, Fabio will play there. We are confident because his preparation is going well well”. 

Fognini is spending his time with his wife Flavia Pennetta and his children Federico and Farah. “I think that spending with his family will be very positive for Fabio. They give him the strength to overcome the recovery from injury. Living with injuries is normal for all athletes, but it is not very easy. He is now more relaxed”, concluded Barazzutti

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REPORT: Madrid Open To Be Axed Amid COVID-19 Concerns In Latest Setback For Tennis

Hopes of Spain holding their top tennis event in 2020 are over.

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The world of tennis is set to suffer another severe blow with multiple media sources confirming that organisers of Spain’s most prestigious tennis tournament will officially cancel their event on Tuesday. 

 

The Mutua Madrid Open will be removed from the 2020 calendar following a meeting involving tournament owner Iron Tiriac. Recently doubts have been cast on the event after local health officials called for it to be suspended due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. Although the final decision was up to Tiriac and his team. It had been due to take place between September 12 to 20, following the conclusion of the US Open. 

“We have to be realistic now, we have to accept that health is always the priority. We must not endanger anyone, neither the fans, nor the players, nor the staff, all those who come to Madrid in September,” tournament director Feliciano Lopez told L’Equipe over the weekend. 

Spain has seen their rate of COVID-19 cases rapidly rise since the country ended its lockdown. According to El Pais, the number of cases recorded within 24 hours is eight times the amount compared to 40 days ago. Rising from 334 (June 20) to 2,789 (between July 29 and 30). On Friday July 31st there were 3092 new cases in the country in what is a post-lockdown record.

Held at the Caja Magica, the Madrid Open is a key event for both men and women. It is currently classed as a Masters 1000 for the men and as a Premier Mandatory for the women. Last year each of the singles champions took home €1,202,520 in prize money. It was originally set to be played in May but was postponed due to the pandemic.

The demise of Madrid this year is another setback for what is becoming a rapidly thinning 2020 tennis calendar. Within the past two weeks China has confirmed that they will not be hosting any tournaments this year, Japan’s scrapped it’s premier women’s event and the Italian Open has been advised to not allow any fans to their event this year. 

As a result of the latest development, only two WTA clay-court events will take place after the US Open leading up to Roland Garros. They are both set to get underway on September 21st in Rome and Strasbourg. As for the men, Rome will be their only point of call. 

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