Tennis Tournaments Around The Globe To Stick With Plans For Crowds Despite Djokovic Fallout - UBITENNIS
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Tennis Tournaments Around The Globe To Stick With Plans For Crowds Despite Djokovic Fallout

An outbreak of COVID-19 at a high-profile event founded by the world No.1 hasn’t put others off from welcoming fans to their events in the near future.



4000 people attended the Novak Djokovic Tennis Center in Belgrade for the Adria Tour each day (image via

Organisers of a series of tennis events set to take place within the coming weeks have insisted that they will allow fans to attend despite the controversy generated by Novak Djokovic’s Adria Tour.


The world No.1 has come under heavy criticism after an outbreak of COVID-19 at the Zadar leg of the Tour over the weekend which has resulted in it officially getting cancelled. Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric, Djokovic and two coaches all have the virus. Viktor Troicki, who played in the Belgrade leg the weekend prior, also tested positive. Organizers of the event had been under fire over its lack of social distancing protocols and social gatherings. In Belgrade, 4000 people attended the event each day.

“I am so deeply sorry our tournament has caused harm,” Djokovic said in a statement. “Everything the organisers and I did the past month, we did with a pure heart and sincere intentions.
“We believed the tournament met all health protocols and the health of our region seemed in good conditions to finally unite people for philanthropic reasons.
“We were wrong and it was too soon. I can’t express enough how sorry I am for this and every case of infection.”

In the wake of the fallout, both the ATP and USTA released statements saying that they will apply strict anti-COVID-19 measures when their tournaments resume. Meanwhile, the US Open has already confirmed that their event is taking place behind closed doors for the first time in its history. However, others still believe they will be able to safely host their events with fans attending.

Next Month the German capital of Berlin has outlined plans for hundreds of fans to attend their Bett1 Aces tournament, which is being organized by the same people who run the Mercedes Cup. Six male and female players will play at two locations in the city between July 13-19 with €200,000 in prize money for both events. Kiki Bertens, Dominic Thiem and Elina Svitolina are all set to take part. 1,000 spectators will be allowed to attend the Steffi Graf stadium and around 300 in the hangar at Tempelhof.

“When we host the tournament in mid-July, there will be a strict hygiene concept that we will coordinate with the Berlin Senate,” tournament director Barbara Rittner told Deutsche Welle.
“We will have around 1,000 spectators at the Steffi Graf stadium and around 300 in the hangar at Tempelhof.
“It will be important to carefully observe all regulations and to test the players beforehand. This is one of the requirements for these events.
“We will treat the situation and regulations very respectfully.”

Rittner, who was ranked as high as 24th in the world during her career, has been a fierce critic of the Adria Tour. Going as far as branding it an ‘absolute catastrophe’ and suggesting that ‘success has gone to the head’ of some players without mentioning names. Despite the sharp criticism, she admits that no event will be safe from the virus.

“Of course, regardless of the Adria Tour, we can also get a message at any time that a player has tested positive and cannot play,” Rittner said.
“We can only ensure that the strict requirements are adhered to as correctly as possible and ensure that further planning is not jeopardised.”

The DraftKings All-American Team Cup in Atlanta is set to feature the top eight American men with all of them currently being ranked inside the top 100. The three-day event will see players split into two groups. They plan to allow 450 fans to attend the event each day, which works out as roughly 30% of the stadium’s capacity in Peachtree Corners.

According to Forbes magazine, players will be tested for both COVID-19 and any antibodies prior to taking part. They will also be staying at the same hotel on one dedicated floor for them. Masks at the event will be issued, but not mandatory.

“Every day we’re doing a daily temperature check both for the players and for any and all tennis patrons, staff and vendors that enter the venue,” tournament director Eddie Gonzalez told Forbes.
“We feel like we have an opportunity to show the world that a live tennis event with fans can be successful,” he added.

Meanwhile, the WTA Tour will resume on August 3rd at the Palmero Open in Italy, which has been one the worst affected countries in Europe by the pandemic. Nevertheless, organizers still believe they can allow people to attend their event due to the relative low number of cases in the region at present.

“We believe that around 500 spectators can be present in the stands, divided between the two stands . At the entrance, the fans will have to go through a thermoscanner (to check their temperature),” tournament director Oliviero Palma told reporters prior to the Adria Tour fallout.

Sports events have been previously blamed for worsening the global pandemic. Professor Tim Spector, from King’s College London, said a Champion’s League match involving Liverpool and the Cheltenham horse racing festival contributed to a rise in COVID-19 deaths in the UK. However, those two events took place before the country was placed into a full lockdown.

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Carlos Alcaraz beats Yannick Hanfmann on his debut at the China Open



This year’s Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz beat Yannick Hanfmann 6-4 6-3 in 1 hour and 37 minutes on his debut at the China Open in Beijing three weeks after reaching the semifinal at the US Open. 


Alcaraz has improved his win-loss record to 59-7, leading the ATP Tour. The Spanish player leads the ATP Tour with 8 titles and 5 finals. 

Hanfmann saved eight of the eleven break points and broke twice in the first set. 

Alcaraz earned an early break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead, but Hanfmann broke straight back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Alcaraz converted his fourth break point in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Hanfmann pulled back on serve in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Alcaraz earned his third break with a forehand at 4-4 to seal the first set. 

Alcaraz broke twice in the third and ninth games to close out the second set 6-3. The two-time Grand Slam champion did not face a break point in the second set. 

Alcaraz converted five of the sixteen break points he faced. 

Alcaraz set up a second round match against Lorenzo Musetti, who beat Karen Khachanov 6-3 1-6 6-2. Khachanov won at the Zhuhai Open last week beating Yoshihito Nishioka  in the final. 

“Hopefully I have a lot of years to come here to China. Creating my chapter here in China would be great for me. To finally be able to come here to China and show my tennis in front of the Chinese people is something that I wanted a long time ago and I am really happy to do it, hopefully the first of many here”, said Alcaraz. 

Musetti converted his second break point in the second game to take a 3-0 lead. Khachanov broke back in the fifth game to draw level to 3-3. Musetti broke for the second time in the eighth game to seal the first set 6-3. 

Khachanov broke twice in the second and sixth games to close out the second set 6-1. 

Musetti broke Khachanov twice in the sixth and eighth games to seal the third set 6-2. 

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Jessica Pegula and Maria Sakkari advance to the semifinal in Tokyo



Number 2 seed Jessica Pegula cruised past Daria Kasatkina 6-1 6-0 in just 59 minutes at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo to reach her seventh semifinal of the 2023 season.


Kasatkina earned an early break in the opening game of the match, but Pegula reeled off 12 consecutive games. The US player hit 25 winners and broke six times. She saved three break points as she served out the first set. Kasatkina was not able to convert eight game points across her first two service games. 

Pegula has scored her second win in as many matches against Kasatkina after beating her Russian opponent 7-5 6-3 in the first round in Rome 2021. 

Pegula has improved to 10-9 against top 20 rivals in 2023. 

Pegula set up a semifinal match against Maria Sakkari, who beat Caroline Garcia 6-2 6-2 in the quarter final. Sakkari claimed her second win in a week over her French rival equalling her career-best streak of seven consecutive match wins. Last week Sakkari beat Garcia 6-3 6-0 in the semifinal of the Guadalajara Open.  

Sakkari hit 15 winners to eight unforced errors and saved all six break points. 

The US player will meet her Greek rival for the ninth time in her career and for the third time this season. Sakkari leads 5-3 in her head-to-head matches against Pegula. They are 1-1 in their 2023 clashes. Pegula took the win 6-2 4-6 6-1 in the semifinal in Doha, but Sakkari turned the tables by winning the Washington semifinal 6-3 4-6 6-2. 

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Asian Games Champion Qinwen Zheng Reveals Shock Departure Of Coach Fissette



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China’s Qinwen Zheng says she feels ‘hurt’ by the decision of her former coach to end their collaboration in order to work with another player. 


The US Open quarter-finalist had been working with Belgium’s Wim Fissette in recent weeks following the departure of Pere Riba who is now the coach of Coco Gauff. Fissette has a wealth of experience in women’s tennis after working with the likes of Kim Clijsters and Naomi Osaka. However, Zheng says she is now looking for a new mentor.

“I understand his decision, but my family and I feel hurt. Right now I don’t want to talk about this person (Fissette),’ journalist Bendou Zhang quoted her as saying. 

Fissette is yet to comment on his departure. He had previously coached former world No.1 Osaka between 2019-2022 and during this period she won two of her four Grand Slam titles. The American-based Japanese player is on maternity leave from the sport and gave birth to her first child in July.

20-year-old Zheng is currently ranked 23rd in the world and won her maiden WTA title in Palermo earlier this year. She is the youngest player from her country to have reached the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam in the Open Era following her run at Flushing Medows. This year she has beaten top 10 players Ons Jabeur and Daria Kasatkina. 

Zheng’s latest career milestone is winning gold at the Asian Games on Friday. in the final, she defeated Zhu Lin 6-2, 6-4, in the blistering Hangzhou heat.

“The feeling was incredible,” Zheng said. “I’m really happy about that. That was not an easy match today and also yesterday (in semifinal against Alex Eala). All of them are good fighters.”

It is not clear who Zheng will be working with during the Asian swing. 

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