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.

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4000 people attended the Novak Djokovic Tennis Center in Belgrade for the Adria Tour each day (image via www.facebook.com/adriatourofficial)

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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Another Defeat For Iga Swiatek – Should Her Fans Start To Worry?

Iga Swiatek unexpectedly lost to Beatrice Haddad Maia in the quarter-finals of the National Bank Open in Toronto. This was the third defeat of the WTA world No.1 in a month and a half. Is there anything to worry about?

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Iga Swiatek - Roland Garros 2022 (photo Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Article written by Dominik Senkowski (@dsenkowski07)

 

It was an extremely close match played in difficult conditions. Swiatek lost to Beatrice Hadad Maia 4:6, 6:3, 5:7 in Toronto.

The Polish woman admitted that she could not deal with the strong wind, saying during her press conference “I think without the wind I would manage. But it was pretty crazy out there.”

Haddad Miai, who is the first Brazilian to reach the last eight of a WTA 1000 event, revealed that she also had problems with the weather.

”We have no influence on the weather, we have to deal with it somehow. I think mentally I managed to overcome it,” she said.

Three failures

This was the third defeat for Swiatek in a month and a half. She had been undefeated since February, winning six tournaments in a row, including a Roland Garros. After that, however, she did not reach the semi-finals even once. In Wimbledon she was eliminated in the third round by Alize Cornet and then in Warsaw in the quarter-finals by Caroline Garcia. Now she did not make it past Beatrice Hadad Maia in Toronto. Do fans of the Polish woman have anything to worry about?

Of course, Swiatek as the top seed should have played better against the Brazilian. However, it must be remembered that she is still only 21 years old and has the right to fluctuate in form. Even the best tennis players of recent years – Roger Federer, Serena Serena, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic – did not win all the games in their best time. Swiatek still has a phenomenal balance of 49 wins to 5 defeats this year. She is the undisputed leader of the WTA rankings and will probably end the year as number one in the world.

There is no doubt that the rivals are more motivated to clash with Iga. In addition, they increasingly believe that they are able to defeat her since Cornet, Garcia and Hadad Maia did it. But still, it all depends on Iga. If she improves her serve, she can be unstoppable again. Recently with Garcia and Hadad Maia, she had problems with the second serve. She must pay more attention to it.

Time for Iga

Time should play in favour of Swiatek. Before Toronto, she played exceptionally on clay courts in Warsaw in a tournament organized by her father Tomasz. Frequent changes of the surface from grass to clay and hard courts in 1.5 months are not easy at such a young age. In Poland Iga said that she had no experience with it, she was just learning. She continues to learn valuable lessons and still can be better. We should remember it.

It seems that in the coming days she will be training on hard courts. She could feel more confident and come stronger as in spring. In Warsaw Iga said that she treats the first tournament before the US Open swing less seriously. She was aware that she needed more playing time to get better results. Her increasing self-esteem makes her behave calmer, even after defeats. That is why she can return to the right path soon.

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Rafael Nadal Returns To Cincinnati With Shot At No.1 Ranking

This is what the king of clay has to do to reclaim the top position.

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ATP RAFAEL NADAL OF SPAIN - PHOTO: DIEGO SOUTO / MMO

It has been over a month since Rafael Nadal last played a match on the Tour but in the coming days, he will have a chance to return to the top of the ATP rankings.

 

The 22-time Grand Slam champion has been absent from action ever since pulling out of his semi-final match at Wimbledon due to an abdominal tear. He was set to play at this week’s National Bank Open in Montreal but withdrew after feeling a ‘slight bother’ in his abdominal region following training. Nadal decided not to play after consulting with his doctor.

Instead, the Spaniard will return next week at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. He confirmed his return in an Instagram post, where he wrote: “Very happy to play again in Cincy. Flying there tomorrow (Thursday).”

Whilst the Spaniard will be finding his feet in the coming days, in Cincinnati he has a chance to dethrone Daniil Medvedev from the world No.1 position. Medvedev lost his opening match in Montreal to Nick Kyrgios. To do this he would need to win the Masters 1000 event for the second time in his career and hope that Medvedev doesn’t make the quarter-finals. Nadal won Cincinnati back in 2013 after defeating John Isner in the final.

So far in his career, Nadal has spent 209 weeks as world No.1 with his longest streak being 56 weeks in a row (2010-2011). In total, he has been at the top of the rankings for eight separate periods and last held the position in February 2020.

Nadal’s No.1 stints
-Aug 18 2008 – Jul 5th 2009 (46 weeks)
-Jun 7 2010 – Jul 3rd 2011 (56 weeks)
-Oct 7th 2013 – Jul 6th 2014 (39 weeks)
-Aug 21 2017 – Feb 18 2018 (26 weeks)
-Apr 2nd 2018 – May 13th 2018 (6 weeks)
-May 21st 2018 – Jun 17th 2018 (4 weeks)
-Jun 25th 2018 – Nov 4th 2018 (19 weeks)
-Nov 4th 2019 – Feb 2nd 2020 (13 weeks)

At present nine out of the world’s top 10 players will participate in the Western and Southern Open. The only exception is Novak Djokovic who is currently banned from entering America because he isn’t vaccinated against Covid-19.

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Jack Draper Considered Skipping Montreal Masters Before Getting Biggest Win Of Career

The rising star completes a trio of British players who have booked their places in the third round of the Masters 1000 event.

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Image via https://twitter.com/OBNmontreal/

British qualifier Jack Draper says his decision to play in Montreal this week has paid off after he scored his first-ever win over a top 10 player on Wednesday.

 

The 20-year-old stunned world No.5 and third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-5, 7-6(4), in what is only his fourth appearance in the main draw of a Masters 1000 event. Draper, who is currently ranked 82nd in the world, won 74% of his first service points and blasted 21 winners past his Greek rival. Recovering from a 1-3 deficit in the second set en route to a straight sets victory.

Leading up to this week, Draper and his team considered not playing in Montreal following his 6-4, 6-2, loss to Andrey Rublev in Washington. However, their decision to do so was the right one. After coming through two rounds of qualifying, he beat France’s Hugo Gaston in the first round before knocking out Tsitsipas.

“This is why I put in all the hard work, for nights like this on stages like this,” Draper said in an on-court interview. “Last week [after] Washington, me and my coach probably were thinking we weren’t even going to come here. We were going to maybe train a week, get a bit of confidence. But it paid off coming.”
“I didn’t really have much of a game plan. I just thought I needed to play good tennis to beat Stefanos. He’s at the top of the game for a reason. [He’s] someone I’ve looked up to the last few years. It’s just good to be out here and try to express myself on this stage.” He added.

Draper’s win comes during what has been a solid season for the Brit who has won four Challenger titles. A former top 10 junior player, he won his first main draw Grand Slam match in June at Wimbledon and reached the semi-finals of the Eastbourne International.

Awaiting the youngster in the third round will be French veteran Gael Monfils who is playing in his first tournament since May. Monfils defeated Maxime Cressy 7-6(10), 7-6(8).

Draper is one of three British players to have reached the last 16 in Montreal. Ninth seed Cameron Norrie will next play home favourite Felix Auger-Aliassime and Dan Evans faces Taylor Fritz.

According to the Pepperstone live ATP rankings, Draper will break into the world’s top 70 for the first time next week.

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