Naomi Osaka To Miss French Open For First Time Since 2015 - UBITENNIS
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Naomi Osaka To Miss French Open For First Time Since 2015

The recently crowned US Open champion explains why she won’t be playing in France this year.

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Naomi Osaka - US Open 2020 (via Twitter, @usopen)

World No.3 Naomi Osaka has pulled out of the upcoming US Open after admitting that she won’t be ready in time due to an injury issue.

 

The 22-year-old published a statement on Friday saying that she is still recovering from a sore hamstring which has bothered her in recent weeks. Last month Osaka also pulled out of the Western and Southern Open final due to the issue but was able to play at the US Open with strapping on her left leg. At the New York major she claimed her third Grand Slam title after coming back from a set down to defeat Victoria Azarenka in the final last Saturday.

“Hey guys, first and foremost thank [sic] so much for all the support over the last three weeks. I couldn’t have done it without you!” she posted on Twitter.
“Unfortunately I won’t be able to play the French Open this year. My hamstring is still sore so I wouldn’t have enough time to prepare for the clay — these two tournaments came too close to each other for me this time. I wish the organizers and players all the best.”

It is the first time Osaka will be absent from the Paris event since 2015. She has reached the third round in three out of the past four years and has an overall win-loss record of 6-4. It is one of two Grand Slams where she is yet to progress to the second week. The other is Wimbledon where she has reached the third round twice.

The announcement means two out of the world’s top three women’s players will not be playing at Roland Garros. World No.1 Ash Barty is also skipping the tournament due to travelling concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The reigning French Open champion has instead opted to end her season early and instead focus on the upcoming Australian summer at the start of next year. 2018 champion Simona Halep will be the top seed.

This year’s French Open is taking place with a restricted attendance due to the ongoing pandemic. On Thursday it was confirmed that original plans for 11,500 daily spectators to visit the event has been substantially cut to just 5000. The move was a ‘governmental decision’ in response to a spike of cases in both France and other countries.

The French Open will start on September 27th.

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Dominic Thiem hopes that tennis will get back to normal in 2020

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World number 3 Dominic Thiem has travelled to Adelaide, where he is serving a two-week quarantine before heading to Melbourne for the second edition of the ATP Cup and the Australian Open. 

 

Thiem is aiming to win a second Grand Slam title after claiming the US Open trophy last September beating Alexander Zverev in the final. He clinched his Grand Slam title in his fourth final. 

“I have been on vacation a little longer than usual, and the training went well. For the first two and a half weeks, I only did fitness.  The presence of physio Alex Stober since the days before Christmas was very helpful. In the first week, I can play with a training partner and two others in the second set. We can also go out from the third week, probably for the first time without a mask since Indian Wells 2020. That is sensational. I hope that we can play throughout the entire year and repeat the results from the previous couple of years”,said Thiem.

Last year Thiem came back from two sets down to beat Zverev in a five-set tie-break at last September’s US Open after 4 hours and 2 minutes. He became the second Austrian player to win a Grand Slam title after Thomas Muster, who won the French Open in 1995. 

The Austrian player lost a five-set quarter final to Diego Schwartzman at the French Open in five hours and eight minutes. He was not able to reach the Roland Garros semifinal for the first time in five years. Thiem qualified for the semifinal in Paris in 2016 and 2017 and two consecutive finals in 2018 and 2019, finishing runner-up to Rafael Nadal both times. 

Thiem hopes that tennis will be back to normal after the pandemic affected the 2020 season. 

“I hope that we can play throughout the entire year and repeat the results from the previous couple of years. I also wish our lives get back to normal by the summer months”, said Thiem. 

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Andrea Gaudenzi thinks that tennis will survive the retirement of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic

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Andrea Gaudenzi talked to Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport about the many challenges he had to face in his first year as ATP Chairman and his expectations for the 2021 season, which will end with the ATP Finals in Turin. Gaudenzi attended the official press conference of the ATP Finals in Turin yesterday. 

 

“There was only a positive aspect in a very difficult season for everyone, but I am optimist and I try to see the positive side. We have managed to reunite the different institutions in the world of tennis. We have worked in close cooperation with the WTA and the ITF. There are too many different rules and it’s now time to overcome them. The governing bodies of tennis and the Grand Slams are getting together and working collaboratevely on the long-term future of tennis. The future is uncertain, but we are working to better plan next season. We are open to discussions with Novak Djokovic and PTPA, but the time has come for unity. We cannot make the necessary changes if there are divisions. We must fight together to defend the most important interests”, said Andrea Gaudenzi. 

Gaudenzi revealed that the ATP Rankings could be back to normal soon. 

“Next March we hope to resume the traditional ATP Ranking and the ATP Race to Turin that considers the results achieved in the 2021 season as long as we are able to stage a high number of tournaments. We will update the calendar every three month. Hopefully we will get back to normal by autumn thanks to the vaccine. It was a very hard period. All tournaments that took place after the lockdown have suffered losses. The Grand Slam and Masters 1000 tournaments have resisted to the challenges caused by the pandemic, but the ATP 250 tournaments are facing a very difficult period. We are ready to help these events”. 

The Italian former player is not very worried about the future of tennis after the retirement of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. 

“I started playing tennis during the era of Pete Sampras and André Agassi. Many people said that tennis would have not survived their retirement and it would have been very difficult to match between Sampras and Agassi. Their longevity is incredible though, and of course they will be missed whenever they decide to retire, but historic tournament like Wimbledon and Rome have maintained their tradition and are extremely popular events among fans. I think the game is a great product, so eventually tennis will create new stars. If you look back, the sport has always generated amazing rivalries”. 

Italian tennis is going to grow in popularity thanks to the ATP Finals and a new generation of players like Matteo Berrettini and Jannik Sinner. 

“Jannik Sinner is a very talented player. I think that he has a great future. We expect him to play in Turin in the future”.

Gaudenzi is very confident that the ATP Finals in Turin will be a successful event. 

“Turin is doing a great job. We are very ambitious. We have set a very high standard in London, where the ATP Finals attracted 3 million spectators in 12 years. We are confident that Turin will do even better. We can guarantee the quality of the show to the fans, who buy the ticket”. 

Gaudenzi was asked about the rule changes aimed at increasing the appeal of tennis among a new generation of fans. The ATP Chairman is focused on creating a product that can help promote tennis during a period of change for the media environment. 

“I am in favour of the changes to the traditional tennis rules. Our goal is to deliver a good product for the new media platforms. We have to focus on fans. We have to deliver a better experience in terms of media and data distribution. We need to work more closely with the other organisations, specifically the WTA, the ITF and the Grand Slams because together, we can invest more in technology and innovation and we can provide a better experience to the fans”. 

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Francesca Jones reaches the Australian Open main draw despite a rare genetic impairment

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British tennis player Francesca Jones has reached the main draw of the 2021 Australian Open. It was a remarkable achievement for the 20-year-old British player, who suffers from a rare genetic impairment, the ectodactily-ectodermal dysplasia syndrome. 

 

The player from Bradford was born with a congenital condition. Jones only has three fingers and a thumb on each hand, three toes on one foot and four toes on the other. This rare genetic conetic often affects the fingers and toes and requires adaptive surgery. 

As she was a child, doctors told her that she could never pursue a tennis career. She has already underwent ten operations. 

Jones joined the Sanchez Casal Academy in Barcelona at the age of 10. 

At the Australian Open qualifying tournament in Dubai Jones beat Monica Nicolescu 6-3 6-2, Jana Fett 7-6 (9-7) 2-6 6-1 and Lu jiajing 6-0 6-1 to advance to her first main draw of a Grand Slam tournament. In the third qualifying match Jones played against Lu, who is ranked 40 positions ahead of the British player in the WTA Ranking and has more experience. 

The British player is the only one of British five entrants to get through the opening round of the qualifying tournament. She is ranked world number 241 and has never played in a Grand Slam Main draw. 

“The way I see it is that I am just playing the game with a different set of cards, but it doesn’t mean those cards still can’t win the game. Doctors said I would never become a professional. When someone says to you at eight, nine years old that you can’t do something, I suppose most people would be heartbroken, but I just tried it on the chin and see how I could prove that person wrong and also prove to myself that I could do what I wanted to, and encourage the others to do so too, because I think there are so many children that are limited by what others say”, said Jones to the BBC.

Jones will travel from Dubai to the Australian Open and start the 14-day mandatory quarantine. 

“I am overjoyed and am really looking forward to Australia now. I have never been there and I am sure it will be a great experience. Every draw will be fascinating. I look forward to every match I can play, whether it’s Serena Williams or a qualifier”, said Francesca Jones. 

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