'Retro Player' Lorenzo Musetti Hails Naomi Osaka’s US Open Racial Injustice Campaign - UBITENNIS
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‘Retro Player’ Lorenzo Musetti Hails Naomi Osaka’s US Open Racial Injustice Campaign

One of the brightest prospects in men’s tennis has spoken out about why Osaka was right to do what she did in New York.

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Italian rising star Lorenzo Musetti says ‘all his respect’ goes to Naomi Osaka following her efforts during the US Open to raise awareness of those who have been victims of police brutality in the country.

 

Osaka, who won her third Grand Slam title at the New York major in September, started each of her matches by walking on court wearing a mask with different names. Each name represented somebody who has been affected by racial injustice. In the quarter-finals she had George Floyd’s name on her mask who died whilst being arrested after police officers were filmed kneeling on his neck. The death prompted protests across the world and was instrumental in the black lives matter movement.

Speaking about Osaka during an interview with Esquire magazine, Musetti said the former world No.1 proved that it is possible to be both an activist and an athlete at the same time.

“Aside from the fact that she was great at winning the US Open, I’m happy because she went all the way with her bold message,” he said. “She had the strength and authority to show everyone that sport can also be activism and today talking about racism is a necessity. I think those masks with the names of the victims were of great impact and all my respect goes to her.”

The 18-year-old believes his generation is more inclusive and hopes issues such as racism will be less of a problem in the future.

“I believe that us young people are largely undervalued in this sense. My generation is mostly inclusive, ready to welcome diversity and not to conflict. Racism most of us have already dismissed it as something absurd,” he stated.

A former world No.1 junior, Musetti turned pro last year and has since rapidly rose on the ATP Tour. At the Italian Open he made his first major breakthrough by scoring back-to-back wins over Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori. Shortly after the tournament he won his first Challenger title in Forli and is now ranked 124th in the world. Making him the second youngest male player currently in the top 200 after 17-year-old Carlos Alcaraz (No.138).

Closing in on his top 100 debut, Musetti says 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer is his idol and his dream would be to play the Swiss Maestro in Wimbledon. Federer first entered the world’s top 20 12 months before Musetti was born.

“Federer has always been my favourite player, he’s my idol, and continues to be,” he said.
“I grew up with the rivalry between him and Nadal, and when they ask me what my dream final would be, I always answer against Roger at Wimbledon.”

Describing himself as ‘a bit of a retro player,’ Musetti will return to action next week at the Internazionali di Tennis Emilia Romagna which is a Challenger event in Palma, Italy.

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Roger Federer trains with Dominic Stricker in Dubai

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Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer has been training hard with his compatriot Dominic Stricker in Dubai, where he traditionally spends his off-season. Federer published a photo on his social media with Dominic Stricker, who won the Roland Garros Junior title and current world junior number three. 

 

Stricker made a comment on his Instagram account: 

“What three weeks. I really enjoyed every single minute in Dubai. What a great start to the new season. I am looking forward to playing some tournaments. Thanks to Roger Federer and his team for these great practices”, said Dominic Stricker. 

Federer will skip the Australian Open, but he may make his come-back in Rotterdam or Dubai. His main goals for the 2021 season are Wimbledon, the US Open and the Olympi Games in Tokyo. He has pulled out of the Australian Open because his wife Mirka did not approve of the quarantine conditions set out for his family. 

“Roger had two options. He could come with the whole family and quarantine. The problem is that Mirka and his children could not leave the room. They would have to stay 14 days in the room”, said Australian Open director of player relations Andre Sa. 

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The Rotterdam ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament will be held behind closed doors

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Organisers announced that the 48th edition of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament will be held behind closed doors from 1 to 7 March 2021 because of the current epidemiological situation and the measures to fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. 

 

The tickets already sold for the 2021 edition will be moved to the 49th edition in 2022. It does not mean that there will not be fans in the arena. In the event that this turns out to be possible, fans, who have already bought the tickets, will be contacted. Because the capacity is expected to be limited with the latest information regarding the situation in the Netherlands, this will be announced at a later stage. It has alreaady decided to postpone the tickets from 2021 to 2022. 

“As much as we regret it, we are making the decision now to move all tickets for the coming edition to 2022. That way, every fan has the certainty that he or she can attend the tournament next year at the seat and the day he or she wants. Should it turn out last minute that we can offer tickets for 2021, we will give the people who have already tickets now the opportunity to be there”, said Rotterdam tournament Director Richard Kraijcek. 

The star-studded Rotterdam already features 2020 ATP Finals champion Danil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev (winner in Doha, Adelaide, Hamburg, St. Petersburg and Vienna in 2020), three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka, former top 10 player and 2017 ATP Finals runner-up David Goffin, 2014 US Open finalist Kei Nishikori and 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals champion Jannik Sinner. 

Medvedev will play in the Dutch city for the fourth time in his career. He made his debut at this tournament in 2018 as a qualifier, when he was ranked world number 57. He returned to Rotterdam in 2016 as world number 16. He reached the semifinal before losing to Gael Monfils, who went on to win the tournament. 

Wawrinka will make his fifth appearance in Rotterdam. The Swiss player has won 16 ATP titles, including Rotterdam in 2015, when he beat Tomas Berdych in the final. He won the Australian Open in 2014, Roland Garros in 2015 and the US Open in 2016 and reached a career-high of world number 3. He is one of the few players besides the big three to win multiple Grand Slam titles in the last decade. Wawrinka is now ranked world number 18. 

Nishikori will play in Rotterdam for the second time. The Japanese player reached the semifinal in 2019, when he was beaten by Wawrinka in three sets. Nishikori will chase the 13th title of his career. He claimed his first tournament in Delray Beach in 2008 and won five of his twelve titles in indoor court tournaments.  Sinner made his debut in Rotterdam in 2019 and beat then world number 10 David Goffin in straight sets, but he lost to Pablo Carreno Busta in the tie-break of the third set. World number 37 Sinner is the youngest player in the top 100 and won his first ATP Tour title in Sofia last November. 

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Dominic Thiem hopes that tennis will get back to normal in 2021

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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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