Sasha Bajin wants to help Karolina Pliskova win her first Grand Slam title - UBITENNIS
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Sasha Bajin wants to help Karolina Pliskova win her first Grand Slam title

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Sasha Bajin talked about his new role as coach of former world number 1 Karolina Pliskova in an interview to German website tennisnet.com. The German coach worked with Caroline Wozniacki, Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams and Dayana Yastremska in the past.  

 

Bajin described how the relationship to Pliskova came about. 

“I have had good contact with her husband Michal, who is Karolina’s manager, for a long time. After the collaboration between Dayana Yastremska ended after the US Open, the request came from him. I was in America at the time and it was a little difficult because of the distance, but we talked on Face Time two or three times. Then I talked to Karolina too. We already talked know each other from the tour because she has been there for ages, so I was not stranger to her. I did not know her personally, but it went very easily and comfortably. I did not put any pressure on myself because I have been there for so long and originally did not want to continue on the tour straight away. It must also make sense for me to work with a player. I have to believe in her and feel that she can do something great. For me it is also important that I can help her with my way as a coach. I was very happy with my was as a coach. I was very surprised and happy and happy that the request came from Karolina because she is a former world number 1 and a big name. I am very honoured and grateful for this opportunity”, said Bajin. 

Pliskova reached the world number 1 spot in the WTA Ranking, but she has never won a Grand Slam title. Bajin explained which points she has to work on to achieve the goal to win a Major tournament. 

“I don’t think it’s a secret. If you have won every other title on the tour and you have beaten all of the players before, it must be some kind of mental barrier that is keeping you from playing your best tennis in the Grand Slam, I think or at least hope that I can help her with this. If you have already been to the summit or have achieved something big, you know what it feels like. The trust in a coach who has worked with a multiple Grand Slam winner is a little different. The clear goal is to win a Grand Slam tournament. I hope I can help her with this. So far she may have put too much pressure on herself and hopefully we will stop that”. 

Bajin received offers from other players, but he chose to train Pliskova, becasue he wants to her the Czech player reach her lifetime goal to win a Grand Slam title.  “There were offers from other players and also from men. That would have interested me too. I don’t want to mention any names now, but a couple of inquiries from the men were appealing. With the men, however, it is extremely difficult to get to the top because the top three or four players share the titles among themselves. As a coach, however, you have the goal of winning titles. That’s why we do the job. I am now lucky enough to be able to train a player like Karolina. It’s an awesome job because I am keen to do something with her. I think that’s pretty cool. It was similar with Caroline Wozniacki. She had never won a Grand Slam tournament before we worked together. I wasn’t with her at the 2018 Australian Open, but that was always our goal. Then she made it two months after we had split up. That made me very happy I just love when you have a clear goal. Karolina’s goal is to work towards a Grand Slam victory and she has enough experience to do this. Now that I have coached two or three young players, that’s a difference. A plan B is very important, especially if you want to win a Grand Slam event. You can’t play your A-Game for two weeks, that’s impossible. Nobody has ever done and it won’t work. Maybe it was a bit like that with Iga Swiatek. She had the best run of her life at the French Open, so you can only take your hat off. Normally you need a Plan B, maybe even a Plan C. We are working on that and we want to see that she somehow manages to get rid of this mental block and play her best tennis in the most important moments. I want to achieve that with her”.

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Richard Gasquet upsets Danil Medvedev in Geneva

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Richard Gasquet upset Danil Medvedev 6-2 7-6 (7-5) with three breaks of serve in 90 minutes to reach the second round at the Gonet Geneva Open. 

 

Gasquet scored his first win over an opponent ranked in the top 2 since he beat world number 1 Roger Federer at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters 2005. 

Medvedev had beaten Gasquet in their only previous head-to-head match at the 2021 US Open en route to his first Grand Slam title. 

Medvedev was playing his first match since Miami in March after undegoing hernia surgery.

Gasquet won six consecutive games from 2-2 in the first set and built up a 6-2 2-0 lead.  

Medveved dropped his serve after three double faults with three double faults. The Russian player broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3 and held serve at love with an ace. 

Medvedev recovered from a mini-break down in the tie-break. Gasquet earned his third mini-break to win the tie-break 7-5. 

The Frenchman will face Kamil Majchrzak, who cruised past Marco Cecchinato 6-2 6-3.

Thanasi Kokkinakis earned his first win on clay in seven years with a 6-4 6-3 win over Fabio Fognini in 1 hour and 28 minutes. 

Kokkinakis went up a break to take a 4-1 lead. Fognini broke back in the seventh game to draw level to 4-4.  Kokkinakis broke serve at love in the tenth game to claim the first set 6-4. 

Fognini made two double faults and missed three game points before dropping serve in the second game of the second set. Kokkinakis did not face any break points in his remaining four service games. 

Christopher O’Connell edged past Albert Ramos Vinolas 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 to set up a second round match against Reilly Opelka. 

Paulo Sousa cruised past 2021 semifinalist Pablo Andujar 6-1 6-4. Sousa will face Nikoloz Basilashvili, who was leading 6-4 before Facundo Bagnis retired from the match.

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Former Finalist Marketa Vondrousova To Miss French Open Following Surgery

The Olympic silver medallist will miss a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in two-and-a-half years.

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Image via https://twitter.com/WTA_insider

Czech world No.35 Marketa Vondrousova has pulled out of next week’s French Open after undergoing what she describes as a ‘small surgery.’

 

Vondrousova, who reached the final at Roland Garros back in 2019, underwent a procedure on her left wrist after experiencing recurring pain. She decided to do so following a medical consultation and will be soon going through rehab. It will be the first Grand Slam event she has missed since the 2019 US Open which she also withdrew from due to a wrist injury.

“The last few weeks were not easy, I have been experiencing recurring pain in my wrist,” Vondrousova wrote in an Instagram post published on Monday. “After seeing a couple of doctors I decided to get this small surgery done to be able to play pain-free.”
“Staying positive through the recovery and can’t wait to be back on the court soon,”
she added.

The 22-year-old last played on Tour at the Stuttgart Open where she lost in the first round to Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur. So far this season she has achieved a win-loss record of 13-5 with her best run being to the semi-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships as a qualifier. Vondrousova also reached the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and defeated Emma Raducanu in the Billie Jean Cup.

A former junior world No.1, Vondrousova has been ranked as high as 14th in the world. So far in her career, she has won just one WTA title which was back in 2017 at the Lugano Open in Switzerland. However, she has reached the final at another four events with the last being at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. She has scored a total of six wins over top 10 players.

Another player in doubt for the French Open is defending champion Barbora Krejcikova who hasn’t played a match on the Tour since February. The world No.2 has been sidelined from action due to an elbow injury but remains on the entry list for the Grand Slam which will begin on Sunday.

The French Open draw will take place on Thursday.

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Roger Federer’s Team8 Considering Bid To Buy Cincinnati Masters Rights From USTA

The potential move has gained support from one former world No.1 player who says ‘it is nice to see responsible names’ in the mix to buy the prestigious event.

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Roger Federer Wimbledon 2021
Roger Federer (SUI) playing against Adrian Mannarino (FRA) in the first round of the Gentlemen's Singles on Centre Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 2 Tuesday 29/06/2021. Credit: AELTC/Jed Leicester

It is understood that sports and entertainment company Team8 which was co-founded by Roger Federer is looking into potentially submitting an application for ownership of the Cincinnati Masters, according to two sources.

 

Sports business publication Sportico and Steve Weissman from The Tennis Channel have both reported that the business is among a number of interested parties who want to buy the event that is best known as the Western and Southern Open. In February this year it was confirmed that the USTA is selling their 93.8% stake in the tournament for a ‘nine-figure sum.’ It is understood that the organization doesn’t want the event to be relocated from Cincinnati in part of any deal.

“The USTA’s Board of Directors believes now is the right time to explore potential strategic options and alternatives in order to optimize the long-term growth of the tournament and take the tournament to the next level,” the USTA said in a statement published by tennis.com.

The USTA brought the rights to the men’s event back in 2009 for $12.5M and has since spent an additional $65M. Whilst Cincinnati is a combined tournament, the ongoing negotiations only apply to the men’s section. The women’s tournament is overseen by Octagon management.

Neither Federer or a member of Team8 have commented on the reported plans. The company was founded by the 20-time Grand Slam champion and his agent Tony Godsick back in 2013. Since then they have been involved in the creation of the Laver Cup, became a ‘major investor’ in the Universal Tennis system and are a ‘strategic investor and partner’ to On Running.

Should Team8 become the new owners, questions may arise about conflicts of interest with Federer still being an active player on Tour. The 40-year-old is currently sidelined from action due to a knee injury but is aiming to stage a comeback at the Swiss Open later this year. However, former world No.1 Andy Roddick has given his full backing to the possible takeover.

“In the world of tennis, where conflicts of interest know no bounds at all, Roger can do this. He has, obviously, been a great steward for the game and has created an incredible relationship with the fans in the city of Cincinnati. You’d like to see it stay in the tennis family with someone who actually knows and loves our sport.” Roddick told The Tennis Channel.

Federer has won the Cincinnati Masters a record seven times in his career.

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