Victoria Azarenka Calls For Calm As Two Australian Open Players Test Positive For COVID-19 - UBITENNIS
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Victoria Azarenka Calls For Calm As Two Australian Open Players Test Positive For COVID-19

Last year’s US Open finalist has spoken out amid growing frustration over the quarantine system in Melbourne.

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Former world No.1 Victoria Azarenka has called for empathy from both players and the public regarding the current quarantine system. 

 

The two-time Australian Open champion has published a open letter on her Twitter account in which she urged ‘co-operation, understanding and empathy for a local community that has been going through a lot of very demanding restrictions.’ Under government rules all players are required to quarantine for 14 days ahead of the Australian Open. However, some players are going through a stricter system after being classed as a close contact following a series of a positive cases on their flights to the country. Those deemed close contacts must stay in their rooms at all times. 

Whilst most players have been contempt with the current system, there has been controversy. Some have complained about the quality of the food they have received and others have voiced their unhappiness with the current system. Roberto Bautista Agut has gone as far saying that the situation is a complete disaster.’

In a bid to ease tensions, Azarenka says it is important that everybody looks at the wider picture concerning the pandemic. 

We have a global pandemic, nobody has a clear playbook of how to operate at full capacity and without a glitch, we all have seen it last year. Sometimes things happen and we need to accept, adapt and keep moving,” she wrote.
“I would like to ask all my colleagues for co-operation, understanding and empathy for a local community that has been going through a lot of very demanding restrictions that they did not choose, but were forced to follow.
“I would like to ask to be sensitive as well to the people who have lost their jobs and loved ones during this horrible time for all of us around the world.
“I would like to ask all of us to have respect for people who work tirelessly to try to make our lives easier.”

Amid the frustration players have come under fire from the Melbourne public over how a minority of them have reacted to the situation. For this reason Azarenka has called for more empathy from everybody.

“I would like for the people in the community to know and understand that we have it as our top priority to ensure the health and safety of all the people,” she continued in her letter.
“I would like for us to please try to support each other as much as someone can or is willing to.
“Things are always easier when you have a compassionate environment and work together.”


Over the weekend Novak Djokovic sent a letter to Craig Tiley in which he pleaded for changes to the quarantine rules. However, those requests have been dismissed by local health officials. 

As Azarenka seeks to calm the storm, it has been confirmed that two unnamed players have tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday. It is unknown if those who tested positive had been placed in the stricter quarantine prior. A third person who is ‘associated with the tournament’ has also tested positive. The trio are made up of a woman in her 20s and two men in their 30s.

This does not change broader assessment of the player group in hotel quarantine,” a public health statement said.

No further details about the positive cases has been provided. 

Azarenka’s letter in full 

https://twitter.com/vika7/status/1351378719802159105

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Diego Schwartzman Receives Threats On Social Media Following Shock Davis Cup Defeat

The world No.15 is the latest player to speak out about recieving abusive messages on social media.

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The weekend has been an emotional rollercoaster for Diego Schwartzman, who suffered ‘one of the worst’ losses of his career before helping secure victory for his country in their Davis Cup tie against Belarus.

 

On Saturday the world No.15 was stunned by unranked 18-year-old Daniil Ostapenkov who is yet to play a professional match on the pro Tour. Ostapenkov is currently ranked 63 in the world on the junior circuit. The comprehensive victory shocked the Argentinian team who was hosting the tie at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club.

Despite the shock upset, Schwartman managed to redeem himself the following day when he defeated Alexander Zgirovsky 6-1, 6-2. That victory handed his country an unassailable 3-1 lead in their tie and secured their place in the 2022 Davis Cup qualifiers which will take place next March.

Not only playing Davis, but in Buenos Aires, with a lot of people you don’t see, it’s not easy. My level can be and has to be much better. After the game on Saturday I had a difficult day in the spirit of being able to get up and enjoy with the group,” La Nacion quoted Schwartzman as saying.
“The most normal thing was that we won the series. It’s what everyone expected. But when you have a very difficult day at work like it was on Saturday and then you win, it excites you because you have some internal things withheld.”

Between those two matches, Schwartzman revealed that he was trolled on social media by some people unhappy about his loss in the tie. The 2020 French Open semi-finalist said he received criticism and even threats from some asking him to leave his home country. Something he admits affected him at times.

“It was one of the worst days of my career,” Schwartzman commented on his loss to Zgirovsky. “I lost to an unranked, inexperienced player. All that already affects (me) a lot. Although 80 or 90 percent of the people are always encouraging (me), there was a minority who criticized me with bad intentions.’
“I received threats, insults and requests not to return to Argentina. More or less, it affects (me)”.

Schwartzman is not the first player to speak out about online abuse. During the US Open Shelby Rogers said she was expecting to receive ‘death threats’ following her loss to Emma Raducanu who went on to win the title. Sloane Stephens has also previously spoken out about being the victim of racism online.

The 29-year-old says he has previously tried to interact with those who have trolled him on social media to find out why they are doing so.

Sometimes I start to answer some messages and I ask those people if they realize what they are sending,” Schwartzman said during his press conference. “The vast majority apologize and say they had not realized it. But at the moment it hurts. That very ill-intentioned criticism is the only bad thing about social networks.”

Schwartzman has won four ATP titles and earned more than $10M in prize money so far in his career.

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Jasmine Paolini lifts her first WTA title in Portoroz

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Jasmine Paolini claimed the first WTA Tour title of her career in Portoroz. The Italian player came back from two breaks down in the opening set to beat Alison Riske 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 in the final after 1 hour and 45 minutes.

 

“I think it’s been an amazing week here in Portoroz. I just feel very happy. It’s a big achievement for me, to win my first title. On hardcourts, it’s special. I think I was maybe a bit relaxed. I understood more about the game. I tried to change the rhythm of the game with higher balls, and I think that was the key”, said Paolini. 

Paolini beat Dayana Yastremska in the first round, Sorana Cristea in the quarter final, and Yulia Putintseva. The 25-year-old Italian player beat three top 50 players in a row in her final three matches this week. 

After a trade of breaks in the opening two games, Riske went up a double break to take a 5-2 lead. Paolini pulled one break back in the eight game from 3-5. The Italian broke at love in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5, as Riske was serving for the set. Riske rallied from 2-5 to 4-5 in the tie-break. 

Paolini earned two set points at 6-4 and converted her first set point when Riske sent an overhead long. Paolini broke serve in the fifth game with a forehand winner down the line to take a 3-2 lead. Paolini won the final five games and sealed the second set 6-2 with an error-forcing forehand.

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Clare Tauson claims her second WTA Tour title at the age of 18

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World number 70 Clare Tauson has won the second WTA Tour title of her career at the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open this season beating Jelena Ostapenko 6-3 4-6 6-4 in the final after 2 hours and 3 minutes. 

 

Tauson enjoyed a great week in which she up number 4 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-1) in the second round and this year’s Olympic finalist Marketa Vondrousova 6-4 2-6 6-4 in the semifinals. Tauson won her first title as a qualifer in another indoor tournament in Lyon last March in just her second Tour-level tournament. Tauson also won the WTA 125 trophy in Chicago last August beating Emma Raducanu, who went on to win the US Open last week. 

Tauson is one of the four players born in 2002 ranked in the the tpè 100 alongside Raducanu, the other US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez and Marta Kostyuk. 

The Danish teenager is the seventh player to claim more trophies, joining Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty, Barbora Krejikova, Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek, Danielle Collins and Daria Kasakina. 

Ostapenko won the Luxembourg tournament on her debut at this tournament in 2019 and had been undefeated before today’s tournament. 

Tauson has become the fourth player to successfully defend the Luxembourg title after Jana Novotna, Martina Navratilova and Kim Cljisters. 

Ostapenko hit a smash to break Tauson to take a 6-3 lead. The Latvian player earned an early break to take a 2-1 lead. Tauson broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Ostapenko fired return winners to take a 2-1 lead with a break. Tauson broke back with two straight return winners. Tauson fended off two break points to hold serve after a marathon five-deuce for 3-2. Ostapenko was broken after a fourth double fault, when she was serving to stay in the match at 4-5. 

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