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What Does The Future Hold For Ekaterina Alexandrova?

The anomalous story of a Russian tennis player who perfected her game in Czechia and now has reached a crucial moment in her career.




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Ekaterina Alexandrova was born on November 15, 1994 in Chelyabinsk, a Siberian city of about 1.2 million inhabitants located to the East of the Urals, close to the border with Kazakhstan. In order to have more information, I visited Wikipedia: founded at the end of the 1700s around a military fortress, the city began to grow rapidly by the early 20th century as a result of the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway, and later on became a major industrial centre under the Soviet Union. Two more relevant events about the city need to be mentioned: a serious nuclear accident occurred in 1957 at a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant near the city, which led to the region to be inaccessible to visitors until 1992; and a meteor struck in 2013. By then, however, Ekaterina has already left her hometown.

Alexandrova discovered the game during a holiday in Spain, when she was five years old; she went with her parents to the court, and she started playing. She immediately enjoyed it and improved rapidly. Throughout the years, she got better and better, but being based in Chelyabinsk is not ideal for those who aim to compete at a high level. Ekaterina moved first to Moscow and then to Prague with her father and coach, Evgeny Alexandrov, to devote herself to her game.

She shared her story during two interviews in 2016 and 2017: “I used to train in Moscow, but once my whole family and I came to a tournament in Prague, and we immediately loved the place in all respects; there were many courts, and it’s also a beautiful city. We were simply charmed, and we decided to move to Czechia.” When the journalist asked her how long she had lived in Prague, she replied: “I think we have been here for about ten years, maybe a little more.” Given that she didn’t specify when the move happened exactly, we suppose that it must have occurred in 2007, when Ekaterina was about 13-14 years old. However, in 2009 she played a junior tournament in Prague; if we consider that moment as a starting point, it means that she moved to Czechia when she was a little older.

Since she moved to Prague, she faced a very particular condition. She couldn’t be a player of national importance for the Czech federation because she’s not from there – in addition, she couldn’t attend any meeting or training organized by the federation. However, she could train and improve her skills in an environment characterised by a historically great tennis culture (especially for women in recent years), with many top players. She travelled to several European tournaments with father Evgeny, and, when not on the road, she also trained with local coaches, such as former world N.138 Petr Kralert.

Due to her unique national condition, in the early years Ekaterina couldn’t be awarded any wildcards for major tournaments. Therefore, she missed opportunities to play against high-level opponents. Nevertheless, she could play in the Czech Extraliga, the Czech club competition. All the local top players took part in the competition (Kvitova, Pliskova, Strycova, Siniakova, Vondrousova, etc), as well as some foreign players like Sevastova – the Latvian has been her clubmate since 2017 for the “RPM Oaza Ricany” team (Oaza Ricany is a town located about 13 miles from Prague).

Moreover, she benefited from another typical perk of Bohemian tennis: it is well-known that physical and technical training takes place on two surfaces, clay during the summer and fast indoor courts during the cold season. Alexandrova has always stated that she does not like very much playing on clay and that she prefers fast courts, which allow her to keep the rally under his control and reduce the defensive phase.

One more anomaly is that she skipped the junior career. In fact, in the early years of her career Alexandrova played a limited number of junior tournaments (only 20 official matches), deciding to focus on ITF tournaments. Her first appearance in the rankings was in 2012, at 17 (N.782), and from then onwards she has experienced a steady progression, with just a couple of stumbles. Here are her end-of-season rankings from 2012 onwards: 782, 380, 228, 234, 108, 69, 71, 35, 25 (at the end of 2020). During the first years on the ITF circuit, she won tournaments that are not particularly renowned, but in some of these, she played and beat well-known opponents such as Bacsinszky, Paszek, Muchova.

A big breakout occurred in the 2016 season. In June, she was ranked around the 230th spot in the WTA rankings and she was about to take the first step in the biggest events, since her ranking finally granted her the opportunity to play the Grand Slam qualifiers at Wimbledon. To be honest, she was the first alternate in the original entry list, but due to the withdrawal of one player in the entry list, there was a spot for her in the Roehampton draw (Wimbledon’s qualies are not played on the grasscourts of Church Road, to safeguard their conditions). In the first round, she won against Ons Jabeur (the Tunisian is the same age as Ekaterina), then in the second round she defeated Stephanie Vogt 6-4 4-6 14-12 after saving a match point at 11-12. Without a rest day, it would have been tough to play the deciding match, but the rain came to help her, and every scheduled game was postponed by a day. The match against the local player Harriet Dart turned into another marathon: 2-6, 7-5, 13-11. She won after saving another match point at 10-11. 

This was not the end of her dream run. Her match in the first round of the main draw was against Ana Ivanovic, N.25 in the rankings. It was Ana’s last year on the WTA Tour and she smarted from some wrist problems. Ekaterina, ranked 223rd, won the match against all odds, 6-2 7-5. She finally lost in the second round to Anna Lena Friedsam, but she earned 110 WTA points and roughly $76,000 in just one tournament, more than her total career prize money at that time. In November 2016, Alexandrova won the WTA125K at Limoges, defeating three French Top 100 players such as Parmentier, Cornet and Garcia. The Limoges tournament would then become her favourite, with two more titles in 2018 and 2019, further proof of how well she plays on indoor courts.

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Alejandro Davidovich Fokina beats Hubert Hurkacz to reach the quarter final in Montpellier




Alejandro Davidovich Fokina came back from 1-3 in the opening set and converted four of the ten break points to claim a 7-5 6-2 win over Hubert Hurkacz in 1 hour and 34 minutes at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier. 


Hurkacz went up a break in the fourth game at deuce to take a 3-1 lead. Davidovich Fokina broke back in the fifth game at 15 and held serve to draw level to 3-3. Hurkacz saved a break point in the seventh game to hold serve after two deuces. Davidovich Fokina converted his second break point in the 11th game to win the first set 7-5. 

Hurkacz saved three break points in the third game of the second set, but Davidovich Fokina broke twice in the fifth and seventh games at deuce to win the final four games from 2-2 securing his spot in the quarter final. 

The 21-year-old Spanish player set up a quarter final against Egor Gerasimov, who knocked out Aljaz Bedene 6-4 7-6 (7-4) after 1 hour and 51 minutes. Bedene converted his second break point at deuce in the first game. Gerasimov broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Gerasimov closed out the first set 6-4 with a break on his opportunity in the 10th game.

Bedene went up a break in the third game of the second set to take a 2-1 lead. Gerasimov broke back in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5. Gerasimov earned five match points at 6-1 in the tie-break. Bedene saved the first three chances, but Gerasimov closed out the tie-break 7-4 on his fourth opportunity. 

Roberto Bautista Agut cruised past Gregoire Barrère 6-0 6-3. The Spanish player built up a 6-0 2-0 lead with four consecutive breaks. Barrère came back by winning three consecutive games to take a 3-2 lead with a break in the fourth game. Bautista Agut reeled off four consecutive games with two consecutive breaks to win the second set 6-3 

Dennis Novak came back from 3-5 down by winning the final four games in the second set to beat Dusan Lajovic 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 after 1 hour and 35 minutes. Novak set up a quarter final clash against German Peter Gojowczyk, who came back from one set down to beat Juri Vesely 6-7 (3-7) 7-4 (7-4) 6-3 after 2 hours and 28 minutes. Gojowczyk hit 17 aces and won 86 % of his first service points. Gojowczyk saved four break points in the ninth game. Vesely earned two mini-breaks to win the tie-brek 7-3. The second set went on serve en route to the the tie-break. Gojowczyk earned one mini-break to win the tie-break 7-4. The German player converted his only break point in the second game to seal the third set 6-3.

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Adrian Mannarino sets up quarter final match against Radu Albot at the Singapore Open




Top seed Adrian Mannarino beat Roberto Marcora 6-3 7-5 to advance to the quarter finals at the Singapore Tennis Open. 


Mannarino converted his second break point at deuce in the fifth game of the opening set after six deuces to take a 3-2 lead, as Marcora hit his forehand into the net. The Frenchman earned three set points in the ninth game. Marcora saved the first two chances, but Mannarino sealed the first set on his third chance after 50 minutes. 

Marcora went down 0-40 in the second game of the second set, but he saved all three break points to hold serve at deuce. Mannarino held his serve in the next games and earned two match points on return in the 12th game. He sealed the win, as Marcora sent his backhand into the net. 

“At this stage there is no easy match. I never played against Marcora before, but I knew he had a couple of good games before. In the second set, he got used to the pace and was winning points in the big moments and it looked like it could go either way. I am pretty happy that I managed to keep my focus and win the second set”, said Mannarino. 

Mannarino set up a quarter final against Moldova’s Radu Albot, who fended off three match points to beat Yannick Hanfmann after 2 hours and 42 minutes. Albot fended off match points at 4-5 15-40 and in the second set and at 6-7 in the tie-break. 

Australia’s Matthew Ebden cruised past his compatriot John Millman 6-4 6-1 in 72 minutes. Soonwoo Kwon won 31 of his 38 first service points to beat Yasutaka Uchiyama 6-3 6-4 setting up a quarter final against Marin Cilic. Soonwoo Kwon claimed his third ATP Challenger Tour title in Biella beating Italian Next Gen star Lorenzo Musetti.

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The tennis world celebrates the 87th birthday of Rino Tommasi

The legendary Italian tennis writer was greeted by heavyweights of the game such as ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi and Hall-of-Famer Steve Flink





Rino Tommasi

Journalist Rino Tommasi turned 87 on Tuesday, and so Ubitennis decided to ask the members of the ITWA (International Tennis Writers Association) to send their birthday wishes to a professional who spear-headed the use of statistics in the game.


A recipient of the ATP Ron Bookman Media Excellence Award in 1993, Tommasi was voted as the “Tennis writer of the year” twice by the players (in 1982 and 1991), and was rewarded by the IOC in 2012 for his extensive coverage of 11 editions of the Olympics – he is also a great boxing expert. Furthermore, for several years he wrote the official US Open match previews, and his broadcasting partnership with Hall-of-Famer Gianni Clerici was the subject of a Sports Illustrated feature article.

Here are some of the messages we received celebrating him (other contributors include Doris Henkel, Marco Keller, Simon Cambers, Mike Dickson, Guillermo Salatino, René Stauffer, Eduardo Puppo, Sandra Harwitt, Tom Tebbutt, Serge Fayat, Paolo Bertolucci, Andrea Scanzi, Marco Gilardelli, Bill Scott, Federico Ferrero, Sebastian Fest, and Craig Gabriel):

Andrea Gaudenzi

Dear Rino,

Wishing you many happy returns on your 87th birthday! As an iconic figure in Italian tennis journalism, you were always at the forefront of statistics and data in our sport, and that is something that I personally always admired and respected throughout my playing career. While your presence on the Tour is missed, your contributions to our sport are certainly not forgotten. Happy birthday and wishing you all the best,


Steve Flink


Ubaldo tells me that today you are 87, which is hard to believe. The years pass so quickly. In my mind I see you when you are 45 or 50, but 87? That’s impossible.

I have so many memories of our interaction through the years. Let me share just a few. We were all in Palm Springs in 1978. One morning before the matches we played some tennis in the hard courts. You gave me a 30-0 lead in every game. I soon realized why you did that because you were so much better than me.

The rallies were long but you beat me 6-1, 6-2. I was a bit embarrassed but you said, “Steve, you played much better than I thought you would!”. We both laughed and you said something you repeated to me many times over the years. You said, “I am not going to be modest because I have no reason to be modest.” Then you broke into that laugh that belonged only to you. No one could laugh like you. No one.

I am thinking now of a very amusing moment in the Wimbledon press room in 2009. You were sitting in your usual desk one or two seats away from Ubaldo. I came by and said, “It’s so great to see the best Italian writer there has ever been”.

You smiled, Rino, assuming I was talking about you and getting ready to thank me. Then I turned to Ubaldo,  patted him on the back and said,”I am talking, of course, about the great Ubaldo Scanagatta!”

Ubaldo laughed heartily and so did I. You grimaced, Rino, But then you smiled and shook your head and looked at us as if we were a couple of helpless fools—which we probably were. You then put your arms around Ubaldo and me and said, “You both have so much to learn and so far to go, but I will get you there.”

Once again you had shown us your superiority. We did not know whether to say, “Game, set, match, Rino” or “Check Mate!”

I have so many other recollections  but I will leave you with this one. Sampras and Rafter were playing the Wimbledon final in 2000 and I was running back and forth between the media room and the Centre Court because I was reporting on the match for CBS Radio.

I was running  up those steps in the Centre Court press section with Rafter having won the first set in a tiebreaker and the second set on serve at 6-5. You saw me standing there looking serious and said, “Steve, don’t look so depressed.”

You knew that I was hoping for Sampras to win and get his 13th major to pass Roy Emerson, which of course he did in four sets. When you told me not to be depressed you did it with sensitivity and not sarcasm. I liked the fact that you knew when to be sarcastic and when to be understanding of your friend’s feelings. That is a great trait.

You also once gave me good advise in your typically candid manner about my writing. You said, “Steve, you should write more  the way you talk.” I took that to heart.

So, Rino, I raise a glass to you now to celebrate your birthday. I do have good reasons to be modest, so I will simply say none of us could ever measure up to your standards.

Happy Birthday my friend!

All the best,
Steve Flink

Kaoru Takeda

When I went to the Rolland [sic] Garros for the first time in 1985, he was there, I remember. I don’t remember you, sorry. Whenever the late Eiichi Kawatei talked me about the tennis of his days, the name of Rino always came up, with JP, Bud Collins, Richard Evans or Russ Adams. Eiichi also was a good friend of Ken Rosewall, and almost the same age as Rino(1933, Dec.).  “Never spoil a good story with the truth” is really a good saying of his. Story telling is the very joy of our job, and I believe that with good tennis telling in Italy, you have good young players now.Tell him and his family A Happy Birthday and I hope to see him somewhere in the near future. […]

Kaoru Takeda

PS: Do you know the Feb.23rd is the birthday of the present Emperor, the grandson of Hirohito. So it was a holiday here in Japan.

George Homsi

Amico Rino! 

I wish you a fantastic 87th birthday and many more to come. I cherish old memories from our meetings and discussions in press rooms and I miss your friendly expert opinions and your presence. Keep strong as i know you are, and I hope to be able to see you again sometime and share a plate of spaghetti! Aldentissimo of course.

Georges Homsi

Richard Evans

My earliest memories of covering the Foro Italico in the the 1960’s are of his kindness to me, coupled with the invitation to write articles for his excellent Tennis Club magazine. […] Rino was a huge presence on the tennis tour for the following decades and, statistically, he was supreme! He gave the early days of technology in tennis a human face – something we must remember not to lose. With very best wishes, 


Mark Winters and Cheryl Jones

Dear Rino:

When I learn it was your birthday, I began to remember some of our interactions over so many years.  The first thing that came to mind was talking with you late one afternoon after you had finished your tennis writing and were about leave the tournament site to catch a flight to Las Vegas to cover a fight…and how excited you were about making trip. I don’t remember who fought, but I can still recall seeing you sitting at your desk the next day, and how please you were about successfully completing a “tennis-boxing” double.

I look back on the countless times you greeted me, as I walked to my desk in a media room, with a “knowing” Rino smile that always made me think that you knew something about what I would encounter that day…and didn’t want to let me know what I was facing because you wanted me to be surprised.

More to the point, you were my tennis Google before the application had been invented. You always had the statical information I needed for a story. More important, I never had to check its validity because…Rino always provided the appropriate details.

Like Hoad and Rosewall, you and Gianni Clerici are unique. He has always had Lew’s flair, while you always provided Ken’s steadiness. This was certainly the case when Gianni did his nude US Open broadcast in the sweatbox broadcast booth at Armstrong Stadium and you patiently handled all the visitors who dropped by to see “what was taking place”.

You are one of a kind and I am fortunate to have you as a friend.

Have a memorable and Happy Birthday,

Mark (Winters) and Cheryl (Jones)

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