Former Champion Angelique Kerber Questions If Australian Open Trip Was Worth It After Defeat - UBITENNIS
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Former Champion Angelique Kerber Questions If Australian Open Trip Was Worth It After Defeat

The three-time Grand Slam winner has implied that quarantine hampered her performance in Melbourne before going on to say she would have reconsidered travelling to the city if she knew the full picture.

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Angelique Kerber says she would have thought twice about travelling to the Australian Open if she knew the ‘real situation’ after crashing out of the tournament on Monday.

The former world No.1 and 23rd seed slumped to a 6-3, 6-4, defeat to America’s Bernarda Pera in what is her earliest loss at Melbourne Park since 2015. Kerber struggled with her form throughout the 70-minute encounter as she almost hit four times as many errors than winners (7-25). The German also produced seven double faults and could only win 25% of her second serve.

In the aftermath of her shock loss, Kerber hinted that she believed quarantine she had to go through had a negative impact on her. She was one of 72 players who had to be placed in a stricter form of quarantine after being declared a contact case of somebody who tested positive for the virus on her flight to the country. Kerber was unable to leave her room for 14 days but did play three professional matches in one of the lead-up tournaments last week.

“I was really trying to stay positive and making the best out of the two-week situation. But, of course, you feel it, especially if you play a real match where it counts and you play the first matches in a Grand Slam, also against an opponent who doesn’t stay in the hard lockdown,” she said during her press conference.
“I was feeling this at the beginning (of the match), that of course my balls are always a little bit out and I was not feeling the rhythm that I was before the two weeks, to be honest.”

One of the biggest problems for the 33-year-old at Melbourne Park was undoubtedly her serve. She was broken five consecutive times before registering a game on the scoreboard midway through the second set. Despite being a three-time Grand Slam winner, it is also the 18th time in Kerber’s career she had lost in the first round of a major.

Whilst praising officials in Australia over their handling of the pandemic, Kerber admits that she would have thought twice about travelling to the country if she knew about the situation she would be in.

If I knew that before to stay really two weeks in the hard quarantine without hitting a ball, maybe I would think twice about that,” she admitted.
“I was trying to take the motivation also for this tournament because it’s one of my favourite tournaments. I knew that we play with a little bit of fans, which is always such a difference than playing with no fans. It makes tennis playing much more fun to play out there. So that was my motivation.’
“But if I knew the real situation before my trip, I would think maybe twice to come here.”

Kerber won the Australian Open back in 2016.

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Emma Raducanu Confident Of Full Fitness Ahead Of Grass Swing

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Emma Raducanu - Cincinnati 2022 (foto Twitter @cincytennis)

Emma Raducanu has no regrets about her decision to skip the French Open and now believes she is in a ‘really fit place’ ahead of Wimbledon. 

The former US Open champion opted to end her clay season earlier than other players to focus on fitness and training with her coach. Raducanu stated earlier this year that her primary focus in 2024 is on her health after undergoing a series of wrist and ankle surgeries last year which sidelined her for months. 

Raducanu will return to action this week at the Nottingham Open, which is the event where she made her WTA main draw debut back in 2021. Despite her lack of match play in recent weeks, the Brit is feeling good and relishing her return to the grass.

“Body-wise, physical-wise, I feel really healthy,” she said on Monday.
“I’ve done amazing work with my trainer over the last few months, since surgery. I’m in a really fit place. I’m healthy and just looking forward to starting playing.”

Shedding more light on her health, Raducanu says she has full confidence in her wrists and believes they are in top condition. Making her feel more at ease when playing matches on the Tour. 

“I think my wrists are actually in a better position than they ever were. So there’s zero doubt or apprehension whether I’m hitting the ball or designing my schedule,” she explained.
“It’s more about being proactive and not wanting to put yourself in any unnecessary situations. I don’t need to rush and try to win the French Open, it wasn’t my goal this year.
“I had to prioritise where I wanted to target and it was just a good block for me to get some physical work done.”

Raducanu has played seven WTA events so far this season with her best run being to the quarter-finals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, where she was beaten by world No.1 Iga Swiatek. The 21-year-old is currently ranked 209th in the world. 

At the Nottingham Open, she will play her first match on Tuesday against Japanese qualifier Ena Shibahara. 

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Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two

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Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Russian World No.78 Elina Avanesyan To Switch Nationalities

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Image via https://x.com/WTAMeridaOpen/

A week after losing her fourth round match at the French Open, a government minister has confirmed that Elina Avanesyan is in the process of changing the nationality of who she plays for. 

The 21-year-old is switching her aligence from Russia to Armenia, according to Armenia’s deputy Minister of International Affairs and communication. Karen Giloyan has told the news agency Armenpress that Avanesyan will soon be representing his country. However, the tennis player has yet to comment on the matter.  Avanesyan was born in Russia but has Armenian parents.

“Elina Avanesyan will compete under the Armenian flag, but there is nothing official yet. We are waiting for her to get the citizenship of the Republic of Armenia so that everything will be official,” Giloyan told Armenpress.

Such a development would be a massive coup for the Armenian tennis federation which currently doesn’t have a player ranked inside the top 500 on either the men’s or women’s Tour. The country has a population of less than 3M. Perhaps their best-known player is Sargis Sargsian who reached the top 40 back in 2004. Others on the Tour also have Armenian heritage but don’t represent the country such as Karen Khachanov.  

Avanesyan is currently ranked 78th in the world, which is 18 places below her career high. This season, she has scored high-profile wins over Maria Sakkari at the Australian Open, Ons Jabeur in Charleston and Qinwen Zhang at the French Open. 

She has yet to play in the final of a WTA tournament.

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