Jennifer Brady Says She Once Hated Tennis After Australian Open Breakthrough - UBITENNIS
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Jennifer Brady Says She Once Hated Tennis After Australian Open Breakthrough

The American tennis star details what ‘made her realize’ that she wanted to become a professional player following college.

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This year’s Australian Open has confirmed to America’s Jennifer Brady that she belongs at the top of the game as she enjoys her best ever run at the tournament.

 

The world No.24 is through to the semifinals in Melbourne Park after fighting back from a set down to defeat compatriot Jessica Pegula 4-6, 6-2, 6-1. To put that achievement in perspective Brady had lost in the first round of the tournament in two out of her three previous appearances at the event. In her latest win, she impressively won 82% of her first service points and produced a total of 22 winners.

Brady’s breakthrough in Australia follows-up on her run at the US Open last year where she also reached the semi-final stage. It was during 2020 when she broke into the world’s top 50 for the first time and won her maiden WTA title in Lexington.

“I think they’re separate entities,” Brady replied when comparing her runs at the Australian Open to that of the US Open.
“It definitely helps, just helps my overall confidence. Knowing that I belong at this level, I can compete in the second week of Grand Slams consistently, and I hope to continue to do that consistently.’
“It will obviously benefit me moving forward.”

At a younger age Brady would never imagine she would have such success in a sport which she admits to having a love-hate relationship with. Speaking franking with reporters on Wednesday, the American says for her it was a case of ‘growing to love’ the sport instead of love at first sight.

“When I was younger, I used to hate watching tennis, I didn’t really enjoy playing either, to be honest,” she said. “I would say as the years go by, I enjoy it more and more.”

So what changed? Unlike her peers, Brady didn’t go straight into professional tennis and instead opted to go through the college system first where she enjoyed a high amount of success. During her freshman year at UCLA she help her team win the 2014 Division 1 Women’s Tennis National Championship.

It was at college where Brady came to a revelation that sport and not education was what she wanted to do. She didn’t play in a main draw of a Grand Slam until the age of 21.

“I didn’t like to study. I didn’t like school. I found that out real quick when I went to college,” Brady reflected. “I was like, okay, studying isn’t really for me. I’m not made for a desk job. I enjoy playing tennis. So it took me to get away a little bit from the sport to realize that this is what I want to do.”

Now a full-time player, she is just two wins away from her first Grand Slam title. Standing in her way of the final is Czech Republic’s Karolina Muchova who has knocked Ash Barty out of the tournament. The winner will then take on either Naomi Osaka or Serena Williams for the trophy.

“I think it’s a huge achievement for me to make these semi-finals here. I look to make the finals, so we’ll see,” she concluded.

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Why Newly Married Elina Svitolina Has No Plans To Change Her Surname

The Ukrainian explains why she isn’t using her husband’s surname of Monfils just yet as she books her place in the third round at Tokyo 2020.

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Just over a week ago Elina Svitolina tied the knot with her long-time partner Gael Monfils at a ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland.

 

Shortly after the world No.6 took to social media and changed her name on Twitter to Elina Monfils as part of the tradition that the woman takes on the man’s name once they are married. As a consequence, various websites started to identify the Ukrainian under that name. Although she would rather that they don’t do such a thing.

“I don’t know why they changed my surname. Maybe they saw that I had changed it on my social networks,” Svitolina told BTU.
“I’m going to play as Svitolina till the very end of my professional career and will change it only after retirement.”

Svitolina explains she believes it is better if all of her achievements are made under the same name instead of two. So far in her career she has won 15 WTA titles, reached two Grand Slam semi-finals and has earned more than $20.5M in prize money.

I had numerous achievements and people know me as Svitolina. My father would be upset if I changed the surname and played as Monfils,” she joked.
“I am proud to be Svitolina and my tennis career will always be connected with this surname.”

Over the coming week the 26-year-old is hoping to add an Olympic medal to her resume. On Monday Svitolina survived a stern scare after coming back from a set down to defeat Ajla Tomljanović 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 and move into the third round of the tournament. Her win came on the day where there were shocks galore in the women’s draw with seeds Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek and Petra Kvitova all crashing out.

Svitolina will play Greece’s Maria Sakkari in the next round whom she has lost to in two out of their three previous meetings.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas ‘Happy’ To Follow In Grandfather’s Footsteps At Olympics

The Greek speaks out about carrying his family’s legacy at the Games.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas never met his grandfather but the two of them do have something in common – they are both Olympians.

 

The world No.4 has already created history in Tokyo by winning his first round match against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber on Sunday to become the first male player from his country to win a singles match since 1924. Greece has won two medals at the Games but both of them were during its inaugural edition back in 1896.

Tsitsipas’ debut in Tokyo enables him to continue his family legacy of playing in the sporting extravaganza. His grandfather was Sergei Salnikov who played football for the Soviet Union during the 1950s. In 1956 Salnikov was part of the team who won Olympic gold in Melbourne. After retiring from the sport, he went on to manage the FC Spartak Moscow and the Afghanistan national team before passing away in 1984 aged 58.

“I’ve never had the opportunity to meet him. But my mom told me stories of his career and how he got it…. He kind of inspires me in a way,” said Tsitsipas. “I know what kind of athlete he was, with all the achievements and all the trophies. I’m proud of him.
“It’s something good, a legacy that is being carried on in the family. I’m happy to be the next in the family to be competing at the Olympics.”

It isn’t just a medal in the singles Tsitsipas has his eyes on, he will also be bidding for success in the mixed doubles alongside Maria Sakkari. The two previously paired up at the 2019 Hopman Cup where they finished second in their group.

“We have already played once (together), and we had great success,” Sakkari told reporters on Monday. “We know each other really well, and we are much better players two-and-a-half years later, and we are both really pumped to play together. Of course, I cannot predict that we will get a medal. We will try our best and I think we give ourselves the best chance we can.”

Tsitsipas will return to action tomorrow in the men’s singles where he will play Frances Tiafoe in the second round.

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Carlos Alcaraz becomes the youngest ever champion at ATP Tour level since Kei Nishikori in 2008

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Carlos Alcaraz beat Richard Gasquet 6-2 6-2 in the final of the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag becoming the youngest ever champion at ATP Tour level since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori in Delray Beach in 2008 and the youngest Spanish ATP Tour champion since RafaelNadal in Sopot 2004. 

 

Alcaraz earned his first break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead with an inside-in forehand winner and he never looked back by holding his next service games. The Spanish teenager broke serve in the third game as Gasquet made a double fault. Alcaraz converted his third break point in the fifth game to open up a 4-1 lead. Gasquet earned three break points but he was not able to convert them. 

“I had a lot of good moments in this tournament. I beat five great tennis players. I think that I grew up a lot in this tournament and  I keep a lot of experience from this tournament. It’s going to be useful for the future”, said Alcaraz. 

Gasquet was aiming to win his first ATP Tour title since s’Hertogenbosch in 2018. 

“It was tough for me to play with his full intensity. I had a tough match yesterday. It was tough, and especially with a guy like Carlos, who is playing really fast with a lot of energy and spin. He is playing unbeievable. He is only 18 and of course he had a great future and Ijust could not play at his level and his intensity”, said Gasquet. 

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