Lleyton Hewitt ‘Hugely Honoured’ To Be Elected To Hall Of Fame - UBITENNIS
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Lleyton Hewitt ‘Hugely Honoured’ To Be Elected To Hall Of Fame

The class of 2021 have been confirmed with The Original 9 of women’s tennis also being inducted.




Former world No.1 Lleyton Hewitt celebrated his 40th birthday by being notified that he will be inducted into the prestigious Tennis Hall of Fame.


The Australian tennis star will be inducted into the player category after coming in first place in a vote by tennis fans that took place last year and being selected by the official voting group of media, historians and Hall of Famers. Hewitt was one of five candidates up for the vote. He is the first person from his country to enter the Hall of Fame since wheelchair tennis player David Hall did so in 2015.

Hewitt played in 46 ATP finals during his career in which he won 30 titles. In the Grand Slams he defeated Pete Sampras at the 2001 US Open to clinch his maiden major trophy. In the following year he triumphed at the Wimbledon Championships. It was during 2001 when he topped the ATP rankings at the age of 20 to become the youngest player to ever do so since the system was implemented in 1973. A record that he still holds this present day. Hewitt spent a total of 80 weeks as world No.1 which is 10 times longer than John Newcombe, who is the only other Australian man to have held the top spot for multiple weeks.

“The Hall of Famers are people who I admired so much throughout my career – especially people like [Tony] Roche and [John] Newcombe and Rod [Laver] and so many others,” Hewitt said in a statement. “They were all motivating factors in my career and to be recognised alongside them in tennis history is an incredible honour.”

In the Davis Cup Hewitt was instrumental in helping his country win two titles. He holds the Australian Davis Cup record for most ties played (43), most years played (19) and the most total wins in the competition (59). After retiring from the sport he became captain of the team.

“It’s a pleasure to welcome these tennis greats into the International Tennis Hall of Fame,” Hall of Fame President Stan Smith said. “Lleyton Hewitt always competed hard until the last ball was hit, and this is very apparent in the Hall of Fame resume he built, which includes a Wimbledon trophy, a US Open trophy, two Davis Cups, and being World No. 1.”

Original 9 also receive recognition

Also inducted into the class of 2021 are the Original 9 who played a pivotal role in the formation of women’s tennis. The group, who are the first to make the hall of fame, made history in 1970 after signing $1 contracts with Gladys Heldman to take part in a tournament. At the time both playing opportunities and prize money for women were significantly different to that of their male counterparts. The event led to the formation of the Virginia Slims Circuit and then to the birth of the WTA Tour.

“The Original 9 were true trailblazers in tennis history,” said Smith. “It took a lot of courage to do what they did, and we have today’s incredible WTA Tour to thank for it, as well as opportunities for women in so many other sports.”

The members of the Original 9 are Peaches Bartkowicz, Rosie Casals, Julie Heldman, Billie Jean King, Kristy Pigeon, Nancy Richey, Valerie Ziegenfuss, Judy Tegart Dalton and Kerry Melville Reid.

Finally, tennis coach Dennis Van der Meer will be inducted into the Hall of Fame posthumously after passing away in 2019.


Monte-Carlo Masters Saturday Preview: Who Will Play for their First Masters 1000 Title on Sunday?




Andrey Rublev on Friday in Monte-Carlo (montecarlotennismasters.com)

With the shocking upsets of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, we are guaranteed to crown a new Masters champion for the second consecutive time this season.  Either Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev, Casper Ruud, or Dan Evans will join Hubert Kurkacz as a newly-minted Masters 1000 titleholder in 2021.  Evans is also still alive in the doubles draw, where he and fellow Brit Neal Skupski are semifinalists alongside three of the top four seeds.


Saturday’s play will begin at 11:30am local time with the first doubles semifinal.

Stefanos Tsitsipas (4) vs. Dan Evans

What a surprising story Evans has been this week.  He arrived in Monte-Carlo with only four career wins on clay, but has doubled that number over the past five days.  After surviving a grueling, rain-delayed affair in the opening round against 2019 runner-up Dusan Lajovic, he’s defeated three seeded players: Hubert Hurkacz, David Goffin, and world No.1 Novak Djokovic.  The 30-year-old picked up his first career ATP title this past February, and now looks to reach his first Masters 1000 final.  Prior to this tournament, he had never advanced beyond the second round of a Masters event on any surface.

Tsitsipas now finds himself as the top seed remaining, and a considerable favorite to reach the final.  This is relatively new territory for the 22-year-old, who did not respond well to similar expectations two weeks ago in Miami, where he lost in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Hubert Hurkacz.  But he’s advanced extremely comfortably this week, having yet to drop a set.  And he’ll certainly be the fresher player on this day.  Tsitsipas received a retirement after one set of quarterfinal play yesterday, and has spent roughly half the amount of time on court as Evans.  The British No.1 played for nearly three hours on Friday alone.  Also, their head-to-head has been completely one-sided, with Tsitsipas claiming both of their 2020 meetings in straight sets.  Last September in Hamburg, Stefanos required only 59 minutes to defeat Evans.  So this should be a straightforward victory for Tsitsipas, as long as he doesn’t allow the pressure of being the favorite to overwhelm him.

Andrey Rublev (6) vs. Casper Ruud

Rublev’s win yesterday over his idol, Rafael Nadal, was a career highlight for the 23-year-old.  Rafa played some terrible tennis for the first half of the match, yet was twice able to avoid going down a double break in the second set to force a third.  But Andrey’s ability to bounce back from the disappointment of dropping the second set was most impressive, as he soundly put Nadal away in the third, becoming the first man to ever win a third set over Rafa in Monte-Carlo.  Now just 24 hours later, Rublev’s rebounding skills will again be tested.  How will he respond after defeating the King of Clay, as he tries to reach his first Masters 1000 final?  Two weeks ago in Miami, he stalled at the semifinal stage, as just like Tsitsipas, he was upset by Hurkacz.

22-year-old Casper Ruud is now into his second consecutive Masters semifinal on clay.  In fact, all 10 of his wins at this level have come on this surface.  Ruud has excelled on the red dirt since the start of 2020.  He’s gone 22-7, and reached the semifinals or better at five clay court events.  Casper saved two match points to survive on Thursday against Pablo Carreno Busta, and upset defending champion Fabio Fognini on Friday.  But Ruud is 0-3 against Rublev, which includes two encounters on clay.  And while Andrey is yet to establish himself at the Masters level, he’s won five 500-level titles, and reached four quarterfinals at Majors.  Much like the day’s first singles semifinal, the seeded player is the clear favorite.  But this event has seen some strange results of late, and Rublev cannot afford an emotional hangover from his monumental win on Friday.

Other Notable Matches on Saturday:

Mate Pavic and Nikola Mektic (2) vs. Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos (4) – Pavic and Mektic are already vying for their fifth title of the season, and lead the tour with 27 match wins.  Granollers and Zeballos were just 3-3 on the year coming into this event.

Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah (1) vs. Dan Evans and Neil Skupski – Cabal and Farah won two Majors in 2019, and were champions in Dubai last month.  Evans and Skupski were finalists two weeks ago in Miami, which was their first tournament as a team.  This will be Dan’s second match of the day, and his ninth in six days.

Saturday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Rafael Nadal Criticises Serve After Crashing Out In Monte-Carlo Quarters

Rafael Nadal was disappointed in his serve as he was beaten by Andrey Rublev in Monte-Carlo.




Rafael Nadal (@atptour - Twitter)

Rafael Nadal criticised his serve after being knocked out of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters by Andrey Rublev.


The 11-time champion had a bad day in the office after losing to the in-form Russian 6-2 4-6 6-2 in 2 hours and 33 minutes.

Nadal came back from a set and a break down to level the match at one set all before Rublev displayed some crucial shot-making to dominate the final set.

It is now the second time in a row in Monte-Carlo that Nadal has failed to make the final as he is still looking to rebuild his form and physicality as this is the first tournament since the Australian Open he has competed in.

Speaking in his press conference after the match the world number three found it very easy to analyse the problems of his defeat, “When you face a great player like him and you don’t play well, you should lose, no? That’s easy to analyse,” Nadal admitted.

“For some reason I had problems with my serve. I don’t understand why because I was not having problems on the practices at all. But today was one of these that my serve was a disaster.

“Serving like this, the serve creates an impact on the rest of the game. When you serve with no confidence, you just focus on try to serve, not think how to play the ball. You just think about what you have to do with the serve to put the ball in. Then you have problems continue and prepare the point the right way.”

It was obvious that if one thing was to let Nadal down then it would be his serve especially with the amount of back problems that the Spaniard has had in the first part of the season.

Although Nadal admits he missed a big opportunity this week, the reigning Roland Garros champion is determined to solve things immediately, “I missed an opportunity to start the clay court season in the right way,” Nadal said.

“But that’s it. I can’t complain. It’s not the moment to complain. The only thing that I can do is go to Barcelona and keep practicing, try to fix things that didn’t work well.”

The 33 year-old will head to Barcelona next week and Madrid on the 3rd of May, knowing that he can build his confidence and momentum.

Although Nadal won’t be panicking at today’s loss, the Spaniard sets high standards and knows that only titles will satisfy the greatest clay-courter of all time.

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Canada up 2-0 over Serbia after day one at Billie Jean King Cup

Canada are one rubber away from the Billie Jean King Cup Qualifiers.




(@TennisCanada - Twitter)

Team Canada got big wins from Leylah Fernandez and Rebecca Marino to put Canada on the brink of advancing.


It was the perfect start for Team Canada as on day on they took a commanding 2-0 lead over Serbia when Leylah Fernandez needed three sets to beat Olga Danilovic 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 while Rebecca Marino got the second win in another tight two set victory over Nina Stojanovic 6-4, 7-6.

Fernandez gives Canada the lead

The Montreal native got off to a great start holding her opening service game and earning two breakpoints the very next game and breaking to take an early 2-0 lead.

The Canadian wasn’t able to consolidate the break, getting broken the very next game and the next time she had a chance to break she took it to take a 5-3 lead and serve for the first set.

While serving the set once again she failed to convert and the Serb broke her at love and the set stayed on serve until 6-5 when Fernandez had two looks at a set point as she converted on the second opportunity to take a one set lead.

The Serb was looking to get back into the match and broke the Montreal native in the first game of the second set but again wouldn’t hold as the Canadian broke right back the following game.

At 3-3 the Serb earned two more breakpoints and broke and would serve out the second set to win it 6-4.

The third and final set was a back and forth affair but it was the Canadian who would earn the crucial break with a stunning forehand return winner down the line to take a 3-1 lead.

At 5-3 Fernandez served for the match but once again struggled to hold serve and the Serb would break to send the match back on serve. When serving to stay in the match the Canadian responded by setting up a match point and winning the match on her opponents serve.

After her match, Fernandez mentioned what she needs to work on for her next match tomorrow.

“I made one too many mistakes on the forehand, backhand, drop shots, volleys just like every match I got to improve but I’m happy I got the win”

Marino gives Canada a commanding lead

Next up was Rebecca Marino against Serbia number one Nina Stojanovic and it was the Vancouver native who got off to a great start playing some aggressive tennis.

She had a chance to break in the second game of the match but the Serb saved both and held serve. It was actually Stojanovic who would earn the first break of the match but she wasn’t able to consolidate as the Canadian would earn three breakpoints with a sensational forehand winner.

She would break back to go back on serve at 3-3 and at 5-4 the world number 230 had two set points and would convert on the second one to take the first set.

The second set was a crazy affair with the Serb earning two breakpoints in the first game but she would be denied by Marino big serve and then she would break to take 2-0 lead.

She wasn’t able once again to hold the break and was broken back the very next game and the next five games went with break of serve. At 6-5 Marino found herself at match point but couldn’t convert and the set would be decided by a tiebreaker.

The Vancouver native jumped out to a 3-1 lead but not before the Serb came back winning three points in a row and 6-4 Marino found herself once again with two match points but Stojanovic saved both.

At 7-6 the Canadian finally made the breakthrough winning the set and the match to put Canada in a great position to advance on Saturday.

After the match Marino spoke about how she was able to hang in and get the win for her country.

“It was frustrating and exciting at the same time to constantly break serve but constantly be broken, you have to hang in tough sets like that, she’s a great player, I knew if I kept trying and doing my best no matter what I might be able to squeak it through and that’s kinda what happened”

After all that we got hear from team captain Heidi El Tabakh and she was pleased with result.

“It wasn’t easy out there, I’m glad we were able to get the wins but it’s not over yet, I feel Leylah ( Fernandez) struggled with some nerves at the beginning and to be completely fair I think Olga ( Danilovic) played some of her best tennis, she came firing, she put the pressure on Leylah and served really well and Leylah did a good job of hanging in there and not letting it get to her, she fought her way out of it, it’s tough playing the first match as the number one nerves can get to you it’s completely normal, she’s tough and she was able to pull it off and I feel like Rebecca ( Marino) was inspired by that performance and came out playing really well, she played super-aggressive, served well and went for it from start to finish and that was her game plan so very happy with the way she played“.

She added how it felt to be playing in a stadium with no fans and how the energy was during the matches.

“Ya it was different playing without a crowd but we felt the support from our team and staff and we have had a ton of support from back home and we totally felt that today, we were very loud and I think that helped the girls today”.

Saturday is reverse singles with the action starting at 11:00 am local time with doubles after both singles matches and Canada only needs one more win to clinch a spot in the 2022 Billie Jean King Cup qualifiers while Serbia would need to win all three matches tomorrow to put them through.

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