LTA Criticised Over COVID-19 Rules As Andy Murray Links Positive Test To National Center - UBITENNIS
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LTA Criticised Over COVID-19 Rules As Andy Murray Links Positive Test To National Center

Murray is one of two British players to criticize their national body for allegedly slacking their rules over Christmas.

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The governing body of British Tennis has defended their policy concerning COVID-19 after two of their top players questioned their management of the rules.

 

Three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray has hit out at the LTA after he was forced to miss the Australian Open due to a positive result. Players have to quarantine in the country for 14 days before they are allowed to play in professional tournaments. Murray said he felt unwell for roughly a week but has since recovered and is now in Italy where he will play in a Challenger tournament.

Speaking to British media over the weekend, Murray has implied that the only way he would have caught the virus is at the National Tennis Center in Roehampton. The venue where some of the country’s top players have been practicing during the off-season and is also where the Battle of the Brits tournament took place in December.

Murray says the protocols implemented were somewhat relaxed during the Christmas period where there was a series of positive tests. Including fellow player Paul Jubb and even a doctor who was working at the facility. BBC Sport has also reported that others have privately raised concerns about the lack of social distancing and mask wearing.

“When we went to the NTC in April, if there are six indoor courts, you could only practise on one, three and five. There wasn’t any testing at that time, but the gym was closed and it was restricted access,” said Murray.
“Whereas after Christmas you have an indoor venue where they are using all six courts, there were tonnes of people in the gym, and it was just totally different.
“Now it’s kind of back to what it was in April, which is good. It’s a completely different building. All the communal areas are severely restricted, like the lunch hall; there’s probably seven or eight seats maximum in there now, before there would have been 30 to 40.
“But the reality is that it happened too late because there were quite a number of cases between Christmas, New Year and the players going off to Australia.”

The accusations of questionable management of the protocols at the NTC from Murray is also backed up by another player. Following his semi-final win at the Murray River Open, Dan Evans agreed that rules were lax during the Christmas period. The 30-year-old, who won his first ATP title on Sunday, didn’t catch the virus.

I think the Christmas period and the new year period they maybe slackened a little bit,” he said.
“The doctor had COVID, as well, so that coincided with I think players then getting it when she was isolating. It wasn’t ideal, but I can’t speak to say that they were lax or not because I wasn’t really privy to see it.”

One of the problems Evans believed occurred was the rules surrounding who could play at the center to begin with. He says the focus should have been placed on players who are preparing for the upcoming season and tournaments but he saw people playing there weren’t doing such a thing.

On the other hand, others have hailed the LTA for their management. Murray’s brother Jamie said the outbreak of cases was ‘unfortunate’ but stated that he doesn’t hold the LTA accountable. Pointing out that over Christmas there was a surge in cases around the UK and players were travelling to the NTC from various hotspots.

“It’s just a shame that in this moment they had some positive tests and it happened to be Andy, which is obviously a big shame with the amount of work that he’s put in to get to this point to prepare himself for Australia, and all that’s down the drain,” Jamie told The Press Association.
“I was gutted for him, obviously, as was he, I’m sure, very frustrated.”

Responding to the allegations, the LTA has issued a statement outlining that they always followed government recommendations throughout and have done their best to minimise the possibility of a COVID-19 outbreak. Although they did not address the allegation of a lapse in rules during the Christmas period which both Murray and Evans have mentioned.

“We have consistently applied the stringent and appropriate restrictions, testing and other protocols for elite training centres in line with government guidance,” the LTA said in a statement.
“We have worked closely with Public Health England in order to keep the centre open since April for both training and as a host venue for over 1000 competitive matches across 17 tournaments on site.
“Our protocols are regularly communicated to everyone using the venue and we expect them to be adhered to in the player lounge and all other areas of the building.”

Opened in 2007 the NTC has 20 courts, a high performance gym and ice baths. It provides training services for the British Men’s, Women’s & Wheelchair high performance teams, coach education and competitions.

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Anhelina Kalinina beats Daria Kasatkina at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow

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Anhelina Kalinina eased past Daria Kasatkina 6-2 6-3 after 1 hour and 23 minutes at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow. 

 

Kalinina, who reached the final in Budapest this year, hit 24  winners to 18 unforced errors. She scored her second top 30 win this year after beating Angelique Kerber in the first round at this year’s edition of the French Open. 

The match between Kalinina and Kasatkina featured 12 breaks of serve. Kalinina went up a 3-0 lead with a double break in the second set. Kasatkina pulled one break back in the fourth game and saved four break points to hold serve in the fifth game for 2-3 in the longest game of the match. 

Kalinina saved two match points in the sixth game before breaking serve in the seventh game to open up a 5-2 lead. She was not able to serve out the match after two double faults, but she sealed the second set with a drive volley. 

Anna Kalinskaya rallied from 3-5 down in the first set to beat Dayana Yastremska 7-6 (7-5) 6-4. Yastremska started the tie-break with six consecutive unforced errors, but she saved five set points, but she sent a return outside the court. Kalinskaya set up a second round match against Maria Sakkari. 

Lesla Tsurenko beat 18-year-old Chinese player Zheng Qinwen 6-4 6-3. Bernarda Pera beat Aleksandra Krunic 7-6 (7-3) 6-3. Pera converted her sixth point to close out the first set.  Pera will face Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova. 

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Arthur Rinderknech beats Federico Delbonis to reach the second round in Antwerp

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Arthur Rinderknech won 85% of his first service points in his 6-4 6-4 win over Federico Delbonis after 1 hour and 31 minutes to reach the second round at the European Open in Antwerp. 

 

Rinderknech earned two breaks to open up a 4-1 lead. Delbonis pulled back one break in the sixth game, but Rinderknech held on his next service games to win the first set 6-4. 

The Frenchman went up an early break in the first game to take a 4-2 lead. Delbonis saved three break points to hold serve at deuce in the seventh game for 3-4. Rinderknech served out the win at deuce after saving a break point in the 10th game. 

Rinderknech has extended his winning record to 2-0 in his head-to-head matches against Delbonis.

“I am really pleased with the win. There were some crazy points here and there and sometimes they did not go my way. These kind of points can change the match but I tried to stay focused and I am pleased I was able to close out the match”, said Rinderknech. 

US Next Gen player Jenson Brooksby cruised past Norbert Gombos 6-4 6-2. Brooksby went up a 4-1 lead with a double break. Gombos pulled one break back for 2-4 in the sixth game. Brooksby held on his next service games to win the first set 6-4 and earned two breaks in the first and seventh games to seal the second set 6-4. 

Another US Next Gen rising star Brandon Nakashima beat Pierre Hugues Herbert 6-2 6-4. Nakashima broke serve in the fifth and seventh games and earned a break in the fifth game of the second set. 

Dusan Lajovic beat Richard Gasquet 7-6 (7-3) 6-1. Gasquet earned a break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Lajovic broke straight back to draw level to 2-2. Lajovic saved two break points in the ninth and eleventh games. Lajovic earned three mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-3. The Serbian player broke three times to win the second set 6-1. 

Botic Van de Zandschulp beat Alexei Popyrin 6-4 3-6 6-0. Van de Zandschulp won the first set 6-4 with a break in the fifth game. 

Popyrin saved five break points in the first game before converting his third break point to take a 2-0 lead. Both players went on serve until the 10th game when Popyrin served out the set after saving two break points. 

Van de Zandschulp earned three breaks to win the third set 6-0. 

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Marin Cilic overcomes Damir Dzumhur at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow

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Marin Cilic edged past Damir Dzumhur 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 6-1 after 1 hour and 51 minutes to reach the second round at the VTB Kremlin Cup in Moscow. Cilic won two consecutive titles in 2014 and 2015. 

 

Cilic came back from losing the tie-break of the first set by winning 12 of the last 13 games. He will face either Tommy Paul or Winston Salem finalist Mikael Ymer.

The opening set went on serve with no break points en route to the tie-break. Dzumhur earned three set points at 6-3 with two mini-breaks and converted his second chance to win the tie-break 7-4. Cilic broke three times to cruise through to a 6-1 win in the second set. The 2014 US Open champion saved a break point in the third game before breaking at deuce in the fourth game to open up a 3-1 lead. Cilic closed out the third set with a double break at love in the sixth game. 

The Croatian player has extended his winning record to 2-0 in his head-to-head matches against Dzumhur. 

Cilic won his 19th career ATP title in Stuttgart against Felix Auger Aliassime and reached two semifinals in Singapore and Estoril.  

“It always feels great to be here. It is always a pleasure and it is great to see a nice crowd here. I know that Damir always enjoys these conditions where the court is a bit slower and the ball stays a bit slower, so I was having a little bit of difficulty on his serve in the first set”, said Cilic. 

John Millman also rallied from one set down to beat Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-3 after two hours and 35 minutes. Millman will play against either Alexander Bublik or Ukrainian qualifier Ilya Marchenko. 

Millman went up a 5-2 lead with a double break. Bonzi pulled both breaks back to draw level to draw level to 5-5. Bonzi earned two mini-breaks to take a 4-2 lead. Millman pulled back on serve to draw level to 5-5, but Bonzi earned his third mini-break to win the tie-break 7-5.

Bonzi went up a set and a break to take a 4-3 lead, but Millman won the final three games with two breaks to claim the second set 6-4. Millman raced out to a 4-0 lead with two breaks. Bonzi got one break back in the fifth game for 1-4. Millman won his final service games to close out the third set 6-3. 

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