Victoria Azarenka Dismisses Question Over Her Health Following Australian Open Exit - UBITENNIS
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Victoria Azarenka Dismisses Question Over Her Health Following Australian Open Exit

The former world No.1 was seen struggling with her breathing as she crashed out of the tournament.

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Two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka has called for rule change where players don’t have to disclose details about their health after crashing out of the Australian Open.

The 12th seed fell 7-5, 6-4, to American player Jessica Pegula to make it the second time in the past three years she has lost in the first round of Melbourne. During the match there were concerns raised over Azarenka’s fitness who had to take a medical timeout during the second set due to issues with her breathing. She was also seen using an inhaler during one of the changeovers.

Despite the visible issue causing Azarenka discomfort, she declined to elaborate on what the exact problem was during her press conference. Arguing that players should have a right to privacy. At the time of her match the temperature was in the range of 22C.

“I don’t really know why we’re getting asked about medical conditions because all this is going out on the internet after for people to talk about, to judge about,” she said.
“I truly don’t ever understand that rule of why, when somebody is sick, injured or whatever, they have to give their medical reason out in the world. I think that should be changed — unless players do want to talk about that, then they can. But it shouldn’t be a mandatory requirement for people to talk about their health issues.”

The former world No.1 was one of 72 players who had to go into a hard quarantine ahead of the tournament after being declared a contact case of somebody who has tested positive for COVID-19. Azarenka admits the quarantine has impacted her form but she refuses to blame it fully. On the first day of the tournament Angelique Kerber also said the strict quarantine affected her performance.

“To try to sit here and find an excuse because of quarantine, and this is just something that, as I said, it is what it is,” said Azarenka. “I am disappointed that I wasn’t able to perform [like] I knew I could. That’s a bit hard to accept today because I know I can play better, a lot better. At the same time, I feel that I’ve tried everything I can to be able to be prepared, but unfortunately, that hasn’t worked out for me.”

Azarenka says the biggest issue for her during the quarantine was not being able to have any fresh air over the 14-day period. The Belarusian was required to stay in her room at all times and couldn’t travel to a practice court.

“I‘m not going to sit here and should I have come (to Australia), should I have not come. It’s a waste of time. I came here. Whatever happened, happened. I’m here today. I lost my match. Life goes on. That’s it,” she concluded.

It is the first time Azarenka has lost her opening match at a tournament since the Lexington Open last August.

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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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