Dethroning Nadal At French Open The Ultimate Goal For Dominic Thiem - UBITENNIS
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Dethroning Nadal At French Open The Ultimate Goal For Dominic Thiem

The Austrian says he hopes to achieve ‘one of the biggest challenges in Sport.’

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Dominic Thiem says he doesn’t want to wait for Rafael Nadal to retire before he has a shot of clinching the French Open title.

 

The world No.3 says triumphing at Roland Garros is a ‘career goal’ as he seeks to build on his previous run of good results at the tournament later this year. Thiem is already a two-time finalist at Roland Garros after losing to Nadal in the title match in 2018 and 2019. Overall he has won 28 out of 35 main draw matches played at the tournament which is more than any other Grand Slam for him. Last year he lost in the quarter-finals of Diego Schwartzman.

“For me it’s by far the tournament with the best results in the past … so after I won that first Grand Slam title, it’s now the biggest goal and something I really want to achieve,” the 2020 US Open champion told the Laureus Sports Awards.
“I like to set more short term goals, but to win the French Open is such a huge thing … it’s actually a career goal. It’s my biggest goal as well for this year,” he added.

Although the task of winning in Paris is a tough one given Nadal’s dominance over recent years. The Spaniard has won the title a record 13 times and only twice has he ever been defeated. Losing to Robin Söderling in 2009 and Novak Djokovic in 2015. He also didn’t win the title in 2016 after withdrawing midway through the draw due to injury.

Theim knows what it takes to defeat Nadal after scoring a total of six wins over the Spaniard on the Tour, including two last year. Although when it comes to playing at the French Open he admits that it is a different mission all together.

“I think last year he was 34 already and he played probably one of the best tournaments ever, so he’s definitely the guy to beat,” he said.
“It would be one of the biggest challenges in sport to beat this guy on the centre court so that’s why I really would love to do it when he’s still active.”

The 27-year-old is only the second man in history to collect at least five wins over every member of the Big Three – Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. The first was Andy Murray.

Besides his goals on the court, Thiem also says he wants to set an example for young fans to follow.

“We are idols for many, many kids and if we do the right things I think many, many people want to follow that and that’s definitely something we have to do,” he said. “That’s one purpose we have and we have to use that.”

Thiem has been nominated for Breakthrough of the Year at the prestigious Laureus Sports Awards. WTA player Iga Swiatek has also been nominated for the same award. Winners are determined by members of the Members of the Laureus World Sports Academy.

Grand Slam

French Open Make Changes To Tournament Schedule

One draw is getting bigger but another has been cut by 50%!

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The French Tennis Federation (FFT) is increasing the number of players participating in this year’s French Open qualifying tournament in order to help provide financial support to more on the Tour.

 

From 2021 the clay court Grand Slam will welcome 128 players to the qualifying event which is the same number of players participating in the main draw. This is a 33% increase in the usual number of participants which is 96. The event is scheduled to take place over four days between May 24-28 but will be held behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic like last year. However, organisers are still hopeful they will still be able to open the main draw up to the public.

“This decision will also allow the tournament to support a category of players who have been particularly affected by the Covid-19 crisis, financially-speaking,” a statement reads.

Last year’s French Open offered 10,000 euros to players who lost in the first round of qualifying. Players who qualified and reached the main draw were guaranteed to take home at least 60,000 euros. The prize money breakdown of this year’s tournament is still to be confirmed.

Another change being made concerns the Mixed Doubles event, which wasn’t held at Roland Garros in 2020. The draw will be making a comeback but with a 50% reduction in its field size. Just 16 teams will be playing in the draw compared to the usual 32. Meaning this year’s Mixed Doubles champions will only have to win four matches en route to the title.

This year’s French Open has already been pushed back by a week due to the pandemic with officials hoping the extra delay will maximise their chances of welcoming fans to the event. Although world No.2 Daniil Medvedev recently questioned the decision and if it would make any difference.

“It will give the health situation more time to improve and should optimise our chances of welcoming spectators at Roland-Garros,” said FFT President Gilles Moreton.
“For the fans, the players and the atmosphere, the presence of spectators is vital for our tournament, the spring’s most important international sporting event.”

The French Open main draw is set to start on May 30th. Rafael Nadal and Iga Swiatek are the defending champions.

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Daniil Medvedev Questions ‘Ridiculous’ Decision To Delay French Open

The Tennis star wonders if a seven-day delay will be worth it for the French authorities?

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World No.2 Daniil Medvedev says he is surprised by the decision to postpone the start of the French Open as he questions the logic of such a move.

 

Recently the French Tennis Federation (FFT) confirmed that their premier Grand Slam will be delayed by seven days and start on May 30th. The announcement occurred less than a week after the country went into their third lockdown in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19. Officials hope the extra week will provide more time for the pandemic to be kept under control and therefore more spectators will be allowed to the tournament. The lockdown is set to end mid-May which gives the French Open roughly two weeks to prepare.

“The fact that the French public authorities have maintained large sports events despite the health measures tightening, the FFT, for this 2021 edition of Roland-Garros, aims at maximising the chances – for the players and for the overall tennis community – that the tournament is played in front of the largest possible number of fans, while guaranteeing health and safety. Regarding both objectives, every week is important and can make a difference,” a statement reads.

The FFT is eager to welcome as many people as possible to the tournament. It is estimated that 80% of their annual turnover is related to the Grand Slam, according to L’Equipe newspaper.

However, former US Open finalist Medvedev has cast doubt over how much of a difference the delay would make due to the unpredictability of COVID-19. It is possible that fans could still not be allowed to attend the tournament if cases in the region are still high. On Saturday France reported that 5,769 COVID-19 patients are in intensive care, compared with 5,757 on Friday.

“I’m a bit surprised because if we talk about rules, about the French Open, not the French Open itself, but the country and the government, what does it change if we do it a week later?” Medvedev said in French during his press conference in Monte Carlo on Sunday.
“We’re talking about COVID here. I’m not sure it will change anything. I must say it’s a bit ridiculous. But not on the part of the French Federation or the government, it’s just the general situation. When you look at it that way, it gives you the feeling that if you postpone by one week, the COVID will disappear in one week. There are many rules. Sometimes there might have to be some exceptions.”

The 25-year-old does see an advantage of the situation with it giving him and his peers more time to prepare going into Roland Garros. There will be a two-week gap between the tournament and the Rome Masters.

On the other hand, there are also drawbacks to the date change. The grass court season has now been cut to two weeks between the French Open ending and Wimbledon starting. The shortest period between the two since 2014.

“I’m not talking about me, but a player who is going to the quarterfinals in the French Open will be in a bad situation for the grass court season,” said Medvedev. “In that case he will only be able to play Wimbledon. It’s never easy to play only one tournament in the grass court season.”

Despite his credentials, Medvedev is yet to win a main draw match at the French Open. Losing in the first round of the tournament four years in a row. Ironically the Russian lives in France, has a French coach and even speaks the language fluently.

“I just need to play good, feel better than I did the past years. What I mean by that, on hard courts maybe some matches I cannot feel the ball that good or not feel good physically or mentally, but I can still win some matches because it’s kind of automatic what I do there. Okay, play on the backhand of the guy, he’s going to miss or something like that. On clay I don’t have this. It’s much harder for me to play, which I don’t hide. I know I’m capable of playing good and won some very good matches a few years ago.” He concluded.

Medvedev is the second seed in Monte Carlo after Novak Djokovic.

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Grand Slam

French Open To Be Delayed In Bid To Persuade Authorities To Allow Fans [UPDATED)

Officials hope such a move will prevent the Grand Slam from being held behind closed doors but will it be enough?

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The French Tennis Federation (FFT) are set to issue an announcement on Thursday which will confirm the delay of the French Open by one week.

Multiple media sources, including both The Telegraph and AFP news agency, have received information that the two-week Grand Slam will start on May 30th instead of May 23rd. The move coincides with France entering into their third lockdown to her curb the spread of COVID-19. Earlier this week it was acknowledged by the government that talks about potentially delaying the start of the tournament were actively being discussed.

According to Telegraph Sport, the reason for the change of date is to help persuade the French government to allow fans to attend the event. The idea being that the later the tournament takes place, the more likely fans will be allowed to attend as long as the pandemic is under control. It it was to take place on the previous date there was a good chance it would have taken place behind closed doors.

The French Open is a critical event for the FFT with it accounting for an estimated 80% of its revenue, according to L’Equipe. A French sports newspaper who has also confirmed the new tournament date.

It is likely that Roland Garros will take place in similar circumstances to 2020. Last year the tournament was delayed until September but this isn’t possible this season due to the packed calendar. Authorities allowed up to 1000 fans to attend the tournament each day.

There will now be a significant impact on the men’s and women’s calendar with the tournament eating into the already short grass-court season. Two ATP and two WTA events are currently scheduled to take place during the second week of the French Open (if the new date is confirmed). There has been no statement from either of the governing bodies so far but it is likely they will respond when the formal announcement is made.

As a result of the move, there will be just two weeks before the end of the French Open and the start of Wimbledon. Something that hasn’t happened in the sport since 2014. 

 

Even with a seven-day delay it is still unclear as to how many fans could be allowed to attend the venue as France tackles the virus. On Wednesday the health ministry reported that the number of people in intensive care units (ICU) with COVID-19 increased by 103 to a new 2021 record of 5,729 people. A week-on-week increase of 13.4% which is the biggest jump since November.

April 8th 2021 – update

It has now been confirmed that the start of 2021 French Open will be delayed until May 30th. In a press release the FFT says their decision has received the full backing of the Grand Slam Board. It has also been confirmed that the delay has been made to maximise the chances of fans attending the event.

I am delighted that the discussions with the public authorities, the governing bodies of international tennis, our partners and broadcasters, and the ongoing work with the WTA and ATP, have made it possible for us to postpone the 2021 Roland-Garros tournament by a week,” said FFT president Gilles Moretton.
“It will give the health situation more time to improve and should optimise our chances of welcoming spectators at Roland-Garros, into our newly-transformed stadium that now covers more than 30 acres. For the fans, the players and the atmosphere, the presence of spectators is vital for our tournament, the spring’s most important international sporting event.”

Meanwhile a joint statement have also been issued by the ATP and WTA. As a result of the date change the second week of the Grand Slam will clash with four tournaments.

“Tennis has required an agile approach to the calendar over the past 12 months in order to manage the challenges of the pandemic, and this continues to be the case. The decision to delay the start of Roland-Garros by one week has been made in the context of recently heightened COVID-19 restrictions in France, with the additional time improving the likelihood of enhanced conditions and ability to welcome fans at the event. Both the ATP and WTA are working in consultation with all parties impacted by the postponement to optimise the calendar for players, tournaments and fans in the lead up to and following Roland-Garros. Further updates will be communicated in due course.”

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