Players Should Support COVID-19 Vaccine To Cut Bubble Life On Tour, Says Andy Murray - UBITENNIS
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Players Should Support COVID-19 Vaccine To Cut Bubble Life On Tour, Says Andy Murray

The former world No.1 says such a move is a ‘no-brainer’ as he speaks out about Tour life during the pandemic.

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Three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray has urged his peers to follow rules related to COVID-19 on the Tour but admits that the current situation is far from perfect.

 

Due to the global pandemic, tournaments have suffered heavy financial losses and have been forced to implement numerous changes. Including limiting the number of fans that can attend, regular testing and implementing ‘bubbles’ which all players are required to stay in during their time participating. To make the situation even more complicated, the restrictions vary depending on each country. For example the Monte Carlo Masters took place behind closed doors but the following week the Barcelona Open was partly opened to the public.

“It isn’t that much fun going and staying in the bubbles,” Murray said during an interview with The Press Association. “In Miami, for example, you look out of the window and the whole city’s completely open but the players are obviously in the bubble. I can appreciate from the players’ perspective that that can be frustrating.
“And, because it’s been going on for a while, it’s a bit tiring. And I know for some of the Aussie players, they’re looking at nine or 10 months away from home because if they go home they have to do two weeks in a hotel.”

For some the rules are taking a toll on their mentality in the sport. US Open champion Dominic Thiem recently admitted that he has struggled in recent months. In an interview with Der Standard he said ‘Corona has taken beautiful things, starting with travelling and moving freely. The bad things stay.’ Another to speak out is Stefanos Tsitsipas who told Marca.com he had experienced some ‘dark moments.’ Meanwhile, controversy-stricken Benoit Paire said the current circumstances have made the Tour ‘sad, boring and ridiculous.’

However, Murray argues that the far from perfect scenario is a necessity if the sport wants to continue functioning at present. Arguing that it is the best possible way to keep players and tournament officials safe at present.

“I appreciate all that, that it is difficult. But, at the same time, seeing 60,000 people died in Brazil last month because of coronavirus, if this is what we have to do to be able to continue to do our jobs and to give the tournaments some security (then so be it),” he commented.
“If they opened up in Miami, it was spring break, I saw what was going on there in the city with tons of people coming in from around the country, partying and the city’s open, and then a bunch of the players start testing positive, that’s difficult for the tournament as well.
“It’s very uncertain times for them as well. Right now it’s the best way to keep the tournaments safe, and players and the members of staff safe as well.”

Murray, who will turn 34 next month, has also called for his fellow players to have a COVID-19 vaccine when offered if they want to escape bubble life. Both the ATP and WTA have publicly issued statements urging players to have a vaccination but some remain unsure. Meanwhile, world No.1 Novak Djokovic told reporters last week that players should be given a ‘freedom of choice.’ Last week at the Serbian Open players were offered a vaccination but Djokovic says he is not going to speak about if he will have one or not in order to avoid getting drawn into a debate.

“If you want to avoid having to be in a bubble for too long, you need to then support the vaccination, because you can’t just say, ‘No we want to just live normally and we don’t want any bubbles but we also don’t want to be vaccinated’. It’s a no-brainer to me,” Murray argues.

Murray has played three tournaments so fat this season with the most recent being at the Rotterdam Open in March. He has recently been sidelined from action due to left groin injury and it remains unclear as to how many matches he will play on clay heading into the grass swing.

“I need to be consistently practising (rather than) having these enforced breaks. That was the thing in December, why I think I got into such a good place was because of the two months of practising basically six days a week every week for a couple of months,” he said.
“By the end of that my game started to feel really good. That’s the first thing is to be able to be on the practice court consistently and then I obviously need to get the matches. How many matches that is, I don’t know.”

The Brit has experienced a mixed start to 2021 on the Tour. In February he reached the final of a Challenger tournament in Italy before losing to Illya Marchenko. He then returned to the ATP Tour by playing in Marseille but lost in the first round to Egor Gerasimov. In Rotterdam he defeated Robin Haase before losing in straight sets to Andrey Rublev.

Murray is currently ranked 121st in the world.

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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 reaches his first ATP Tour final in Umag

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Spanish Next Gen star Carlos Alcaraz secured a spot in his first ATP tour-level final with a 6-2 7-6 (7-3) at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open in Umag. 

 

Alcaraz has become the youngest ATP Tour finalist since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori won the Delray Beach title in 2008. 

Alcaraz broke twice to open up a 4-0 lead and held his next service games to close out the first set 6-2. 

Ramos Vinolas came back from a break down three times in the second set, when Alcaraz served for the match. Alcaraz battled through the second-set tie-break to clinch the win after two hours. 

Alcaraz set up a final against Richard Gasquet, who battled past German qualifier Daniel Altmeier 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-3 after three hours and 11 minutes. 

Gasquet has become the second oldest finalist in tournament history. The 35-year-old saved seven of hi sten break points, but he converted just just 3 of his 17 break points.  

Gasquet rallied from a break down twice to draw level to 4-4 before winning the tie-break 7-2. Altmeier converted his third break point in the eighth game to win the second set 6-3. Altmeier saved three break points in the second game, before Gasquet converted his second break point in the sixth game to win the second set 6-3. 

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Novak Djokovic Cruises Past Dellien In Olympics Opener

Novak Djokovic’s bid for a historic golden slam continued in Tokyo.

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Novak Djokovic (@ITFTennis - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic cruised past Hugo Dellien 6-2 6-2 to open his bid for a gold medal at the Olympics.

 

The world number one’s bid to achieve the golden slam is on after thrashing the Bolivian in humid conditions.

A perfect start for the Serbian who is looking to achieve the one thing he is yet to achieve and that’s win a gold medal.

Next for Djokovic will be Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff.

In 32C temperatures, Djokovic was looking to start his campaign off against Bolivian veteran Hugo Dellien.

The slow paced courts would suit Dellien as he engaged in some long rallies with the world number one early on.

Despite creating three break points in the fourth game, Djokovic would fail to break early on.

However Djokovic increased his level mixing up the pace and depth of his shots to create angles for simple winners.

On his fifth break point Djokovic would break for a 4-2 lead and the top seed would break for a second time as Dellien had no answers for the Serb’s defensive skills. First set to Djokovic in 33 minutes.

A similar pattern evolved in the second set only this time Djokovic did get a break in the fourth game, breaking to love.

Accurate serving and construction of points gave Djokovic an easy first round match as another break secured the match and sealed his spot into the second round.

A fine performance in tough conditions gave Djokovic’s bid for history the best possible start.

Next for Djokovic will be Jan-Lennard Struff who beat Thiago Monteiro 6-3 6-4.

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