Steve John Slams ATP, French Open In Social Media Rant - UBITENNIS
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Steve John Slams ATP, French Open In Social Media Rant

The 31-year-old says there is a lack of transparency in the sport and has accused French Open organisers of being selfish.

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American tennis player Steve Johnson has said there is a lack of transparency among those running the governing body of men’s tennis in a series of posts published on social media.

The world No.85 has accused members of the ATP Board of putting their priorities ahead of others with there being conflicts of interest. Johnson argues that the current situation is ‘hurting the sport’ as he makes reference to two specific issues.

The first of those is the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells which was suspended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organisers are instead hoping to stage the event later in the season in order to avoid it being cancelled for the second time in a row. Johnson has suggested that Indian Wells have been unable to stage their event whilst offering 100% of prize money due to opposition from other tournament directors who are on the ATP Board.

“Well, what type of system allows Masters 1000 events to pay 60% less when the BNP Paribas Open is trying to host their event at 100% but can’t get approval because other tournament directors are ATP Board members and they want to benefit from these reductions?” Johnson wrote on Twitter.
“The conflicts and lack of transparency are what hurts, not just the players but the sport.
“Everyone loves to throw around “it is about what is best for the sport,” but the actions don’t match the words.”

Johnson is not the first player to call for more transparency in the ATP. Earlier this year John Isner said there should be a clearer picture to show the reasons for the cut in prize money which has been attributed to the pandemic. This year’s prize money pool at the Miami Masters had a 60% cut with the winner claiming $300,110 compared to $1.35 million in 2019. The former world No.8 told reporters in Miami that he feels there needs to be an ‘audit’ of tournament finances by the ATP which he believes has been “plagued by conflict and lack of transparency.”

On the other side of the argument, Australia’s John Milman has hit back at Johnson’s comments about Indian Wells by describing them as ‘simply untrue.’ Saying that the tournament wanted to be held on one specific date.

“Mate they didn’t get approval initially because they weren’t flexible with when they wanted to have the event. Options were given with available weeks, they didn’t want any of them, wanted one specific week,” Millman said to Johnson on Twitter.
“Multiple tournaments were going to be disrupted with their spot that they had locked in for years.. to suggest that they aren’t getting approval because of board members wanting to benefit from prizemoney reductions (due to covid) is simply untrue.”

31-year-old Johnson, who has been ranked as high as 21st in the world, has also hit out at the French Open over their decision to postpone their event by seven days. Organisers hope the move will help maximise their chances of welcoming fans to the event with France currently being in a national lockdown.

“Roland Garros once again unilaterally decides to change the date of their event, disrupting the calendar to accommodate themselves without respect for the consequences and impact it has on the rest of tennis,” he commented.

The decision to delay the French Open did receive approval from the Grand Slam Board prior to an official announcement. As a consequence the grass-court swing has been shortened by a week.

Johnson has won four ATP titles during his career and has played in 32 Grand Slam main draws.

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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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Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket

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The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.

HE HAD IT, THEN HE DIDN’T

Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.

MAGIC OF ALCARAZ HEATING UP

Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.

ALCARAZ HEADED FOR GREATNESS

Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open

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Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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