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Serena Williams’ Decision To Play Parma Might Have Been A Mistake, Admits Coach

Patrick Mouratoglou explains why he isn’t worrying about Williams’ current form.

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Serena Williams (image via Emilia-Romagna Open)

The coach of 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams believes there is no need for concern over her form ahead of the French Open.

 

Patrick Mouratoglou has told Sky Sports that he is ‘not worried’ if the American will be ready in time for the tournament which will start on May 30th. Williams has played in two tournaments on the clay so far this year and only managed to record one match win. At the Italian Open she lost her opening match to Argentina’s Nadia Podoroska who reached the semi-finals of Roland Garros in 2020. Then at this week’s Parma Open she defeated teenager Lisa Pigato before falling in straight sets to Katerina Siniakova.

Despite the disappointments, Mouratoglou is keeping an optimistic outlook heading into Roland Garros. An event Williams hasn’t won since 2015. The American hasn’t won a major title for four years but has come close on numerous occasions. Settling for runner-up at four Grand Slams between 2018-2019. Her most recent disappointment was at the Australian Open where she lost to Naomi Osaka in the semi-finals.

“I think she lost because she was not ready,” Mouratoglou told Sky Sports. “I don’t know, but maybe it was not a good idea to go and play in Parma after losing in Rome because her match in Rome showed a lot of things that still needed to be worked on to be able to compete at the highest level.
“I think it’s always interesting to play matches because it gives you a clear vision of where you are, so that was good in that way because we know what she still needs to accomplish in order to be ready for Roland Garros.
“I’m not worried in general because if she does the job she will be ready. It’s just about doing the job.”

Despite her impressive resume, silverware on the Tour has been a rare occurrence for Williams since giving birth to her daughter back in 2017. The only trophy she has won since then was at the ASB Classic in Auckland at the start of last year.

With less than two weeks before the start of the French Open, Mouratoglou is confident that the former world No.1 will be able to get back to winning ways as he made reference to her work during the Australian Open a couple months ago.

“We have to go on the court, work, and day after day I will see. To be completely honest with you when I saw her before the Australian Open for preparation, I thought ‘wow’ – a lot of work to get ready. But in a short period of time she was able to really hit great form. She played really well, but unfortunately not through the whole tournament – until the semi-finals,” he commented.
“She played great tennis, moving well, and it didn’t take her too much time to get ready.”

The upcoming French Open will be Williams’ 78th appearance in a Grand Slam main draw.

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Why Newly Married Elina Svitolina Has No Plans To Change Her Surname

The Ukrainian explains why she isn’t using her husband’s surname of Monfils just yet as she books her place in the third round at Tokyo 2020.

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Just over a week ago Elina Svitolina tied the knot with her long-time partner Gael Monfils at a ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland.

 

Shortly after the world No.6 took to social media and changed her name on Twitter to Elina Monfils as part of the tradition that the woman takes on the man’s name once they are married. As a consequence, various websites started to identify the Ukrainian under that name. Although she would rather that they don’t do such a thing.

“I don’t know why they changed my surname. Maybe they saw that I had changed it on my social networks,” Svitolina told BTU.
“I’m going to play as Svitolina till the very end of my professional career and will change it only after retirement.”

Svitolina explains she believes it is better if all of her achievements are made under the same name instead of two. So far in her career she has won 15 WTA titles, reached two Grand Slam semi-finals and has earned more than $20.5M in prize money.

I had numerous achievements and people know me as Svitolina. My father would be upset if I changed the surname and played as Monfils,” she joked.
“I am proud to be Svitolina and my tennis career will always be connected with this surname.”

Over the coming week the 26-year-old is hoping to add an Olympic medal to her resume. On Monday Svitolina survived a stern scare after coming back from a set down to defeat Ajla Tomljanović 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 and move into the third round of the tournament. Her win came on the day where there were shocks galore in the women’s draw with seeds Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek and Petra Kvitova all crashing out.

Svitolina will play Greece’s Maria Sakkari in the next round whom she has lost to in two out of their three previous meetings.

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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 becomes the youngest ever champion at ATP Tour level since Kei Nishikori in 2008

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Carlos Alcaraz beat Richard Gasquet 6-2 6-2 in the final of the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag becoming the youngest ever champion at ATP Tour level since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori in Delray Beach in 2008 and the youngest Spanish ATP Tour champion since RafaelNadal in Sopot 2004. 

 

Alcaraz earned his first break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead with an inside-in forehand winner and he never looked back by holding his next service games. The Spanish teenager broke serve in the third game as Gasquet made a double fault. Alcaraz converted his third break point in the fifth game to open up a 4-1 lead. Gasquet earned three break points but he was not able to convert them. 

“I had a lot of good moments in this tournament. I beat five great tennis players. I think that I grew up a lot in this tournament and  I keep a lot of experience from this tournament. It’s going to be useful for the future”, said Alcaraz. 

Gasquet was aiming to win his first ATP Tour title since s’Hertogenbosch in 2018. 

“It was tough for me to play with his full intensity. I had a tough match yesterday. It was tough, and especially with a guy like Carlos, who is playing really fast with a lot of energy and spin. He is playing unbeievable. He is only 18 and of course he had a great future and Ijust could not play at his level and his intensity”, said Gasquet. 

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