Sloane Stephens Reflects On Mental Health Importance After Reaching Last 16 In Paris - UBITENNIS
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Sloane Stephens Reflects On Mental Health Importance After Reaching Last 16 In Paris

Sloane Stephens is into the last 16 in Paris for the seventh time in nine appearances.

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Sloane Stephens (@rolandgarros - Twitter)

Sloane Stephens has reflected on the importance of mental health as she progresses into the second week at Roland Garros.

The 2018 finalist is into the last 16 in Paris after a 6-3 7-5 win over Karolina Muchova.

Despite a tentative end to the second set, the American sealed victory to reach the fourth round for the 7th time in her last nine appearances in Paris.

After the match Stephens was asked about mental health an issue that has cropped up after Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal from the tournament.

The world number 59 has suffered her own mental health issues having lost both her grandparents to COVID-19 at the back end of last year.

Stephens once again emphasised how important mental health is and thinks too many players suffer in silence, “Mental, physical, emotional health, I think it’s all very important obviously for everyone because we have just gone through a pandemic and life has been very different and
very difficult,”
the American said in her press conference.

“Everyone’s faced their own struggles in different ways and everyone has handled it differently. So, yeah, I think it’s always important to talk about how you’re feeling and where you can make some changes and make yourself feel better and take care of yourself. So, yeah, I think it’s definitely top priority for everyone, not just tennis players but also you guys who are dealing with just life in general.

“I feel like it’s not spoken about enough. I feel like a lot of players on our
tour suffer in silence. And I think that is not cool and not fair and we should definitely approach it differently, because obviously, like I said, everyone deals with things differently and in their own way. The more support, the
better. I think not only for us girls supporting each other but for the tour to be able to support us in different ways is super helpful.”

As Stephens continues to raise awareness off the court and inspire others in the process, the American is not doing too badly on the court with her sights firmly set on another deep run.

The American will face Barbora Krejcikova in the next round who knocked out Elina Svitolina 6-3 6-2.

That result means that only Sofia Kenin, Serena Williams and Iga Swiatek remain from the top ten players.

Ahead of Stephens’ clash with Krejcikova the American told the press how memories in 2018 are flooding back, “Obviously 2018 was a great year,” Stephens said.

“But I think obviously even before that I think when I was, you know, my first big fourth round or whatever at a slam was here, and obviously consistently making fourth round here has been kind of a staple for me, which has been great. Obviously one of my favourite tournaments of the year, so peaking here has always been really important.”

Monday’s clash between Stephens and Krejcikova will be their first career meeting.

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Maria Sakkari Appoints Witt As Coach For American Swing

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Maria Sakkari - WTA Washington 2023 (foto Twitter @mubadalacitidc)

Maria Sakkari has enlisted the help of Jessica Pegula’s former long-time coach in a bid to regain her form on the Tour. 

Greek media has confirmed that the world No.9 has begun a partnership with David Witt, who has also previously coached Venus Williams. Witt had worked with Pegula since 2019 before the tennis star decided to end their collaboration earlier this year. During their time together he oversaw the American win two WTA 1000 events, reached the quarter-final of a grand Slam on six occasions and peaked at a ranking high of No.3. 

Sakkari’s appointment comes after she ended her six-year working relationship with Tom Hill. Highlights of their partnership include winning two Tour titles, reaching a Grand Slam semi-final twice and spending more than two years in the top 10. 

“Tom, thank you for all the emotions, the support on and off the court, and the belief you had in me since day one,” Sakkari wrote on Instagram last month. “We grew together, and you helped me realize that everything is possible.

“Not only did you make me a better tennis player, but you also made me a better person. Thank you for always wanting the best for me and for always having my back! Good luck on the next chapter in your career.”

Sakkari is looking to get back on track after what has been a disappointing start to 2024. She had won just two matches in her first four singles tournaments played and is yet to face an opponent ranked in the world’s top 20. However, she faired better at the United Cup, where she won three matches in the team event, including victories over Lelylah Fernandez and Angelique Kerber. 

It is understood that Sakkari will be working with Witt at both Indian Wells and Miami. If their partnership is successful, it could be extended further into the clay swing. The other members of her team will remain in the same roles. 

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Ugo Humbert saves three match points to beat Hubert Hurkacz in Dubai

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Fifth-seed Ugo Humbert came back from one set down to beat Hubert Hurkacz 3-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3. Humbert had beaten Hurkacz en route to his title in Marseille. 

Hurkacz converted his third break point in the fourth game to win the first set 6-3. Humbert saved three match points in the tie-break of the second set before converting his first set point to force the match to the decider. Humbert broke twice to seal the third set 6-3. 

“It was a great battle. I tried to battle for every point. In the tie-break I saved three match points, tried to do my best and thanks to those French fans for the amazing support”, said Humbert. 

Humbert set up a semifinal match against Danil Medvedev, who beats Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2 6-3. Humbert leads 2-1 in their head-to-head matches, but Medvedev won their most recent match in three sets at the China Open in their most recent head-to-head match in Beijing last year.

“It’s going to be a great challenge against Danil tomorrow. We had a few great fights. Hopefully I will recover well to be ready for this match”, said Humbert. 

Aleksander Bublik was leading Jiri Lehecka 6-4 4-1 when the Czech player was forced to retire due to an injury. Bublik set up a match against Andrey Rublev, who was leading Sebastian Korda 6-4 4-3  when the Czech player withdrew due to injury. 

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Brazilian Rising Star Joao Fonseca Waives College Eligibility To Turn Pro

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Image via https://twitter.com/RioOpenOficial/

One of Brazil’s most promising young tennis players has made the bold decision to abandon a dream of his to play college tennis in America to turn pro. 

17-year-old Jaoao Fonseca was committed to playing college tennis at the University of Virginia but says professional tennis has called him in a way he couldn’t refuse. The rising star has played just two Tour-level events so far in his career and is currently ranked 343rd in the world. 

At last week’s Rio Open, he became the second-youngest player after Alexander Zverev to reach the quarter-finals of an ATP 500 event since the category was introduced. In his home tournament, the Brazillian beat Arthur Fils and Cristian Garin before losing to Mariano Navone.

“It was an incredibly tough decision for me and my family as I have been dreaming about living a college life in Charlottesville, playing the sport that l love with a wonderful team and coach, but, in the last months, professional tennis called me in a way that I simply couldn’t say no,” Fonseca wrote in a statement published on Instagram
“Although I will not be attending school, I think it is an extremely valuable and viable path for young players in their way to professional careers,” he added.

Fonseca has already enjoyed success on the junior circuit. Last year he was runner-up in the doubles tournament at the Australian Open boy’s event. Then at the US Open, he won his first Grand Slam junior title in singles. He is also a former ITF Junior World No.1 and is currently ranked second in the standings. 

The youngster has already been hailed by compatriot Beatriz Haddad Maia, who is currently ranked 13th on the WTA Tour. Speaking to reporters at the San Diego Open, she has offered her support to Fonseca if he needs it. 

“João is a nice person. He has a great future, if he keeps working hard and keeps doing what he’s doing. I think he has a very aggressive mentality and tennis.” She said.

“We sometimes text each other, but not that much. But I’m always following.. not only him.. but the Brazilians. I’m proud of what he’s doing. He has a long way and he needs to understand that it’s a marathon, it’s not a 100 meter race.’
“Tennis has its ups and downs. I wish him all the best, for sure. I’ll be here whenever he wants. I’m happy with what he’s doing.” 

Fonseca played at the Chile Open this week but lost in the first round to Thiago Agustin Tirante.

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