Sloane Stephens Reflects On Mental Health In Tennis Ahead Of US Open - UBITENNIS
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Sloane Stephens Reflects On Mental Health In Tennis Ahead Of US Open

Sloane Stephens talks all things mental health ahead of the US Open.

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Sloane Stephens (@CJ_mag - Twitter)

Sloane Stephens has reflected on Tennis’ role in the battle with mental health ahead of the start of the US Open.

The 2017 champion is preparing for the last grand slam of the season as she prepares to take on Madison Keys in a rematch from the scene where she won her maiden grand slam.

As well as being a tennis player, Stephens is also a member of the WTA players council which plays a major role in all issues in society and how tennis can help.

One of the main issues due to the pandemic is mental health and the American recently spoke about how its effected the tennis community, “I’m on the [Women’s Tennis Association] Players’ Council, so I think we see a lot of concerns and complaints — not complaints — but like what people think about issues that have happened or things that are currently happening,” the American told People.com.

“And I think that obviously, we can do better to support each other. I think getting through that and trying to navigate this process as a competitor, but also like as just a normal human being who has feelings and emotions… Yeah, it’s been difficult. But I think everyone’s tried hard and you offer your support where you can.

“If you’re struggling and you need to get it out, why would you just sit and wallow? Maybe there’s someone else that can help you, maybe there’s someone that you can talk to, maybe there’s someone that has gone through the same thing and can offer you advice and support and whatever that may be.

“I’ve been in a place where it’s been dark and it’s been deep and it’s been sad. I’m like, ‘I need to get out of that place.’ But you know you’re stuck there if you don’t talk to anyone and no one knows what you’re going through.

“I think that younger athletes are not told enough that ‘It’s okay to be sad, it’s okay to be happy, it’s okay to show your emotion.’ And no one I feel like in the sports industry is comforting in that. It’s always like ‘This decision, this moment it’s going to affect you for the rest of your life.’ That’s the type of pressure people feel and they pretend to be okay. You end up in a space or a position where you just don’t feel good and you don’t feel good mentally and you don’t feel good physically. Then you can’t perform.”

Recently Venus Williams pledged 2 million dollars to free mental health therapy to ensure that tennis doesn’t struggle with these problems.

The ATP also revealed a whole range of initiatives to help players relax and look after their mental health.

It’s quite clearly a topic that still needs a lot of thought put in by tennis’ governing bodies to make players feel comfortable and be ok with talking about their mental health.

Speaking ahead of the US Open, the American is just happy to be playing in front of full capacity crowds again, “I think, at this point, everyone, like nobody has anything to lose. Like we’d just been in a pandemic,” the former champion said.

“It’s the first time we’ll have fans. There’ll be a lot of energy, the atmosphere will be great. And I think people will really look to take advantage of the situation. We’re excited that now it’s happening again. And we have fans again and we’re able to have that feeling and feel that rush again and that atmosphere and it’s exciting.”

Sloane Stephens will play her first round match against good friend Madison Keys on Monday.

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Sebastian Korda reaches his second semifinal of the season in s’Hertogenbosh

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Sebastian Korda beat Tommy Paul 6-4 6-2 in 67 minutes to reach his second ATP Tour semifinal of the season at Libema Open in s’Hertogenbosh. 

Korda hit 18 winners and won 84% of his first serve points. Korda earned his first break in the third game of the first set to take a 2-1 lead. Paul broke straight back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Korda broke for the second time in the seventh game to win the first set 6-4. Korda broke twice in the third and seventh game to close out the second set 6-2. 

Korda has improved his head-to-head record against Paul to 4-1. 

Korda reached the semifinal on grass at Queen’s in 2023. The US player is is aiming to win his first ATP Tour title since 2021, when he won in Parma on clay. 

Korda set up a semifinal clash against defending champion Tallon Griekspoor, who ccame back from one set down to beat Alexandar Vukic 4-6 6-3 7-6 (7-3). Griekspoor has won his past eight matches at this tournament. 

Vukic broke in the ninth game to win the first set 6-4. Griekspoor earned his first break in the sixth game of the second set to win the second set 6-3. The third set went on serve with no breaks en route to the tie-break. Griekspoor earned two mini-breaks to open up a 4-1 lead in the tie-break. Vukic pulled one of the two mini-breaks, but Griekspoor held on his serve and sealed the tie-break on his first match point.

“I am very happy to be through. It was a very tough match once again. I think Alexandar played unbelievable grass court tennis, so it was not easy and I am very happy to find my way in the third set. I am enjoying the crowd, the atmosphere and the whole tournament”, said Korda. 

Alex De Minaur beat Milos Raonic7-5 6-2 in 1 hour and 26 minutes. De Minaur has improved to 3-0 in his head-to-head matches against Raonic, who was playing in just his fourth tournament of he year.

De Minaur earned his first break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Raonic broke straight back to draw level to 3-3. De Minaur broke for the second time in the 11th game and served out on his first set point after saving three break points in the 12th game. De Minaur broke twice in the fifth and seventh games to win the second set 6-2. 

De Minaur is aiming to win the second title of his career on career following his win in Eastbourne in 2021.  

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Emma Raducanu Confident Of Full Fitness Ahead Of Grass Swing

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Emma Raducanu - Cincinnati 2022 (foto Twitter @cincytennis)

Emma Raducanu has no regrets about her decision to skip the French Open and now believes she is in a ‘really fit place’ ahead of Wimbledon. 

The former US Open champion opted to end her clay season earlier than other players to focus on fitness and training with her coach. Raducanu stated earlier this year that her primary focus in 2024 is on her health after undergoing a series of wrist and ankle surgeries last year which sidelined her for months. 

Raducanu will return to action this week at the Nottingham Open, which is the event where she made her WTA main draw debut back in 2021. Despite her lack of match play in recent weeks, the Brit is feeling good and relishing her return to the grass.

“Body-wise, physical-wise, I feel really healthy,” she said on Monday.
“I’ve done amazing work with my trainer over the last few months, since surgery. I’m in a really fit place. I’m healthy and just looking forward to starting playing.”

Shedding more light on her health, Raducanu says she has full confidence in her wrists and believes they are in top condition. Making her feel more at ease when playing matches on the Tour. 

“I think my wrists are actually in a better position than they ever were. So there’s zero doubt or apprehension whether I’m hitting the ball or designing my schedule,” she explained.
“It’s more about being proactive and not wanting to put yourself in any unnecessary situations. I don’t need to rush and try to win the French Open, it wasn’t my goal this year.
“I had to prioritise where I wanted to target and it was just a good block for me to get some physical work done.”

Raducanu has played seven WTA events so far this season with her best run being to the quarter-finals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, where she was beaten by world No.1 Iga Swiatek. The 21-year-old is currently ranked 209th in the world. 

At the Nottingham Open, she will play her first match on Tuesday against Japanese qualifier Ena Shibahara. 

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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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