Andrea Petkovic: Sexism Is Still An Issue In Tennis - UBITENNIS
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Andrea Petkovic: Sexism Is Still An Issue In Tennis

The former world No.9 speaks out about equal treatment on the Tour as she pays tribute to one of the sports pioneers.

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Andrea Petkovic (GER) playing against Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) in the second round of the Ladies' Singles on No.3 Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 4 Thursday 01/07/2021. Credit: AELTC/Jon Super

The world of women’s tennis has come a long way since the formation of the WTA Tour but there is still work to be done to address sexism in the sport, according to one of Germany’s top players.

 

Andrea Petkovic says female players continue to face issues which their male counterparts don’t in the sport. Making a direct reference to the type of social media abuse they receive, as well as the scheduling of matches at mixed-gender events. Tennis is considered as one of the most balanced professional sports in the world with equal prize money being implemented at every Grand Slam tournament since Wimbledon 2007.

After games, women always get irritating messages and comments on social media. I doubt it is the same on the men’s tour. Our outfits are always discussed there, how we wear our hair,” Petkovic said during an interview with sports publication Sportschau.
“In the past, women mostly had to play on the smaller courts. That still happens today. When it rained for two days at the French Open two years ago, the women’s semifinals were played on the smaller courts, while the men played on the larger courts. That latent sexism still comes out of that. We have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go.” She added.

According to research conducted by Forbes Magazine, nine out of the ten highest-paid female athletes of 2020 were female tennis players. Furthermore, Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams are the only female athletes to make the top 50 highest-paid athletes of 2021.

Petkovic says the rise of the women’s game wouldn’t have been achieved if it wasn’t for the relentless campaigning of Billie Jean King and the original nine. Throughout her career, King fought for equal pay from the 1960s onwards and participated in the infamous Battle of the Sexes match with the objective to prove that women’s tennis was just as appealing as men’s. King founded the WTA Tour in 1973 on the principle of ‘equal opportunity.’

“For me she is an ancestor. I play because of (her). When things don’t go that way and I’m doing several things at the same time, I often think about her and all the things she had to shoulder. She is someone I owe everything to. Without them (the Original Nine) there would be no professional women’s sport as it exists today. And all because of their assertiveness and the willingness to take risks.” The 34-year-old said of King.

As of November 1st 451 players have earned at least $1M in prize money since the creation of the WTA Tour almost 50 years ago. In comparison, 703 players have reached the milestone on the men’s Tour.

“It is incredibly important to inform the young players about our sporting ancestors and how we got into the position of earning such good prize money in the first place,” Petkovic concluded.

This week Petkovic is playing in the Billie Jean King Cup. Previously known as the Fed Cup, the team event was renamed in honour of the former world No.1. Germany is one of 12 teams participating in the finals.

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Medvedev fights past Auger Aliassime to reach the semis

Daniil Medvedev saved match point and came from two sets to love down to defeat Felix Auger-Aliassime and reach the Australian Open semi-finals.

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Daniil Medvedev (@DavisCup - Twitter)

The Russian pulled off an incredible comeback against the Canadian in a match that went the distance.

 

Danil Medvedev was pushed to the limit but managed to beat the number nine seed Felix Auger Aliassime in five sets 6-7, 3-6, 7-6, 7-5, 6-4 in four hours and 42 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.

“I really don’t know how I was able to win, I was not playing my best, and Felix was playing unbelievable and serving so well and to be honest he was all over me.”

Neither player had an issue holding serve in the first set and it was decided by a tiebreaker which was also tight with the Canadian getting the crucial break at 3-2 as he ended up winning the tiebreak 7-4.

The second set stayed on serve until 3-2 when the Montreal native earned another breakpoint and broke serve with that one break of serve was enough for him to serve out the second set.

The third set was also decided by a tiebreaker and with the world number nine looking to close out the match it started to rain and there was a short delay to close the roof.

Medvedev took full advantage getting the early break in the breaker and won it 7-2 taking the third set and sending the match into a fourth set.

The fourth once again stayed on serve until 5-4 when Auger Aliassime had a matchpoint on the Russian serve but the world number two was able to save it with a big serve.

After holding serve to make it 5-5 the Moscow native managed to break serve and served out the fourth set to send the match into a deciding fifth set.

In the second game of the fifth set after holding serve the Canadian had three more chances to break but was snubbed by the Russian big serve and the following game, Medvedev got the crucial break to take a 2-1 lead.

Auger Aliassime called for the trainer at 3-2 and took a medical timeout to work on his ankle which had been taped before the match and at 4-3 had another chance to break to go back on serve but failed to convert.

At 5-4, the world number nine had two more chances to break serve and stay alive but again was denied by the Russian who was able to serve it out and book his spot in the final four of a grand slam.

After the match, he spoke about finding ways to come back in the match and pulling off the improbable comeback.

“I want to make him work and if he wants to win he has to fight till the last point and it worked and I managed to raise my level during the game especially in the tiebreak and I felt the momentum change after the roof closed.”

Medvedev will now face the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semi-finals on Friday after he was able to beat the Italian Jannik Sinner in straight sets in a rematch from last year’s semi-final.

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Australian Open: Iga Świątek stumbles past Kaia Kanepi to make the semis

Iga Swiatek outlasted Kaia Kanepi in a gutsy match to reach the last four in Melbourne.

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Iga Swiatek (@TennisPodcast - Twitter)

Former French Open winner Iga Świątek overcame some serious woes to outlast Kaia Kanepi in a 3-hour battle.

 

The 20-year-old bounced back from losing the first set to eventually triumph 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-3.

This included the Pole serving 12 double faults.

She will have to improve dramatically in a short turn around of just 24 hours, as she faces the power play of Danielle Collins on Thursday.

The American will no doubt be the fresher of the two, winning in contrast, a comfortable straight sets.

https://twitter.com/BJKCup/status/1486212998796648448

Świątek and Kanepi both held their first three service games, before things began to get really interesting mid-way through the opening set.

A sloppy game from the Pole, including two double faults, gave the break on a plate to the Estonian.

At 36, Kanepi is one of the most experienced players on the WTA, and the seventh seed could ill afford to be handing out freebies.

The veteran made every use of the new balls, serving powerfully and tucking away a forehand smash to move 5-3 up.

Świątek then stumbled through her own marathon service game, that included a whopping nine deuces, and four break points/set points saved.

Kanepi’s service game was far from straight forward also, as she finally took the opening set after four deuces, and on her ninth set point, 6-4.

At the beginning of the second set, Świątek played another shaky service game to surrender the break to Kanepi.

A powerful cross-court backhand drive from the Estonian left her opponent on the floor, and it didn’t look like being the Pole’s day.

But Świątek dug in, and after four deuces on the Kanepi serve, she broke back.

At this point, the momentum suddenly shifted towards the Pole as she held serve before stealing the double break.

Świątek soon surged into a 4-1 lead, having won four games in a row, and looked to be cruising towards the second set.

But Kanepi held and broke back, before a comfortable hold saw her level at 4-4.

https://twitter.com/AustralianOpen/status/1486206899263528962

The second set trickled away on serve and a tie-break was needed to separate the pair.

But Świątek played the smarter tie-break, and four straight points saw her seal it 7-2, as Kanepi’s wayward backhand went long.

After a 69-minute second set, the youngster clenched her first, as Rod Laver Arena roared, with the match going to a decider.

All the energy was with Świątek, who broke at the beginning of the third, as she moved ahead 2-0, with Kanepi panting and struggling after over 2 hours in the Melbourne heat.

To her credit, she fought back, breaking the Warsaw native to level at 2-2.

But in a topsy turvy match, Swiatek broke and held to lead 4-2 and close in on a semi-final place.

https://twitter.com/AustralianOpen/status/1486279587634245633

The pole secured the double break but surrendered her own before finally prevailing in a marathon match point, to make the semi-finals for the first time in Australia.

After the match she had this to say: “I’m really glad that I still have my voice because I was shouting so loud.

“This match was crazy and without the energy of the stadium I think it would’ve been really hard to win it.”

https://twitter.com/AustralianOpen/status/1486209694964273156

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Australian Open Daily Preview: The Quarterfinals Conclude

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Stefanos Tsitsipas on Monday in Melbourne (twitter.com/AustralianOpen)

Wednesday’s men’s singles quarterfinals feature four top 10 players.  Daniil Medvedev faces Felix Auger-Aliassime in a rematch of the US Open semifinals.  And in matchup between ATP Next Gen champions, Stefanos Tsitsipas takes on Jannik Sinner.

 

On the women’s side, 2020 Roland Garros champion Iga Swiatek is joined by three players who have never reached a Major final.  Danielle Collins was a semifinalist here three years ago, Kaia Kanepi is 0-6 lifetime in Slam quarterfinals, and Alize Cornet had never previously reached the quarters.  With both of Wednesday’s WTA quarterfinals being first-time matchups, there is plenty of room for new territory to be seized.


Danielle Collins (27) vs. Alize Cornet – 11:00am on Rod Laver Arena

Both players survived grueling matches on Monday in scorching afternoon temperatures.  And the forecast is even hotter for Wednesday.  Collins required nearly three hours to hit her way through Elise Mertens, while Cornet and Simona Halep suffered during the hottest part of the day.  Both Collins and Cornet eventually prevailed 6-4 in the third.  The American is much more accustomed to playing in the heat, and is much more capable of controlling her destiny with her aggressive groundstrokes off both wings, especially her crosscourt backhand which was on fire in the last round.  With Danielle’s previous experience at this stage of a Major, she should be favored to achieve her second Australian Open semifinal.


Iga Swiatek (7) vs. Kaia Kanepi – Not Before 1:00pm on Rod Laver Arena

Swiatek overcame a considerable hurdle on Monday.  Prior to her fourth round match, she had lost three of her last four matches at Slams when dropping the first set.  But as per Tennis Abstract, every time in her career when she’s then won the second set, she’s gone on to win the third as well, just as she did against Sorana Cirstea.  For Kanepi, this round presents the biggest hurdle of her career, as she’s lost all six times she’s appeared in a Slam quarterfinal.  Kaia has only won one of 13 sets in those matches, which have occurred at the other three Majors.  Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova also held an 0-6 record in Slam quarterfinals, before breaking through in her seventh try at last year’s Roland Garros.  While the big-swinging Estonian seems due for a similar breakthrough, Swiatek’s more consistent, versatile style will likely draw plenty of errors from Kanepi.  Iga remains the favorite to reach her second Slam semifinal.


Stefanos Tsitsipas (4) vs. Jannik Sinner (11) – Not Before 3:00pm on Rod Laver Arena

A big factor in this match will be how much Tsitsipas has left physically, and how his elbow feels coming off a five-set battle with Taylor Fritz.  Stefanos also contested back-to-back four-setters in his two rounds prior.  Sinner has advanced much more comfortably, losing only one of 13 sets, and should be the far fresher player.  Tsitsipas leads their head-to-head 2-1, though all three matches have taken place on European clay.  Sinner feels primed for a breakthrough, and his authoritative groundies may keep Tsitsipas on the defensive.  Despite Stefanos’ significant edge in experience, the 20-year-old Italian has a great chance to achieve his first Major semifinal.  However, it likely won’t come without a huge fight from the Greek.


Daniil Medvedev (2) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime – 7:30pm on Rod Laver Arena

Their aforementioned US Open semifinal from this past September was pretty one-sided, with Medvedev prevailing in straight sets.  And their rematch just a few weeks ago at the ATP Cup was even more so, with Daniil dominating Felix 6-4, 6-0 in only 68 minutes.  Their first meeting was by far their tightest, when the Russian needed a third-set tiebreak to beat Auger-Aliassime at the 2018 Canada Masters, when the Canadian was ranked outside the top 100.  As impressive was Felix’s last two victories have been over Dan Evans and Marin Cilic, Medvedev has appeared completely unbothered by Auger-Aliassime’s game.  And I expect Daniil to remain much more positive today after his unprofessional conduct against Maxime Cressy, where he openly complained his opponent was “lucky.”  He will be happy to be back on Rod Laver Arena, as he expressed frustration with getting scheduled on Margaret Court Arena multiple times.  He’ll also be happy not to be facing a tricky serve-and-volleyer like Cressy.  Medvedev should be able to advance to his fourth consecutive semifinal at a hard court Major.


Wednesday’s full Order of Play is here.

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