Amelie Mauresmo Appointed Tournament Director In Historic First For French Open - UBITENNIS
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Amelie Mauresmo Appointed Tournament Director In Historic First For French Open

The former world No.1 says she has ‘clear ambitions’ for her new role.

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Amelie Maureasmo has been named as the new tournament director of the French Open, becoming the first woman in history to hold the role.

 

Mauresmo, who won two Grand Slam titles during 2006, takes over from Guy Forget who officially resigned from the position earlier this month after citing communication issues with the head of the French Tennis Federation (FFT). Forget was the tournament director since 2016. The appointment follows a report by newspaper L’Equipe saying that the former player was the preferred choice of FFT chief Gilles Moretton and talk of her potentially taking the role first emerged during the end of October.

“I am very proud to join the Roland-Garros team,” Mauresmo said in a statement. “I have the position of tournament director with clear ambitions. I will carry them out with the same high standards, freedom and passion that has always driven me.”

Mauresmo won 25 WTA titles during her career, including the Australian Open and Wimbledon during 2006. She also held the world No.1 ranking for 39 weeks and is the only player from her country to have held that position since the system was introduced back in the 1970s. After retiring from the sport, she worked as a coach for players such as Andy Murray and Lucas Pouille. She was also offered the role of Davis Cup captain but later declined in order to work with Pouille.

“Amélie is a woman of character, who likes to challenge and likes to be challenged. I am happy and proud that the federation can rely on these talented people,” said Moretton.

In 2018 Mauresmo criticised Forget’s management of the French Open scheduling after the women’s semi-final matches were removed from the showpiece court where the men’s took place. Due to bad weather during the tournament, matches were delayed which caused a backlog.

What message are we sending by taking the decision to put the two women’s semi-finals at 11 a.m. on the second and third courts?” she wrote on Twitter at the time.
“No match on the centre court?”
“It’s simple to open Lenglen and Chatrier and have the two women’s matches at 1 p.m. followed by the two men’s.”

The 2022 French Open is set to begin on May 16th.

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Roland Garros Daily Preview: Naomi Osaka Plays Amanda Anisimova in an Australian Open Rematch

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Naomi Osaka practicing in Paris (twitter.com/rolandgarros)

In the third round of January’s Australian Open, Naomi Osaka and Amanda Anisimova played an excellent match.  Osaka would hold two match points, but it would be Anisimova who would eventually prevail in a final-set tiebreak.  Now they meet again, in a highly-anticipated first round matchup in Paris.

 

Also on Monday, three of the favorites to win this event will play their opening matches: Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Iga Swiatek.  Nadal is vying for his record-extending 22nd Major singles title, while Djokovic is looking to tie Nadal by defending his title and winning his 21st

Swiatek arrives in Paris on a 28-match winning streak, and has established herself as a strong favorite to procure her second Slam.   And Barbora Krejcikova starts her title defense on Monday, in what will be her first match since February.

Throughout the tournament, this preview will analyze the day’s five most prominent matches, while highlighting the other notable matches on the schedule.  Monday’s play begins at 11:00am local time.


Amanda Anisimova (27) vs. Naomi Osaka – 11:00am on Court Suzanne Lenglen

This will be Osaka’s return to an event where a year ago she withdrew after much controversy surrounding her decision to not participate in press conferences.  And this will be just her third match on clay this season, after withdrawing from Rome due to an ankle injury.  Anisimova is 10-3 on clay, having reached the quarterfinals or better in each of her three tournaments on this surface.  It was in Paris three years ago when the American made her big breakthrough with a run to the semifinals.  In their Australian Open thriller, struck 46 winners, while Osaka only accumulated 21.  That’s a stark contrast, especially considering how Naomi is usually the one dictating play.  On this surface, where Osaka has only played seven matches in the last three seasons, Anisimova is a considerable favorite to earn another victory over the four-time Major champion.


Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Lesia Tsurenko – 12:00pm on Court Philippe Chatrier

How will Swiatek cope with the pressure of being the prohibitive favorite to win this tournament?  This is new territory for the 20-year-old, as she has separated herself from the pack following the sudden retirement of Ash Barty.  Iga is 37-3 on the year, with five straight titles (Doha, Indian Wells, Miami, Stutthart, Rome).  This is her first career meeting with Tsurenko, who is a former top 25 player and a 2018 US Open quarterfinalist.  But Lesia hasn’t played since retiring from a round of 16 match last month in Istanbul, and hasn’t won a main draw match at a Slam in three years.  Sunday’s first match on Chatrier saw the WTA’s other red-hot player, Ons Jabeur, go down in defeat.  But I don’t see another upset to start the day on Monday.


Barbora Krejcikova (2) vs. Diane Parry – Second on Court Philippe Chatrier

Defending your first Major title is never easy, but doing so when you’ve been inactive for the last three months is nearly impossible.  Krejcikova hasn’t played a match since February due to an elbow injury.  Her opponent on Monday is a 19-year-old from France who won four titles at lower-level events last season, all on clay.  With the Parisian crowd behind her, a Parry upset would not be shocking, especially against an out-of-form defending champion who has a lot of ranking points to defend.  Krejcikova could fall out of the top 10 with a first-round loss.  Barbora’s chances will be contingent upon how healthy her elbow is, and if she can overcome her lack of form.


Rafael Nadal (2) vs. Jordan Thompson – Third on Court Philippe Chatrier

Nadal’s achievements at this tournament are well-documented: a mind-boggling record of 105-3, with 13 titles.  But questions surround his condition coming into this fortnight.  Despite his history here, and despite his excellent 2022 record of 23-3, his chronic foot injury was causing him a lot of pain just over a week ago in Rome.  Rafa was noticeably limping during his three-set loss to Shapovalov in the quarterfinals of that event.  He remains a huge favorite against Thompson, who is 4-11 the last two seasons on clay, and 3-6 lifetime in the main draw of the French Open.  But all eyes with be on Nadal’s feet, as a relatively-healthy Rafa should of course be considered the favorite to win Roland Garros for a 14th time.


Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Yoshihito Nishioka – Not Before 8:45pm on Court Philippe Chatrier

Considering Nadal’s foot, many consider Djokovic to be the favorite to defend his title.  While he missed much of the 2022 season due to his vaccination status, Novak rounded into form nicely on clay.  After gritting his way to the final in Belgrade in spite of some lackluster form, Djokovic reached the semifinals of Madrid, where young phenom Carlos Alcaraz required nearly four hours to stop him.  And in Rome, Djokovic won his first title in six months, and did so without dropping a set.  And that included his three victories over top 10 opposition since last November.  Nishioka has won his first round match in three consecutive years at Roland Garros, but that run will most likely end here.  Yoshi is 0-4 this season in the main draw of clay events, and in two previous encounter with Djokovic, he has been defeated soundly.


Other Notable Matches on Monday:

Bianca Andreescu vs. Ysaline Bonaventure (Q) – This is just Andreescu’s third main draw match at Roland Garros.  After missing the first three months of the season, Bianca has gone 6-3 on clay.  Bonaventure does own a victory over Andreescu, from a Canadian ITF-level event five years ago.

Stan Wawrinka vs. Corentin Moutet (WC) – Wawrinka has only played four tour-level matches since March of 2021 due to surgery on his left foot.  And the 2015 champion is 0-1 against Moutet, as the Frenchman defeated him in three sets two years ago in Doha.

Anett Kontaveit (5) vs. Ajla Tomljanovic – Kontaveit was easily the WTA’s best player during the latter stages of 2021, but she’s now just 3-4 since March.  Tomljanovic has been struggling as well, with an 11-13 record on the season.  Anett claimed both of their previous meetings in three sets.

Emma Raducanu (12) vs. Linda Noskova (Q) – The reigning US Open champion is 5-4 on clay this season.  Noskova is a 17-year-old from the Czech Republic, and is the reigning Roland Garros girls’ champion.

Angelique Kerber (21) vs. Magdalena Frech – Kerber has lost in the first round of this event five out of the last six years.  But she’s coming off a title run this past week in Strasbourg.  Frech is a 24-year-old from Poland whose only previous main-draw victory at a major came four years ago in Paris.


Monday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Roland Garros Daily Preview: The Second Major of 2022 Begins on Sunday

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A shot from the grounds of the French Open (twitter.com/rolandgarros)

The second Major of the year is upon us, with its unique Sunday start.  Roland Garros is the only Grand Slam event where first round singles play is spread across three days. 

 

The men’s draw is headlined by 13-time champion Rafael Nadal, defending champion Novak Djokovic, 2021 runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas, and the ATP’s breakout star of the last 12 months, Carlos Alcaraz.  The 19-year-old Spaniard will play his opening match on Sunday, as will top ATP names like Dominic Thiem and Sascha Zverev.

The women’s draw features 12 Major singles champions, five of whom have won this event: Iga Swiatek, Barbora Krejicikova, Simona Halep, Jelena Ostapenko, and Garbine Muguruza.  The 28-year-old Spaniard plays perpetual draw-buster Kaia Kanepi on Sunday.  The Order of Play also includes the red-hot Ons Jabeur and US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez, who faces France’s Kiki Mladenovic.

Throughout the tournament, this preview will analyze the day’s two most prominent matches, while highlighting the other notable matches on the schedule.  Sunday’s play begins at 11:00am local time.


Ons Jabeur (6) vs. Magda Linette – 11:00am on Court Philippe Chatrier

Outside of Iga Swiatek, Jabeur is the WTA player with the most momentum heading into Paris.  Before losing to Swiatek in the final of Rome, Ons was on an 11-match win streak, coming off her title run in Madrid.  She’s now 17-3 on clay this season, and has reached the fourth round of this tournament the last two years.  She’ll be a considerable favorite against Linette on Sunday, though Magda could easily test the sixth seed.  The 30-year-old from Poland was a quarterfinalist this year at clay events in Charleston and Strasbourg, and she owns victories over some top names at Majors, including Ash Barty and Elina Svitolina.  They’ve met twice before on clay, with both matches going to Jabeur.  That includes a three-set encounter at this event a year ago.  I expect a similar result on Sunday.


Hugo Dellien vs. Dominic Thiem (PR) – 11:00am on Court Simonne Mathieu

Thiem is a two-time French Open finalist, but he is still fighting for his first win in over a year.  Since coming back from his wrist injury, he is 0-6 at all levels, with all those matches occurring on clay.  Earning that elusive win in the best-of-five format may prove challenging for an out-of-form player.  This will be Thiem’s first match against Dellien, a 28-year-old from Bolivia who has played 43 matches on clay this season at all levels.  He’s accumulated 30 wins, and advanced to two Challenger finals.  However, Hugo is yet to defeat a top 40 player this year.  While Dominic is not currently a member of that group, and is not performing at that level, taking out a Major champion at a Grand Slam event remains a daunting task.  At a tournament where Thiem has fond memories of success, I expect Dominic is earn his first win since last May.


Garbine Muguruza (10) vs. Kaia Kanepi – Second on Court Simonne Mathieu

Muguruza is a two-time Major champion, and won the third-biggest title of her career at November’s WTA Finals in Guadalajara.  But since that title run, Muguruza has struggled mightily, with a record of 7-8 in 2022.  She’s won back-to-back matches only once this season.  And in the opening round, she’s drawn one of the sport’s most dangerous floaters.  Kanepi has made a career out of upsetting top seeds at Majors.  As per Tennis Abstract, she owns nine top 10 wins at Grand Slam events, over the likes of Angelique Kerber, Simona Halep, and most recently at January’s Australian Open, Aryna Sabalenka.  Kaia is a seven-time quarterfinalist at Majors, including two times at Roland Garros.  Her only previous meeting with Muguruza took place eight years ago in Melbourne, when Muguruza prevailed in three sets.  But considering Garbine’s recent form, and Kaia’s history at Majors, this match is definitely deserving of an upset alert.


Carlos Alcaraz (6) vs. Juan Ignacio Londero (Q) – Fourth on Court Philippe Chatrier

Alcaraz has rapidly become one of the ATP’s players.  Carlitos is 28-3 in 2022, with four titles.  He is No.3 in the year-to-date rankings, and is within 200 points of the two players ahead of him (Nadal, Tsitsipas).  The teenager arrives in Paris on a 10-match win streak on clay, having taken back-to-back titles in his home country.  Londero is a former top 50 player who reached the fourth round of this event in 2019.  But he is coming off multiple seasons with a losing record, and hasn’t played a match since early-April.  Alcaraz should not have much trouble dismissing Londero on Sunday, though it is always a treat to see the Spaniard’s formidable skills on display.


Leylah Fernandez (17) vs. Kiki Mladenovic – Fourth on Court Suzanne Lenglen

Fernandez has not immediately been able to follow-up on her thrilling US Open run from last summer.  Despite winning a title in Monterrey, she hasn’t reached a quarterfinal at any other event this year.  But still only 19-years-of-age, Leylah undoubtedly has some big results ahead of her.  Mladenovic was top 10 player in 2017, the same year she was a quarterfinalist at her home Slam.  But the Frenchwoman is 2-4 in Paris since, and only 2-10 this season at all levels.  While Kiki will certainly be motivated by the Parisian crowd, it would be surprising if she could upset Leylah, as the Canadian remains a dogged competitor who thrives on big stages.


Other Notable Matches on Sunday:

Sloane Stephens vs. Jule Niemeier (Q) – Stephens was the 2018 runner-up in Paris, and reached the fourth round a year ago.  But she’s 0-4 on clay in 2022.  Niemeier is a 22-year-old German who won an ITF-level event on clay last month.

Grigor Dimitrov (18) vs. Marcos Giron – Dimitrov is only 12-11 lifetime at Roland Garros, though he was a semifinalist in Monte Carlo this season.  This is a rematch from last year’s French Open, when Giron defeated Dimitrov after Grigor retired during the fourth set.

Felix Auger-Aliassime (9) vs. Juan Pablo Varillas (Q) – Auger-Aliassime is still looking for his first main draw win at Roland Garros.  He is 8-6 on clay this year.  Varillas is a 26-year-old from Peru who has won 19 matches on clay this season at all levels.

Maria Sakkari (4) vs. Clara Burel – Sakkari has some scar tissue to overcome at this event, as in last year’s semifinals, she was one point away from defeating eventual champion Barbora Krejicikova.  Burel is a 20-year-old from France who is a former junior No.1.

Sascha Zverev (3) vs. Sebastian Ofner (Q) – Zverev has reached the second week of this tournament four consecutive times.  Ofner is a 26-year-old from Austria who prevailed at a Challenger event in Prague last month.


Sunday’s full Order of Play is here.

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ATP and WTA removes rankings points from Wimbledon

Players playing Wimbledon have no ranking points to play for.

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(@FOS - Twitter)

The ATP responded in regards to the ban on Russian and Belorussian players that was made by the tournament.

 

The ATP has officially responded to Wimbledon banning all Russian and Belorussian in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine which has wreaked havoc on the world of sports.

Russian and Belorussian players up to this point have been playing under their name and not their country.

The ATP released a statement in regards to the decision that was made.

The move essentially makes Wimbledon an exhibition event meaning players who decide to play won’t be able to move up in the world rankings and points won’t have to be defended.

Wimbledon made the announcement in April that they would placing the ban as the All England Club stated the possibility of the Russian government using players success as propaganda for the reason behind the move.

The ATP responded by saying the ban violated their agreement and discriminating against players since they compete as individuals. Removing points seemed like the only feasable move to make.

Russian and Belorussian players are allowed to play at the French Open which begins this Sunday in Paris. Danil Medvedev who is currently the 2nd ranked player in the world was asked about the move.

I’m not in ATP taking the decisions, I’m not in Wimbledon taking the decisions. Maybe it’s government pushing them, maybe it’s their decision. There a lot of mistakes behind this. So if I can play I’m going to be happy to play. I love Wimbledon as a tournament.”

He also added that if he couldn’t play there this year he would try to play next year and play good.

The WTA has also followed suit but this time has also penalized some of the warm-up tournaments.

Wimbledon is currently scheduled to start on June 27th and will culminate with the final on Sunday July 10th.

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