Former world No.1 Ash Barty To Play Innagual Icon Series Golf Event - UBITENNIS
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Former world No.1 Ash Barty To Play Innagual Icon Series Golf Event

Is this the start of a new sporting career?

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Ashleigh Barty (AUS) celebrates defeating Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) in the fourth round of the Ladies' Singles on No.1 Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 7 Monday 05/07/2021. Credit: AELTC/Florian Eisele

Just weeks after announcing her shock retirement from tennis Ash Barty is set to return to competitive action this summer but in a different sport.

The three-time Grand Slam champion will be trading in her racket for a golf club to play in the newly created Icon Series event which will be held at the Liberty National Golf Club in New Jersey. Founded by sports executive Thomas Brookes, the event aims to bring global icons together for them to take part in an ‘ultra-competitive team match-play tournament.’ The format features Team USA taking on Team world with Fred Couples and Ernie Els being the captains.

Barty’s inclusion has triggered speculation about what she may do in the future. The 25-year-old is a keen golfer and recently won the Brookwater Golf and Country Club ladies tournament. Her reward was a payment of A$30 (roughly £17) which is nothing compared to her prize money earnings of $23.8M from tennis. She also won a golf event in Brookwater back in 2020.

“I’m excited to be part of the Icons Series and I hope through my participation in the series that we can encourage more women and girls to participate in golf around the world,” Barty told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper. “It’s such a unique opportunity to have fun, test yourself and compete against the world’s greatest athletes in a sport that we are all so passionate about.”

The Australian is the first and so far only female participant in the Icon Series. Although more names will be released in due course by officials. Barty will be joined in team world by Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, the England football captain Harry Kane and boxer Canelo Alvarez.

According to ABC Australia, Barty reportedly has a handicap of four. Her golfer fiancee Garry Kissick is currently a PGA trainee at Brookwater.

It is not the first time Barty has tried her hands at another sport outside of tennis. During her career, she took a break from the sport and during that period she participated in professional women’s cricket in her native Australia. Playing for Brisbane Heat in the Women’s Big Bash League. However, it was only a brief spell with Barty returning to the tennis courts a few months later.

“I have seen some brilliant photoshops as a jockey, lawn bowls,” Barty joked earlier this year following speculation about what she may do beyond tennis.
“I love sport, I’m a sport nut like a lot of Australians are. I’ll be lured to it. I have always been an athlete in the sense of trying different things, but we’ll see how we go.”

On the WTA Tour Barty won 15 titles, including three Grand Slam titles. Her last event was at the Australian Open in January where she became the first home player to win the women’s title since 1978.

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Wrist Injury Threatening To End Holger Rune’s Olympic Dream

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Holger Rune will have a second medical opinion on Monday before deciding if he is fit enough to play at the Olympic Games, according to his team. 

The Danish world No.17 recently retired from his quarter-final match at the Hamburg Open due to a knee injury. The hope at the time was that his withdrawal would be just a precautionary measure ahead of the Olympics. However, he is also dealing with a second issue that appears to be more serious.

According to TV 2 Sport, Rune has been struggling with a wrist issue and underwent a scan on Sunday which his mother Aneke says ‘doesn’t look promising.’ Aneke is also the manager of her son’s career. Rune’s Olympic dreams now rest on the outcome of a second medical expert that he will visit tomorrow who has a better understanding of the sport. 

“Unfortunately, it does not look promising after the first medical opinion after the review of the scan of the wrist,” Aneke Rune told TV 2 Sport.

“We are waiting for two tennis-specific doctors who will give a second opinion tomorrow (Monday). Tennis wrists look different from regular wrists, so we’ll hold out hope for one more day.” 

Rune is one of three Danish players entered into the Olympic tennis event along with Caroline Wozniacki and Clara Tauson. The country has only won one medal in tennis before which was at the 1912 Games when Sofie Castenschiold won silver in the women’s indoor singles event. 

So far this season, the 21-year-old has won 27 matches on the Tour but is yet to claim a title. He reached the final of the Brisbane International and then the semi-finals of three more events. In the Grand Slams, he made it to the fourth round of the French Open and Wimbledon. 

It is not known when a final decision regarding Rune’s participation in Paris will be made.

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Hubert Hurkacz Undergoes ‘Knee Procedure’ Ahead of Olympic Bid

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Poland’s top player on the ATP Tour is not giving up on his dream of winning a medal at the Olympic Games despite recently undergoing a medical procedure.

World No.7 Hubert Hurkacz suffered a knee injury during his second round clash at Wimbledon against France’s Arthur Fils. In the fourth set tiebreak of their clash, Hurkacz dived for a shot but landed badly on his knee and required on-court medical attention. He then played two more points before retiring from the match. 

In a social media post published on Wednesday, the  27-year-old confirmed he underwent a procedure on his knee earlier this week but didn’t provide any further details.  Although Hurkacz has stated his intention to play at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, where the tennis event will be held on the clay at Roland Garros. 

“I had a knee procedure this Monday, but I’m feeling better already and my team and are dedicating extensive time each day to the rehab process.” He wrote on Instagram. 

“It’s a dream for every athlete to represent their country at the Olympics, and I want to make sure I am fully fit and ready before making the final decision to step on court. The aim is not only to participate, but to win a medal for my country.”

So far this season Hurkacz has won 34 out of 48 matches played on the Tour. He won the Estoril Open in April and was runner-up to Jannik Sinner in Halle. 

The Olympic tennis event is scheduled to begin a week Saturday on July 27th. Poland is yet to win a medal in the event but expectations are high with women’s No.1 Iga Swiatek also taking part. 

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Krejcikova Comes Alive With Her Serve To Win 12th Grand Slam Title At Wimbledon

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image via x.com/wimbledon

It must have seemed like the whole world was against her when Barbora Krejcikova served for the match for a third time against crowd favorite Jasmine Paolini.

But Krejcikova was only going for her 12th Grand Slam title. She was well prepared.

So, she released her patented way-out-wide serve to the smallish Paolini’s backhand, and the best the Italian could do was get her racket on the ball enough to return the serve far off the court, long and wide.

ARMS UP FOR A CHAMPION

The weight of the world was gone as Krejcikova threw her arms over her head and calmly walked to the net to greet the Wimbledon runner-up.

Now, Krejcikova was half-way home to a career Grand Slam in singles. She already owns a career Grand Slam in doubles among her dozen Grand Slam titles that also include one mixed doubles Grand Slam title.

She has won the hard ones, the French Open on clay and Wimbledon on grass.

At 28 years old, anything must look possible to this 5-10 Czech.

KREJCIKOVA COMES THROUGH UNDER PRESSURE

Paolini simply was out played in a second straight Grand Slam final, on clay and on grass. Now she faces the real tests, two straight Grand Slam tournaments on hard surfaces that might not be overly friendly to the 5-4 Paolini.

But there it was, a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 victory for Krejcikova on Wimbledon’s famed Center Court.

After what might be called a throw-away second set for Krejcikova, she came alive in the third set, pinning Paolini to the deep corners while nailing low hard-hit balls to both corners.

Krejcikova got off to 40-0 starts on her first four service games of the decisive set and ended all four with service winners to take a 5-3 lead (with the aid of the only service break of the third set). She yielded only one point in those four service games, a double fault at 40-0 that was followed by an ace.

Of course, it was the serve again that saved the day for Krejcikova and gave her set points two and three, then sealed the deal for a spot in Wimbledon history.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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