Is the Monte Carlo Masters sending out inconsistent COVID-19 message with Novak Djokovic participation? - UBITENNIS
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Is the Monte Carlo Masters sending out inconsistent COVID-19 message with Novak Djokovic participation?

Novak Djokovic returns to the tour in Monte-Carlo after not being able to play due to his vaccination status.



(Novak Djokovic - @RolandGarros - Twitter)

The third Masters event of the year began on Sunday in Monte Carlo and Novak Djokovic has been allowed to play, albeit unvaccinated against COVID-19.

This makes the Serb the only player in the men’s top 100 of the ATP Tour to opt against the vaccine.

Tournaments such as the Australian Open, Indian Wells in California and the Miami Masters, have all barred the Serb from playing, in line with strict Australian and American COVID-19 vaccine requirements for travelling visitors.

Now the Monte Carlo Masters is only the second tournament, after the Dubai Open, to break rank on what is encouraged by the ATP and government figures, as well as the World Health Organisation (WHO), to be the adopted protocol.

This adds fuel to the argument that rich havens such as Monte Carlo and Dubai care more for profits and revenue, than public health.

Of course, Djokovic falls into the category of being a Monte Carlo resident. However, this is not enough to justify allowing athletes to compete at a premier sporting event unvaccinated in a global pandemic.

Considering the sacrifices normal people, the public in virtually all western time zones have had to make, allowing Djokovic to play is a low blow to fans who have lost loved ones or been extremely ill during the two-years in a COVID world.

Not only is the public health message that Monte Carlo is sending out inconsistent with a host of other ATP tournaments and countries, it also has practical issues.

Being unvaccinated, has been shown by various studies (including: Imperial College London) and health data, to make those three times more likely of catching the virus. (Source: Gov.UK)

This means that fans and other athletes around those unvaccinated, such as Djokovic, are at increased risk of Coronavirus being transmitted onto them.

Considering, some fans and players could be high-risk and have underlying health issues, such as diabetes, asthma, immune deficiency or cancer, anything that supresses their overall immunity.

The newest strain of COVID, Omicron, often keeps those that test positive, bed ridden for days with a fatigue, headaches, and muscle aches, in a more virulent version of the flu.

This would suggest that the Monte Carlo Masters have not taken public health warnings or Coronavirus seriously, particularly without having a mandate to be vaccinated to play at the event, and for watching spectators.

Neither would it be right for spectators to have to be vaccinated but not the players, as is the case with the Premier League and English Football League (EFL) in the United Kingdom. (UK)

The world number one is preparing to face Spaniard, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the round of 32, having received a bye from the previous round, along with the other top eight seeds.

Considering past patterns in regards to Djokovic’s behaviour and attitudes towards Coronavirus, the spotlight will be on him this week.

Other premier European tournaments such as the Madrid Masters, Italian Open, French Open and Wimbledon have all spoken previously about the need to be vaccinated.

With current UK and other countries experiencing high rates, this is still expected to be the case.

ATP Tour officials have not come under scrutiny for allowing Djokovic to continue to participate unvaccinated in a global pandemic, but perhaps its high time those questions begin to be asked.

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



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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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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Emma Raducanu Among Trio of Grand Slam Winners Handed Miami Open Wild Cards



Emma Raducanu - Cincinnati 2022 (foto Twitter @cincytennis)

Emma Raducanu has avoided the possibility of having to go through qualifying at the Miami Open after being awarded a wild card for the event on Thursday. 

The 2021 US Open champion is among four players to have received passes into the main draw of the prestigious event, which is classed as a WTA 1000 for the women and as a Masters 1000 for the men. It will be the third straight year that Raducanu has played in Miami but she is yet to win a match there. In 2022 she lost her opening match to Katerina Siniakova before getting beaten by Bianca Andreescu 12 months later. 

Raducanu has won two out of five Tour-level matches played so far this year. Recently her agent, Max Eisenbud, hit back at those who have criticised the tennis star’s results since winning the US Open. Raducanu also missed a chunk of last season due to injury after undergoing wrist and ankle surgery. 

“The girl did everything backward. She skipped every step. She won the US Open, she went to the next tournament, she didn’t even know where the player lounge was, she didn’t know where the practice courts were,” Eisenbud told the Served With Andy Roddick podcast.
“I don’t think just being tough on her or critical on her like any other player [is wrong]. But she is still figuring it out. I just think that people should not be malicious.”

Other players to have received wild cards into Miami include Venus Williams, who is a three-time champion at the event but hasn’t won the title since 2001. The 43-year-old hasn’t played on the Tour since August and is currently ranked outside the world’s top 400. 

Carolina Wozniacki completes the line-up of former Grand Slam winners being given wild cards. The Dane was a Miami finalist back in 2017 and has made 12 appearances at the tournament. Earlier this week, she suffered a 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, loss to Anna Blinkova in the first round of the San Diego Open. 

As for the men’s tournament, the only confirmed wild card recipient is Kei Nishikori who will be making his first competitive start since July 2023. Recently the injury-stricken Japanese player added Thomas Johansson to his team. 

The Miami Open will get underway on March 17th.

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