Tennis Great Chris Evert Says Player Mental Health Must Be Addressed After Series Of Incidents - UBITENNIS
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Tennis Great Chris Evert Says Player Mental Health Must Be Addressed After Series Of Incidents

Evert, who won a outstanding 154 singles titles during her career, says she is ‘worried’ by recent events.



Chris Evert at Wimbledon 2017 (photo Art Seitz)

18-time Grand Slam champion Chris Evert says recent incidents of players losing their cool on the court has elevated her concerns about their welfare in the sport.

The former world No.1 called for more action to be taken by tennis’ governing bodies after claiming officials are receiving more abuse than any other sport. This season has already been marred by various incidents with the most notable of them involving Germany’s Alexander Zverev. Zverev was disqualified from the Mexican Open after repeatedly swearing and hitting the umpire’s chair with his racket, narrowly missing his foot. He was later fined and placed on a year-long probation period.

Last month Nick Kyrgios was docked a total of $60,000 for violating the rules at tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami. The offences he committed included unsportsmanlike conduct, swearing, verbal abuse and nearly hitting a ball boy after smashing his racket on the ground following his loss to Rafael Nadal. Another player, Jenson Brooksby, was also fined $15,000 after throwing his racket which almost hit a boy.

On the women’s Tour the most notable incident involved Victoria Azarenka in Miami where the two-time Australian Open champion abruptly retired from her match against Linda Fruhvirtova whilst down 2-6, 0-3. She later issued a statement saying she ‘shouldn’t have gone on the court’ due to recent issues in her personal life.

Speaking about the series of incidents on the Tour during an interview with Eurosport, 67-year-old Evert says one of the explanations could be linked to the toll the sport is taking on the players mentally. She says there should be more discussions surrounding mental health.

“I don’t know any other sport where the athlete abuses the official as much as tennis,” said Everet. “I worry about the behaviour of players and I even worry about breaking down emotionally on the court and walking off in the middle of a match and I worry about the emotional and mental relapses or breakdowns that these players are having.
“I worry about the players. I’m not making any judgments on the players, but it’s an area of concern: why are players losing control and breaking racquets and putting others in harm’s way?
“Why are they breaking down on the court emotionally? It’s something that needs to be addressed. It’s something that needs to be talked about. Tennis is a sport and it’s not life. I mean even since I’ve had some health issues, I realize it’s a sport. It should be viewed with a different perspective.”

Earlier this week it was confirmed that the ATP intends to crack down on player misbehaviour by ordering officials to take a ‘stricter stance’ when it comes to enforcing penalties on those who break the rules. Andrea Gaudenzi, who is CEO of the ATP, has also ordered a review into the code of conduct. Although there was no mention of addressing anything related to player mental health.

Evert has welcomed a growing trend in players on the WTA Tour collaborating with sports psychologists. One of the most notable being that of world No.1 Iga Swiatek who says a big part of her development has been linked to her work with Psychologist Daria Abramowicz. Another example is Naomi Osaka who recently revealed that she is seeing a therapist. The former world No.1 confirmed in 2021 that she suffers from depression and social anxiety.

“I noticed that now a lot of the women tennis players have sports psychologists. And have therapists and that’s a growing occurrence and I think it’s great because they’re addressing their issues and it’s not easy. It’s not easy living the life of a top player,” she said.
“There are a lot of pressures that people have no idea that you face. Your identity starts to melt in with winning or losing. You’re either a winner that day or you’re a loser that day to the whole world.
“And that has consequences on you emotionally and mentally. We as players and former players understand that better than the public understands that.
“So there’s something emotional going on in the tennis world that needs to be addressed.”

In recent years, both the ATP and WTA Tour’s have set up programmes designed to support players’ mental health.

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World No.634 Laura Samson Reaches First WTA Quarter-Final At 16



Laura Samon - image via photo credi: Manuel Queimadelos

Laura Samson has become the first player born in 2008 to reach the quarter-finals of a WTA event after producing a surprise win on Tuesday. 

The 16-year-old wildcard stunned second seed Katerina Siniakova 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, in the second round at the Prague Open. Her triumph occurred a day after she dropped just two games against Tara Wurth in her opening match. This week is Samson’s Tour debut after playing 10 events on the lower-level ITF circuit. 

“I’m extremely surprised,” she said during her on-court interview after beating Siniakova. “I didn’t go into it as favorite. I’m so proud of myself and I hope I will continue to play like this. As I was going into the second set I thought, ‘I have nothing to lose, I didn’t play good in the first set.’ I’m not really sure when [I thought I could win], I just believed myself in the third set.” 

Samson is the latest Czech player to break through following a sucessful junior career. Last year she won the Wimbledon girls’ doubles title and was runner-up in the French Open singles tournament in June. She is currently No.3 in the ITF junior rankings but has been ranked as high as No.1. 

Earlier this year, Samson decided to change her name on the Tour by dropping the last three letters (ova). The reason why she did so was to avoid getting confused with another player. 

“I first noticed it last year, there was a problem that I was getting strings (the) of Lyudmila Samsonova,” she told

“I also talked about it with her and, for example, according to the schedule, she also sometimes thought she was playing, but it was me,” 

“I would have liked the ending -ová, but unfortunately it turned out like this.”

The teenager will next take on world No.248 Oksana Selekhmeteva with the winner of that match progressing to their first WTA semi-final.  21-year-old Selekhmeteva is a former top 10 junior player who came through two rounds of qualifying to reach the main draw. She is a two-time junior Grand Slam champion in doubles. 

There are five seeds remaining in the tournament, including top seed Linda Nosková who will play Germany’s Ella Seidel in her next match. 

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Alex De Minaur Overcomes Injury To Fulfil Olympic Dream



ASlex de Minaur - Roland Garros 2022 (foto Roberto dell'Olivo)

Alex de Minaur says it is a ‘dream come true’ for him to represent Australia in the Olympic Games after missing the event three years ago.

The world No.6 had been in a race against time to be fit for the Olympic tennis event after suffering an agonising injury setback at Wimbledon earlier this month. At the All England Club de Minaur reached the quarter-final stage for the first time and was set to take on Novak Djokovic. However, he was forced to withdraw from the match after tearing the fibre cartilage in his hip region after suffering a ‘freak’ injury. At the time of the announcement, it was estimated that he would be sidelined from the Tour for three to six weeks. 

However, the 25-year-old appears to have recovered fairly quickly in time for Paris with the tennis tournament starting on Saturday. It will be de Minaur’s debut in the Olympics after he was forced to pull out of the Tokyo Games due to a positive COVID-19 test. 

“To finally be able to represent Australia in the Olympics is a dream come true,” he wrote on Instagram on Tuesday morning.

“I’m very passionate when I play for my country and wear the green and gold, so this is another one of those moments. 

“I’m extremely excited to lace up for Paris 2024.”

De Minaur is bidding to become the first male player from his country to win an Olympic medal in the singles event. He has already won two ATP titles this year in Alcapulco and s-Hertogenbosch. Since the start of January, he has won five out of 11 meetings against top 10 players. 

“It’s really great news – we’re actually expecting Alex to arrive in the village ahead of the official draw (on Thursday) and we know he’s been working with his rehab team quite extensively since the conclusion of Wimbledon,” Australian chef de mission Anna Meares told the Australian Associated Press (AAP).

“He’s hungry to be here, he wants to be a part of this team and we will offer as much support as we can in that process.

“He’s coming – we will wait to see that process. He still has time … injury can be a really stressful thing for an athlete and the more you rush it, the more problems you can potentially cause.

“We’re leaving it in the hands of Alex and his rehabilitation team … it will be a decision purely by them.” 

De Minaur is one of five Australian men playing in the Paris Olympics. The others are Alexei Popyrin, Matthew Ebden, John Peers and Rinky Hijikata. 

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Wrist Injury Threatening To End Holger Rune’s Olympic Dream



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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