‘Negotiations’ Underway With Novak Djokovic Over Participation In Moscow Event, Claims Russian Official - UBITENNIS
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‘Negotiations’ Underway With Novak Djokovic Over Participation In Moscow Event, Claims Russian Official

A state-owned media outlet says officials are reaching out to the tennis stay in hope that he might play in Moscow later this year.



Novak Djokovic at the 2021 Rolex Paris Masters (Credit: Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Whilst the ATP has suspended all of their tournaments taking place in Russia, it is reported the plans are underway to try and persuade Novak Djokovic to participate in another event in the country.


Russia has been suspended from hosting professional events following their military attack on Ukraine, which began on February 24th. Players from the country must compete as a neutral athlete and their federations have been banned from team events on the Tour. The same penalties have been applied to Belarusian players over their country’s support of the war.

However, Moscow has outlined plans to stage their own invite-only competition later this year which will be independent. Meaning that no ranking points will be on offer and it will not be endorsed by any of the seven main governing bodies of the sport.

Vladimir Kamelzon is a board member of the Russian Tennis Federation and has the status of an ‘honored coach’ in his home country. During an interview with state-owned RIA Novosti on Monday, Kamelzon claimed that the federation is currently in some form of ‘negotiations’ with Djokovic concerning the possibility of him playing in the upcoming event. Details of the tournament are still limited with an official date still to be confirmed.

The Tennis Federations of Russia and Moscow are developing programs for the development of our sport for the near future. In particular, we are currently working on the Moscow Open Championship. We may call it the Mayor’s Cup, we have not decided yet,” he said.
“We will invite players from Belarus, China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkey, other countries. We are negotiating with Novak Djokovic.”

When asked about Djokovic’s reported invite, Kamelzon said he wants the 20-time Grand Slam champion to attend ‘not as an honored guest, but as a player.” Adding that the tournament will be held during the summer.

Shamil Tarpischev, who is president of the Russian Tennis Federation, was coy when he was asked about the alleged invitation sent to Djokovic. Should this happen, it is very likely the tennis star will face criticism from some, especially Ukrainian players, if he plays.

“It is too early to talk about this tournament, about the timing. We are now changing our entire calendar, making our own system of competitions. It is too early to talk about any invitations. We will indeed invite many, but now is not the time to talk about Djokovic or anyone else, you need to first talk with the tennis players themselves. Djokovic’s participation will depend on his desire and the coincidence of our and his calendars. What you want cannot be passed off as real, you need to work, Tarpischev told sport-express.ru.

Djokovic has recently described Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from playing as ‘crazy.’ Joining the likes of Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray who have also condemned the decision. The world No.1 reiterated his position whilst speaking to the Madrid in Madrid on Sunday.

“I still stand by my position that I don’t support the (Wimbledon) decision. I think it’s just not fair, it’s not right, but it is what it is.” Said Djokovic.

Djokovic is yet to comment on the claim made by Kamelzon.

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Carlos Alcaraz beats Yannick Hanfmann on his debut at the China Open



This year’s Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz beat Yannick Hanfmann 6-4 6-3 in 1 hour and 37 minutes on his debut at the China Open in Beijing three weeks after reaching the semifinal at the US Open. 


Alcaraz has improved his win-loss record to 59-7, leading the ATP Tour. The Spanish player leads the ATP Tour with 8 titles and 5 finals. 

Hanfmann saved eight of the eleven break points and broke twice in the first set. 

Alcaraz earned an early break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead, but Hanfmann broke straight back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Alcaraz converted his fourth break point in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Hanfmann pulled back on serve in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Alcaraz earned his third break with a forehand at 4-4 to seal the first set. 

Alcaraz broke twice in the third and ninth games to close out the second set 6-3. The two-time Grand Slam champion did not face a break point in the second set. 

Alcaraz converted five of the sixteen break points he faced. 

Alcaraz set up a second round match against Lorenzo Musetti, who beat Karen Khachanov 6-3 1-6 6-2. Khachanov won at the Zhuhai Open last week beating Yoshihito Nishioka  in the final. 

“Hopefully I have a lot of years to come here to China. Creating my chapter here in China would be great for me. To finally be able to come here to China and show my tennis in front of the Chinese people is something that I wanted a long time ago and I am really happy to do it, hopefully the first of many here”, said Alcaraz. 

Musetti converted his second break point in the second game to take a 3-0 lead. Khachanov broke back in the fifth game to draw level to 3-3. Musetti broke for the second time in the eighth game to seal the first set 6-3. 

Khachanov broke twice in the second and sixth games to close out the second set 6-1. 

Musetti broke Khachanov twice in the sixth and eighth games to seal the third set 6-2. 

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Jessica Pegula and Maria Sakkari advance to the semifinal in Tokyo



Number 2 seed Jessica Pegula cruised past Daria Kasatkina 6-1 6-0 in just 59 minutes at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo to reach her seventh semifinal of the 2023 season.


Kasatkina earned an early break in the opening game of the match, but Pegula reeled off 12 consecutive games. The US player hit 25 winners and broke six times. She saved three break points as she served out the first set. Kasatkina was not able to convert eight game points across her first two service games. 

Pegula has scored her second win in as many matches against Kasatkina after beating her Russian opponent 7-5 6-3 in the first round in Rome 2021. 

Pegula has improved to 10-9 against top 20 rivals in 2023. 

Pegula set up a semifinal match against Maria Sakkari, who beat Caroline Garcia 6-2 6-2 in the quarter final. Sakkari claimed her second win in a week over her French rival equalling her career-best streak of seven consecutive match wins. Last week Sakkari beat Garcia 6-3 6-0 in the semifinal of the Guadalajara Open.  

Sakkari hit 15 winners to eight unforced errors and saved all six break points. 

The US player will meet her Greek rival for the ninth time in her career and for the third time this season. Sakkari leads 5-3 in her head-to-head matches against Pegula. They are 1-1 in their 2023 clashes. Pegula took the win 6-2 4-6 6-1 in the semifinal in Doha, but Sakkari turned the tables by winning the Washington semifinal 6-3 4-6 6-2. 

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Asian Games Champion Qinwen Zheng Reveals Shock Departure Of Coach Fissette



Image via https://twitter.com/WTA_insider

China’s Qinwen Zheng says she feels ‘hurt’ by the decision of her former coach to end their collaboration in order to work with another player. 


The US Open quarter-finalist had been working with Belgium’s Wim Fissette in recent weeks following the departure of Pere Riba who is now the coach of Coco Gauff. Fissette has a wealth of experience in women’s tennis after working with the likes of Kim Clijsters and Naomi Osaka. However, Zheng says she is now looking for a new mentor.

“I understand his decision, but my family and I feel hurt. Right now I don’t want to talk about this person (Fissette),’ journalist Bendou Zhang quoted her as saying. 

Fissette is yet to comment on his departure. He had previously coached former world No.1 Osaka between 2019-2022 and during this period she won two of her four Grand Slam titles. The American-based Japanese player is on maternity leave from the sport and gave birth to her first child in July.

20-year-old Zheng is currently ranked 23rd in the world and won her maiden WTA title in Palermo earlier this year. She is the youngest player from her country to have reached the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam in the Open Era following her run at Flushing Medows. This year she has beaten top 10 players Ons Jabeur and Daria Kasatkina. 

Zheng’s latest career milestone is winning gold at the Asian Games on Friday. in the final, she defeated Zhu Lin 6-2, 6-4, in the blistering Hangzhou heat.

“The feeling was incredible,” Zheng said. “I’m really happy about that. That was not an easy match today and also yesterday (in semifinal against Alex Eala). All of them are good fighters.”

It is not clear who Zheng will be working with during the Asian swing. 

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