Tennis’ Interest In Ukraine War Has Fallen, Says World No.1 Iga Swiatek - UBITENNIS
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Tennis’ Interest In Ukraine War Has Fallen, Says World No.1 Iga Swiatek

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Iga Swiatek - Roland Garros 2022 (photo Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Iga Swiatek has vowed to keep raising awareness about the conflict in Ukraine after holding a fundraising event in her native Poland over the weekend.

 

The world No.1 took part in an exhibition event called ‘Iga Świątek and Friends for Ukraine” to support those who have been affected by the conflict. Held at the Tauron Arena in Krakow, she played former Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska in a special one-set match in which she lost 6-4. The two then took part in a doubles match. According to national broadcaster TVP, 420,000 euros in revenue was generated from the event which will be donated to charity.

Swiatek has been a vocal supporter of those affected by the war and spoke about the conflict during her trophy presentation at the French Open. Russia launched what they call ‘a special military’ operation on its Neighbor Ukraine on February 24th. According to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), more than 5000 civilians have been killed and 6000 injured during the conflict.

Tennis has reacted to the war by banning Russian and Belarussian players from playing under the country’s flag. Instead, they have to play as neutral players. Belarus is accused of supporting Russia in the war. The British Lawn tennis Association and Wimbledon were the only organizations to ban those players from their events altogether.

Commenting on tennis’ reaction to the war, Swiatek said there is a growing silence when it comes to speaking about the topic compared to recent months. Citing the wearing of a yellow and blue ribbon in support of Ukraine as an example.

“I have noticed that, in the beginning, the tennis world’s interest in what has been going on in Ukraine was very strong. Many female tennis players donned ribbons in the colors of that country. However, with the passage of time, this changed and ribbons disappeared after a couple of matches,” she said.
“Many players refuse to comment on the topic of war. I respect that because everyone does what they deem appropriate.”

Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina was also present at the event, umpiring the match between Swiatek and Radwanska. The former top 10 player is pregnant with her first child and has also taken time away from the Tour due to events occurring in her home country.

“I feel that very few people and countries understand the horrible war that is happening in Ukraine,” Svitolina told VOA.
“For us these kinds of events are very important where we can speak to people. Join (together) and unite so we can help. Hopefully, we can celebrate the win of Ukraine (in the future).”

Svitolina, who was born in Odessa, is an ambassador for United 24. A fund launched by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as the main venue for collecting charitable donations in support of Ukraine.

Funds raised by Swiatek’s exhibition will be distributed between UNITED 24, UNICEF Poland and the Elina Svitolina Foundation.

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Barbora Krejcikova wins her first title of the season in Tallin

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Barbora Krejcikova clinched the fourth title of her career and her first this season with a 6-2 6-3 win over local favourite Anett Kontaveit after 1 hour and 21 minutes in the first edition of the Tallin Open. 

 

Krejcikova won two Grand Slam titles in the doubles and singles at Roland Garros and two more WTA titles in Strasbourg and Prague. The Czech reached just one singles final in 2022 last January, when she lost to Paula Badosa in Sydney. 

Krejcikova collected her sixth career win over a top 10 player. She stopped Kontaveit’s 24-match winning streak on indoor cross court. 

Krejcikova broke serve in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead. The multiple Grand Slam doubles champion earned her second break point  with a drop shot winner in the eighth game to close out the first set 6-3. 

Kontaveit earned an early break in the first game of the second set. Krejcikova broke straight back on her third opportunity at deuce in the second game. Krejcikova converted her third break point in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. Kontaveit pulled back on serve in the fifth game to draw level to 3-3. Krejcikova hit a forehand winner down the line in the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead and sealed the title after a wide forehand from Kontaveit on the first championship point. 

Krejicikova and her compatriot Katerina Siniakova won three doubles women’s titles at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. Last year they won Madrid, Roland Garros, the Olympic Games and the WTA Finals. 

“Every trophy is special, especially in singles right now, where this year was really tough, so it means a lot. It was a really amazing week, a special week”, said Krejicikova. 

“I am really proud how I was able to bring my best performance for the final. I was expecting that Anett is going to play fast and she would try to put me under pressure from the first point. I was ju trying to play my game, and just trying to eliminate that. I just really wanted to go out there and play my best tennis and try to enjoy the final, because it took me a lot of fight and energy to get there”, said Krejcikova. 

Kontaveit was aiming to win her second title this season following her triumph in St. Petersburg over Maria Sakkari last February. The Estonian player reached two more finals in 2022 at the WTA 1000 in Doha and in Hamburg, but she finished runner-up in both tournaments. 

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Marc Andrea Huesler earns the first title of his career in Sofia

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Marc Andrea Huesler edged past Holger Rune 6-4 7-6 (10-8) after 1 hour and 42 minutes to earn the maiden title of his career at the Sofia Open in his first career final on the ATP tour.

 

Huesler broke Rune in the first game before holding in all five of his service games. Both players continued to dominate on their serve in the second set. He wasted two set points, when he was leading 6-5. Huesler held serve to take the second set to a tie-break. Rune failed to convert two more set points in the tie-break. Huesler earned two mini-breaks to seal the tie-break 10-8. 

Earlier this week Huesler beat Geoffrey Blancaneaux, Kamil Majchrzak and Lorenzo Musetti. He saved two match points against Majchrzak in the quarter finals. 

Huesler has become the first Swiss player to win an ATP Tour  since Roger Federer in Basel in 2019. 

“I played a great match for sure. I am completely taken aback. I am lost for words. It was a great match. I just tried to stay focused, stayed calm and I am just really happy I was able to make it. I would definitely say the conditions here suit me. I already felt that two years ago here suit me. I already felt that two years ago, when I played a good level of tennis,, beating Nikoloz Basilashvili before losing to Jannik Sinner. I am feeling good here .My game is based on my serve a lot and I think that indoor here, I am really happy to put a lot of pressure on the opponent that way, and the way I was volleying this week, I surprised myself as well”, said Huesler. 

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Novak Djokovic wins his third title of the season in Tel Aviv

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Top seed Novak Djokovic beat Marin Cilic 6-3 6-4 with one break in each set to claim the Tel Aviv Watergen Trophy on ind without dropping a set in the whole week. 

 

Djokovic won his third title in 2022 and the 89th of his career becoming the first player to win a title on hard court in Tel Aviv, on clay in Rome and on grass at Wimbledon. Next week he will be aiming to win his fourth ATP title of the season in Nur Sultan. 

“I played some good very tennis. I did not drop a set the entire week. I had not played a tournament in three months, so it was really extra motivation to really do well, especially because people have been so friendly of me throughout the week. I am taking some great confidence into next week”, said Djpkovic. 

The Serbian player did not drop a single set in Tel Aviv beating Pablo Andujar, Vasek Pospisil and Roman Safiulin in the run-up to the final. 

Cilic faced just four break points all week, but Djokovic put the Croatian’s serve under threat and broke serve in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. Djokovic did not face a break point and he found under pressure at deuce, while he was serving for the set, but he held serve with back-to-back aces to close out the first set 6-3.

Djokovic broke for the second.time in the match in the first game of the second set with a deep return. The former world number 1 player held on his next service games to seal the second set 6-4. Djokovic faced just break point in the final. 

Djokovic has extended his lead to 19-2 in his 21 head-to-head matches against Cilic, who celebrated his birthday on 28 SSeptember. 

“It was a fantastic week for me, celebrating my 34th birthday. I did not have a chance to celebrate with so many people around, but next time I am buying drinks for everybody”, said Cilic. 

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