Age Is Just A Number: Venus Williams Eyes Return To Tour In 2023   - UBITENNIS
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Age Is Just A Number: Venus Williams Eyes Return To Tour In 2023  

20 years after becomning world No.1, the American still has motivation to continue playing. 

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Venus Williams (USA) playing against Mihaela Buzarnescu (ROU) in the first round of the Ladies' Singles on No.3 Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 2 Tuesday 29/06/2021. Credit: AELTC/Simon Bruty

Venus Williams isn’t giving up tennis just yet after stating that she hopes to resume her career in the new year. 

 

The 42-year-old is currently the oldest player in the world to have a WTA singles ranking and is one of over two to be aged over 40. The other is Japanese world No.752 Junri Namigata who turned 40 earlier this year. 

Despite her age, Williams confirmed that she is continuing to work on improving aspects of her game. This season she has only played four singles matches on the Tour across North America, losing all of them. In the doubles, the American also played at the US Open with sister Serena but they lost their opening match.

“A lot of people have been asking me if I am going to play again. I love tennis and I would like to play again. I don’t know exactly when but I have been hitting the court a lot,” Williams said in her video blog.
“I hit the court right after that doubles match we played at the US Open. I immediately booked a court the next day. Every single practice in New York I have been hitting indoors and I have been hitting ever since. That’s been a lot of fun.”

In recent months the seven-time Grand Slam champion has been troubled by a leg injury which sidelined her from action for a long period. She also suffers from Sjögren’s syndrome which is an autoimmune disorder that she was first diagnosed with in 2004. 

“I’ve been working on a lot of things. Mainly my forehand, probably one of the most important shots in tennis. My serve, the most important shot in tennis is your serve,” she continued. 
“I’ve been working on slicing. I slice like once per year in a match and I played a point yesterday and I sliced four times during that point which was a world record for me.’
“Volleying too and that has been a lot of fun. Been throwing in a couple of serves and volleys.”

Away from the court, Williams has also been working hard at the gym to improve one specific area of her physicality. 

“I have been working on a lot of leg strength. Genetically I have no quads and if I can order them on Amazon I would,” she joked.
“I have put a lot of work into that and lifting in the gym.”

So far in her career, Williams has won 49 Tour titles and earned more than $42.4M in prize money. She held the No.1 ranking for 11 weeks during three separate periods in 2002. Her other accolades include being a four-time Olympic gold medalist and 16-time Grand Slam champion in doubles. 

Williams, who hasn’t won a match since Wimbledon 2021, is currently ranked 1017th in the world. 

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Luca Nardi beats Flavio Cobolli but it’s not enough to advance to the semifinals at the Next Gen Finals

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World number 115 Luca Nardi overcame Flavio Cobolli in an Italian match 3-4 (4-7) 4-2 4-3 (7-1) 1-4 4-3 (7-3) in 2 hours and 14 minutes in the final round robin match of Green Group at the Next Gen Finals at King Abdullah Sports Club in Jeddah. 

 

The win was not enough to earn a semifinal spot for Nardi. Arthur Fils is the first player to qualify for the knock-out stage. The top seeded Frenchman will face Dominic Stricker later today. Stricker needs to win just one set to reach the semifinals. 

Both players went on serve in the first set en route to the tie-break. Cobolli earned two mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-4. 

Nardi saved two break points in the third game of the second set to take a 2-1 lead. The world number 115 broke serve in the sixth game to close out the second set 4-2. 

Cobolli converted his second break point in the first game of the third set. Nardi pulled back on serve in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Nardi opened up a 3-0 lead with two mini-breaks. Cobolli pulled one of the two mini-breaks back for 1-3. Nardi won the final four points with two mini-breaks to claim the tie-break 7-1. 

Nardi clutched his groin when he was serving at 0-1 in the fourth set and called a medical time-out at 0-3. Cobolli earned a break in the second game to close out the fourth set 4-1. 

Cobolli saved two break points to hold serve in the second game. Nardi fended off two break points in the fifth game. Both players held on serve en route to the tie-break. Nardi earned his first mini-break with a backhand flick from out wide to take a 2-1 lead. Cobolli pulled the mini-break back to draw level to 2-2. Nardi closed out the match with a return down the line winner.   

Nardi hit 27 winners to 12 unforced errors. 

“I am happy with the win. Even if I did not qualify, I think today was the best match I played out of the three. I am a bit sad I did not qualify, but I did not want to leave Jeddah without a win. I kept fighting today and I am happy”, said Nardi. 

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Hamad Medjedovic moves to 2-0 in Red Group at the Next Gen Finals in Jeddah

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Hamad Medjedovic edged past Luca Van Assche 4-2 2-4 4-3 (9-7) 4-1 to move to 2-0 In Red Group at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah one day after winning a marathon five-set match against Alex Michelsen. 

 

Medjedovic broke serve in the third game of the opening set to take a 2-1 lead. He held serve and saved two break points in the sixth game to close out the first set 4-2. 

Van Assche saved three break points at 2-2 before breaking serve in the sixth game  with a running forehand pass to seal the second set 4-2. 

Medjedovic earned a break point in the first game of the third set, when Van Assche made a double fault. Van Assche saved them to hold on his serve. Both players held on serve en route to a tie-break. Van Assche raced out to a 5-1 lead. Medjedovic won three consecutive points to claw his way back to 4-5. Van Assche earned three set points at 6-4, 6-5 and 7-6, but Medjedovic won the final three points to win the tie-break 9-7. 

Medjedovic left the court for nine minutes for a bathroom break. 

Medjedovic broke serve in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. When he was serving out the match, he saved three break points as he closed out the win with two unreturned serves. 

“For sure the tie-break changed a lot of things in this match. He had three set points. I stayed focused on the important points. I was consistent, hitting the ball hard, and I am glad that I won the tie-break”, said Medjedovic. 

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Abdullah Shelbayh upsets Alex Michelsen to win his first win at the Next Gen Finals in Jeddah

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Jordan’s wild card Abdullah Shelbayh beat world number 97 Alex Michelsen 4-2 1-4 4-0 4-0 to clinch his fourth top 100 win. Shelbayh moves to 1-1 in Red Group. 

 

Shelbayh hit 26 winners, including seven aces. The Asian player will face Serbia’s Hamad Medjedovic in his third round robin match. 

Shelbayh earned the first break in the third game of the opening set to take a 2-1 lead. The wild card held his next two service games at 30 to close out the first set 4-2. 

Michelsen, who reached the ATP 250 final in Newport last summer, broke in the second game of the second set to take a 2-0 lead, when Shelbayh made a backhand error. 

Michelsen earned a break point in the first game of the third set, but Shelbayh saved it with an ace. The Jordanan player held serve before breaking serve to close out the third set 4-0. Shelbayh won four consecutive games with two breaks of serve to win the fourth set 4-0. 

“Having the opportunity to play here now to finish here, I could not ask for a better end to the year. I appreciate all the support throughout the week that I have been receiving already, throughout the year and from the Arab world especially. It makes me happy to represent my country. There is some pressure but you feel like it’s good pressure to have on you shoulders when you are representing your country and the region you come from”,said Shelbayh. 

Shelbayh improved his ATP ranking from world 470 to 185. His tennis idol is Rafael Nadal. Shelbayh has trained at the Rafa Nadal for more than five years. Toni Nadal flew to Jordan when Shelbayh was 13 years old to recruit him to train at the Rafa Nadal Academy. He became the first Jordanan player to win a main-draw ATP Tour match last April against Elias Ymer in Banja Luka. 

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