China’s Zheng Qinwen Distances Herself From Peng Shuai Debate After Opening Win In Stuttgart - UBITENNIS
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China’s Zheng Qinwen Distances Herself From Peng Shuai Debate After Opening Win In Stuttgart



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Zheng Qinwen says she has never spoken to Peng Shuai and is focused only on her tennis after being quizzed about the former tennis player following her first round win at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. 

The 20-year-old was reluctant to get involved in the ongoing case surrounding Shuai who some fear is being censored by authorities after accusing a former government official of sexual assault. Since then, the former world No.1 doubles player has made limited public appearances with the majority of them being through state-controlled media. Her social media account on Weibo and search results for her name were also removed from the internet by authorities. After the allegation, Shuai told L’Equipe that an ‘enormous misunderstanding’ occurred during an interview where she was also accompanied by Wang Kan who is a member of the Chinese Olympic Committee. Although some, including the WTA, continue to have concerns. 

“I don’t know how she is. I never talked to her in my life,” 20-year-old Qiwen said when asked about her compatriot on Monday. “I’m just a beginner in the WTA still. I’m just trying to focus on my tennis and enjoy playing in front of my people.’
“I think she’s pretty well in China. Just having a normal life. But honestly, I don’t know how she is. I just focus more on myself,” she added. 

Qiwen says she has not spoken with anybody else on the Tour about the case and ‘just stays close to her team.’ The WTA had suspended their relationship with China after calling for an investigation into the matter. Steve Simon, who is the head of the organization, previously said that he had ‘serious doubts’ that Peng was free from the control of authorities in her country. 

However, this suspension came to an end earlier this month with the WTA admitting that they will unlikely reach an agreement with China over the matter. In a statement, they said ‘Peng can not be forgotten through this process.’ However, China Sports analyst Mark Dreyer points out that the WTA’s official press release to Chinese media didn’t mention Peng Shuai in any capacity. 

Despite the controversy, Qiwen is relishing the prospect of being able to play tennis in her home country once again. 

“I’m so happy the tournaments in China will be back because I’m really excited to play in front of my people. I really miss China because this has been a long time. I never have time to go back there.” She said.
“I will have more time to go back to my hometown and meet all my family and to show my tennis over there. I was really happy to hear about it.”

Zhang defeated Alycia Parks 6-4, 6-4, in her opening match in Stuttgart. She will next play top seed Iga Swiatek who beat her twice last year in three sets.

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Emma Raducanu Confident Of Full Fitness Ahead Of Grass Swing



Emma Raducanu - Cincinnati 2022 (foto Twitter @cincytennis)

Emma Raducanu has no regrets about her decision to skip the French Open and now believes she is in a ‘really fit place’ ahead of Wimbledon. 

The former US Open champion opted to end her clay season earlier than other players to focus on fitness and training with her coach. Raducanu stated earlier this year that her primary focus in 2024 is on her health after undergoing a series of wrist and ankle surgeries last year which sidelined her for months. 

Raducanu will return to action this week at the Nottingham Open, which is the event where she made her WTA main draw debut back in 2021. Despite her lack of match play in recent weeks, the Brit is feeling good and relishing her return to the grass.

“Body-wise, physical-wise, I feel really healthy,” she said on Monday.
“I’ve done amazing work with my trainer over the last few months, since surgery. I’m in a really fit place. I’m healthy and just looking forward to starting playing.”

Shedding more light on her health, Raducanu says she has full confidence in her wrists and believes they are in top condition. Making her feel more at ease when playing matches on the Tour. 

“I think my wrists are actually in a better position than they ever were. So there’s zero doubt or apprehension whether I’m hitting the ball or designing my schedule,” she explained.
“It’s more about being proactive and not wanting to put yourself in any unnecessary situations. I don’t need to rush and try to win the French Open, it wasn’t my goal this year.
“I had to prioritise where I wanted to target and it was just a good block for me to get some physical work done.”

Raducanu has played seven WTA events so far this season with her best run being to the quarter-finals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, where she was beaten by world No.1 Iga Swiatek. The 21-year-old is currently ranked 209th in the world. 

At the Nottingham Open, she will play her first match on Tuesday against Japanese qualifier Ena Shibahara. 

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Russian World No.78 Elina Avanesyan To Switch Nationalities



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A week after losing her fourth round match at the French Open, a government minister has confirmed that Elina Avanesyan is in the process of changing the nationality of who she plays for. 

The 21-year-old is switching her aligence from Russia to Armenia, according to Armenia’s deputy Minister of International Affairs and communication. Karen Giloyan has told the news agency Armenpress that Avanesyan will soon be representing his country. However, the tennis player has yet to comment on the matter.  Avanesyan was born in Russia but has Armenian parents.

“Elina Avanesyan will compete under the Armenian flag, but there is nothing official yet. We are waiting for her to get the citizenship of the Republic of Armenia so that everything will be official,” Giloyan told Armenpress.

Such a development would be a massive coup for the Armenian tennis federation which currently doesn’t have a player ranked inside the top 500 on either the men’s or women’s Tour. The country has a population of less than 3M. Perhaps their best-known player is Sargis Sargsian who reached the top 40 back in 2004. Others on the Tour also have Armenian heritage but don’t represent the country such as Karen Khachanov.  

Avanesyan is currently ranked 78th in the world, which is 18 places below her career high. This season, she has scored high-profile wins over Maria Sakkari at the Australian Open, Ons Jabeur in Charleston and Qinwen Zhang at the French Open. 

She has yet to play in the final of a WTA tournament.

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Iga Looks To Be In A league All to Herself At Paris

Iga Swiatek claimed her fourth Roland Garros title in Paris.



(@Eurosport - Twitter)

Just call her Iga. No other identification is needed.

As the years go by, Iga’s notoriety is sure to grow.

She’s probably already earned a spot in tennis’ Hall of Fame.

Yes, Iga Swiatek is a name to remember. A hero in her native Poland, a superstar in the world of sports.


Iga just added to her stardom Saturday with an impressive 6-2, 6-1 victory over little-known Italian Jasmine Paolini to win her third straight French Open title. This was Paolini’s chance to make a name for herself, but she didn’t have the game to make it happen.

Iga was just too good. She made it look too easy.

Paolini could hit some great ground strokes, but when she looked up a bigger shot was on its way back. Iga doesn’t look like a power hitter, but she is.


The 23-year-old Polish Wonder finished the first set winning five straight games, then started the second set winning five more games in succession. The 28-year-old Paolini didn’t seem to have a clue on how to upend Swiatek.

It took just 78 minutes for Iga to win her fifth Grand Slam title.

She’s a lot like her French Open hero, Rafa Nadal.

She takes every match seriously.


No wonder Iga owns a 35-2 record at Roland Garos. Or that she has won 21 straight matches. Or that she owns a 5-0 record in Grand Slam finals.

She only dominated opponents, except for Naomi Osaka in the second round. Swiatek escaped a match point in that one and didn’t look back.

Iga’s game should be just as superb on the green grass of upcoming Wimbledon.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at

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