Daniela Hantuchova Blasts Complaints From 'Spoiled' WTA Players Over Tour Conditions - UBITENNIS
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Daniela Hantuchova Blasts Complaints From ‘Spoiled’ WTA Players Over Tour Conditions

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Image via https://twitter.com/WTA/

Daniela Hantuchova says those on the women’s Tour who complain about conditions such as prize money come across as ‘spoiled’ in her eyes. 

The former world No.5 has hit out at players speaking about such matters on the Livesport Daily podcast. Equal prize money is available at every Grand Slam tournament but there are still some stark differences at other events. For example, at this year’s Italian Open, the men’s champion (Daniil Medvedev) won €1,105,265 compared to €521,754 for the women’s winner (Elena Rybakina). At the Citi Open in Washington, Dan Evans won $353,455 for claiming the title compared to $120,150 which was won by Coco Gauff. 

The reason for such differences at certain events is due to the men’s and women’s Tour’s being run by separate bodies with their own financial commitments, as well as structures. Furthermore, there are differences in points allocations between both Tour’s at combined events. 

Whilst it is understandable to see why some players on the women’s tour may not be happy about getting paid less than their male counterparts at the same event, Hantuchova is unimpressed by such complaints. 

 “I find it a little bit like being spoiled,” she said. “Especially on the women’s circuit, where the prize money is what it is, and the girls are definitely not working from four in the morning in the mine. It’s tough, but we never allowed ourselves to criticise because we knew the cheques we were getting were because of the tournament.”

Hantuchova won seven titles during her career with two of those being at the Premier mandatory event in Indian Wells (2002 and 2007). Her best Grand Slam run was to the semi-finals of the 2008 Australian Open. She was also an accomplished doubles player, winning four major titles in the mixed doubles and reaching the world’s top five in the rankings. 

The 40-year-old is more sympathetic towards those on the Tour when it comes to travelling. Tennis has one of the most packed schedules in the world of sport with events starting in January and ending in November. Then during the offseason, many chose to take part in exhibition events, as well as conduct their annual training sessions for the new season. 

“In terms of travel and the destinations in which WTA tournaments are played, I agree with the players on the contrary,” she said. 
“From that point of view, tennis is the most demanding sport there is. For me personally, that was one of the reasons why I quit. My body couldn’t handle the time differences anymore, I kept waking up out of my normal rhythm, it was unhealthy. I told myself it wasn’t even worth the money, I’d rather be cool at 60. It was over the edge.”

As for the current season, Hantuchova has tipped Coco Gauff to win the WTA Finals which will get underway on Sunday in Cancun, Mexico. Gauff is competing in both the singles and doubles draws this year alongside Jessica Pegula. She will be bidding to become the first player from her country to win the season-ending title since Serena Williams in 2014. 

“It’s supercharged, but if I pick one favourite, it’s Coco Gauff. She won the last Grand Slam, she likes hard surfaces, she’s a great fighter and she has a lot in common with Serena (Williams). She loves the big stage when all eyes are on her, so that’s why I’m favouring her.” She concluded. 

Hantuchova, who retired from tennis in 2017, now works as a tennis analyst for media outlets such as Amazon Prime. 

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Ugo Humbert saves three match points to beat Hubert Hurkacz in Dubai

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Fifth-seed Ugo Humbert came back from one set down to beat Hubert Hurkacz 3-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3. Humbert had beaten Hurkacz en route to his title in Marseille. 

Hurkacz converted his third break point in the fourth game to win the first set 6-3. Humbert saved three match points in the tie-break of the second set before converting his first set point to force the match to the decider. Humbert broke twice to seal the third set 6-3. 

“It was a great battle. I tried to battle for every point. In the tie-break I saved three match points, tried to do my best and thanks to those French fans for the amazing support”, said Humbert. 

Humbert set up a semifinal match against Danil Medvedev, who beats Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2 6-3. Humbert leads 2-1 in their head-to-head matches, but Medvedev won their most recent match in three sets at the China Open in their most recent head-to-head match in Beijing last year.

“It’s going to be a great challenge against Danil tomorrow. We had a few great fights. Hopefully I will recover well to be ready for this match”, said Humbert. 

Aleksander Bublik was leading Jiri Lehecka 6-4 4-1 when the Czech player was forced to retire due to an injury. Bublik set up a match against Andrey Rublev, who was leading Sebastian Korda 6-4 4-3  when the Czech player withdrew due to injury. 

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Brazilian Rising Star Joao Fonseca Waives College Eligibility To Turn Pro

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Image via https://twitter.com/RioOpenOficial/

One of Brazil’s most promising young tennis players has made the bold decision to abandon a dream of his to play college tennis in America to turn pro. 

17-year-old Jaoao Fonseca was committed to playing college tennis at the University of Virginia but says professional tennis has called him in a way he couldn’t refuse. The rising star has played just two Tour-level events so far in his career and is currently ranked 343rd in the world. 

At last week’s Rio Open, he became the second-youngest player after Alexander Zverev to reach the quarter-finals of an ATP 500 event since the category was introduced. In his home tournament, the Brazillian beat Arthur Fils and Cristian Garin before losing to Mariano Navone.

“It was an incredibly tough decision for me and my family as I have been dreaming about living a college life in Charlottesville, playing the sport that l love with a wonderful team and coach, but, in the last months, professional tennis called me in a way that I simply couldn’t say no,” Fonseca wrote in a statement published on Instagram
“Although I will not be attending school, I think it is an extremely valuable and viable path for young players in their way to professional careers,” he added.

Fonseca has already enjoyed success on the junior circuit. Last year he was runner-up in the doubles tournament at the Australian Open boy’s event. Then at the US Open, he won his first Grand Slam junior title in singles. He is also a former ITF Junior World No.1 and is currently ranked second in the standings. 

The youngster has already been hailed by compatriot Beatriz Haddad Maia, who is currently ranked 13th on the WTA Tour. Speaking to reporters at the San Diego Open, she has offered her support to Fonseca if he needs it. 

“João is a nice person. He has a great future, if he keeps working hard and keeps doing what he’s doing. I think he has a very aggressive mentality and tennis.” She said.

“We sometimes text each other, but not that much. But I’m always following.. not only him.. but the Brazilians. I’m proud of what he’s doing. He has a long way and he needs to understand that it’s a marathon, it’s not a 100 meter race.’
“Tennis has its ups and downs. I wish him all the best, for sure. I’ll be here whenever he wants. I’m happy with what he’s doing.” 

Fonseca played at the Chile Open this week but lost in the first round to Thiago Agustin Tirante.

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Emma Raducanu Among Trio of Grand Slam Winners Handed Miami Open Wild Cards

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Emma Raducanu - Cincinnati 2022 (foto Twitter @cincytennis)

Emma Raducanu has avoided the possibility of having to go through qualifying at the Miami Open after being awarded a wild card for the event on Thursday. 

The 2021 US Open champion is among four players to have received passes into the main draw of the prestigious event, which is classed as a WTA 1000 for the women and as a Masters 1000 for the men. It will be the third straight year that Raducanu has played in Miami but she is yet to win a match there. In 2022 she lost her opening match to Katerina Siniakova before getting beaten by Bianca Andreescu 12 months later. 

Raducanu has won two out of five Tour-level matches played so far this year. Recently her agent, Max Eisenbud, hit back at those who have criticised the tennis star’s results since winning the US Open. Raducanu also missed a chunk of last season due to injury after undergoing wrist and ankle surgery. 

“The girl did everything backward. She skipped every step. She won the US Open, she went to the next tournament, she didn’t even know where the player lounge was, she didn’t know where the practice courts were,” Eisenbud told the Served With Andy Roddick podcast.
“I don’t think just being tough on her or critical on her like any other player [is wrong]. But she is still figuring it out. I just think that people should not be malicious.”

Other players to have received wild cards into Miami include Venus Williams, who is a three-time champion at the event but hasn’t won the title since 2001. The 43-year-old hasn’t played on the Tour since August and is currently ranked outside the world’s top 400. 

Carolina Wozniacki completes the line-up of former Grand Slam winners being given wild cards. The Dane was a Miami finalist back in 2017 and has made 12 appearances at the tournament. Earlier this week, she suffered a 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, loss to Anna Blinkova in the first round of the San Diego Open. 

As for the men’s tournament, the only confirmed wild card recipient is Kei Nishikori who will be making his first competitive start since July 2023. Recently the injury-stricken Japanese player added Thomas Johansson to his team. 

The Miami Open will get underway on March 17th.

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