Revised Calendar Doesn't Match WTA's Pledge To Player's Health, Says No.1 Iga Swiatek - UBITENNIS
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Revised Calendar Doesn’t Match WTA’s Pledge To Player’s Health, Says No.1 Iga Swiatek

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Iga Swiatek has taken a fresh swipe at the governing body of women’s tennis by saying their decision to expand the number of premium events is ‘conducive’ to what they promote. 

The world No.1 has been one of the most vocal players to speak out about concerns surrounding the new Tour calendar in 2024 which will feature 10 WTA 1000 events. Out of those 10, Madrid and Beijing are being expended to two weeks with larger draws. This year nine WTA 1000 events took place but the only one Swiatek won was Beijing. 

Another factor in the new season is that the Olympics will also be taking place on clay at Roland Garros between Wimbledon and the US Open. Making an already packed calendar event more congested for players. 

Speaking to Eurosport, Swiatek has called on the WTA to live up to their commitments to promoting a healthy lifestyle and work-life balance for players on the Tour. 

“The calendar is changing towards even more duties, even greater expenditure of energy that we will have to devote while participating in tournaments, because the tournaments are also extended,” she said.
“It is simply not conducive to what the WTA promotes in other aspects, i.e. mental health, life balance in any way, physical health.
“I would make decisions that would be more conducive to what they promote and support.” 

In recent weeks the head of the WTA, Steve Simon, has come under fire over his management of the Tour. A co-signed letter by many top players was sent to the organization outlining their concerns. According to The Athletic, some of the concerns that have been raised relate to higher pay on the Tour, scheduling adjustments to help support players, expanded childcare and calls for a member of the PTPA to be present on the WTA Player’s Council. Swiatek is also understood to have separately sent her own letter to the leadership. 

On the court, things are going more smoothly for the 22-year-old who reclaimed her No.1 ranking during last month’s WTA Finals where she won her 17th tour title. Swiatek describes the pressure of trying to defend her top position as ‘overwhelming’ and was briefly removed from the top by Aryna Sabalenka. A player who she feels is more worthy of receiving the year-end no.1 crown. 

She deserved it,” said Swiatek. “She had a great season. She won a Grand Slam, was in the final of another Grand Slam and in two semi-finals, so it was an amazing season.
“I just preferred to focus on other things, because the pressure related to the No. 1 spot was a bit overwhelming in the middle of the season.
“For this reason, I didn’t play very freely until the US Open, and then I knew that I just had to change this attitude and approach the next tournaments differently, just be a different player who didn’t focus on all that things. Although I always try to do it, but it doesn’t always work out.”

Swiatek is set to begin her 2024 season at the United Cup. Poland has been drawn into Group A along with Brazil and Spain. They will play their group matches in Perth.

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Daria Kasatkina And Alejandro Davidovich Fokina Lead Calls For VAR In Tennis

There have been calls for VAR to be introduced into the sport.

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Daria Kasatkina and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina have called for VAR to be implemented in tennis.

The calls have came after Andrey Rublev was disqualified from his semi-final with Alexander Bublik in Dubai.

As Bublik lead 6-5 in the final set, Rublev shouted in the face of an umpire allegedly swearing in Russian which was picked up by one of the officials.

This saw Rublev be disqualified from the event with Bublik reaching the final in Dubai.

However as a result of the incident players have called for a VAR review system with the video showing inconclusive proof of whether Rublev did swear in Russian.

Leading the calls for such innovation are Daria Kasatkina and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina as the duo called for VAR to be introduced on twitter, “So you can just disqualify a player, take away all his points and money, without even checking the video? What a joke, yet another confirmation that we need VAR in tennis and an electronic appeal system in all tournaments,” Kasatkina said on social media.

VAR has been implemented in football and also a similar system in rugby with mixed results.

It’s clear though that more technology would help umpires identify whether a grounds for disqualification would be necessary.

So far VAR has been trialled at the Next Gen Finals and the Nitto ATP Finals.

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Casper Ruud Overcomes ‘Tough Start’ To Set De Minaur Final In Acapulco

Casper Ruud is into his first ATP 500 final after defeating Holger Rune in three sets.

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Casper Ruud is into his second consecutive final in Mexico after defeating Holger Rune 3-6 6-3 6-4 in Acapulco.

The Norwegian had to overcome an electric start from Rune to prevail in 2 hours and 24 minutes.

It was a clinical performance from Ruud who is now into his second consecutive final in Mexico after reaching the final in Los Cabos last week.

Speaking after the match Ruud admitted it was a tough start but he’s pleased to be in another final, “It was a tough start,” Ruud told the ATP website.

“Holger just came out firing bullets from the forehand, from the backhand and I had not too much time to play my game. I was frustrated at times, especially at the end of the first set, beginning of the second.

“I didn’t really feel like I got to play any points how I wanted to, so there was some frustration towards myself, towards my box, because I didn’t feel like we were doing the right thing.

“But luckily with one break in the second, it turned around a bit and in the third set it got a little physical. I think maybe Holger seemed like he was struggling a little bit and started firing even more and a couple of games it went in and he broke me, which is frustrating.

“Some unforced errors crept up on him and I served really well in the last game to close it out.”

Ruud is now into his first ATP 500 final in Acapulco where he will face defending champion Alex De Minaur.

De Minaur overcame Jack Draper after the Brit retired at 4-0 down in the deciding set.

Heading into Saturday’s final, De Minaur leads the head-to-head 1-0 although that was in a completely different scoring format in the Next Gen Finals.

Whatever happens on Saturday, Ruud will return to the world’s top ten.

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Andrey Rublev Disqualified In Dramatic Dubai Semi-Final

Andrey Rublev was disqualified from his semi-final in Dubai.

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Andrey Rublev was disqualified from his semi-final with Alexander Bublik after being accused of swearing in Russian.

The event took place in Dubai where Rublev had more than enough opportunities to win the match having been 4-2 40-0 up in the deciding set.

However Bublik came back into the match as he caught up with Rublev in what was turning into a fascinating contest.

The score was at 6-5 Bublik when Rublev’s frustrations boiled over when he allegedly told the official at the side of the court that he was a ‘f****** moron’ in Russian.

One of the officials on the sidelines at the side of the court reported the incident and the supervisor ruled that Rublev should be defaulted.

The incident below means that Rublev will now lose all his ranking points and prize money, resulting in Rublev exiting the world’s top five.

An ending that didn’t warrant the dramatic contest and after the match Bublik agreed that the consequences, “I highly doubt Andrey said something crazy,” Bublik was quoted by Sports Illustrated.

“He’s not this kind of guy. But I guess that’s the rules. That’s what they did, they just follow the procedure.”

Bublik will hope for a smoother finish to the final when he takes on Ugo Humbert for the title.

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