French Open: Late-Night Matches 'Not Healthy' For Players, Says Gauff - UBITENNIS
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French Open: Late-Night Matches ‘Not Healthy’ For Players, Says Gauff

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Coco Gauff has urged tennis bosses to avoid situations where players end up playing until the early hours of the morning following Novak Djokovic’s latest win. 

Djokovic didn’t finish his match against Lorenzo Musetti until 3:07am local time which was less than seven hours before the start of Sunday’s play on the Philippe Chatrier court. The late encounter occurred as a result of poor weather which has caused havoc with the schedule in recent days. Before Djokovic’s match, officials opted to allow Grigor Dimitrov to finish his match on the same court which was a late addition to the schedule. 

Gauff spoke about the situation following her latest victory in Paris where she beat Elisabetta Cocciaretto 6-1, 6-2, to reach the quarter-finals. The American concedes that it is a difficult situation to manage but players need to be protected. 

“I feel like a lot of times people think you’re done, but really, 3:00 a.m., then you have press and then you have to shower, eat, and then a lot of times people do treatments, so that’s probably not going to bed until 5:00 at the earliest, maybe 6:00, and even 7:00,” Gauff commented.
“I definitely think it’s not healthy. It may be not fair for those who have to play late because it does ruin your schedule. I’ve been lucky I haven’t been put in a super late finish yet.”

Earlier this year, both the ATP and WTA introduced new rules aimed at preventing matches from running beyond 11pm. However, all four Grand Slams have their own governing bodies and therefore these rules do not apply to them. Wimbledon is the only major event that has a nighttime curfew in place due to its close location to residential housing. 

“I think that’s something to look at. Maybe if a match is going long, possibly moving courts. Then I know it’s tough because it’s only one night match, and people obviously paid for those tickets,” Gauff continued.
“It’s a complicated thing but I think for the health and safety of the players it would be in the sport’s best interest I think to try to avoid those matches finishing — or starting after a certain time.” 

Another player commenting on Djokovic’s late-night finish, Iga Swiatek, believes matches should be started earlier. However, the Pole adds that these matters are not up to players and they need to ‘accept anything that is going to come.’ 

However, Gauff believes she and others should be entitled to have more say when it concerns their health. 

“I think that we’re their product, essentially, and I feel like tournaments are becoming more understanding. Some tournaments are more understanding than others.” She said. 
“I can’t speak for other sports because I don’t know how their setup is run, but I think in general we should listen to the players more.
“I don’t want to complain too much about it because we are very blessed and privileged to be playing for a lot of money, and there are people working real jobs under worse conditions for less money and just trying to get by. So it’s a balance between two things.
“I definitely think there’s a balance of saying publicly I do agree that things can be run better behind the scenes. I think that tournaments are trying their best and players are trying their best. I just think we have to meet in a middle ground for the health and safety of everyone.”

2024 is the fourth year in a row that Gauff has reached the quarter-finals or better at Roland Garros. She is bidding to become the first American to win the tournament since Serena Williams in 2015. 

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Krejcikova Comes Alive With Her Serve To Win 12th Grand Slam Title At Wimbledon

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image via x.com/wimbledon

It must have seemed like the whole world was against her when Barbora Krejcikova served for the match for a third time against crowd favorite Jasmine Paolini.

But Krejcikova was only going for her 12th Grand Slam title. She was well prepared.

So, she released her patented way-out-wide serve to the smallish Paolini’s backhand, and the best the Italian could do was get her racket on the ball enough to return the serve far off the court, long and wide.

ARMS UP FOR A CHAMPION

The weight of the world was gone as Krejcikova threw her arms over her head and calmly walked to the net to greet the Wimbledon runner-up.

Now, Krejcikova was half-way home to a career Grand Slam in singles. She already owns a career Grand Slam in doubles among her dozen Grand Slam titles that also include one mixed doubles Grand Slam title.

She has won the hard ones, the French Open on clay and Wimbledon on grass.

At 28 years old, anything must look possible to this 5-10 Czech.

KREJCIKOVA COMES THROUGH UNDER PRESSURE

Paolini simply was out played in a second straight Grand Slam final, on clay and on grass. Now she faces the real tests, two straight Grand Slam tournaments on hard surfaces that might not be overly friendly to the 5-4 Paolini.

But there it was, a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 victory for Krejcikova on Wimbledon’s famed Center Court.

After what might be called a throw-away second set for Krejcikova, she came alive in the third set, pinning Paolini to the deep corners while nailing low hard-hit balls to both corners.

Krejcikova got off to 40-0 starts on her first four service games of the decisive set and ended all four with service winners to take a 5-3 lead (with the aid of the only service break of the third set). She yielded only one point in those four service games, a double fault at 40-0 that was followed by an ace.

Of course, it was the serve again that saved the day for Krejcikova and gave her set points two and three, then sealed the deal for a spot in Wimbledon history.

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 Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Wimbledon Finalist Jasmine Paolini – ‘I’m A Little Bit Scared To Dream Too Much’

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After coming close to her maiden Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, Jasmine Paolini believes consistency is key to having another shot at glory.

The 28-year-old dropped only one set en route to becoming the first Italian woman to reach a Wimbledon final. However, she was denied the title by Barbora Krejcikova, who won in three sets. Paolini was broken once in the decider which was due to a double fault from the Italian following an unsuccessful hawk-eye challenge made on her first serve. Then she failed to convert two break points when down 4-5 before Krejcikova held to seal glory.

“I started bad,” she reflected afterwards.

“I took some time and try to relax and to come back in the second set stronger to try to push the ball more because I was a little bit controlling too much, and I missed a lot of shots.

“She was playing, honestly, very good the first set. She was serving really, really good. High percentage of first serves.

“It was tough but I think I did better than the last final (at the French Open), but still it’s not enough.”

Prior to Saturday, Paolini had scored wins over former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu, Medison Keys (via retirement) and a marathon victory over Donna Vedic. She has now won 15 Grand Slam matches in 2024 compared to just one last season.

The defeat comes less than two months after the French Open where Paolini contested her first major final but lost in two sets to world No.1 Iga Swiatek. Since the start of this season, she has risen more than 20 places in the rankings and will reach No.5 on Monday.

Despite being in her late 20s, the Italian is producing some of her best tennis on the Tour. Something she credits to a combination of things. 

“I improved my game a little bit. I believe more in myself. I improved my serve. I think I improve the return.” She explained.

“I think physically I’m better than two years ago. I’ve been working with a new fitness coach for one-and-a-half years.

“There are many things, I think. Not just one. I think also winning matches helps a lot.”

Whilst she is heading in the right direction on the Tour, Paolini has vowed not to get too ahead of herself.

“Sometimes I’m a little bit scared to dream too much.” she said.

“I’m going back, trying to practice and stay in the present. This is the goal for me and my team, to try to keep this level as much as possible.

“If I keep this level, I think I can have the chance to do great things.

“Today I was dreaming of holding the (Wimbledon) trophy but it didn’t go well.

“I’m just enjoying the position where I am right now.”

Paolini has won 30 out of 43 matches on the Tour so far this season.

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Jasmine Paolini’s Wimbledon Run Hailed By Italian Prime Minister

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Image via x.com/twitter

The Prime Minister of Italy has praised Jasmine Paolini for lighting up the hearts of others during her Wimbledon run. 

Paolini missed out on her first Grand Slam title to Barbora Krejcikova, who prevailed in three sets to capture her second major trophy. Despite her defeat, she has made history at the tournament by becoming the first female player from her country to reach the final. Until this year, she had never won a Tour-level main draw match on the grass. 

Whilst disappointed about missing out on the biggest title of her career, Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni posted a tribute to Paolini on social media just moments after the final had concluded.

“Proud of Jasmine Paolini,” The Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (ANSA) quotes Meloni as saying. 

“The first Italian tennis player to reach the final of the prestigious Wimbledon tournament. 

“Despite the defeat, you lit up the hearts of the Italian people, succeeding in conveying grit and passion to all of us who supported you”. 

Paolini is the first player ranked outside the top five to reach the final of both Wimbledon and the French Open within the same year since the ranking system was introduced in 1975. She is also only the fourth female player in the Open Era to have reached her first two Grand Slam finals in the same year at Roland Garros and Wimbledon after Chris Evert (1973), Olga Morozova (1974) and Steffi Graf (1987). 

Should she win three or more matches at the US Open later this year, she will also set a new Open Era record for the most Grand Slam wins achieved by an Italian female player in a single season. 

“The last two months have been crazy for me. I want to thank my team, and my family. They always support me and I wouldn’t be here without them. The crowd have been amazing. I received a lot of support. Just incredible to feel the love from them, I enjoy it so much.” Paolini said following her Wimbledon defeat. 

The 28-year-old will rise to a ranking high of No.3 on Monday. 

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