Author: Mildred Shaw

Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka faced fierce competition and on her way to becoming the WTA’s number one ranked player. During June and August this year, she had a short slip down to the position of number two, but since she defeated the Coco Gauff, she was once again in her favourite place. Except for her brilliant skills on the court, the star’s personal life is also often hitting the headlines. She is considered to be the face of multiculturalism, but what more is there to this star’s own life?

100 Most Influential People of 2019

The 21-year old player’s cultural identity seems to be a constant reason for discussion. Osaka is the daughter of her Japanese mother Tamaki Osaka, and her father is a Leonard Francois is a citizen from Haiti. The couple met when her father visited Japan during his student years. She was born in Japan and is currently representing Japan when competing on an international level, but since she was three years old, she lived in Long Island in the United States. Thanks to this multicultural home which she grew up in, she is considered by many as the face of a multicultural future of the world.

Influence of the Williams Sisters

Naomi Osaka became the first singles champion to win a Grand Slam title for Japan. She was only 20 years old during the US Open in 2018 when she defeated Serena Williams for this title. Her victory was somewhat in the shadows of William’s outburst for which she was fined $17 000 during the match. Williams showed a strong reaction when she received a code violation, and her behaviour took the limelight to a certain degree away from the victory of the Japanese star.

Like the Williams sisters, Osaka is also being coached by her father. Francois stated that he found the inspiration to coach Osaka when he read that Richard Williams coached his daughters without ever playing much tennis himself. Francois decided to follow the approach which Williams had with his daughters and applied that to his own two girls since they were still very young. It was already during these early days of their tennis careers that the girl’s parents decided that if their daughter performs well in tennis, they will be representing Japan on an international level.

The Dilemma of Dual Citizenship

The tennis star is currently in possession of dual citizenship. This is another hot topic for many since Japanese law doesn’t allow citizens to have dual citizenship, and by law, Osaka is supposed to hand in one of her passports. The uncertainty remains, however, whether Japan would enforce this law or just let it pass since she is such a star. Others feel again that because she is a star, the government should implement this law. Nothing has been done, and she still has dual citizenship, living a life of true multiculturalism.

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Tennis Bad Boy Daniil Medvedev

Some adore him, and others can’t stand him, either way, ranked fifth on the ATP rankings, this 23-year old Russian tennis superstar is bringing about many emotions in the crowd. Often slapped on the wrist for his temper tantrums on the court and usually having to pay a couple of fines, yet his performance is keeping the crowds engaged.

Fines and Bad Behaviour

Certain kinds of behaviour won’t be tolerated on the court and Medvedev is regularly overstepping the boundaries of tennis etiquette. During the US Open, he threw a towel towards a ball boy in anger and received a $9 000 fine for doing that. He continued however on his rampage and threw his racket towards the umpire’s chair and was regularly showing the middle finger to the crowds. In total thus far in the US Open, his fines amounted to $19 000. He made sure that his feelings towards the masses were clearly stated in his sarcastic commentary after defeating Lopez, thanking them for the energy which they provided so that he could win.

A Sports Psychologist in the Player Box

The player box is usually reserved for family and close friends, but this is the place where Medvedev keeps his therapist. Francisca Dauzet is a Paris based sports psychologist who has been working with Medvedev for just over a year. She is the one who makes notes during his play and seems to calm him down in between or assist him in channelling his rage into a productive outcome and excellent game. Her path crossed with his shortly after a 2017 outburst at Wimbledon when Medvedev started to throw coins towards the umpire accusing him of bribery. He later on admitted that he is ashamed of his behaviour and began to work with her to take control of his outbursts.

Transforming Anger into Achievement

Experts do believe that at least some of his success on the court stems from his anger, yet it needs to be harnessed for the greater good, instead of misbehaving. This is the main focus of a sport psychologist like Dauzat. She needs to assist him in getting positive outcomes from his anger and using it to achieve greatness. Just like others before him, including Federer and McEnroe, he too had to take control of his behaviour.

An additional instigator of his anger is the pain which he experiences due to some injuries. He urged the crowds to boo him since he states that their commentary gives him the energy to overcome the anxiety of his injuries which painkillers don’t numb so that he can deliver his best.

His coach Gilles Cervara mentioned that he is aware of the fact that Medvedev is always ashamed of his behaviour afterwards, but that he needs to stop crossing the line so often. He also mentioned that Medvedev is a tennis genius and that he needs to deal with his behaviour as needed.

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Serena’s Wealth

Serena Williams is, without any doubt, one of the most famous athletes in the world of tennis. Since she debuted her career, both Serena and sister, Venus, gripped the attention of tennis fans globally. Serena is also not known for only her success in the world of tennis, but too often made the news as an inspirational icon to many women and not only limited to the world of professional sports. Hence being a star in every single sense of the word, her net worth has accumulated to quite an impressive amount.

Serena’s Career

Serena has a long and successful career, which started when she was only 14 years old when she won her first Grand Slam title. Since then she raked in 23 Grand Slam titles in total. Showing the world her real strength when she won the Australian Open while being pregnant. Without a doubt, all this success brought an impressive income over the years, and it is no wonder then that Serena is the highest-paid champion in women’s tennis. The total amount of her income through her successful career, standing on $88.6 million.

The Battle to Equal Pay

Serena has been very vocal for many years already about the enormous pay gender gap, which exists in the world of professional sport. Hence she is also in strong support of the US Women’s Soccer team’s, appeal for equal wages and prize money. This battle to achieve equal pay is not without reason. Already in 2016, it was reported that Serena made a mere $495 000 dollar to defend her title, while $731 000 was earned by her male counterpart at that stage, Roger Federer.

Tennis Is Not Her Sole Income

When someone reaches the level of success and fame, which Serena managed through her successful career, many opportunities unfold which deliver their high financial returns. Serena is also actively involved in the upliftment of women, and she is an ambassador in support of positive body image. This is fitting well with the clothing line which she launched in 2018. The range is described as a unique balance between glamour and comfort and includes sizing up to a 3X. The clothing line is also a reflection of her motherhood and the effect that it had on her life. She is convinced that not only fashion icons can look amazing, and she wants to create a look where even moms can look like fashion icons and still be comfortable in what they wear.

Another additional income to her already healthy bank balance comes from endorsements. Her five-year contract with Nike brought her a profit of $40 million in endorsement fees. All these additions to her financial status contributed to her total net worth of $180 million. This is almost double of that of a sister, Venus who is set at $95 million. Serena Williams is indeed impressive both on and off the court and most definitely too when it comes to financial strength.

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Nick Kyrgios Better Future For Tennis

Nick Kyrgios is, without a doubt this decade’s bad boy in the world of tennis. This very talented 24-year old Australian star has made a name for himself of being the one who would throw a temper tantrum over something as simple as a towel, yet his talent can be unrivalled if his head is in the game.

Kyrgios Always Keeping the Crowds Entertained

Over the years, Kyrgios proved himself to be an excellent player. In the past, he has been able to win those in the ranks of Nadal, yet he also managed to lose against competitors who are much lower-ranked than himself. His emotions are often getting the better half of him during play. When he is, however on the court, he keeps the crowds entertained with jokes and comments and often handing out high-fives. He was showing his best once again during the recent Citi Open in Washington, where he won his sixth ATP title. Regardless however of whether it is due to a temper tantrum or his winning side, Kyrgios is living out his full personality on the court, and that draws spectators. This is precisely the core of his advice towards the sport to remain valid for an even more massive spectator crowd.

Players Need to Be Who They Are

Kyrgios advised that tennis players shouldn’t be hesitant to show the fans who they indeed are and should much rather live out their personalities on the court than being crowd-pleasers. Considering that he has been able to bring a breath of fresh air into the sport while living out his character, his words do carry reason to ponder on. Kyrgios, who is not willing to change his personality to fit into a particular mould accepted on the court, stated that players should embrace who they are and that it draws more excellent media coverage for the sport in general. He also compared the future of tennis with other national league sports including the National Baseball League, National Football League and so forth. These sports draw a much broader type of fan base, which is good for the sport. Tennis can be reserved, and some prefer it that way. Some consider the discipline on the court as the heart of the game, but true to what Kyrgios is stating, this discipline only draws a limited type of spectator and isn’t contributing to the expansion of interest in the sport.

The Future Can Be Exciting

Kyrgios went on to refer to the new upcoming teenage stars like Felix and Tsitsipas, stating that they have such different personalities and if they showed the crowds who they are, they would draw much higher interest in their games. According to him, this would up the cool factor of the sport, by being entertaining on a different level than what crowds are used to. Whether Kyrgios’s advice would be taken to heart by these young stars, remain to be seen. Some might resent his style, and others love the entertainment.

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Canadian Tennis Battles

Canadian tennis fans are truly spoiled during the famous Canadian Rogers Cup. One of the most anticipated clashes during the first rounds was set between Canadian star Eugenie Bouchard and her fellow Canadian star Bianca Andreescu. The two of them delivered a brilliant show in front of a packed crowd. The results were 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in Andreescu’s favour.

Eugenie Bouchard

Even though Andreescu overpowered her, Bouchard gave all she could during the battle against the BNP Paribas Open champion and former Wimbledon finalist, which lasted for two hours and 11 minutes. Bouchard had to take a break from tennis due to an abdominal injury which she was struggling with. For the period between the Miami Open and Roland Garros, she had to spend her time on the side-line. Bouchard is, however, hungry for her next win. Hopefully, this isn’t far away since she mentioned that she felt she had the most reliable performance during the match, since her return. Knowing that she played the number 27 in the world and could give a great battle in return is boosting her confidence.

Bouchard’s Struggles

Bouchard had a tough season thus far. Her abdominal injury was recurring, and that affected her performance in a very negative way. She reflected on the fact that this was her ninth consecutive defeat. She also commented on the fact that the entire journey with her injury made her see things in a different perspective and that losing a game is, in fact, a tiny thing in the broader perspective of her life.

Bianca Andreescu

Andreescu is delivering an immaculate performance and is powering on from one success to another. She also had trouble dealing with a shoulder injury, which nearly caused her to give up on the centre court. The crowd’s support helped her push through and be the victor in the clash later on between her and Daria Kasatkina. Her match against Bouchard was merely her first after Roland Garros, and this is her third tournament after winning in Indian Wells her maiden WTA title.

Canadian Young Talent Shining

Canada has experienced a wealth in upcoming young tennis stars over the recent years. Both in men’s and women’s tennis, it is exciting to see the amount of talent which are moving up through the ranks. Also on the men’s side, there was an all Canadian clash. Another clash in the first round was set between Feliz Auger-Aliassime and Vasek Pospisil.

Bouchard mentioned how excited both she and Andreescu was to find out about the fact that they are playing each other, the day after their fellow countrymen were to clash against each other. They were chatting on social media when the news reached them, and they decided to put up a great show, and they did do just that. This is indeed brilliant news for the future of Canadian tennis. Indeed a privilege for these young stars to play against each other in an international event on local soil in front of a robust and local crowd.

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Kyrgios Wins His Sixth Title

This has been a great week in the life of Nick Kyrgios. He had to describe it as one of his favourite weeks. The 24year-old Kyrgios won Daniil Medvedev with straight sets of 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-4) while delivering a very entertaining final game.

Nick Kyrgios

The Australian born Kyrgios has been playing in eight ATP finals and secured his sixth title win this week. He is currently the highest-rated Australian tennis player on the ATP ranks. During his career, his professionalism as the player has been a couple of times in question though. Only last month during Wimbledon, Kyrgios was hitting the spotlight for being seen in a pub the night before playing Rafael Nadal. It often seemed in the past like he was giving up on matches.

This might have changed now, and we can only hope that when Kyrgios stated that he decided to make a change, which this time around it will last. He also expressed his appreciation for the fact that even during a time when he didn’t have faith in himself anymore, there were still those who had faith in him and kept on supporting him.

Always Keeping the Crowds Intrigued

Kyrgios has a very naughty side when on the court, and that makes his games very entertaining to the crowds. During this week of play they were often asked on suggestions where to serve, handing out fist pumps or quietly singing along with songs, Kyrgios has fun on the court, and he has a way of keeping the crowd captivated. What this week showed us again is that when Kyrgios focus on the game and set out to win, he can be unbeatable. He has in the past been able to beat players much stronger than his competitors during this week in the US, but will he now finally stop faffing around and focus on his game and his impeccable talent?

Complex History of Wins and Losses

Over the years, he has shown us that when he wants to win, he can be undefeated, but his emotions are always seeming to get the better part of him. Kyrgios struggle to play a motivated game when he is competing against lower-ranked players, leaving him often losing against them. When he is motivated, he defeats much stronger opponents like during the Mexican Open earlier this year. After going through a terrible run during the Delray Beach Open in February, he arrived at the Mexican Open with renewed focus. He managed to defeat Stan Wawrinka, Rafael Nadal, John Isner and Alexander Zverev and ended up winning the title. It is clear that when he is happy in life, he is a winner, but too often his emotions are having an unfortunate effect on his performance, and that is what is robbing him of becoming the best he can be on the court.

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Record Prize Money in History Promised to Women’s Tournament

Disparity not only in regular earning rates but also in prize money between men’s and women’s teams continue to rumble in the world of sport. Hence it comes as a refreshing change that China is now offering the most significant amount in prize money in the history of tennis for a women’s tournament. The amount of $4.75 million is the tag attached to the winning prize of the Shiseido WTA which is being held in Shenzhen. The amount is exceeding even the most significant sum ever paid to a male tennis player.

A Grand Moment in the History of Women’s Sport

The offered prize money is exceeding the money paid to the entire United States Women’s National Team for winning the FIFA Women’s World Cup earlier this year. It is also more than what Tiger Woods pocketed for winning the Masters. It is even almost double which was paid to the winner of the ATP finals which is considered to be the equivalent to the tournament. In an interview with Ashleigh Barty, the current No. 1 in the world, she mentioned that it is fantastic that sponsors were willing to offer such a large amount. She also said that although it is excellent, it is also a reflection of more than just prize money, but the increased popularity of the sport in the world. All the players of the past, building the competition needs to be recognized for this as well.

The WTA Finals

The Shiseido WTA finals will bring together a total of eight of the best players during the tour. They will compete firstly in two round-robin groups and then in knockout rounds to determine who will be crowned the winner of the WTA. Over the past couple of years, eight of the most recent sixteen winners were undefeated during the entire tournament. Elina Svitolina, the victor of 2018, being the most recent of them.

The players who are competing against each other for the mega prize qualified according to a system based on the Porsche Race Rankings. This entails that points are accumulated from the four grand slams as well as the 53 WTA tournaments.

The total amount of prize money is set at $14 million and all competing are keen on claiming their share of it. The prize money has been doubled since last year. This is thanks to the new title sponsor of the tournament. Shiseido is a beauty company and is recognized as the largest in Japan and the fifth largest in the world.

Getting Even In Payment

It took many years for all the grand slams to achieve equal prize money for both the men’s and women’s champions. Wimbledon was the last grand slam to change over and has done so in 2007. This year, however, the WTA Finals has become the most lucrative of all the leading tournaments.

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Beatriz Haddad Maia Provisionally Suspended

This week the International Tennis Federation suspended Haddad Maia; currently, 99th ranked in the world, for testing positive for banned substances.

Testing Positive

Haddad Maia failed a drug test which was done on the 4th of June. This was during the Croatia Open. Haddad Maia’s test came back, testing positive for traces of two banned substances. These substances are categorized as selective androgen receptor modulators. They are also referred to as SARMs. SARM’s falls in the category of synthetic drugs and deliver the same kind of results as what anabolic steroids do. They are increasing in popularity under athletes, especially with weightlifters.

Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators

SARMs can be purchased legally as research chemicals but has been on the banned list of the World Anti-Doping Agency as well as with the governing bodies of several major sports, for a while now. They have been around for quite a long time but only came into the spotlight recently. Many variants of SARM’s are available. They include names like Andarine, Ostarine and Cardarine. They are generally considered to be safer than steroids and are often used to treat muscle deterioration in patients with osteoporosis. Due to some long term side effects which these might create, medical professionals can’t prescribe them.

SARM’s have the same effect as steroids and assist athletes with increasing endurance and strength. SARM’s have mostly gone undetected during drug testing in the past because it doesn’t influence the user’s hormone levels. Still some have been tested positive including Alonzo Trier, currently playing NBA as well as Jimmy Walhead playing UFC. In their cases, they claimed that they weren’t aware that they are getting it in. Warhead even went so far to send his supplement to have it tested. It tested positive for the substance, also though the supplement didn’t indicate it so on the label. Haddad Maia does have the option to appeal her provisional suspension but hasn’t done so yet, since she was notified of the ITF’s decision on the 12th of July.

Haddad Maia’s Career

Haddad Maia qualified for Wimbledon this year. She made the headlines when she caused a major upset when beating Garbine Muguruza, the former champion, during their first round. The news regarding her test results came in just after she won Harriet Dart from Britain during the second round.

At the moment, there are no details regarding which SARM did she test positive for or whether she will have a defence argument like some testing positive before her. These situations can cause severe headaches to sports governing bodies. Currently, it is still not sure what her punishment will be since it is uncertain whether she might also have gotten it in accidentally through supplements. The supplement industry is still largely unregulated, and many do include banned substances even though it is never listed on their labels. For now, athletes can only be cautious regarding which supplements they do take to avoid unnecessary consequences for their careers.

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What We Learned This Year at Wimbledon

Roger Federer was one swing of his tennis racket away from becoming a Wimbledon champion on two occasions during the final. However, Novak Djokovic managed to outperform him both times. What’s truly impressive about this match is that a 21st Grand Slam title for Roger Federer might have placed the record out of reach for both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic who is currently chasing the paper at the moment. However, Djokovic’s victory will undoubtedly supercharge him now to claim more Grand Slam events.

The Battle for GOAT

Novak Djokovic currently has 16 Grand Slam titles, while Rafael Nadal impresses with 18 Grand Slam titles. Given the superiority from Nadal at the French Open, where the tennis star already has a total of 12 medals, it’s not difficult to imagine that he can easily win two more medals at Roland Garros, regardless of who is in front of him. However, Djokovic is not only younger than Nadal but also a more rounded player, making him equally dangerous on any surface imaginable. However, here is the kicker: Novak Djokovic already leads against both men, 28-26 against Nadal and 26-22 against Federer.

With everything else being equal, Novak Djokovic should be able to maintain his superiority going forward. Roger Federer is 37 years old at the moment, while Nadal is extremely injury-prone and doesn’t have any notable titles outside of Paris since he claimed victory in 2017 at the U.S Open. Roger Federer looked like he had the GOAT in the bag after claiming the Australian Open in 2018. However, Djokovic might be able to dominate the sport by claiming more notable titles. Does this concern Roger Federer at all?

Roger Federer recently stated that the chase for the record is in a completely different place at the moment. Federer takes motivation from a unique place which has nothing to do with claiming titles. He is not interested in keeping the record as he already managed to break it first. The document will be broken eventually, as with all things. Roger also stated that he didn’t become a tennis player for holding records or claiming the most Grand Slam titles.

Serena’s Last Stand

How many more opportunities will Serena Williams have going forward? This is a question that is currently on everyone’s lips after the unexpected women’s final where Simona Help defeated Serena Williams to become the newest Wimbledon champion. It’s a good question, especially when you consider than Williams is turning 38 in September. She hasn’t been able to win a tournament since the Australian Open in 2017 and ultimately faltered during Wimbledon even though she was fit and healthy.

Most believe that Williams needs s to stop participating in activities where she is a celebrity and spokesperson and play in more events to adequately prepare for majors. However, this is something that Serena Williams is not interested in, allowing her rivals to gain more confidence when they face her. The last opportunity for her will be the U.S Open in 2019.

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Djokovic Defeats Federer in Glorious Wimbledon Final

Novak Djokovic managed to outlast Roger Federer in a genuinely astonishing five-set battle on Sunday, claiming victory during the very first fifth-set tiebreaker in a men’s final at Wimbledon to once again become the men’s champion and win his fifth Grand Slam title at the All England Club. The fifth-set tiebreaker was also considered the first in any final of the men’s tournament at all four Grand Slam tournaments.

Djokovic Defeats Federer in Epic Final

Novak Djokovic as the top-seeded player managed to defeat Roger Federer to remain undefeated against the Swiss who was second-seeded in a total of three final matchups at Wimbledon. Novak Djokovic also managed to claim victory in 2014 and in 2015 where he defended the championship for the very first time. Novak Djokovic managed to win his first title at Wimbledon in 2011.

At 4 hours and 57 minutes, this match was regarded as the longest final in the history of Wimbledon which featured 35 aces, 68 games, and a total of 422 points, including 204 points for Djokovic and 218 points for Federer. Unfortunately, in these kinds of games, there has to be a loser.

Novak Djokovic managed to save w match points to eventually reach the fifth-set tiebreaker where he became the first player since 1948 to successfully save championship points during a final to go on and win it. Djokovic stated that he was overjoyed and thrilled to be considered the winner of this never-ending match. He also noted that the game could have gone either way as Federer was serving phenomenally throughout the game.

Roger Federer’s Mistakes

Roger Federer was the first player to fall behind and make a comeback. He trailed by a set on two occasions. However, he did come extremely close to claiming victory in the final in the third. Roger Federer was only two points away from grabbing the first set on a total of 7 occasions. However, he wasn’t able to do it. He was also 1 point away from claiming the third, but once again fell short.

Then Roger Federer found himself down a break early on during the fifth set. After it seemed like he gained the upper hand, with only 1 point away from winning while he was serving for the win, he fell short yet again.

He managed to send a forehand quite wide during the first championship point, while Djokovic managed to produce a crosscourt forehand to win the next. Before too long, Djokovic had managed to make a significant comeback to continue playing for an additional 45 minutes. The crowd supported Federer far more than Djokovic and Novak stated that is was truly difficult to ignore.

Federer wanted to claim his 21st Grand Slam title, while Djokovic managed to claim his 16th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon. This allowed Djokovic to move four titles closer to Federer’s record 20 Grand Slam titles and two titles closer to Nadal’s 18 titles.

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