Author: Mildred Shaw

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.

Tennis Events

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.

Tennis Events

Gauff Defeated at Wimbledon While Williams Advances

The 15-year-old superstar from the United States, who managed to become the youngest player in the world to successfully qualify for the main draw at Wimbledon in the professional era, was defeated by Simona Halep, the former number 1, 6-3, 6-3 during the 4th round this week.

Gauff stated that she learned a great deal at the tournament, especially from someone much younger than most players within the junior competition who participate at Wimbledon. She experienced what it’s like to play in front of a massive crowd and learned a fair amount of the pressures that come with such a prestigious event. Gauff was also very thankful that she had an opportunity like this at such a young age.

Gauff’s Journey at Wimbledon

Gauff managed to defeat Venus Williams, a 5-time tennis champion, during the first round of Wimbledon and managed to save two match points during the 3rd round to eventually advance to the second week of the tournament during her debut at this Grand Slam event.

Gauff walked onto the number 1 court, considered the second-largest stadium within the All England Club, receiving plenty of support from the vast crowd. However, the 2018 French Open Champion and semi-finalist at Wimbledon in 2014, Simona Halep, had far better shots. Halep managed to break Gauff 5 times and took full advantage of a total of 29 unforced errors.

Gauff did go on to save two match points when she served at 5-2. However, Halep managed to win the next game to advance to the quarterfinals eventually. Earlier on in the competition, Serena Williams managed to advance to the quarterfinals of Wimbledon for the 14th time, defeating Carla Suarez Navarro.

Other Players at Wimbledon

During the men’s draw, Novak Djokovic, the four-time champion, managed to advance along with Rafael Nadal who is a two-time winner at Wimbledon. Novak Djokovic defeated Ugo Humbert, while Rafael Nadal defeated Joao Sousa. The eight-time champion, Roger Federer, managed to defeat Matteo Berrettini to advance to the quarterfinals.

Serena Williams, who is a seven-time champion at Wimbledon, missed about 12 months of play due to having a baby and decided to make a return to Wimbledon this year. She skipped the warm-up tournaments, and her most recent match was playing at the French Open during the third round before she entered for Wimbledon. She stated that she hadn’t played enough games to prepare her for Wimbledon and she’s looking at more matches this week than what she played in the last five months.

Williams managed to reach the quarterfinals during the Australian Open and during the Indian Wells decided to retire from a match. She also withdrew from matches in Rome and Miami and then managed to play again during the French Open. She has experienced quite a rollercoaster ride since she made her return in 2018, but she looks like she is back on form at Wimbledon this year.

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Osaka Struggles to Find Answers Off and On Court

Moments after she was defeated at Wimbledon during the first round, Naomi Osaka found herself in front of a jam-packed room filled with reporters from across the globe, answering as many questions as possible. During her Q&A, she spoke very softly and tried her best to hold back the tears that surfaced from the moment she sat down.

After a couple of minutes that looked like sheer agony, Naomi Osaka decided to interrupt a question regarding the pressures of her brand-new fame and asked her moderator if she could leave as she was about to burst out in tears. After that, she stood up and walked out of the room while an uncomfortable silence spread across the floor that created even more questions among reporters.

The Life of a Tennis Athlete

The career and life of a professional athlete in tennis is filled with lows and highs. However, perhaps no one has managed to exemplify it more extremely than Naomi Osaka in the last 12 months. She managed to defeat Serena Williams in a truly controversial game to claim her very first Grand Slam title during the U.S Open early in September and dominated the Australian Open to reach the world’s number 1 ranking in January. To many, it looked like the future of tennis finally arrived, complete with a quirky sense of humour and a bouncy ponytail, and she was instantly seen everywhere you look. The magazine covers kept pouring in, as did endorsements and television appearances.

However, it soon became apparent that not everything was perfect in the world of Naomi Osaka. She decided to fire Sascha Bajin, her incredible tennis coach, only weeks following her victory in Melbourne, and only provided reporters with vague comments regarding her decision to fire the coach in search of happiness. Since this occurred, the tennis star has struggled on the court where she only managed to advance once in April to a semi-final, while falling short during the French Open in the third round. This marked the earliest exit by a female in her first major as a top-ranked tennis player since 2008 with Ana Ivanovic.

Defeat at Wimbledon

When you consider the discussions of a Naomi Slam after her second consecutive victory in Australia, her unexpected loss on the very first day feels quite tricky. Osaka managed to before only the 4th female in the history of the Open Era to lose in an opening match during Wimbledon while she was ranked as the top seed.

Naomi Osaka played against Yulia Putintseva, regarded as a two-time quarterfinalist in the French Open who is ranked number 39 in the world, on centre court and started strong as the managed to take a 3-1 lead. However, she went on to lose a set after a difficult tie-break. Putintseva managed to win both their previous meetings and at Wimbledon, Osaka looked clueless on several occasions, accumulating over 30 unforced errors during the match.

How Canada is Transforming into a Tennis Power

It was a magical moment that will live on forever in the world of tennis when Canada transformed into a global power.

Canadian Tennis Stars On The Rise

Bianca Andreescu from Toronto, who was only 18 at the time, managed to become the only entry via wild-card to claim victory at the Indian Wells in a singles tournament, making her the first player from Canada to win one of the mandatory events at the WTA. Fourteen days later, Felix Auger-Aliassime, who was 18 at the time, and Denis Shapovalov, who was 19 at the time, managed to smash their way to the semi-finals of the Miami Open.

The all-Canadian final never took place due to Roger Federer taking out Shapovalov, while John Isner eliminated Felix Auger-Aliassime. However, by then, the transformation of Canada made a significant impact on the world of tennis, especially on the international arena, and the country was on everyone’s lips as we headed into spring.

Felix Auger-Aliassime stated that it is phenomenal what was happening at Miami in terms of Canadian tennis players. Canada was pleased with the results, and the comments about the country are refreshing to hear. He also stated that a lot of belief is placed on Canada when it comes to tennis as well as the tennis players in general.

However, belief is rather difficult to back up as the young players in Canada soon realized. Bianca Andreescu has only played one match since she decided to pull out from the Miami Open due to a right shoulder injury. Felix Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov took a hard knock on clay where Felix Auger-Aliassime eventually came to life during the final day in Lyon, a rather modest tournament that occurs right before the French Open. Felix Auger-Aliassime was unavailable for the French Open due to a groin injury, but he did state that he would be available for Wimbledon.

So Why is Canada Performing Now?

Hatem McDadi recently stated that there’s a considerable hockey culture in the country and therefore the country had to create and develop their own tennis culture from scratch. During the early 2000s, McDadi was the director of player development in the country for Tennis Canada, and an effort was created to improve the country’s tennis fortunes. Now, McDadi is the senior vice president of Tennis Canada in the development department. The organization initially created a foundation with designed programs and hired world-class tennis coaches to assist in creating a pathway to success.

Some of the tennis coaches included Bob Brett who mentored Goran Ivanisevic and Boris Becker, Louis Borfiga who is well respected in France due to his training program, and plenty of other elite tennis coaches to assist in the transformation. McDadi also approached parents and enrolled their children from the age of 4 into various sports to build experience from a very young age. This ensured that athletes in Canada improved over time, and it’s undoubtedly showing now.

Ashleigh Barty Rises to the Top at French Open

Even though she only turned 23 recently, it feels like we’ve known about Ashleigh Barty for decades. Her business-like demeanour and dimpled smile while playing in prestigious matches have been familiar sightings for several years now.

Who is Ashleigh Barty?

When Ashleigh was 15 years old she was already a junior Wimbledon champion. When she was 16, she became a Grand Slam doubles finalist. Any athlete who can succeed at such a young age deserves to be at the top when they are only 23 years old. She is one of the most admired and well-liked players when it comes to tennis and continues to improve with each passing year.

Tennis is a sport that sees plenty of young kids enter the sport, hit the wall, and never seem to completely bounce back from it. However, Ashleigh managed to make a return to the sport on her own time where she first made her mark in doubles and then later in singles. She appeared rejuvenated and full of life when she made her return. During her time away she decided to play professional cricket, a sport where she excelled for a short time after she picked it up without any prior experience. She played it due to the team component that came along with it.

When she made her way back to tennis, she was under the impression that doubles would be her ticket to receive a major title. She never expected that singles would be her way to glory. Ashleigh Barty is still incredibly young even though her opponent at the 2019 Roland Garros was only 19 years of age. Their ages combined is the lowest that any major championship has seen since Dinara Safina and Ana Ivanovic played in the French Open championship of 2008.

Ashleigh Barty’s Victory

Ashleigh Barty was the number 8 seed and she managed to execute a phenomenal range of things in her creative and crisp game. The only thing she was required to do was fire on all cylinders to win a tournament and she did exactly that while was she playing against Vondrousova to claim a win in only 70 minutes. It was very similar to the men’s semi-final victory by Dominic Thiem.

Disbelief and joy crossed Ashleigh’s face when she realised that she won. The managed to become the first player from Australia to lift the Suzanne-Lenglen Cup in 46 years where she fulfilled two prophecies on social media that were made this week by Rod Laver, a legendary countryman.

The only misstep from Ashleigh occurred during the national anthem of the prestigious trophy ceremony where she had to be told where to stand. Once she was alone on the podium, emotions took over and she was unable to hold back her tears. This obviously didn’t matter much as her lyrical style managed to sing for itself on the stage. She is one remarkable player that will surely win more trophies.

Persons

Can Rafael Nadal Win at Wimbledon?

Toni Nadal, the long-time coach and uncle of Rafael Nadal, patiently waited for his nephew after Sunday’s 2019 French Open, ready to congratulate him on his 12th Roland Garros title. This was an accomplishment that Toni Nadal described as phenomenal, mainly because everybody in the world of tennis never through that the record set by Bjorn Borg would be broken and he only managed to accumulate 6 French Open titles.

Rafael Nadal’s French Open Career

Rafael Nadal currently has twice as many French Open titles as Borg which is a record that will be impossible to beat, especially given the fact that Rafael Nadal can still win a few more titles before he decides to retire from the sport. What’s even more impressive is that no one had managed to achieve a Roland Garros-Wimbledon double since Rafael Nadal made it in 2010 when he claimed his second Wimbledon title only two years after his original title.

Rafael Nadal was also the runner-up during 2011. However, for a couple of years, after that, his creaking knees were not up for the challenge. He only managed to win two matches at Wimbledon during 2012, 2013, and 2015. He was stuck in fourth place during 2014 and missed the tournament entirely in 2016.

Thankfully, in the past two years, it seems like Rafael Nadal managed to find a way to excel on grass once again. During 2017, he advanced to the fourth round and was defeated by Gilles Muller. In 2018, he performed at his best on the lawn since back in 2011 and was extremely close to defeating Novak Djokovic in an incredible semi-final. If it didn’t go into the second day of playing, he might have won.

Rafael Nadal and His Confidence

Nadal recently stated that he wouldn’t be playing on grass as a warm-up event as he prefers to stay healthy, rest, and prepare for Wimbledon. However, he might participate in a few exhibition matches to get familiar with the match-court.

Wimbledon was once considered the domain for the big hitters and big servers, giving players more opportunities on their returns. Volley and serve still play a significant role, though, while players that move forward will always reap the benefits. And as Rafael Nadal demonstrated on Sunday, he volleys just as good as anyone else.

However, the key for someone like Rafael Nadal is not grass. It’s pure confidence. After he experienced a low once he arrived in Barcelona during April, he admitted that his overall attitude was negative and managed to turn things around since then. A win in Rome led to restoring his belief, and a victory at Roland Garros provided a satisfying feeling that gave him an even more significant boost to potentially win Wimbledon later this year. Rafael Nadal’s 18 Grand Slam titles mean that he is only two titles away from Roger Federer to take the top spot. This will be more than enough motivation to keep him going.

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Roger Federer to Face Rafael Nadal in French Open Semi-Final

Roger Federer managed to set up an excellent semi-final match at the French Open against Rafael Nadal as the defending champion when he defeated Stan Wawrinka in only four sets.

A few moments before Roger Federer claimed victory against Wawrinka, Rafael Nadal claimed a 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 win over Kei Nishikori during the French Open quarterfinals. However, the 20-time Grand Slam winner, Roger Federer, endured a draining 3-hour match on Court Suzanne Lenglen where he claimed a 7-6, 5-6, 7-6, 6-4 victory.

After the energy-sapping match, Roger Federer stated that the ultimate dream would be to win the entire French Open tournament. However, he is happy with reaching the semi-finals of a Grand Slam tournament as it hasn’t happened for quite some time. He also endured four heavy defeats in quarterfinals in the past, so from that point of view, he is pleased with the result already. Both quarterfinals experienced slight interruptions with thunderstorms in Paris.

Roger Federer at Roland Garros

Roger Federer will be playing at the famous Roland Garros for the very first time in the last four years when he missed the event back in 2016 due to a back injury which also caused him to miss the previous 2 clay-court tournaments to get back to health. He faced the most challenging test since he made a comeback to clay when he went up against Wawrinka, the champion of 2015, who managed to advance beyond the second round in a Grand Slam event for the first time since he lost in the French Open final in 2017.

The third seed, Roger Federer, managed to drop his 1st set of the tournament and converted only 2 out of his 18 breaks, even though the second of those – during the 9th game of his 4th set – proved to be decisive. Roger Federer stated that Stan Wawrinka still managed to make it to the final four even though he suffered several injuries in the past and had to break his rhythm with a few lucky shots.

Rafael Nadal Looking Forward to Semi-Final Clash

Rafael Nadal, who is currently 33 years of age, will be enjoying his 12th semi-final event at Roland Garros and has managed to claim victory in the tournament a total of 11 times where Roger Federer only claimed it twice.

It only took him an hour and 51 minutes to defeat Nishikori as the seventh seed and stated that he is playing very positively at the moment. He also said that facing Roger in the semi-finals will be unique as both of them shared some critical moments in tennis during their careers.

Nadal will face Federer for the 39th time this Friday, who managed to win his only Roland Garros title more than a decade ago. Nadal also impresses with a remarkable 23-15 record against Federer. However, it’s Federer who is currently boasting with more victories in the last five matches.

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The Coolest Tennis Courts from Around the World

Tennis is a phenomenal sport that can be played just about anywhere in the world when there’s a tennis court available. However, some tennis courts have been correctly positioned in the most beautiful locations known to man, allowing tennis players to marvel at Earth’s beauty while enjoying a competitive game of tennis in the process.

Gstaad Palace, Switzerland

During the winter, Switzerland offers some of the most beautiful terrain and scenery for skiing. However, you’ll be a fool to overlook the months of summer, especially when you consider the Gstaad Palace where you’ll find several clay courts that are surrounded by magnificent mountains which will provide you with a remarkable Alpine experience.

II San Pietro, Italy

If you ever find yourself on the incredible Mediterranean yacht circuit in summer, a stop at Positano is highly recommendable. Once you are off the boat, you’ll struggle to find a better hotel than the II San Pietro. Even though cruising it’s crystal clear waters, lounging around the crescent-shaped pool, and dining like royalty is going to be your primary objectives, don’t forget about the tennis court, offering cinematic ocean views and towering rock formations.

Tennis de la Cavalerie, France

A couple of kilometres away from Roland Garros, situated on the grounds of Bois de Boulogne, is another spectacular tennis court, known as La Cavalerie. The property only offers one tennis court. However, it features arched walls and ceilings that are constructed from 1,400 pieces of solid wood that are arranged in a magnificent diamond shape. It’s so beautiful. You’ll quickly forget that it’s situated on top of an Aston Martin dealership.

Pikes Ibiza Rocks House, Spain

Ibiza is the last place that comes to mind when you think of athletic activities. However, the famous party island impresses with one of the boldest and most vibrant tennis courts in the world at the legendary Pikes Ibiza Rocks House. It comes equipped with a bright pink and neon green surface that will certainly give you a shock. However, what would you expect from a place that used to host orgies during the 1980s?

Enchantment Resort, Arizona, United States

While the primary objective is to focus on the ball during a competitive match at the Enchantment Resort, you might find it quite challenging to concentrate. You don’t have to look inside yourself for the lack of concentration but will instead lose focus due to the breath-taking backdrop that boasts several red sandstone formations.

All Iowa Lawn Tennis Club, United States

The All Iowa Lawn Tennis Club can be seen as the Wimbledon of Iowa. Even though there’s only one tennis court available and thousands of miles away from the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world, if you forget about the wind turbines that surround the court, you can easily see yourself at Centre Court. Denise and Mark Kuhn, the owners of the tennis court, even decided to intern with the groundsmen at Wimbledon to ensure the grass is the same.