The National Bank of Canada announced that they’d
provide their tennis professionals with cash grants, ensuring they’re protected
throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This included 23 individuals that are
registered through Tennis Canada, the governing body that’s responsible for the
Association of Tennis Professionals and Woman’s Tennis Association. These
Canadian Pros have faced significant financial pressure by being unable to
compete in their respective tournaments.
Tennis Canada & the National Bank
collectively announced that up to $20,000 would be awarded to these
professionals. The amount granted to these individuals will depend on their
level in the WTA or ATP, with lower-ranking professionals making considerably
less than their champion counterparts. This announcement follows after all
other professional athletes in Canada were awarded grants through their
sporting associations, including players in the NHL and MLS.
The tennis professionals in Canada aren’t
considered the most influential, with their recognizable star athlete being
Bianca Andreescu. The average tennis pro in Canada is ranked from 10th to 750th
in Single Competitions, while competitions in the Doubles Tournaments are
listed in the top 100. It should be noted that Bianca Andreescu is the
highest-rated Canadian tennis pro, at the 10th highest valued WTA competitor.
Additional recipients of this grant will include Leylah Annie Fernandez, Sharon Fichman, Brayden Schur, Peter Polansky and Rebecca Marino. These individuals haven’t been permitted to compete since all tennis professionals were informed the WTA & ATP Seasons had been terminated internationally, with the cancellation taking effect in Mid March. It’s been confirmed that these competitors won’t be permitted to play until August 1st, with a specific exception being made to the “Rogers Cup – Men’s Tournament” in Toronto, Ontario.
Leylah Fernandez Selected
Few tennis professionals from Canada have made public remarks regarding their grant. Leylah Annie Fernandez provided her insight, noting that these finances won’t exclusively assist with her day-to-day living standards but will also guarantee her training doesn’t end. That means Leylah can continue to represent the Canadian Sports Community to the best of her abilities. Some disputed these claims, as Fernandez is located in Florida, Boynton Beach. This location wasn’t by choice for Leylah Annie Fernandez. She was slated to compete in the state when COVID-19 broke out in America, being unable to return home, Leylah has remained indoors at her training facility.
Tennis athletes worldwide have been forced indoors under the global social distancing measures, with most nations not expected to lift their restrictions until July 1st or later. It’s prompted multiple athletes to reconsider how they engage with their favourite sport. Two females from Italy showcased their concept of playing tennis during the coronavirus, which became a viral sensation.
These two women were seen playing tennis from the rooftops, using the barrier between the connected buildings as their net. The length of this building enabled these women to social distance from one another. Tennis athletes that saw this viral video immediately enacted similar conditions with local friends & family, where available. It should be noted that most rooftops in North America don’t support the styling of European architecture. Buildings are typically split from one another and roofs are often angled. Unless living in an apartment complex, North America tennis athletes will find it challenging to engage with this method.
Thousands worldwide have posted videos of them playing tennis on their rooftops, still using the concrete barrier between the connected buildings as a net. Considering that summer is shortly arriving, and weather conditions are improving, it’s the perfect time to implement this scenario.
When Will Tennis Resume?
The Association of Tennis Professionals and Women’s Tennis Association haven’t provided concrete answers to when international venues will resume. Information regarding the novel coronavirus is continuously changing, with updates forcing WTA and ATP Executives to keep their strategies private.
One strategy was leaked to international reporters, which revealed that attendees wouldn’t be permitted at these ATP or WTA venues for the first matches. Depending on the conditional factors of COVID-19 throughout the summer months, attendees could be allowed again. Another strategy suggests that the Association of Tennis Professionals engage specialized sanitary methods, ensuring anybody entering or leaving the facility will be tested for the novel coronavirus.
The second strategy is unlikely, with testing kits throughout North America and the European Union being limited to medical personnel. This follows after nations worldwide purchased an influx of testing kits for the novel coronavirus, which prompted an international shortage afterwards.
Tours for international tennis have been suspended amongst the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic. However, there are now independent organizers that are ignoring the recommendations of the World Health Organization and Centre of Disease Control. Obtained data revealed that international tours would be played throughout Germany in the Rhineland-Palatinate Province, which borders multiple European nations like France and Belgium. The Telegraph rumours that thirty-two matches will be played throughout four days. It follows after German authorities confirmed that the lockdown period would be lifted by May 1st. Safety protocols for this independent tour will be required, somewhat ensuring the protection of athletes and coaching staff. It’s expected that attendees won’t be permitted and that these will be televised events exclusively.
Individual players have been confirmed for these independent tours, including Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann and Dustin Brown. There’ll be a maximum of 100 players supported throughout this series, with them demanding the limitations of spectators. Confirmed broadcasters for this tour includes PlaySight and SkySports, meaning that online betting will be permitted. This was possible after receiving permission from the Tennis Integrity Unit, which governs specific tours throughout the European Union.
The Tennis Integrity Unit revealed the details behind this proposal. Agents with this governing association expressed that multiple organizers introduced this proposal, proposing various strategies to experience international tours throughout this unprecedented period. TIU Agents reviewed these various strategies and determined which protocols will best suit players. These plans were encouraged to be discussed with athletes, ensuring their approval as well. Everyone collectively agreed and are now moving forward. However, this can prompt potential fines from the World Health Organization, who still have social distancing measures implemented throughout the European Union.
The Mouratoglou Tennis Academy, which is established in France, confirmed that they’d be holding the “Ultimate Tennis Showdown”. Created by Serena Williams head coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, this series will begin on May 16th. Multiple athletes confirmed their appearance at the UTS Venue, which included Alexei Popyrin and David Goffin. French tennis fans hope that athletes like Novak Djokovic or Nadal Rafael will compete in this competition. It’s expected that ten matches will be held weekly, with broadcasts being supported online. Attendees won’t be permitted, and minimal staff will be employed. These conditions will hopefully ensure the safety of ATP & WTA athletes.
Professional athletes worldwide have been donating substantial funds towards Covid-19 Relief or Research. The most recent include Roger Federer, one of the most infamous tennis players in the ATP. March 25th marked the date that this champion announced a $1.02 million donation to families in Switzerland. These families will have needed to been impacted by Covid-19. The announcement was prompted across multiple social media platforms run by Roger Federer.
Formal statements were provided through his social media accounts. Roger Federer noted that throughout these challenging and unprecedented times, nobody should be concerned about being left behind. That’s why I’ve personally decided, alongside my wife, to donate $1.02 Million towards the most affected families across Switzerland. The former champion expressed that their donation is just the beginning, and more will need to come forward. Since Switzerland is filled with numerous millionaires, it’s expected that they’ll recover financially and physically from Covid-19.
Covid-19 is becoming a pandemic across Switzerland, with more than 140+ citizens being killed for the novel coronavirus. John Hopkins University has been reviewing the outbreak in Switzerland, which has more than 10+ thousand confirmed cases. The potential for increased spreading and deaths are exponential in Switzerland. It should be noted that 19+ thousand have died worldwide, which is why nations globally are working towards eliminating this virus.
Additional Donations from Tennis Athletes
Simona Halep from the Women’s Tennis Association confirmed that she’d purchased a large volume of medical supplies for Romania healthcare workers. This announcement was made on March 17th, which assisted the local medical community in protecting themselves before Romania became a pandemic. Additional donations from tennis athletes include Bianca Andreescu, who auctioned her tennis gear during a coronavirus fundraiser. The Canadian athlete donated those funds to Canadian Healthcare Workers. John Isner, Caty McNally and Martina Hingis also made individual donations to fight against Covid-19.
None of the names mentioned above will play professional tennis until June 7th. This follows after both the Association of Tennis Professionals and Women’s Tennis Association confirmed the postponement of both leagues amidst Covid-19. Instead of supporters waiting until May 2020 for a Grand Slam event, they’ll be waiting until September 2020.
The tennis community has been shocked by the growing pace of Bianca Andreescu, a Canadian athlete under the Women’s Tennis Association. She skyrocketed to popularity after defeating Serena Williams at the 2019 Wimbledon. Bianca has also acquired championship titles at the United States and Australian Open’s. This has allowed for the profits relating to social media to jump drastically for Bianca Andreescu. It’s estimated that she earned $35,000.00 for every social media post made on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Subsequently, Bianca is now the highest-earning athlete under twenty-five when it applies to social media. Individuals like Virat Kohli and Cristiano Ronaldo earn considerably more for posts on Instagram or Facebook, making upwards of $100,000.00. This is the potential profits that Bianca can make in the coming years.
Statistic reports regarding her social media profiles indicate that an average of 97 thousand likes occurs per posting. This extends to more than one thousand comments. All information has been provided from Nielsen Europe, which is operated by Salvatore De Angelis. The Head of Digital Operations at Nielsen Europe expressed that better success on tennis courts allow for increased commercial opportunities for athletes. This doesn’t just apply to the sporting industry but extends to the technology and fashion sectors. Popularity regarding social media is allowing new generations in these fields to earn substantial profits that have never before been seen.
It should be noted that Bianca Andreescu could’ve earned $50,000.00 per social media posting after winning the 2020 Australian Open. Unfortunately, this Canadian athlete was forced to back out of the competition following a significant left-knee injury. There hasn’t been a singular opponent that’s outmatched Bianca, allowing her to retain the 6th Position Ranking in the Woman’s Tennis Association.
Joao Souza Banned for Life
Another surprising headline shocked the tennis community this week. The Tennis Integrity Unit confirmed that Joao Souza from Brazil had been banned from tennis for life. This follows after Souza was convicted for multiple counts of corruption and match-fixing. It’s estimated that this athlete committed several breaches against the code of conduct from 2015 to 2019. This included fixing matches regarding the ITF Futures Tournament and ATP Challenger. Affected nations included the United States, Mexico, Czech Republic and Brazil. Joao Souza has also received a $200,000.00 fine for his illegal actions. Souza should be happy with these results, as upwards of 10-years in prison was applicable in this conviction. He passed by those years by paying the fine immediately.
Atlantic Canada is getting itself a new sporting complex in Nova Scotia, Bedford. The small town in the Eastern Province took advantage of the current tennis scene in Canada. The Chairman of the Atlantic Tennis Centre and International Tennis Federation spoke with local government officials to convince them to allow for a massive indoor tennis complex in Bedford. After considerable deliberation, it has finally been confirmed that this proposed sporting complex has been approved and will be built within the next two years. It will be a state-of-the-art facility that caters to all levels of tennis.
Nova Scotia has had multiple new gymnasiums and sporting complex’s built-in Halifax to accommodate various sports, such as Hockey. However, all facilities for tennis haven’t been upgraded in nearly a hundred years. The most recent improvement to a professional tennis facility in Nova Scotia was the Halifax Common Tennis Courts, which got resurfaced for the first time since the 1960s. Another example is that the current Atlantic Tennis Centre is maintained at the Bedford Commons on a six-court dome beside Canadian Tire. It will cost the Atlantic Canada Tennis Association $11 Million to develop this sports complex, which is being funded through a capital campaign. Those wanting to donate can go through their local municipal or federal government donation sites.
The upgraded and new Atlantic Canada Tennis Facility will manage eighteen courts. Twelve of those courts will be located inside, with the additional six designed outside the new complex building. Atlantic Canada Tennis Centre hopes that their new facility will be opened by May 2020, but an impending horrendous winter for all of Canada will push back development schedules. Subsequently, Tennis players in Nova Scotia can anticipate the facility to be opened by Mid-Summer 2020.
Tennis in Canada
Tennis has always been a staple sport for Canada. Schools nationwide require students to learn and engage with the sport because its one of the healthiest played worldwide. It’s also one of the few sports that doesn’t have any contact while requiring you use your full body. Subsequently, this assists in lowering heart disease in young children. Ever since Bianca Andreescu from Mississauga Ontario became the highest-ranked Canadian Tennis Player by the Women’s Tennis Association, the popularity of the sport has skyrockets nationwide. Her success has inspired other female Canadians to participate in the game. Bianca is expected to become the next Serena Williams, with the youngest defeating Williams at the most recent Wimbledon.
After being victorious in Basel, Federer has withdrawn from Paris in an attempt to manage his schedule carefully. This might be seen that the 38-year-old legend’s retirement is a looming reality on the horizon.
During last week, Federer sped through his tenth Swiss indoor tournament to win the title. In his home town of Basel, he never dropped a single set against Alex De Minaur during their clash in the finals. Within 69 minutes Federer sealed a 6-2 6-2 victory over his opponent. Then Federer withdrew from the Paris Masters, scheduled the following week. His response to this was that he needs to pace himself to be able to remain longer within the ATP Tour.
Final Year before Retirement
Regardless of his withdrawal from Paris, the 38-year-old tennis star is still planning on playing in the ATP Finals set to take place in London during next month. It has been many years since he last won this season-ending tournament in 2011. Federer’s latest victory in his hometown placed brought him his 103rd ATP title. This is placing him a mere six behind tennis legend, Jimmy Connors. There are always more records to chase within the sport, but the sense that 2020 might be the last year before retirement for this Grand Slam champion with 20 victories behind his name, is growing.
During Federer’s interview following his winning performance in Basel, it became evident that it isn’t as much the physical toll on his body which is holding the star back, but much rather the mental toll on his mind which is getting heavy. While he was addressing the crowd, he was very emotional. He stated that it was indeed due to the hard work of the past week and the flood of thoughts that he had over his family, which led to his emotional breakdown. He also stated that managing four children is one of the significant challenges in his life.
Putting Family First
It is evident that family plays a vital role in the life of this father of four and that even though he is so close to catching up with Connors, he won’t be blinded by that possible achievement and in the process put his mind and body under unnecessary stress. He also stated during a previous interview that he is not planning on chasing records in his career. For this man, his family and his health are getting priority seats in his life, and everything else, including tennis, comes second to that.
For the moment it seems that it would only be injury or if something would happen to his parents which will mean an immediate retirement for Federer. Yet, he very much aware of the fact that his career is coming to an end and that his days on the court, playing for his beloved crowds is quickly running out.
Merely a few weeks after announcing that he will slowly be returning to the court after a hip replacement earlier on in the year, Murray’s career is once again in question. Previously he was urged by his surgeon, referred to as the royal surgeon after operating on the Queen Mother’s hip a couple of years ago, to continue playing. Now he was advised to stop immediately due to the high possibility of cobalt poisoning in his blood if he does stay.
Dr Hannes Rudiger is a medical practitioner at the Schulthess Clinic in Zurich. He has advised Murray to stop playing immediately or otherwise face the catastrophic consequences of cobalt poisoning in his blood. Murray suffered hip resurfacing surgery early on this year and was pain-free for the first time in quite a while after suffering severely from his hip previously.
Since he felt great and was urged by his surgeon to continue playing, that was what he did. He performed very well being back on the court and won the European Open title last week. Dr Rudiger, however, had dampened the joyous moment when he urged Murray to stop immediately. Dr Rudiger stated that he didn’t even think that it would be possible that someone would perform so well after a hip replacement with an artificial hip, but he is concerned about the high risk involved if the player continues to play.
The Birmingham Hip Resurfacing
This procedure has already been performed for the past ten years in Switzerland, although it is still relatively new in England. With the system, a prosthetic hip is implanted to replace the injured bone. Two parts of the bone then rub against each other with their metal surfaces. Dr Rudiger stated that often this kind of surgery had had catastrophic results in Switzerland.
He stated that not only did these hips had to be replaced much sooner than their alternative and that contributed significantly to damage to the body, but they also caused poisoning. Even though Murray did take the option of a slow return to playing competitively, he did now step up to the level of playing singles once again. This is very worrisome for Dr Rudiger.
He explained that the stop and go movement, especially prevalent in tennis, is very damaging to the prosthesis. He is so much in opposition to this procedure that he refuses to do that kind of surgery at all. He stated that these movements which are so damaging to the prosthetic hip cause abrasion to the surface of the prosthetic and that would cause cobalt poisoning in the player’s blood. This will lead to further terrible consequences like the bone mass being attacked, visual damage as well as damage to the nervous system. Dr Rudiger furthermore stated that he strongly advises anyone against that kind of surgery and that the risk is too high and the consequences too severe. Especially for someone with Murray’s career.
The tennis star was inspiring Russian fans when he was signing balls and caps in Moscow, merely hours after his arrival from China where he secured the title in the Shanghai Masters. The native of Moscow is seen as an inspiration to an increasing number of young male tennis players currently infusing the Russian tennis scene. Now, Medvedev is standing at a career-high with his best ranking yet, being at number four in the world.
Being visibly tired, the 23-year-old star admitted to relying on caffeine to keep him awake and still he took the time to smile for selfies and to hand out signatures to his fans. He stated that the support which he gets from the Russians is brilliantly strong and that it is great to have so many people backing your career. Also, the social media in Russia, as well as his many Russian friends, were mentioned for their loyal support.
Inspiring the Young Stars
According to a young fan, Daniil Trefilov, a 19-year-old student, tennis is becoming better and more popular within the country thanks to Medvedev’s influence on the local tennis scene. This is echoed by another young supporter and the leader of an online group who expresses their support for Russia, David Umarkhadzhiyev, who stated that he fell in love with the game of tennis by watching how Medvedev plays. He continued saying that after Marat Safin and Yevgeny Kafelnikov moved out of the tennis scene, there was a certain kind of stagnation in the sport within Russia. For a relatively long period, no men were playing tennis until Medvedev, Andrei Rublev and Karen Khachanov appeared onto the scene. These three players are the top-ranked players presenting Russia on the international courts. Among themselves these three have an internal competition going, continually pushing each other to higher levels of success.
The Kremlin Cup
The Kremlin Cup is set to take place this week in Moscow, but at his time of arrival within the city, Medvedev was still unsure whether he will be playing within the tournament. Even though he is looking relaxed and tanned, he is highly fatigued with his eyes often half shut as he speaks to his fans and the media.
Beyond the friendly rivalry of his fellow Russian players, lies a much stronger competition which needs to be taken head-on. When Medvedev states this rivalry, he is referring to Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. He says that they are playing as if they are coming from another planet. They are truly brilliant and powerful on the court. Everybody else is always trying their utmost best to beat them. He didn’t comment really on a statement earlier made by Boris Becker stating that the young and upcoming generation of tennis players doesn’t have the mental strength to dethrone the older players. He merely confirmed that he is always trying to deliver his best performance.
In the global arena of international tennis, it is not uncommon for legends of the court to misbehave sometimes. This kind of behaviour is frowned upon by the ATP and often results in players being slammed with hefty fines. This time around it is however not a Nick Kyrgios or even a Williams sister who has been misbehaving, but indeed an umpire who made himself guilty of sexual harassment towards one of the underage ball girls. In addition to this offence, he was also in conversation with one of the players during their toilet break, which is considered to be another violation of ATP rules. Gianluca Moscarella has been dismissed from his position with immediate effect, while the investigation continues into his alleged offences.
Calling Her Sexy
During last week’s Florence Challenger, Gianluca Moscarella was in the chair as an umpire during a match between Pedro Sous and Enrico Dalla Valle. It was roughly around the end of the first set which they played that the voice of Moscarella could be heard, speaking to the ball girl who was kneeling next to his umpire chair. The ball girl was only sixteen years old. Even though he was talking in a foreign language, it was understood that he said to the girl that he thinks she is fantastic and that he considers her to be very sexy. He also asked her if she was physically or emotionally hot. His behaviour is deemed to be sexual harassment of the young girl. This was not his only time which he disregarded the ATP rule book.
Some video footage also surfaced of Moscarella in conversation with one of the players during a toilet break, Pedro Sousa, telling him to stay focused and commenting about the heat which is too much. Moscarella was not enjoying the hot temperature and urged Sousa to finish the game off quickly so that all can get out of the heat sooner. Umpires aren’t allowed to converse with players except when on the court.
The Italian umpire has been in his position since 2010. During his career as an umpire, he has excelled to the point where he was one of the ATP’s gold badge umpires. This is the highest level that an arbitrator can achieve. Moscarella was immediately suspended when the video footage was brought under the attention of the ATP until further investigation has been completed.
Moscarella isn’t the first ATP umpire who was dismissed from his position this year. Recently they also suspended the 44-year-old Damian Steiner from Argentina. Steiner was umpire during the men’s finals at Wimbledon. According to an ATP spokesperson, Steiner granted many interviews which the ATP didn’t permit. Steiner had many interactions with the media in Argentina, and the ATP didn’t allow him to discuss any of the events which occurred during the match. They considered this improper conduct as enough reason to relieve him from his position with immediate effect.