After being victorious in Basel, Federer has withdrawn from Paris in an attempt to manage his schedule carefully.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.
A couple of years ago Roger Federer had an idea which would be referred to as the Laver Cup. The vision entailed a tennis festival, an event where the legends of the sport are honoured, and the upcoming generation is inspired. It had to be fun for those who competed and those who attended. Today we know this vision became a reality which exceeded his expectation. 20-22 September is when the third edition of this event is taking place in Geneva, home turf to Federer himself.
Within a short period of only three years, the Laver Cup became extremely popular. During the first edition which took place in 2017 in Prague and the second in 2018 in Chicago, the event showed itself as an absolute hit on the tennis calendar. In such a degree that this year the ATP decided to let go of their antagonistic attitude towards the tournament and finally recognize it as one of the official world tournaments. The event will however not influence the ATP rankings, due to various tour rules which prevent ranking happening at the tournament. Chris Kermode, the CEO of ATP, expressed their excitement over the event. He mentioned that the players had contributed passionately, and the tennis fans of the world responded with sold-out events.
The Structure of the Laver Cup
The cup is named after Rod Laver, a living legend in the world of tennis. The tournament exists out of two teams competing against each other. The team representing Europe is named after German tennis legend, Bjorn Borg and the opposing team, Team World is named after the former bad boy in tennis history, John McEnroe. The core of Federer’s vision was to deliver a fun event for tennis fans globally which give honour to legends who made history in the game. The immediate appeal which it had from the crowds was, however, exceeding his own expectations. The Laver Cup is being played indoors in many significant areas. The venues resemble those which are used for WWE or even rock concerts. These are chosen specifically to attract the attention of younger interest.
Staring the Best
Even though the tournament is scheduled shortly after the US Open, Federer managed to get a brilliant lineup for the weekend tennis extravaganza. Winner of the US Open, Rafael Nadal and good friend to Federer, is one of the great stars showcasing his talent over the weekend. Nadal’s loyalty to both his good friend and the Laver Cup is represented in the fact that this tennis superstar announced shortly after taking victory in the US Open, that he will need to rest, to let the tendinitis in his knees heal. He said that his schedule for the remainder of the year would have to be delayed for a couple of days, but the one event which he will most definitely be present at is the Laver Cup.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.