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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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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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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.

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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Roger Federer’s Return to Clay After 3 Years

When Roger Federer makes his way onto the court on Tuesday evening in Madrid, it will be the first time in three years he steps onto the clay. Restricted by injury to only five clay matches during 2016 and avoiding the clay surface entirely in 2018 and 2017 to primarily focus on Wimbledon, the tennis star, as well as his friends and family, is very excited.

Madrid Open

Madrid has welcomed the 20-time Grand Slam winner by rolling out the red carpet in the last couple of days. In a country that has primarily enjoyed the success of Rafael Nadal over the last decade, it’s the face of Federer that has been promoted across posters in the capital of Spain. When it was announced that the Miami Open would feature Roger Federer, ticket sales increased significantly.

Federer stated on Sunday that he is pleased to finally return to clay after avoiding the surface for most of the last three years. He was indecisive about his return to the clay court but is happy to make his return to the Madrid Open this time around. Federer doesn’t have any high expectations walking into the tournament, but he thinks that anything is possible. Madrid is known for its high altitude, and Federer is interested to see how far he will get in the prestigious tennis tournament.

Roger Federer only started practising on clay last month. The last time he played a match on clay was during the 2016 Italian Open where he lost against Dominic Thiem due to lingering injuries in the third round.

Roger Federer’s Return to Clay

Considering he claimed victory at Wimbledon in 2017, after he decided to skip the clay circuit while he reaped the benefit of resting while others tackled the dirt, Federer’s return is quite surprising. Taking a break from clay for three years certainly increases the risk of an injury, not to mention that the movement also takes some getting used to. However, even though Wimbledon is his number 1 goal, he has been planning his return to the clay circuit for quite some time.

Federer stated that he needs to be ready for long matches and long rallies which means he needs to work on his endurance more than anything else. He already started with endurance training back in December as he already knew that he would be playing on clay during 2019. He also stated that he put loads of hours in on clay before the Madrid Open as he needed to get used to sliding all over the place as that is something that is key to winning matches when it comes to the clay courts.

With absolutely no points to defend this time around, there’s no real pressure in Madrid for Roger Federer. That’s beside the pressure he places on himself, of course. Roger Federer is going to play against Richard Gasquet in his first match along with a quarterfinal match against Thiem.

Juan Martin del Porto Is Making Another Return

Juan Martin del Potro is going to be among us again very soon, bringing back those monstrous serves and forehands. This is unless something goes wrong before he returns, and in Del Porto’s case, the worst-case scenario is always a possibility.

The tennis star from Argentina is entering the Madrid Masters tournament that will take place between 5 May and 12 May 2019. Apart from the aborted comeback, he attempted to make in February; this will be considered the first tournament for the 6-foot master since October of 2018 where he fractured his knee.

Del Porto’s Injuries

In September of 2018, del Porto celebrated his 30th birthday. He has managed to outgrow most aspects of his early years when it comes to tennis, from his introvert fear when speaking to the public to his sleeveless shirts. However, del Porto still hadn’t gotten over his physical weaknesses that had constantly interrupted his career since that surprising evening that occurred in 2009 when he managed to overpower Roger Federer during the final of the US Open.

The victory against Roger Federer remains his one and only Grand Slam title. He could have claimed a handful of additional titles since, but his intimacy with rehab and surgery during his long career started just four months after his remarkable breakthrough.

Del Porto’s Tennis Career

When del Porto is fit and healthy, he is considered one of the most disruptive forces when it comes to tennis. He is regarded as someone that is more feared than fearful, and this is true to even the most elite players in the game. An ATP specialist has recently informed reporters that del Porto has the unique power to take the game into his own hands due to the immense power he has with his services along with his forehand, as well as his potent backhand when he needs it. He never beats himself and has every single weapon needed to defeat anyone on the court, regardless if its day or night.

Even the Big Four can confirm this report. Del Porto boasted with a two-set lead over Rafael Nadal during the US Open semi-finals in September before Nadal decided to retire from a knee problem. During the Olympics in 2012, del Porto lost a match to Federer during the semi-finals. However, he managed to defeat Djokovic to claim the bronze medal.

In recent years, del Porto managed to stop Federer in a 3-set thriller during the Indian Wells final in 2018. Although he is trailing Federer 18-7 in a series, he does have a 4-2 edge over the Swiss when it comes to finals.

Due to several injuries, del Porto hasn’t had the opportunity to impress everyone with his spectacular skills and abilities consistently. The tennis star is currently ranked in 9th position. However, if he makes a return and plays the way he ought to, he will quickly climb the ranks as one of the best players in the world, especially to challenge the big four.

Serena, Federer, and Nadal Questions That Will Assist in Shaping the Clay Season

The season of clay-courts will begin next week and will pick up steam as it travels across Europe in the upcoming weeks, concluding in the French Open towards the end of May, promising to be both unpredictable and intriguing.

This is due to the fact that the landscape in both the WTA and the ATP has changed considerably. For instance, who would have thought that neither Rafael Nadal, Naomi Osaka, Novak Djokovic, or Serena Williams wouldn’t be in the final for both the Miami Open or the Indian Wells in March?

Can Rafael Nadal Still Dominate This Year?

The answer to the question is a definite yes. He is considered the defending champion at the moment and has won the grandest clay event a total of 11 times at the French Open. He also owns the record for the most victories at the Masters 1000 tournaments, with a total of 33, due to the fact that the King of Clay has played consistently at the Master’s events each and every time. If Nadal is able to stay healthy, he will undoubtedly add to his title record, making it an even dozen victories at Roland Garros.

Will a Healthy Serena Williams Contend?

Serena Williams, who is currently 37 years old and still attempting to get traction after she returned from giving birth to her child, has faced illness and injury in all tournaments she participated in. She managed to roll her ankle while playing against Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinal at the Australian Open which opened the door for a remarkable comeback victory over her rival. At the Indian Wells, she decided to retire during the second match and withdrew at the Miami Open after playing once. However, she’s back to full health at the moment, giving her the perfect opportunity to make a comeback at the French Open.

Will Roger Federer Return To Clay?

In late September, Roger Federer informed reporters that his primary motivation after he skipped the clay circuit in both 2018 and 2017 was his simplistic love of the sport. However, in March, the tennis superstar also informed reporters that skipping clay will not be beneficial over the long-term as he initially expected. He feels that a few baseline battles and hard training on clay might give him greater stead over the long term, that’s if he stays in good health.

Who boasts with the inside edge when it comes to the WTA?

The last week of play in WTA, that took place in North America, this week came equipped with 4 finalists, including Garbine Muguruza vs Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki vs Madison Keys. Everyone except for Keys has been number 1 and claimed Grand Slam title victories. However, none of them has won a tournament as of yet in 2019. Muguruza and Keys eventually cracked the code. However, you can expect much of the same in the months yet to come.

Bianca Andreescu Wins Indian Wells Women’s Title

If Dominic Thiem required a clear reminder that anything is possible before his incredible three-set upset against Roger Federer at the BNP Paribas Open in the men’s final. Bianca Andreescu certainly provided that pep talk. She is only 18 years of age.

Bianca Andreescu vs Angelique Kerber

With her remarkable 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 victory over Angelique Kerber, a three-time Grand Slam champion. Bianca Andreescu managed to become the first wild card to claim the Indian Wells women’s title. She is now regarded as the youngest tournament winner since Serena Williams back in 1999. Bianca is considered the fourth unseeded tennis player to raise the prestigious trophy, joining Naomi Osaka, Kim Clijsters, and Serena Williams.

Towards the end of the third set, Bianca Andreescu was visibly exhausted, played injured, and had cramps in her legs against one of the toughest, fittest women in the world of tennis. However, for one day, the 18 years old Canadian managed to outsmart one of the greatest fighters in the sport.

“This is undoubtedly one of the most difficult matches I’ve played in my career,” Andreescu stated after the match. “I realised how much determination I have, and regardless of the score, anyone can come back. I certainly believe that I proved that anything is possible today.”

From Sunday’s first ball, Andreescu didn’t show any signs of the nerves that usually accompany players during their first WTA final. Mainly when she played against a tennis pro. Who was there to contest for her 29th final and was ranked number 8 in the world. On the other hand, Andreescu already managed to take down 5 Top 20 players in 2019, three in this tennis tournament alone, and accumulated more match wins than any other female tennis player.

Dominic Thiem vs Roger Federer

Even though he dropped the first set against Federer, who seemed every bit the champion. Thiem managed to rally to take the second set and during the 11th game of the last set. This prevented Federer from scoring on a back-to-back drop shot attempts before breaking him with a brilliant crosscourt forehand.

The 25-year-old from Austria then managed to close the match on his serve. This allowed him to claim his first Masters 1000 title along with the most significant tournament of his career with an astonishing 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 win. Thiem was instantly grabbed in the head, he dropped to the ground, and his legs/arms were splayed out. This was similar to how Andreescu did when she won the most significant single title on the history of Canadian tennis.

“It’s quite unreal what occurred in 10 days throughout the tournament,” Thiem stated after his victory. “I had terrible form in most categories, and I’m not the Indian Wells champion. It feels truly unreal. It’s remarkable that I managed to get here, my first massive title.”

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Nick Kyrgios’ Impressive Win Against Rafael Nadal

Nick Kyrgios only played his 6th match in 2019 before he faced Rafael Nadal in the Acapulco ATP 500 on Wednesday evening. Kyrgios certainly made up for lost time when he upset the top seed of the tournament in an electrifying 3-hour match in glorious fashion.

The curious factor about the match is that the action most witnessed as unsporting or inflammatory weren’t the kind of defenceless transgressions that have earned Nick Kyrgios notoriety.

The Controversial Bits of the Match

The controversial bits that occurred during the match on Wednesday evening were an injury timeout during the second and first sets. The underarm serves Kyrgios attempted, and a complaint regarding the amount of time Rafael Nadal took between points which occurred during the third set.

Nadal fumed after the game, stating to reports: Nick is someone that has enormous talent on the court. He can easily win several Grand Slams and battle it out for the top position. However, there’s a good reason why he is still ranked at number 72 in the world. He merely lacks respect for his rivals, for the public, and more importantly, towards himself.”

Rafael Nadal, who never actually criticises other players in public, was merely giving voice to the opinions shared by other tennis players and fans. Kyrgios is a careless, aggressive player who usually lacks a filter. Nick has treated highly regarded players with insolence and failed horribly to provide his best effort. He has also been known to make disparaging remarks regarding his profession — this all taking place while still reaping the rewards when it comes to his lavish lifestyle.

The Match Between Nadal and Kyrgios

Kyrgios managed to suck up all the oxygen from the match, and there’s no doubt that it irritated Nadal from start to finish. Nadal managed to win the first set before taking a timeout for injury. This is quite a common feature in tennis these days. Nick informed the trainer that he had lower back pain and was feeling sick. A microphone managed to catch him stating that if he decided to quit the media would blow it out of proportion.

Kyrgios managed to fight back during the match after the first set. During the third set, he attempted an underarm serve to take full advantage of the return position of Nadal deep in his court. The gamble provided a double fault along with a contentious debate over Twitter. Most regard the underarm serve as being unsporting. However, it does not violate the rules of the game in any way. Several players have attempted it before Kyrgios as well.

The final aspect of the match was the third-set complaint by Kyrgios regarding Nadal’s slow speed of play. Nadal enjoys using the full 25 seconds. However, Kyrgios possesses a fast pace when he serves. The rule of tennis state that plays must proceed at the speed of the server. So, although Kyrgios won the match, it’s the last thing fans thought about after the game.

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