Category: Tennis Events

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.

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.

Rafael Nadal Defeats Novak Djokovic to Win Italian Open

Ranked as the number 2 tennis player in the world, Rafael Nadal managed to defeat the number 1 tennis player in the world, Novak Djokovic, to win Sunday’s Italian Open in Rome for his first victory of the season along with his 9th title at the prestigious event.

The Italian Open was Nadal’s first clay-court final victory against Djokovic since the French Open in 2014. This was also the 54th meeting between the two tennis stars, and Djokovic currently leads by 28-26 against Nadal in all sessions.

Statistics Between Nadal and Djokovic

This was considered their 8th clash in Rome, and their 5th meeting in the final. Rafael Nadal currently leads 5-3 over Djokovic in Rome, and 3-2 in terms of finals in Rome.

The only tournaments that Rafael Nadal has managed to win more frequently than the Italian Open are the Monte Carlo, Barcelona, and French Open – all of which he has claimed a total of 11 times.

Rafael Nadal recently informed reporters that while a win is essential, he considers health and competitiveness more important than winning in his mind and that always improving his game is one of his biggest joys in life.

Novak Djokovic is still leading by 15-11 when it comes to all finals, while Rafael Nadal is leading Djokovic on clay by 17-7. Both these exceptional tennis players will now make their way to Paris where there’s even more up for grabs in the French Open.

Rafael Nadal will be looking for his 12th Roland Garros title, while Novak Djokovic will be looking to hold all 4 Grand Slam titles simultaneously for a second time in his tennis career.

Rafael Nadal’s Win in Rome

After Rafael Nadal won his 11th title a year ago at the French Open, Novak Djokovic claimed victories at the Australian Open, US Open, and Wimbledon, where he defeated Rafael Nadal in straight sets during the final to claim his 15th Grand Slam.

In more than five years, Novak Djokovic has been 13-3 over Rafael Nadal within the final of the Australian Open. All 3 of Rafael Nadal’s victories occurred on clay which included 2 in Rome and the semi-final of last year.

However, with his recent victory in Rome, Nadal managed to gain a massive confidence boost before making his way to Paris where he has managed to win 11 out of 17 Grand Slam titles.

In the match, Nadal looked like he was playing at his peak during the first set, while Novak Djokovic seemed a little off, allowing Nadal to hand Djokovic a bagel. This was mainly the first time that either of these players managed to take a 6-0 set against the other player in a total of 142 matches.

Should these two players meet again at the Roland Garros final in there weeks’ time, with Rafael Nadal leading 17-15 in the major count, the match could determine if Nadal will close the gap to Roger Federer or if Djokovic can close the gap of Nadal.

The French Open Storylines That Could Unfold in Rome

The last significant warm-up before the French Open – the final choice prize on the loaded circuit of Euro clay – is already taking place in Rome. There’s a mere week left following the conclusion of the Italian Open this week – a WTA Premier 5 and an ATP Masters 1000 tournament – before play begins in Paris. However, the players at Roland Garros usually skip the small events to focus more on the second Grand Slam event for the season.

In recent years, the narrative for the French Open was already determined when the Italian Open started. However, things are different this time around in Rome, giving the impression that things aren’t entirely settled. This means that the questions we asked carry a greater urgency than before and the next few days will be able to tell us the narrative for Ronald Garros.

Will Serena Williams Win in Rome?

If you want to determine how to fit Serena Williams is for the French Open, you can’t create an ideal tournament. The Italian Open is Serena’s most fruitful tournament on clay. She is a four-time champion with her most recent win in 2016. However, she has only dominated at the Met Gala in past months. She had a decent run during the Australian Open, but that was almost four months ago. She also managed to play in Miami and Indian Wells but pulled out in both events.

She will be facing her sister, Venus Williams, during Round 2 in Rome as the number 10 seed. She will also have Simona Halep and Sloane Stephens in her quarter, while she is in the same half as Naomi Osaka as the number 1 seed and Kiki Bertens as the number 6 seed.

Is Novak Djokovic Back at the Top?

Nobody, other than Rafael Nadal, has advanced to the French Open recently feeling like a top contender when it comes to men’s tennis. However, if Novak Djokovic managed to claim victory in Rome, he will have the right to brag about it, and he is well aware of it too. He recently informed reporters, after the great win over Stefanos Tsitsipas on Sunday in Madrid, that the victory was significant for his motivation and a confidence boost for Rome.

This is essentially a warning to every rival when it comes to how dominant Djokovic was during the Slam run from July through to February. However, motivation is a challenging aspect, as Djokovic demonstrated recently with his under-par performance.

Djokovic managed to equal the record by Nadal of 33 Masters titles with his incredible victory in Madrid. It’s difficult to imagine that he wouldn’t love to surpass his rival while playing in Rome. Hi, might get outplayed or outclassed in Rome. However, a defeat to a player outside the top 10 players would be a significant sign. Djokovic has been on top of his game recently, and there’s no doubt that he will continue that run in Rome.

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.

Tennis Stars Get Paid to Drive These Luxurious Cars

Tennis stars are supported by millions of fans and all the major stars has partnered with one of the leading automobile brands. In promoting some of the most luxurious cars via social media or adverts, there are many benefits to both the sports starts as well as the companies. In return for promoting the automobile brands, the tennis players receive tons of cash, and they get to drive the car of their choice.

Rafael Nadal Ambassador for Kia Motors

Rafael Nadal has been the promoter of choice for Kia Motors, and since the start of 2004, he was at first the primary ambassador for the brand in Spain. Since 2006, only two years after becoming the ambassador for Kia Motors in Spain, Nadal became the Kia Motors ambassador for the global brand.

Roger Federer Partnered with Mercedes-Benz

Since 2010, Roger Federer is the Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador, and this means that he receives a new car from Mercedes every six months.

Maria Sharapova Associated with Porsche

Maria Sharapova is a huge Porsche fan and became the brand ambassador for the brand in 2012.

Kei Nishikori is the Ambassador for Jaguar

Nishikori loves everything about Jaguar, and by 2014 he got the deal of a lifetime when he became the brand ambassador for the brand in Japan.

Serena Williams Choose Lincoln Motors

Serena Williams selected Lincoln Motors which is the Ford Motor Company’s luxury car division. In 2018 the tennis superstar was appointed as the brand ambassador for none other than the 2018 Lincoln Navigator model. Williams has also been allied with German automakers previously, which included Aston Martin and BMW’s Mini brand.

Andy Murray is the sports Celebrity promoting Jaguar.

Andy Murray first became the Ambassador for the Jaguar brand in 2016 and is known by most as the Jaguar man.

Dominic Thiem

Since 2015, Dominic Thiem is the Kia Motors brand ambassadors in Austria while Rafael Nadal is the ambassador for the Kia Motors brand worldwide.

Alexander Zverev

Since March 2017, Zverev is the brand ambassador for the luxury automobile brand, Peugeot.

Garbiñe Muguruza

Garbiñe is the official ambassador of Mazda since 2014. While the deal is not active at the moments, it could be prolonged in future.

While tennis superstars get to drive the most luxurious cars around, it is also interesting to know which earns the most. According to Forbes, the wealthiest tennis superstars in the world makes around $77.2 million per annum. The yearly income of $77.2 million was for the period June 2017 up to June 2018, which have increased considerably since then. His/her income does not determine the highest earner only as a $300 million endorsement deal signed by Federer for the next 10-years almost ensures that he will remain at the top of the list. The top-earning female tennis star remains Serena Williams who earned for the same period an income of $18.1 million.

The top earners include Novak Djokovic at around $23 million per year, Kei Nishikori earning a yearly income of $34.6 million and Rafael Nadal earning $41.4 million. At the top of the list is Roger Federer earning $77.2 million.

Is the WPA About Lack of Dominant Tennis Players or Depth?

When Naomi Osaka claimed her second Grand Slam title in succession during January at the Australian Open, it seemed like the WTA could have located a player with sufficient dignity to surpass Serena Williams. The primary obstacles that are standing in her way appear to be three other Grand Slam champions, including Angelique Kerber, Petra Kvitová, and Simona Halep.

The hype was enormous. Referring to Osaka and Williams, a news article published in The Atlantic stated: “Women’s tennis is currently a two-headed monster while the rest are still lurking.”

The WTA Becomes a 14-Headed Monster

However, Osaka managed to draw a blank with the weeks that followed after the Australian Open. She was knocked out before the quarterfinals in two large tournaments, including the Miami Open and the BNP Paribas Open, which are both considered the most significant tournaments when it comes to Grand Slams. Perhaps more intriguing is the fact that her demise wasn’t the handiwork of Grand Slam champions, but instead at the hands of Su-Wei Hsieh and Belinda Bencic, neither of whom were ranked in the top 20.

Now, after 12 weeks into 2019, the WTA is not regarded as a two-headed monster anymore, but a 14 headed monster due to the number of single tournaments along with different tournament champions that have been produced in the new year. Meanwhile, Kerber, Kvitová, and Halep have one title between them which Kvitová managed to secure in Sydney. So what gives?

“It’s fantastic, isn’t it?” stated Ashleigh Barty after she claimed the Miami Open tournament earlier this month. “Especially when you look at the women’s side, I believe everything has evened out while the depth has grown considerably over the last couple of years.”

There’s no denying that the days when a top 8 seed could sleepwalk through to the quarterfinals without having to surrender more than a couple of matches are long gone. However, it still took the tour a couple of generations to fully achieve and mature the competitive depth we have now. The young generation, players up to 22 years of age, might be the strongest yet. Ashleigh Barty, currently ranked at number 9, might be its talisman.

The WTA Tournament Group

Ashleigh Barty was so well disciplined and schooled that she managed to burn out just after she turned 18. She decided to leave the tour for over a year and made her return in the minor league in May 2016. She’s only 22 years old at the moment, and there’s no one else that has claimed a WTA tournament on the hard courts in 2019. In recent years, some winners were considerably younger. The WTA tournament group includes Jelena Ostapenko who was the French Open Champion in 2017, Belinda Bencic, a struggling 21-year old who claimed a Grand Slam event, and Bianca Andreescu who was the first wild card entry to claim victory at Indian Wells. So there’s no denying that the competition is getting more difficult with each passing year.

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