During January at the Australian Open, Murray hit rock bottom, announcing his retirement due to his ongoing battle with a worsening hip injury. The injury was causing him constant pain, and he was content to put down his racket forever in exchange for a pain-free life. Now, after surgery, he is openly discussing his surgery and his reason for return to the court once again.
Murray is back on the court after undergoing hip surgery. He stated that it was, in fact, his surgeon, Sarah Muirhead-Allwood, who urged him to get back to play. Muirhead-Allwood is known as a royal surgeon after operating on the Queen Mother’s hip many years ago. Initially, Murray was content with the fact that his career is over and was only hoping to live a pain-free life. During rehab he was, however, realizing that he is now pain-free and happy again and that is enough. He thought that he didn’t have to play tennis. It was then when Muirhead-Allwood urged him to get back.
She stated that him being able to play once again would give surgeons confidence in the kind of treatment which he received. He is hoping that when people see him play again after the operation, that it would give them hope to recover from the same kind of painful situation too. Murray is however aware of the fact that he would have to go for a complete hip replacement later on in his life and that the surgery which he had of hip resurfacing, will only last up to 20 years. This estimated time frame might be shortened though through playing tennis on his level again. Alternatively, he also has his hopes on the train of thought which indicates that an active and healthy lifestyle like that of a top athlete, might cause the bone to be stronger around the hip area and making the resurfacing last longer.
The Near Future
This past week Murray was in action for two hours and 42 minutes against Alex de Minaur. The positive from this game was that he didn’t experience any pain either during the time on the court or afterwards. Soon he will be in Beijing for the ATP 1000 event which takes place in Shanghai. Murray is stating that in the past he placed his body under a lot of stress and that he is planning on taking a more relaxed approach now. He is allowing more time to relax and rest within his schedule. He stated that he is still not ready to take on players at the level of Nadal or Federer, but he is back on the court and enjoying himself. This is something which he was always very clear about, the fact that he will retire the day when he doesn’t enjoy playing anymore. Hopefully, for fans of this 32-year-old star, this won’t be the case for a long time to come.
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?
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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.
Serena Williams is, without any doubt, one of the most famous athletes in the world of tennis. Since she debuted her career, both Serena and sister, Venus, gripped the attention of tennis fans globally. Serena is also not known for only her success in the world of tennis, but too often made the news as an inspirational icon to many women and not only limited to the world of professional sports. Hence being a star in every single sense of the word, her net worth has accumulated to quite an impressive amount.
Serena has a long and successful career, which started when she was only 14 years old when she won her first Grand Slam title. Since then she raked in 23 Grand Slam titles in total. Showing the world her real strength when she won the Australian Open while being pregnant. Without a doubt, all this success brought an impressive income over the years, and it is no wonder then that Serena is the highest-paid champion in women’s tennis. The total amount of her income through her successful career, standing on $88.6 million.
The Battle to Equal Pay
Serena has been very vocal for many years already about the enormous pay gender gap, which exists in the world of professional sport. Hence she is also in strong support of the US Women’s Soccer team’s, appeal for equal wages and prize money. This battle to achieve equal pay is not without reason. Already in 2016, it was reported that Serena made a mere $495 000 dollar to defend her title, while $731 000 was earned by her male counterpart at that stage, Roger Federer.
Tennis Is Not Her Sole Income
When someone reaches the level of success and fame, which Serena managed through her successful career, many opportunities unfold which deliver their high financial returns. Serena is also actively involved in the upliftment of women, and she is an ambassador in support of positive body image. This is fitting well with the clothing line which she launched in 2018. The range is described as a unique balance between glamour and comfort and includes sizing up to a 3X. The clothing line is also a reflection of her motherhood and the effect that it had on her life. She is convinced that not only fashion icons can look amazing, and she wants to create a look where even moms can look like fashion icons and still be comfortable in what they wear.
Another additional income to her already healthy bank balance comes from endorsements. Her five-year contract with Nike brought her a profit of $40 million in endorsement fees. All these additions to her financial status contributed to her total net worth of $180 million. This is almost double of that of a sister, Venus who is set at $95 million. Serena Williams is indeed impressive both on and off the court and most definitely too when it comes to financial strength.
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.
This has been a great week in the life of Nick Kyrgios. He had to describe it as one of his favourite weeks. The 24year-old Kyrgios won Daniil Medvedev with straight sets of 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-4) while delivering a very entertaining final game.
The Australian born Kyrgios has been playing in eight ATP finals and secured his sixth title win this week. He is currently the highest-rated Australian tennis player on the ATP ranks. During his career, his professionalism as the player has been a couple of times in question though. Only last month during Wimbledon, Kyrgios was hitting the spotlight for being seen in a pub the night before playing Rafael Nadal. It often seemed in the past like he was giving up on matches.
This might have changed now, and we can only hope that when Kyrgios stated that he decided to make a change, which this time around it will last. He also expressed his appreciation for the fact that even during a time when he didn’t have faith in himself anymore, there were still those who had faith in him and kept on supporting him.
Always Keeping the Crowds Intrigued
Kyrgios has a very naughty side when on the court, and that makes his games very entertaining to the crowds. During this week of play they were often asked on suggestions where to serve, handing out fist pumps or quietly singing along with songs, Kyrgios has fun on the court, and he has a way of keeping the crowd captivated. What this week showed us again is that when Kyrgios focus on the game and set out to win, he can be unbeatable. He has in the past been able to beat players much stronger than his competitors during this week in the US, but will he now finally stop faffing around and focus on his game and his impeccable talent?
Complex History of Wins and Losses
Over the years, he has shown us that when he wants to win, he can be undefeated, but his emotions are always seeming to get the better part of him. Kyrgios struggle to play a motivated game when he is competing against lower-ranked players, leaving him often losing against them. When he is motivated, he defeats much stronger opponents like during the Mexican Open earlier this year. After going through a terrible run during the Delray Beach Open in February, he arrived at the Mexican Open with renewed focus. He managed to defeat Stan Wawrinka, Rafael Nadal, John Isner and Alexander Zverev and ended up winning the title. It is clear that when he is happy in life, he is a winner, but too often his emotions are having an unfortunate effect on his performance, and that is what is robbing him of becoming the best he can be on the court.
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.
This week the International Tennis Federation suspended Haddad Maia; currently, 99th ranked in the world, for testing positive for banned substances.
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.