Category: Tennis

Osaka Finds Perspective – And Pride – After Tough Loss to Anisimova at Australian Open

The four-time Slam champion feels she has taken a giant step in returning to tennis this month. Naomi Osaka took a huge step by returning to tennis after shutting down her season early into 2021, which was a trying her for her on the personal front: she suffered from mental health issues and struggled to find joy while playing under the white-hot media spotlight.

Tennis Express

This year at the Australian Open, things were different. Not only was Naomi’s tennis back – so was her joy and love for the sport.

Despite a disappointing loss to Amanda Anisimova on Friday, the four-time major champ says she is immensely proud of her achievement.

“I fought for every point,” she said. “I can't be sad about that. You know, like I'm not God. I can't win every match, you know. So I just have to, like, take that into account and know that it would be nice to win the tournament, but that's, like, really special, you know, and I can't, like, think of myself to try to win the Grand Slam at the start of the year every time.”

At 24 years old, Osaka is still growing, and for now, she’s enjoying that process.

“For me, I feel like I grew a lot in this match,” she said. “The last match that I played in New York I think I had a completely different attitude, so I'm really happy with – you know, of course I lost, but I'm happy with how it went.”

Osaka says her goals are simple in 2022. Have a great attitude and everything else will take care of itself.

“I just want to go into this year, like, knowing that I'll play the whole year and I'll just have, like, the greatest attitude ever,” she said. “You know, like I'll fight for every point. Even if I win or lose, I'll just go off the court knowing that I tried the hardest that I could, and there is no way that anyone can expect anything more from me, because they saw, like, how hard I fought.

“So of course that's the goal, and I think if I keep that mentality, I'll be able to win more matches, of course. There is going to be moments like this where I'm disappointed, but I feel like the losses is what I learn the most from.”

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Ash Barty Recalls 2019 Roland-Garros Semi with Anisimova as “Turning Point” in Her Career

The Aussie says she'll never forget the key lessons she learned on that day. By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Friday January 21, 2022

Tennis is a game for life, and the more we can hang onto and grow from our experiences the better we can be. It’s true for recreational hacks like myself, and it’s also true for the best players in the world. Take World No.1 Ash Barty for instance.

Tennis Express

On Friday night in Melbourne Barty reflected on her wild 2019 semifinal with Amanda Anisimova at Roland-Garros.

The match was played under some of the most brutal weather conditions, with spots of rain and gusting wind. Barty dropped the first set and found herself down 3-0 in the second before turning things around.

It’s an experience she’ll never forget.

“I remember that I learned a lot from that moment,” she said. “That was a turning point in my career, and you have to be able to take learnings from those moments, as hard as they are sometimes, and I was able to navigate and find a way through. Which at that point in my life, in my career, it was a massive turning point.”

Barty went on to defeat Marketa Vondrousova in the final for her first major title. The general feeling was that it was a huge surprise that the Aussie won her first major on clay.

“Yeah, obviously it feels like it's a lifetime ago, but some of those memories are still really vivid,” she said. “Without a doubt we will take that and use that experience, use those feelings and those emotions as best we can come Sunday.”

Barty says what sticks with her is learning how to rely on herself as a problem solver.

“I remember the biggest moment of that match was coming out of the chair at 3-Love down the second set,” she said. “I remember that to this very day what I was saying to myself at that change of ends. From then on, it's held me in pretty good stead, sticking to those values and continuing to try and grow each and every time on court and problem-solve and work my way through.

“It hasn't worked every time, but it's made me really comfortable and made me feel like I belong out on the court. I get to do it my way. I get to be unique. I get to experiment and I get to have fun with it.”

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Chris Evert Shares Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis

The American caught the deadly disease early, and has undergone a round of chemo. By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday January 13, 2022

American legend Chris Evert revealed that she was diagnosed with Stage 1c ovarian cancer, the disease that killed her sister Jeanne in 2020.

Tennis Express

Evert’s doctor found a malignant tumor in her fallopian tube in early December, following a preventative hysterectomy. This week, according to ESPN, the 18-time Grand Slam champion and Queen of Clay began her first of six rounds of chemotherapy.

“I wanted to share my stage 1 ovarian cancer diagnosis and the story behind it as a way to help others,” Evert posted on Twitter on Friday. “I feel very lucky that they caught it early and expect positive results from my chemo plan.”


Evert lost her sister Jeanne, who was 62, in 2020 and later discovered through genetic testing, which showed that she had a pathogenic variant of the BRCA1 gene. She elected for the hysterectomy, which allowed her surgeon to catch the cancer early.


As Evert undergoes her chemo regimen, she plans to appear on ESPN’s Australian Open coverage from home. More important, she wants to share her experience, so that others may take proper precautions if they are at risk. "Ovarian cancer is rare," Evert’s doctor, Dr. Cardenas told ESPN. "However, if a patient has a family history, we encourage genetic testing and counseling."

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Serbian Tennis Federation: Novak Met AO Rules

The Serbian Tennis Federation issues strongs support for world No. 1.
The Serbian Tennis Federation has Novak Djokovic's back.

The world No. 1's home federation (TSS) issued a strong statement of support for Djokovic after Australia canceled his visa for a second time on Friday to launch the deportation process.

More: Djokovic's Visa Revoked Again, He Will Appeal Deportation

Nine-time Australian Open champion Djokovic is appealing the ruling by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke and is now in a race against time to defend his title at the season's first Grand Slam, which starts on Monday at Melbourne Park. If Djokovic loses his appeal he is facing a potential three-year ban from Australia.

The TSS said in its statement that Djokovic validly met the medical exemption rule set by Tennis Australia and asserted it's "unacceptable" he should be deported for simply following the AO rules.

Tennis Express

"The Tennis Association of Serbia strongly supports our champion Novak Djokovic in the fight with the Australian authorities for the right to play in the Australian Open, the first of four Grand Slam tournaments in 2022," the TSS said in a statement. "The precedent in the world of tennis, which has always been considered a gentleman's sport, to politically and judicially aminate the participation of the nine-time Australian champion in the tournament is unacceptable for the entire sports world on the planet and contradicts the sacred Olympic principles, which are well known. as organizers of the Olympic Games.

"We remind you that the best tennis player in the world, Novak Djokovic, validly fulfilled all the prescribed requirements and rules of the organizers of the Australian Open and the host country to participate in the tournament, which was confirmed by a court decision of the same country. The new visa withdrawal, caused by political pressures, has led to a new withdrawal of not only the Serbian, but also the world sports ace in court and detention."

Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve 

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Osaka Reveals ATP Inspiration

Two-time Australian Open champion inspired by a dynamic veteran.
Naomi Osaka owns closing power.

The former world No. 1 has won the Australian Open in two of the last three years and will launch her AO title defense on January 17th as one of the most dangerous women in the Melbourne Park field.

More: TA Misinformed Djokovic on Medical Exemption Documents Reveal

Osaka, who has reached the Melbourne Summer Set semifinals this week in her first tournament since bowing in the US Open third round, is focusing on improving finishing forward.

To that end, the four-time Grand Slam champion says she's been inspired watching a dynamic ATP all-courter: Grigor Dimitrov.

Tennis Express

Typically, Osaka is most comfortable venturing to net for the post-match handshake. But she owns an explosive drive volley and if she can develop net instincts, angled volleys and some touch volleys it will make her powerful baseline blasts even more lethal by empowering her to close points at net.

Embed from Getty Images

"Of course me and [coach] Wim [Fissette] worked on it a lot, and we've been kind of trying to work on my touch, which he says isn't that bad, but I just never really try to go up to the net at all," said Osaka, who will face third-seeded Veronika Kudermetova in the semifinals.

"For me, I feel like that's really important. I was watching Dimitrov play before that, and him and his opponent seemed to be quite good ending things at the front of the net. I just wanted to kind of be like that. Maybe I got inspiration from them."

Photo credit: Getty

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Murray, Kyrgios Receive Sydney Wild Cards

Former world No. 1 will debut in Sydney.
Sydney already boasted a loaded women's field.

Now, Andy Murray and Nick Kyrgios infuse the men's draw with some star power.

More: TA Misinformed Djokovic on Medical Exemption Documents Reveal

Former world No. 1 Murray and his buddy and sometimes comic foil Kyrgios have both received wild cards into the Sydney Tennis Classic, which hosts a men's 250 and women's 500-level tournament next week.

Two-time Olympic gold-medal champion Murray, who received a wild card, will play the Harbour City for the first time.

“I’m looking forward to playing in Sydney for the first time and continuing my preparation for the Australian Open,” Murray said. “I’ve heard great things about Sydney, it’s a pretty cool city.”

Tennis Express

Murray will join the likes of Aslan Karatsev, fellow Brit Daniel Evans, David Goffin and Australians Alexei Popyrin and wildcard recipients Jordan Thompson and Kyrgios in the men’s singles draw.

The Sydney Tennis Classic women’s draw features 19 of the the WTA’s Top 30, including world No. 1 Ash Barty, No. 3 Garbine Muguruza, No. 5 Barbora Krejcikova, former No. 1 Simona Halep, 2020 Roland Garros champion Iga Swiatek and 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin.

The draw is set for Saturday, January 8th at 4:30 p.m. local time. Qualifying begins on January 9th before main-draw action commences on Monday, January 10th.

Tickets to the Sydney Tennis Classic are on sale via australiansummeroftennis.com/Sydney.

Photo credit: ATP Tour

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Emma Raducanu Pulls out of Melbourne Event, But Appears Set for Australian Open

The British star says she hasn't had time to adequately prepare after isolating due to Covid.By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Friday December 31, 2021

Emma Raducanu has pulled out of this week’s WTA event (Summer Set 250) in Melbourne, due to the fact that she has not had enough time to prepare to recover from the isolation that was caused Covid-19.

Tennis Express

The 19-year-old announced the news on Saturday, saying “The timing to compete in the first Melbourne event this week is too soon for me, having just returned from isolation.”


Raducanu tested positive for Covid-19 on December 14. She has recently arrived in Melbourne and posted a video of herself practicing on Rod Laver Arena on Friday. It appears that she will be fine to play the Australian Open, which begins on January 17.

 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

 
 
 

 
 

A post shared by Emma (@emmaraducanu)

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Thiem Pulls out of ATP Cup and Sydney, Australian Open Still in Doubt

The Austrian says his wrist is almost 100 percent. By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Monday December 20, 2021

Dominic Thiem has suffered a minor setback in his quest to get his career back on track in 2022. The Austrian, currently ranked 15, will skip this year’s ATP Cup and 250 event in Sydney, and isn’t quite sure if he’ll play the Australian Open.

Tennis Express

“Unfortunately, I caught a cold (and tested negative for Covid-19) while in Dubai and was unable to practice this week. I will therefore not be in the physical condition required to be able to play the ATP Cup and Sydney ATP 250,” Thiem wrote on Twitter. “After not competing for the last six months I can’t take the risk of coming back too soon and picking up a further injury. Overall, the time I spent in Dubai was great as I’ve increased the intensity and level of practice and my wrist is almost at 100 percent. My aim is still to play the Australian Open but we will make a final decision about my participation by the end of December.”


Thiem has not played since he injured his right wrist in June at Mallorca. The 28-year-old did not need to undergo surgery and his hoping to make a full recovery in 2022.

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Brady Steps Out of Australian Open

A left foot injury has forced the 2021 finalist out of the 2022 AO.
Jennifer Brady made major strides at the 2021 Australian Open.

A foot injury has forced the AO finalist to step out of next month's Australian Open.

"Our 2021 finalist has withdrawn from #AusOpen 2022 due to a left foot injury. Wishing you a speedy recovery Jen," the tournament announced on Twitter.

Brady joins Wimbledon finalist Karolina Pliskova, who pulled out with a right arm injury, in missing Melbourne.

The 2022 Australian Open starts on January 17th at Melbourne Park.

Tennis Express

Serving a 14-day hard quarantine in Melbourne prior to the 2021 AO, Brady couldn't even open her hotel-room window for fresh air.

Still, she showed toughness withstanding that experience and playing through to reach her first major final in Melbourne falling to Naomi Osaka 6-4, 6-3. 

Photo credit: Getty

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TC To Televise Rafa Nadal’s Return Live on Friday

Tennis Channel will air Rafa Nada's Abu Dhabi first match in more than four months on Friday.
It's holiday season and Tennis Channel is celebrating giving viewers the gift of Rafa.

Rafael Nadal will play his first match in more than four months in Abu Dhabi on Friday and Tennis Channel will televise it live.

More: Nadal Set For Tour Return

The 20-time Grand Slam champion's return at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship will air live on Tennis Channel at or after 10 a.m. on Friday, December 17th.

One of the most accomplished champions in the sport’s history—and one of three players tied for a record 20 men’s major singles titles—Nadal will compete in the Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, set for December 16-18. He has not played since injuring his foot in early August.

 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

 
 
 

 
 

A post shared by Rafa Nadal (@rafaelnadal)

Nadal is one of only two men to win singles titles at the Olympics and all four of the sport’s major tournaments: the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open. Often referred to as the greatest clay-court player of all time, he has won that surface’s most prestigious event – the French Open – a record 13 times. He is also an 11-time winner in Monte-Carlo and 10-time winner in Rome, which host two of the sport’s other top-level clay-court events. He has a record 22 wins against World No. 1 players during his career and was himself ranked at the top of men’s singles for 209 weeks.

Tennis Express

The 35-year-old Spaniard will play his first match since losing to South African Lloyd Harris in the Washington DC round of 16 last August. Nadal pulled the plug on his 2021 season after that loss to rehab and rest a foot injury. N

"My plan is to play Abu Dhabi in December and a tournament before playing the Australian Open. It is my goal and we are working hard to make it that way," said Nadal, who posted a 24-5 record in 2021. "I don't know exactly when I'll be back, but I can say that my goal is to try to come back to Abu Dhabi in December, and then, of course, for the start of the new season in January.

"The injury in my foot still needs to get a little better, but I'm already training almost an hour and a half a day so that's positive."

Nadal has won the Mubadala World Tennis Championship five times, including the most recent competition in 2019. On Friday Nadal will play the winner of Thursday’s match between 2019 US Open champion Dominic Thiem and three-time major winner Andy Murray.

Photo credit: Christopher Levy

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Six Moroccan Players Banned for Match Fixing

Players are prohibited from playing in or attending any tennis event sanctioned by any international tennis governing body or national association.
Six Moroccan tennis players have been banned for breaches of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program (TACP) rules.

The bans, which range from nine years to a lifetime ban, stem from match-fixing charges, the International Tennis Integrity Agency announced. The highest-ranked player among the six reached a career-high rank of No. 576.

More: Nadal Set For Tour Return

The cases were ruled on by independent Anti-Corruption Hearing Officer Charles Hollander QC, who after a hearing ruled that:

Amine Ahouda is banned for 11 years and fined $5,000 USD.

Anas Chakrouni is banned for 10 years and fined $5,000 USD.

Ayoub Chakrouni is banned for life and fined $10,000 USD.

Mohamed Zakaria Khalil is banned for 9 years and fined $5,000 USD.

Soufiane El Mesbahi is banned for 9 years and fined $5,000 USD.

Yassir Kilani is banned for 9 years and fined $5,000 USD.

The sanctions mean that the players are prohibited from playing in or attending any tennis event authorized or sanctioned by any international tennis governing body or national association for the length of their bans.

Tennis Express

Mr. Hollander found that the players were guilty of multiple offenses and a variety of match fixing charges, including fixing elements of matches, receiving money for fixing and failing to report corrupt approaches. The ITIA investigation found that the players’ offences were linked and therefore were subject to a joint hearing.

The players’ suspensions begin from the date of their provisional suspension on July 13th, 2021 and they have 20 business days from the date of receipt of the decision to lodge any appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

To read the individual charges for each player, please click the ITIA announcement here.

Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve

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American Mackenzie McDonald Wins ATP Comeback Player of the Year Award

The 26-year-old finished 2021 at a career-high ranking.By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Tuesday December 14, 2021

American Mackenzie McDonald has locked down the ATP’s “Comeback Player of the Year” award. The American, who rose 140 spots in the rankings in 2021, from 194 to 54, completed his recovery from hamstring surgery in 2019 by emerging as a consistent threat on tour.

Tennis Express

The 26-year-old finishes the season at a career-high ranking of 54 after a season that saw him go 18-19 and reach his first career ATP final at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C.

McDonald also reached the second week at the Australian Open, where he became the lowest-ranked player to reach the last 16 at the Australian Open since World No. 248 Canas in 2004.

McDonald also won the Nur-Sultan challenger title and reached the semifinals of two other challengers. He won a total of 42 matches across all levels and qualifying.


“It’s extremely rewarding. For me it’s a massive accomplishment, honestly,” he told the ATP. “At the end of the year I was hoping I was going to be nominated, I got that and then actually winning it is really cool for me. It was a really big comeback and I feel like I put in all the hard work. When I was going through the rehab process I did everything I possibly could to get myself back.”

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