Dutch young guns win Wheelchair Tennis quad doubles gold

Dutch young guns Sam Schroder and Niels Vink are the new Paralympic quad doubles champions after defeating Rio 2016 gold medallist Dylan Alcott and Heath Davidson of Australia at Ariake Tennis Park.

The Netherlands’ Sam Schroder and Niels Vink have won gold in the quad doubles besting reigning champions Dylan Alcott and Heath Davidson of Australia 6-4 6-3 at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

It marked a changing of the guard as the 21-year-old Schroder and 18-years-old Vink won gold on their Paralympic debut and have undoubtedly shown the new generation of wheelchair tennis players are ready to make big waves.

“I have no words. It’s just crazy that we achieved this at such a young age already,” Schroder said after the win.

“It’s incredible to win a gold medal being only 18 and 21 and in our first Paralympic Games,” Vink echoed.

The gold medal match started off evenly with neither side able to find the break in the first six games.

Play was put on hold momentarily during the first set to close the roof of centre court at Ariake Tennis Park after it started raining. But just two games later the Netherlands pair found their much-needed break after five unforced errors from the Australian duo saw Schroder and Vink take the first set.

Sam Schroder (R) and Niels Vink of Team Netherlands during the Wheelchair Tennis Men's Quad Doubles Golden Medal match at the Tokyo Paralympic Games (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

Sam Schroder (R) and Niels Vink of Team Netherlands during the Wheelchair Tennis Men’s Quad Doubles Golden Medal match at the Tokyo Paralympic Games (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

2021 Getty Images

With momentum now falling the way of the young Dutch duo, they took an early 3-1 break in the second set.

Australia, who were willing themselves to stay within the match, took the chance to break back at 3-4 before the Netherlands stole the break back, making it 5-3.

With the gold medal put into the hands of Vink, who was serving for the game, he didn’t put a foot wrong as the Netherlands pair soon found themselves as gold medallists.

Unfortunately, there won’t be too much celebration going on tonight with both Schroder and Vink back in action on 2 September.

“Not too much because he [Schroder] has a gold medal match tomorrow (in singles), and I have a bronze medal match,” Vink said.

Meanwhile, in the quad doubles bronze medal match, Japan’s MOROISHI Mitsuteru, and SUGENO Koji were leading Great Britain’s Antony Cotterill and Andy Lapthrone 2-1 in the first set before rain interrupted play Court 1.

After the match resumed on Centre Court, it was the Japanese duo who were victorious in a three-set thriller 7-5 3-6 7-5 that finished around 2:00 am JST.

Sent from iPad. Pls excuse typos.

Dutch young guns win Wheelchair Tennis quad doubles gold

Dutch young guns Sam Schroder and Niels Vink are the new Paralympic quad doubles champions after defeating Rio 2016 gold medallist Dylan Alcott and Heath Davidson of Australia at Ariake Tennis Park.

The Netherlands’ Sam Schroder and Niels Vink have won gold in the quad doubles besting reigning champions Dylan Alcott and Heath Davidson of Australia 6-4 6-3 at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

It marked a changing of the guard as the 21-year-old Schroder and 18-years-old Vink won gold on their Paralympic debut and have undoubtedly shown the new generation of wheelchair tennis players are ready to make big waves.

“I have no words. It’s just crazy that we achieved this at such a young age already,” Schroder said after the win.

“It’s incredible to win a gold medal being only 18 and 21 and in our first Paralympic Games,” Vink echoed.

The gold medal match started off evenly with neither side able to find the break in the first six games.

Play was put on hold momentarily during the first set to close the roof of centre court at Ariake Tennis Park after it started raining. But just two games later the Netherlands pair found their much-needed break after five unforced errors from the Australian duo saw Schroder and Vink take the first set.

Sam Schroder (R) and Niels Vink of Team Netherlands during the Wheelchair Tennis Men's Quad Doubles Golden Medal match at the Tokyo Paralympic Games (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

Sam Schroder (R) and Niels Vink of Team Netherlands during the Wheelchair Tennis Men’s Quad Doubles Golden Medal match at the Tokyo Paralympic Games (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

2021 Getty Images

With momentum now falling the way of the young Dutch duo, they took an early 3-1 break in the second set.

Australia, who were willing themselves to stay within the match, took the chance to break back at 3-4 before the Netherlands stole the break back, making it 5-3.

With the gold medal put into the hands of Vink, who was serving for the game, he didn’t put a foot wrong as the Netherlands pair soon found themselves as gold medallists.

Unfortunately, there won’t be too much celebration going on tonight with both Schroder and Vink back in action on 2 September.

“Not too much because he [Schroder] has a gold medal match tomorrow (in singles), and I have a bronze medal match,” Vink said.

Meanwhile, in the quad doubles bronze medal match, Japan’s MOROISHI Mitsuteru, and SUGENO Koji were leading Great Britain’s Antony Cotterill and Andy Lapthrone 2-1 in the first set before rain interrupted play Court 1.

After the match resumed on Centre Court, it was the Japanese duo who were victorious in a three-set thriller 7-5 3-6 7-5 that finished around 2:00 am JST.

U.S. Open Quiz: Put Your Tennis Knowledge to the Test – The New York Times

Novak Djokovic serving at Arthur Ashe Stadium in 2010. Suzy Allman for The New York Times

“Jeopardy!” is on summer break. But you don’t have to wait to get your trivia fix, tennis fan.

Below are 21 questions for the 2021 U.S. Open. (All of the questions pertain to tennis’s Open era, from 1968 onward.) Let’s begin with an easy one:

1 of 21

Name the only player to win the U.S. Open on clay, grass and hard courts.

Bjorn Borg

Jimmy Connors

Rod Laver

2 of 21

Who is the only woman this century to lose the first set in the final and still prevail?

Naomi Osaka

Serena Williams

Maria Sharapova

3 of 21

She lost in the final four years in a row and never won the title.

Hana Mandlikova

Evonne Goolagong

Lindsay Davenport

4 of 21

For 16 straight years, from 1996 to 2011, the score line of the women’s final had a commonality. Name it.

Every final ended in straight sets

Every final went to three sets

There were no tiebreaker sets

5 of 21

He lost the men’s final four times and never won the title.

Vitas Gerulaitis

Bjorn Borg

Arthur Ashe

6 of 21

She’s the only South American to raise the women’s trophy.

Gabriela Sabatini

Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario

Flavia Pennetta

7 of 21

Novak Djokovic has won the U.S. Open three times. How many times has he lost in the final?

Three

Four

Five

8 of 21

Who was the last player with a one-handed topspin backhand to win the women’s singles title?

Justine Henin

Francesca Schiavone

Amélie Mauresmo

9 of 21

How many times has a man rallied from two sets down in the final to win the singles title?

One

Two

Four

10 of 21

She was the youngest player to win the women’s singles title.

Martina Hingis

Steffi Graf

Tracy Austin

11 of 21

Name the only South American other than Juan Martín del Potro to win the men’s singles title.

Gustavo Kuerten

Guillermo Vilas

Fernando González

12 of 21

He was the last man listed under 6 feet tall to win the title.

Stan Wawrinka

Andre Agassi

Lleyton Hewitt

13 of 21

Name the last man to successfully defend his singles title.

Roger Federer

Andre Agassi

Pete Sampras

14 of 21

The first year the tournament was played on clay, 1975, a lefty won the men’s title. Name him.

Manuel Orantes

Jimmy Connors

Rod Laver

15 of 21

In 1985, Ivan Lendl won the title. In doing so, he broke this most peculiar U.S. Open streak on the men’s side.

Lefties had won the title the previous 11 years

No European had ever won the men’s title in the Open era

He was the first man with a one-handed backhand to win the title in the 1980s

16 of 21

He was the last man to win the singles and doubles titles in the same year.

Stefan Edberg

Boris Becker

John McEnroe

17 of 21

She won the last U.S. Open women’s final of the 1990s — and she’s still on tour!

Venus Williams

Kim Clijsters

Serena Williams

18 of 21

He was the only teenager to win the men’s title.

Marat Safin

Pete Sampras

Juan Martín del Potro

19 of 21

She won the women’s title a record four years in a row.

Chris Evert

Steffi Graf

Martina Navratilova

20 of 21

Andy Roddick was the last American man to win the title, in 2003. Who was the most recent American man to make the final?

James Blake

Andre Agassi

Roddick

21 of 21

This player completed the career grand slam — not the calendar slam — by winning at Flushing Meadows in 2010.

Maria Sharapova

Rafael Nadal

Novak Djokovic

www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/08/30/sports/tennis/us-open-quiz.htm

NYTimes: Roger Federer’s Biggest Legacy? It Might Be His Billion-Dollar Brand.

It was moving day in the California desert, and Roger Federer was up before dawn. We met on the tarmac in Thermal, a short drive from Indian Wells, where Federer had lost the day before in the final of the 2018 BNP Paribas Open to Juan Martín del Potro. Just the previous month, Federer had capped his remarkable late-career surge by reclaiming the No. 1 ranking for the first time in more than five years. At 36, he was the oldest player to hold the spot since the A.T.P. published its first rankings in 1973. But Indian Wells was a rather disappointing sequel. He served for the title against del Potro at 5-4 in the third set and failed to finish him off despite holding three match points.

It was the sort of reversal of fortune that happened rarely — but more often to Federer than to his rivals at the top of the game. He has lost more than 20 times after holding match point, while Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have lost fewer than 10 such matches. “I know it’s bad to say this,” said Günter Bresnik, one of tennis’s top coaches, who has known and respected Federer since his teenage years, “but I sometimes call Federer an underachiever in tennis, considering all the matches in big tournaments he lost being already up. The guy should be at 30 Grand Slam tournaments if you’re talking about del Potro, Djokovic, Nadal and all these matches he lost where he was clearly ahead.”

And yet as we talked on the tarmac, Federer, with his long-horizon perspective and preternatural ability to compartmentalize, seemed well equipped to cope with the letdown. He was far from grumpy as he chatted and yawned in the cool of the early morning on too little sleep. “Five hours,” he said. “Not enough after a match like that.”

This article is adapted from “The Master: The Long Run and Beautiful Game of Roger Federer,” by Christopher Clarey, published by Twelve on Aug. 24, 2021.

Read more ——

www.nytimes.com/2021/08/25/magazine/roger-federer-brand-legacy.html

US Open offering tennis players access to mental health professionals | Sports News

 

By: AP | 
August 25, 2021 6:03:46 pm

A view of the Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York. (Reuters)

Players at the U.S. Open will have access to licensed mental health providers and quiet rooms as part of an initiative announced Tuesday by the U.S. Tennis Association.

Players at the U.S. Open will have access to licensed mental health providers and quiet rooms as part of an initiative announced Tuesday by the U.S. Tennis Association.

USTA said it seeks to “ensure that a comprehensive and holistic approach will be taken with all aspects of player health, including mental health.”

“Our goal is to make mental health services as readily available to athletes as services for a sprained ankle — and with no stigma attached,” said Dr. Brian Hainline, a USTA first vice president. “We will provide an environment that fosters wellness while providing the necessary resources to readily allow mental health care seeking.”

 

The USTA said it seeks to “ensure that a comprehensive and holistic approach will be taken with all aspects of player health, including mental health.”

“Our goal is to make mental health services as readily available to athletes as services for a sprained ankle — and with no stigma attached,” said Dr. Brian Hainline, a USTA first vice president. “We will provide an environment that fosters wellness while providing the necessary resources to readily allow mental health care seeking

Vale Kevin Edwards

Kevin Edwards or Kev as he was fondly known passed away peacefully yesterday surrounded by family.

As most of you will know Kev has been part of the Club for around 20 years. He started off helping with the Seaside tournament, then was asked to work as our barman. Kev was more than a barman he was an integral part of Manly Lawn Tennis Club. He knew everyone by name and their drink. He was someone you could talk to and I personally enjoyed his stories about life before retirement as well as his informed tips on the weekends rugby and rugby league results.

On Saturday, he always made sure we had cheese and crackers on the bar when our players had finished their matches. If he wasn’t in the bar he out the back chopping up cheese squares. He always arrived early and didn’t leave until everyone was finished, Kev was part of some big nights at the bar.

Kev was an exceptional person, friendly, reliable and honest and will be sadly missed by all that have known him. We pass on our condolences to Alison his wife and his daughter’s Leone and Vicki, son in laws and four grandchildren.

Due to COVID only family will be able to attend the funeral that will he held next Thursday 12 August 2021 at 11am through Maurer Family Funerals. There will be a video link that I will pass on closer to the date.

Virginia
Secretary MLTC

Novak Djokovic Loses in Olympics Men’s Semifinal

Novak Djokovic had been playing well all year until losing to Alexander Zverev of Germany.
Credit…Mike Segar/Reuters

Novak Djokovic’s dream of a Golden Slam is over.

Alexander Zverev of Germany stormed back from a set and a service break down to beat Djokovic, the world’s No. 1 ranked men’s player, 1-6, 6-3, 6-1, in the semifinal of the Olympic tournament.

Djokovic was attempting to win all four Grand Slam tournaments and the Olympic gold medal in a calendar year. He had won the Australian Open, the French Open and Wimbledon and came to Tokyo looking for the fourth jewel. The United States Open takes place at the end of the summer.

Djokovic appeared to be on cruise control when be broke Zverev’s serve to get to within three games of the match in the second set. Zverev swatted a ball through the stadium roof in frustration and looked destined to meet with a quick end like Djokovic’s first four victims in Tokyo. He had not lost a set at the Olympics and said he was getting better with each match.

But with little to lose, Zverev began unleashing his booming serve and setting up a crushing forehand to take control of the match, just as Djokovic started inexplicably spraying his shots off the court.

Zverev said he felt that even though he was down in the match he did not feel like he was playing poorly. Rather, he was playing Djokovic’s game, getting into rallies with him instead of swinging through the ball and using his superior power to control the points.

With the flick of a switch, Zverev had Djokovic on his heels, pushing him farther and farther into the back of the court.

Djokovic tried to slow Zverev’s momentum with a long bathroom break between the second and third set, as he has done in tense moments in the past, but it didn’t work, and in the two-of-three set format he did not have the cushion afforded by the format of three-of-five set matches at Grand Slam tournaments.

After Zverev reeled off seven consecutive games with seeming ease, sprinting to 4-0 lead in the deciding set, Djokovic faced a mountain too difficult even for a player who had already staged several stunning comebacks in the first three Grand Slams this year.

As a final insult, Zverev broke Djokovic’s serve for a third time in the last set to take the match. He grabbed his face in disbelief and embraced the Serbian champion at the net when it was over, then stared at the sky wondering what had just happened.

“I was thinking that I had a medal for Germany and this is probably the proudest moment of my career,” Zverev said. “The Olympics is the biggest sporting event in the world.”

Zverev said as he embraced Djokovic at the net, he had nothing but praise for the player who has 20 Grand Slam titles and had a 6-2 record against him entering the match. He told him that he would go down as the greatest player in the history of the sport, that he would win the most Grand Slams, and the most Masters titles and spend more weeks as the top player in the world than anyone.

“I knew he was chasing a Golden Slam but you can’t win everything,” Zverev said. “I told him he was the greatest player of all time, but I’m sorry.”

Djokovic skipped the post-match press availability to cool off and prepare for his mixed doubles semifinal with Nina Stojanovic, which was scheduled for Friday night. He is scheduled to play Pablo Carreño Busta in the bronze medal match on Saturday.

source: New York Times

NYTimes: Who Decides What a Champion Should Wear?

In the end, the mid-sleeved, long-legged unitard didn’t make it to the gymnastics team final at the Olympics. The German women who wore it to combat the “sexualization” of their sport were eliminated during the qualifying rounds. Instead, the usual crystal-strewn leotards cut high on the thigh were worn by the medaling teams.

The earlier shock over the Norwegian female beach handball players being fined for daring to declare that they felt better in tiny spandex shorts rather than tinier bikini bottoms (and act on their own desires) was not revisited because handball is only an Olympics Youth sport, and none of the beach volleyball players lodged a similar protest.

Yet, in many ways these Olympic Games have been shaped as much by what is not there as by what is.

Like the questions about the ban on marijuana — now legal in many states — spurred by the absence of the sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson, or about what makes a woman, raised by the decision of the middle-distance champion Caster Semenya not to compete rather than forcibly lower her natural levels of testosterone, the controversies over clothing have triggered a re-examination of the status quo.

They have cast a spotlight on issues of sexism, the objectification of the female body, and who gets to decide what kind of dress is considered “appropriate” when it comes to athletic performance.

“The conversation has been a very long time coming,” said Angela Schneider, the director of the International Centre for Olympic Studies and herself a 1984 rowing Olympian.

It is the latest iteration of a debate that has been waged in offices, colleges and high schools; in the halls of Congress; on airplanes and on television stations, as individuals have increasingly rebelled against the traditional and highly gendered dress codes imposed on them — be it the need for a suit and tie, the ban on leggings or a demand for high heels.

Sports may be the final frontier of the battle, in part because it has been built on the foundation of gender differentiation, including how that is expressed through dress, as well as an entrenched hierarchy and financial interests.

The #MeToo and social justice movements have made equity and inclusion clarion calls of the moment, and that extends to what we wear to express ourselves and the concept of uniformity — which may be less a relevant idea than an antiquated interpretation of the social contract, one defined by a historic power structure that was almost always male, and almost always white.

Though that tension is most obvious in these Olympics, it exists at every level, from Little League to the world championships. And though the issues around clothing and sports occasionally affect men (aquatic sports, especially swimming, water polo and diving, are among the few in which the male body is on display and often objectified more than the female body), they fall heavier on women.

“It feels a little bit extraordinary that we are still talking about what women can and can’t wear,” said Brandi Chastain, the former member of the Olympic soccer team who, at the Women’s World Cup in 1999, became famous — or notorious, depending on your point of view — for whipping off her shirt in celebration of her winning goal, to reveal her sports bra. “But at least we are talking about it.”

Finally, she thinks, the conclusions may actually stick.

For as long as there have been women in competitive sports, it often seems, there have been attempts to police what they wear: to make it more female or less; to hide the body because it may be too enticing for men to see or to show it off to entice men to pay to see it; to play down the idea of power and raise the idea of clichéd femininity.

Because sports are grounded in the physical, it is almost impossible to divorce the idea of sexuality from the idea of the athlete — no matter how absurd it is to think that when a woman, or a man for that matter, is in the race of their life, what they are thinking about is seducing spectators.

(All you have to do is listen to post-event interviews with Olympians to know what they are thinking about: winning. Period.)

This is especially clear in tennis. In 1919, Suzanne Lenglen shocked Wimbledon by wearing a calf-length skirt with no petticoat and corset; she was called “indecent.” It happened again 30 years later, when the American player Gertrude Moran wore a tennis dress that hit mid-thigh and again the Wimbledon powers that were declared she had brought “vulgarity and sin into tennis.”

In 1955, when she was 12, Billie Jean King was barred from a group shot at a tennis club because she was wearing shorts rather than a short skirt. Even in 2018, Serena Williams caused a stir by wearing a catsuit at the French Open.

ImageSerena Williams in the catsuit that scandalized the French Open in 2018, even though she wore it in part as a health measure.
Credit…Christophe Simon/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

In 2012, just before the London Olympics, the Amateur International Boxing Association proposed that female boxers wear skirts, not shorts, to differentiate themselves from men. (A petition and uproar put an end to that idea.) This followed a similarly unsuccessful attempt in 2011 by the Badminton World Federation to make women players wear skirts and dresses.

When the women’s soccer league began to break through in the early millennium and players started to lobby for equal treatment, Sepp Blatter, then the president of FIFA, the international soccer federation, suggested they play in tighter, smaller shorts, to “create a more female aesthetic.” The implication being that the only way to get people to pay to see the players was for them to essentially sell their bodies.

That notion was shut down pretty quickly, though the viewership argument still comes up in conversations about dress and sports. (The assumption that the watching fan base is largely male is itself a questionable one.) It wasn’t until 2019, however, that female soccer players actually had uniforms made specifically for their needs rather than scaled-down versions of the male cuts.

At this point, an alien landing on Earth could be forgiven for being confused about the so-called skirts worn by women in tennis, field hockey, squash and lacrosse, since they resemble the vestige of a skirt — like a vestigial tail — more than an actual garment.

Likewise, it would make no sense that men and women wear such strikingly different amounts of clothing in, say, track and field, whereas in sports like rowing, basketball and softball they wear close to the same thing.

The answer, when sought, is usually “it’s the culture of the sport.” Culture, in this sense, being synonymous with history and legacy; with what got athletes involved in their sports in the first place; and with the symbols of what connects extraordinary players of today to those who came before.

It’s the culture of the sport that gymnasts wear sparkly leotards. It’s the culture of the sport that beach volleyball players resemble beach bunnies. It’s the culture of the sport that skateboarders wear big T-shirts and baggy pants.

Except, of course, it’s not always. Gymnastics leotards, which today have thousands of crystals, were fairly functional and unadorned garments for decades; basketball shorts rise and fall with the times.

Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

“If a tradition was developed at a time when people were excluded on the basis of gender or race, then that tradition will not take their needs into account,” said Richard Ford, a professor of law at Stanford University and the author of “Dress Codes: How the Laws of Fashion Made History.” Consider: For decades it was a rule that the solicitor general of the United States wear a morning coat while arguing before the Supreme Court; when Elena Kagan became the first woman to hold the post, she pointed out that would no longer exactly work, and the rule was changed.

“Culture is maybe used as a reason and an excuse, but that doesn’t make it right,” said Cassidy Krug, a member of the 2012 Olympic diving team.

It’s also the culture of sports to concentrate power in the hands of the governing bodies, which rule with an iron fist, and in the coaches below them. “When someone is holding your dreams in their hands, it’s very hard to push back against that,” said Megan Neyer, a sports and psychology consultant and former Olympic diver. For years athletes have been told to be seen and not heard, a situation that helped facilitate the sexual abuse recently revealed in many disciplines, and which has made the debate around dress even more charged.

As social media has allowed athletes to create their own power bases, however, the playing field has also changed, allowing them to speak up in a way they never could before.

“There’s been a significant movement in the athlete’s rights movement,” said Ms. Schneider, of the Centre for Olympic Studies. “There has been a shift in power.”

 

Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

The International Olympic Committee allows the National Olympic committees of each delegation to dictate their own rules when it comes to dress, with one caveat, according to Ms. Schneider: The result must “not be offensive.” But like office dress codes, which have generally retreated to the idea that employees simply dress “appropriately,” what may be seen as offensive or appropriate is highly subjective.

“It’s a very fluid word when it comes to women’s bodies and changes across cultures and religions,” Ms. Schneider said.

For example, when Ms. Chastain posed naked with a soccer ball for Maxim magazine after the soccer team win, it would have been easy to dismiss that as objectification by a magazine made for testosterone-fueled fantasy. But she said she felt “celebrating the good things you do as a woman was really important,” that it showed there was no hiding the connection between her power and success and her femininity.

And though it would be equally easy to dismiss the beach volleyball outfits as “Baywatch”-style sexploitation, given that the men play in tank tops and shorts, the International Volleyball Federation changed the rules in 2012 to allow women to wear shorts and tops with sleeves. Instead, the women often choose not to in order to avoid the discomfort of getting sand in their clothes, as Jennifer Kessy, who won a silver medal in 2012, told the “Today” show.

She also said the players refer to their uniforms as “competition suits” rather than “bikinis,” the better to frame the idea for the watching public: It’s not about provocation; it’s about performance and psychology. It’s not about you; it’s about me.

And being part of a group. As an athlete, you don’t want your clothing to distract from your actions, said Ms. Krug, the diver. It is a constant balancing act between being a person representing yourself and representing your team. Or in the Olympics case, your country.

The unitards worn by the German team were positioned as a political statement, but they were also an officially endorsed form of attire. It’s just that previously no gymnasts had chosen to wear them in a setting like the Olympics. In June, the rules of U.S.A. Gymnastics were changed to allow female gymnasts to wear shorts over their leotards — just like men.

Styles “evolve as social mores evolve,” said Girisha Chandraraj, the chief executive of GK Elite, which makes the leotards for women and men on 11 national teams, including the United States. That the women seem to prefer what seems like classic glamour (sparkles! shine!) and bare legs is their choice.

Which is, in the end, what this should be about: choice. “We have seen in study after study that when an athlete feels better about what they are wearing, they perform better,” said Catherine Sabiston, a professor of sports and exercise psychology at the University of Toronto. But only the athlete can define what clothing makes them feel better. Maybe it’s shorts. Maybe it’s jammers. Maybe it’s a unitard.

Maybe it’s a bikini.

Correction: July 29, 2021

 

Why Tennis Stars Are Saying No to the Tokyo Olympics – WSJ

The sport’s biggest names are withdrawing from the Games left and right. Even Novak Djokovic is on the fence during his historic season.

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Roger Federer won’t be playing in the Tokyo Olympics. He won a silver medal in men’s singles at the 2012 Games.

PHOTO: CARL COURT/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES Joshua Robinson

Len

Novak Djokovic entered the tennis season aiming to pull off something no man has ever managed in the sport: a sweep of all four major tournaments, plus a gold medal in the Olympic singles tournament. And after dominating Wimbledon earlier this month, he’s now most of the way there.

Yet even with history on the line, Djokovic is having second thoughts about making the trip to Tokyo. So are plenty of others in the tennis world with far less to play for. There are no rankings points or prize money on offer and these summer Olympics are set to be the most restrictive in history due to pandemic regulations.

So while athletes in most Olympic sports are determined to get to Tokyo no matter what,  the list of tennis stars who have already withdrawn reads like a roster of the sport’s most famous names. Roger Federer on Tuesday became the latest to withdraw from contention, citing a setback to his surgically repaired right knee. He joined Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, 2020 U.S. Open champion Dominic Thiem, 2019 U.S. Open champion Bianca Andreescu, top-ranked American Sofia Kenin, and Australia’s Nick Kyrgios, who all pulled out to better prepare for the U.S. Open, which begins in late August.

“Obviously I want to play the Olympics, I want to represent my country. It’s a dream for me,” said men’s No. 10 Denis Shapovalov, of Canada. “But it’s really tough with these restrictions. It puts a lot of pressure on you.”

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Serena Williams won a gold medal in women’s singles in 2012 but won’t be going to Tokyo.

PHOTO: TOBY MELVILLE/REUTERS

One player with definite plans to be there is Japan’s Naomi Osaka. After skipping the French Open and Wimbledon, citing mental-health concerns, she is set to be one of the faces of the Games.

WSJ NEWSLETTER

Notes on the News

The news of the week in context, with Tyler Blint-Welsh.

Women’s world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty said after her Wimbledon win on Saturday that she also plans to go—even though it means she will now spend a total of up to eight months away from her native Australia. But Djokovic, her counterpart on the men’s side, remains on the fence.

“My plan was always to go to the Olympic Games,” he said after winning his 20th Grand Slam title at the All England Club on Sunday. “But right now I’m a little bit divided. It’s kind of 50/50 because of what I heard in the last couple days.”

Djokovic was stunned that the bubble around the Athletes’ Village might be so tight that he wouldn’t be allowed to watch other events in person or bring along key members of his team, like his racket stringer.

So rather than strain to fly halfway around the world, many would just prefer to head straight to the North American hard court circuit and prepare for their runs at Flushing Meadows, where a round of 16 appearance alone is worth $250,000 in prize money. Kyrgios, for instance, said he felt less than 100% physically and preferred to spend the time recovering than taking a chance at a tournament that had so little going for it.

“It’s been my dream to represent Australia at the Olympics and I know I may never get that opportunity again,” he wrote on Twitter. “But I also know myself. The thought of playing in front of empty stadiums just doesn’t sit right with me. It never has.”

Athletes have known for months that no fans from outside Japan would be allowed to attend events. But Tokyo organizers only announced in the past two weeks that not even domestic supporters would be in the stands.

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Rafael Nadal won gold in men’s singles at the 2008 Beijing Olympics

PHOTO: ELISE AMENDOLA/ASSOCIATED PRESS

For tennis, that would be a return to the dark days of last fall, when the U.S. Open and Roland-Garros unfolded in virtual silence. Players hated it. And this season, every new tournament has brought them closer to the atmospheres they remembered in the pre-pandemic world.

This June in Paris, authorities unexpectedly lifted a curfew so that 5,000 people could watch the epic conclusion of the French Open semifinal between Djokovic and Nadal. And by July in London, British authorities had opened up enough to fill the stands completely at the men’s and women’s singles finals on Wimbledon’s Centre Court.

Players also enjoyed looser controls than they did during last year’s brutal season. The idea of going back into that environment in Tokyo is more than some can handle.

“It was a lot to do with the restrictions, being in the bubble again, this whole situation,” Shapovalov said. “It’s not easy mentally for anybody. That was a big part of the decision.”

www.wsj.com/articles/tokyo-olympics-tennis-djokovic-federer-serena-11626275677

 

Sent from iPad. Pls excuse typos.

Naomi Osaka | Netflix Official Site

This intimate series follows Naomi Osaka as she explores her cultural roots and navigates her multifaceted identity as a tennis champ and rising leader.

There are robust training montages and glimpses of unusual gym devices (the highlight of all sports docs), but the focus of this three-part mini-series is more on the psychological aspects of Osaka’s game rather than on the strictly athletic ones.

 

www.netflix.com/au/title/81128594

 

Wimbledon 2021 Ladies Doubles Final Highlights

Hsieh/Mertens vs Kudermetova/Vesnina

WIMBLEDON, England — Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan and Elise Mertens won the women’s doubles title at Wimbledon on Saturday after saving two match points against Russian duo Veronika Kudermetova and Elena Vesnina.

The third-seeded Hsieh and Mertens won 3-6, 7-5, 9-7 on Centre Court. They clinched a back-and-forth third set when Hsieh hit a backhand winner to break Vesnina’s serve.

“We were very happy we could close it because it was just going on and going on,” Mertens said.

It was the third Wimbledon doubles title for Hsieh, all with different partners. It was a first for Mertens, who has also won the Australian Open and U.S. Open doubles.

The unseeded Russian duo had two match points at 5-4 in the second set and also served for the match at 7-6 in the third.

Mertens also had a chance to serve out the match at 5-3 in the third.

“It was such a tough match,” Mertens said. “We just kept going. … We never gave up. That’s the fighting spirit we had today that maybe made with the difference.”

Vesnina was looking for a fourth Grand Slam doubles title and second at Wimbledon. Kudermetova was playing in her first Grand Slam final

Hsieh/Mertens vs Kudermetova/Vesnina | Ladies’ Doubles Final Highlights | Wimbledon 2021 – YouTube