ITF Seniors World Championships Rescheduled to Aug 29 – Sept 11, 2021

International Tennis Federation
Press Release: March 22, 2021

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The ITF has today confirmed, following consultation with the Croatian Seniors Tennis Association (host organiser) and other tournament stakeholders, that the 2021 ITF Seniors (50-55-60) World Championships in Umag, Croatia, originally scheduled to take place from 6-19 June 2021, will now be played from Sunday 29 August to Saturday 11 September. The event will remain in Umag, with the Team event running from 29 August – 3 September, before the Individual event from 4-11 September.

The ITF Seniors Committee has taken this decision in light of the ongoing situation, globally and in Croatia, with significant travel restrictions remaining in place for many nations and regions. At this time, too much uncertainty remains to allow participants to make the necessary arrangements for an event of this scale in June.  The health and safety of everyone involved remains the foremost priority.

The rescheduled Seniors World Championships will immediately proceed the ITF Young Seniors World Championships which begin on 12 September.  The ITF Young Seniors World Team and Individual Championships remain scheduled to take place in Umag from 12-25 September as well as the Super Seniors World Team and Individual Championships on Mallorca, Spain from 10-23 October 2021.

Players and teams are advised not to book any travel or accommodation until the tournament fact sheets have been published, approximately 4 months prior to the event.

U.S. tennis participation surges in 2020, Physical Activity Council (PAC) report

USTA National
March 2021
This article was originally published on USTA.com, February 11, 2021

Tennis is the perfect social-distancing sport—and the numbers continue to prove it.

Tennis participation in the U.S. increased by 22% in 2020, with 21.64 million people hitting the courts, according to recent data from the Physical Activity Council’s Participation (PAC) report produced by Sports Marketing Surveys. The survey and report monitor more than 120 different sports and activities participated in by Americans.

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Of the more than 21 million Americans saying they played tennis last year, 6.78 million were either new or returning/lapsed players. Nearly 3 million of those were first-time players, a 44% increase over new players in 2019. Additionally, the 3.82 million Americans who returned to the sport after time away was a 40% increase over the same measure in 2019.

“We are thrilled that so many new and existing players came back to the sport—especially in what was such a challenging year for so many people,” said Mike Dowse, USTA Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director. “These new participation numbers are a testament to the hard work, passion and commitment of a united industry that worked together to ensure that tennis not only survived, but that it thrived.

“Even though we continue to face challenges, it’s evident that many people recognize tennis as the ideal social-distancing sport, which puts it in a great position to continue to grow and allow people to stay active and social in a healthy and safe manner.”

In addition to the increase in participation highlighted in the PAC report, the Tennis Industry Association—the trade association that assists in monitoring the entire U.S. tennis industry—reported that racquet sales in the entry-level category have seen significant year on year growth of nearly 40%.

With its inherent social distancing, along with many other health benefits, tennis continues to show strength in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. To that end, the USTA—with input from the USTA Medical Advisory Group—established in 2020 a series of recommendations and guidelines on how to play tennis safely for both players and facilities. Additionally, a recent study, which analyzed the surface of balls used in various sports, showed that tennis balls used during normal play are unlikely to put players at risk of developing COVID-19.

Tennis’ positive health impacts are well documented, and have recently been further highlighted by one of the largest sport-specific studies to date. The study, published in the July 2020 edition of the Journal of Medicine and Science in Tennis, showed that those who play the sport have higher general, physical, social and mental health scores than the general population.

“We are excited to see these positive trends and such significant growth in our sport,” said Craig Morris USTA Chief Executive, Community Tennis. “We are energized to continue putting forward key industry partnerships and quality programming to ensure new and existing players of all ages and abilities have the best experience playing the sport for a lifetime.”

 In order to capitalize on the momentum surrounding participation, the USTA collaborated with leading manufacturers and mass retailers to include a “Net Generation” hangtag on over 400,000 youth racquets sold by various mass sporting goods and tennis retailers across the U.S. Beginning in early Q2, the hangtags will include information about Net Generation, the official youth tennis brand of the USTA, via a QR code announcing local play opportunities and access to the free youth USTA membership, all aimed at making it easier for kids to get into the game.

After fulfilling more than $10 million in funding to combat the pandemic in 2020, the USTA will continue to provide resources to certified providers and facilities across the country to ensure new and existing tennis players have access to quality programming that is safe and fun.

Each year the Physical Activity Council conducts the largest single-source research study of sports, recreation, and leisure activity participation in the nation. The PAC is made up of eight of the leading sports and manufacturer associations that are dedicated to growing participation in their respective sports and activities. To download the recent PAC report, please visit the council’s official website.

Rafael Nadal Routs Novak Djokovic at French Open to Catch Roger Federer

Rafael Nadal won his 20th Grand Slam men’s singles championship to tie Roger Federer’s record. It was Nadal’s 13th title at the French Open.

Rafael Nadal beat Novak Djokovic in the French Open final on Sunday to tie Roger Federer with 20 Grand Slam singles championships.

New York Times: Christopher Clarey

Neither Novak Djokovic nor Roger Federer could resist Rafael Nadal on Sunday.

Nadal made astonishingly quick work of them both in the French Open final, overwhelming Djokovic, the world’s No. 1 player, 6-0, 6-2, 7-5, to equal Federer’s record of 20 Grand Slam singles titles.

It was quite possibly Nadal’s finest performance at Roland Garros, which sounds like a reach considering that he had already won 12 Grand Slam singles title on the same rectangle of red clay.

But there was nothing unlucky about No. 13. He was on target from the opening game, breaking Djokovic’s serve under the closed roof at the Philippe Chatrier Court. Nadal, 34 years old but still an irresistible force, ripped groundstrokes with depth and purpose, hunted down drop shots, read Djokovic’s mind and serve and kept his unforced errors to a strict minimum. He made just two in the opening set — one of those on the opening point — and 14 in the match, giving his more erratic and increasingly edgy rival little time or space to find his mojo.

Djokovic, the 2016 French Open champion, is one of only two men to beat Nadal at Roland Garros. He had defeated Nadal in their last three Grand Slam matches against each other.

The most recent of those came at the 2019 Australian Open final, where Djokovic overwhelmed Nadal, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3, in what Djokovic still maintains was the finest performance of his career.

But that rout took place on a hardcourt, Djokovic’s best surface, at the major tournament he has won most often. Sunday’s payback came in Nadal’s kingdom.

Read more –>

Boris Becker denies criminal bankruptcy claims in London

LONDON (AP) — Former tennis star Boris Becker appeared in a London court Thursday, pleading not guilty to a string of criminal charges related to his bankruptcy case.

Becker, who was declared bankrupt in June 2017, is accused of not complying with orders to disclose financial information and hiding properties in the U.K. and Germany from his bankruptcy trustees.

The 52-year-old faces seven years in jail if convicted.

Becker stood in the dock at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday and denied 19 charges of failing to disclose money, property and debt between May and June 2017.

 

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Original 9 trailblazers stood for tennis equality in 1970

 

 

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In this Sept. 23, 1970, photo provided the Houston Library, tennis players hold up $1 bills after signing a contract with World Tennis magazine publisher Gladys Heldman to turn pro and start the Virginia Slims tennis circuit. From left standing are: Valerie Ziegenfuss, Billie Jean King, Nancy Richey and Peaches Bartkowicz. From left seated are: Judy Tegart Dalton, Kerry Melville Reid, Rosie Casals, Gladys Heldman and Kristy Pigeon. Gladys Heldman replaced her daughter, Julie Heldman, who was injured and unable to pose for the 1970 photo. It’s the 50th anniversary of Billie Jean King and eight other women breaking away from the tennis establishment in 1970 and signing a $1 contract to form the Virginia Slims circuit. That led to the WTA Tour, which offers millions in prize money. (Bela Ugrin/Courtesy Houston Library via AP)

 

NEW YORK (AP) — Billie Jean King and eight other women of the “Original 9” are celebrating the 50th anniversary of signing $1 contracts and breaking away from the U.S. tennis establishment to form the Virginia Slims circuit in 1970. It helped launch the WTA Tour, which now offers millions in global prize money.

Promoters were offering fewer tournaments and substantially less prize money for the women. They were galvanized when former player and promoter Jack Kramer announced the Pacific Southwest Open in Los Angeles would pay $12,500 to the men’s champion and $1,500 to the women’s champion.

apnews.com/article/new-york-billie-jean-king-virginia-us-open-tennis-championships-wimbledon-ec4f2a1684a5efd286cbfb31a7611764

 

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Paire says he played in Hamburg despite testing positive for COVID-19

Frenchman Benoit Paire said on Wednesday that he was allowed to play in the Hamburg Open despite testing positive for COVID-19 because the “rules are different” in Germany.

Paire, who caused a storm at the US Open last month when he was forced to pull out of the grand slam after testing positive for COVID-19, said he returned a positive test again on his arrival in Germany but was told he was no longer contagious.

Paire played Norwegian Casper Ruud in his first round match but retired in the second set when he was down 6-4, 2-0.

“When I arrived, the test came back positive again,” Paire, who also played in the Rome Masters last week, told reporters. “I can’t take it anymore, I’m breaking.

And then I’m told, in Germany, if you are positive and have already completed the quarantine [period], they no longer test the players because even if you catch it again, you are no longer contagious.

“I said ‘thank you’ to the doctor and the tournament [organisers] for allowing me to play … In Paris, some are negative but since the coach tested positive, they cannot play. Here, in Germany, you test positive and you can still play.”

Benoit Paire in action in Hamburg.
Benoit Paire in action in Hamburg.CREDIT:AP

Six players in the French Open men’s and women’s qualifying draw were withdrawn this week after either testing positive for COVID-19 or after coming in close contact with a coach who tested positive.

Paire added that he fears he will be withdrawn from the French Open after a doctor in France told him there was a 50 per cent chance he would test positive when he arrives in Paris.

The French Open begins on Sunday.

Reuters

The protocols for Roland Garros 2020

After how well the US Open turned out in terms of protocols, the Roland Garros organization has published its own a few days after the start of the preliminary phase matches. Accommodation, medical tests, accompaniment during the tournament or training place are some of those mentioned in his statement.

-Accommodation during the two weeks of competition:

The tournament organization has reported that all players will stay in two exclusive hotels for these athletes, rejecting the possibility that tourists can stay in said facilities. These hotels are the Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel and the Novotel Paris Tour Eiffel. But … how will the distribution of these facilities be done? Well, very easy, the 60 best players will stay at the Pullman, while the rest of the players, the tennis players who play doubles and those in the preliminary phase, will stay at the Novotel.

-Protocols before the start of the tournament:

The tennis players who will play the preliminary phase next week are required to arrive in Paris four days before the competition begins. All of them will undergo two PCR tests, one upon arrival and another after 48 hours, to show that they do not have the virus in their body. In this way, Carlos Alcaraz, Pedro Martínez Portero, Mario Vilella, Bernabé Zapata or Tommy Robredo, among others, will have to arrive in France in the next few hours.

For the players who will play the main draw, they have the obligation to appear three days before the start of the tournament. To do this, as with the players from the previous phase, they will have to pass two controls. A PCR test upon arrival at the hotel and another test 48 hours later. Then, as already reported a few months ago, the tournament organization will test the tennis players every five days if they continue in contention during the competition.

-Company of the players during their stay:

If a player tests positive for coronavirus, the alarms would automatically go off, and that tennis player will have to spend a 14-day quarantine in his hotel room, and therefore, will be eliminated from the tournament. In addition, the tournament organization issued a statement advising players not to share rooms in order to avoid multiple infections.

If a member of the player’s coaching staff tests positive for COVID-19, the player would immediately need to be tested. If it tests positive, it would obviously be eliminated, while if it came out negative it would be under monitoring. If a tennis player has shared a room with a positive, they will automatically be eliminated as the social distancing rule is not respected. For this reason, the tournament advises players to sleep alone in their rooms.

As with the US Open, only two accreditations will be allowed for singles players. For doubles players, qualifiers and juniors, there will only be one.

-Training:

“At the Roland Garros facilities it is only possible to train if the player has a match that day. If he did not have it, he would have to go to the Jean Bouin center, a center enabled so that tennis players can train without any problems.

Source

FIVE NOTABLE DEFAULTS: DJOKOVIC IN COMPANY WITH NALBANDIAN AND HENMAN

Emotions can run high and get the best of any of us in intense situations. Keeping them in check is part of the battle.

On a tennis court, when players lose their cool, heat-of-the-moment reactions have been known to lead to the most unfortunate of outcomes: a match default. On Sunday, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic became the center of a US Open disqualification sure to be talked about in the years to come.

Here are five defaults that are remembered for being on the wrong side of history.

Read More –>

NYTimes: A U.S. Open Missing Fans and Stars: Was It Worth It?

Two of the biggest stars in the sport did not make the trip. Another one was disqualified midway through.

Six of the top 10 women’s singles players decided to skip the event, citing concerns about traveling during a pandemic. There were no ticket-buying spectators, robbing one of the grand celebrations in sports and New York City of the buzz and vitality that only packed stadiums can deliver.

A cadre of French players ended up quarantined in their rooms at the Long Island Marriott for 14 days after one of them tested positive for the coronavirus, possibly setting back French-American diplomacy a few degrees, at least in tennis.

Television ratings have plummeted from past years.

Was the United States Open worth it?

“Absolutely,” said Mike Dowse, the chief executive of the United States Tennis Association, which owns and organizes the championship. “The gratitude we have gotten from players for getting their tours back up and running again, allowing them to earn some compensation after six months without it, and elsewhere throughout the game, that to me speaks for itself.”

Not everyone shares that perspective. There were plenty of players who flew across the country and the world, dealt with the inconveniences of the tournament bubble for days, or even weeks, then lost quickly.

“A little tough to go out and play the top seed in my first match,” said Anhelina Kalinina, who struggled to find hitting partners over the past five months in Ukraine then drew the top seed, Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic, in the first round.

Then there are the French players. After Benoît Paire tested positive for the coronavirus, electronic contact tracing revealed that several of his compatriots might be at risk for infection. A card game and some nighttime activities that violated social distancing rules came under scrutiny, prompting enhanced protocols, then disqualification from the doubles tournament for one player, Kristina Mladenovic, who called the situation a “nightmare.”

French players who were forced to remain in their hotel rooms for 14 days remain miffed at what they viewed as shifting protocols. Health officials forced organizers to disqualify Mladenovic even though she and others had initially been allowed to play during her quarantine. Mladenovic and her partner, Timea Babos, were the top-seeded women’s doubles team.

Attempting to placate the quarantined players, the U.S.T.A. moved them into the larger, corner rooms with patios at the player hotel in Uniondale, N.Y. It moved exercise equipment into their rooms and tried to provide them with top quality dining options.

Nicolas Lamperin, who represents Mladenovic, said the players were evaluating their legal options and declined further comment. The winning doubles team — Vera Zvonareva and Laura Siegemund won this year’s title on Friday — shares $400,000.

No matter how that dispute is resolved, putting on the tournament allowed the U.S.T.A. to collect revenue it desperately needed.

The U.S. Open in a normal year produces more than $400 million in revenue, which covers most of the organization’s annual budget. About half of that comes from ticket sales and corporate hospitality, money that the U.S.T.A. had to forego this year since no spectators were allowed beyond players’ families and coaches. Also, the organization, which did not carry cancellation insurance, could not curtail some $70 million in prize money without sparking a rebellion among the players.

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With sports that would usually be out of season to compete against, the U.S. Open saw its TV ratings drop 47 percent from last year.

 

Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

However, the organization collects $140 million in media rights fees each year, including an 11-year, $825 million deal with ESPN, and tens of millions more in sponsorships.

Lew Sherr, the U.S.T.A.’s chief revenue officer, said that even with all the savings from not having to provide the necessary food, amenities and security for some 800,000 spectators, profits are off 80 percent. There was, after all, the significant expense of administering more than 13,000 coronavirus tests and creating a controlled environment that helped keep the negative test rate at 99.97 percent. The U.S.T.A. purchased a half-million face masks and performed nearly 50,000 temperature checks. But the tournament will turn a small profit and the organization plans to use its cash reserves to sustain grass-roots programs.

“It’s certainly not a sustainable model,” Sherr said Thursday. “But no one was telling us we would prefer not to do this event at all this year.”

www.nytimes.com/2020/09/12/sports/tennis/us-open-fans-sa.html?referringSource

US Open Draw Lacks Some Stars, but Not Story Lines

After months of hesitation and uncertainty in the tennis world, a welcome development arrived on Thursday: the men’s and women’s singles draws for the United States Open.

For many fans, the bracket for the tournament, which is set to begin on Monday, was tangible confirmation that the professional tennis tour is indeed back. Although there have been plenty of exhibition matches, and some sanctioned tournaments, they have all felt like practice runs, tests to make sure the Grand Slam events could return. And now, after the cancellation of Wimbledon and the postponement of the French Open, they have.

Although some big names will be missing from this year’s U.S. Open, this draw also includes the return of two veterans. On the men’s side, there is Andy Murray, who last participated in singles at a major tournament in 2019, at the Australian Open. He then had his second hip operation in a year and openly questioned whether he would be able to return to professional tennis. But he was back playing singles tournaments by the end of 2019, before a pelvic injury kept him out of this year’s Australian Open.

In his first match at the U.S. Open, he will face Yoshihito Nishioka, a 24-year-old left-hander with a similar, physical style of play.

On the women’s side, an equally formidable former champion is returning: Kim Clijsters, who is returning from a second retirement to play in her first Grand Slam event since the 2012 U.S. Open — where she and Murray were the singles champions. In the first round, she will face Ekaterina Alexandrova, the No. 21 seed, who was 2 years old when Clijsters played in her first WTA event.

Aside from sentimental favorites, the draw revealed the most compelling potential matchups and story lines of the tournament. Here are five takeaways from the draw announcement:

Novak Djokovic, the men’s No. 1., has openly stated that he wished Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, his two main rivals, would have joined him at this year’s U.S. Open. But Federer is still recovering from knee surgery and Nadal opted not to participate because of coronavirus concerns, leaving a relatively simple path to the finals for Djokovic.

His hardest potential matchup is against the seventh-seeded David Goffin, who has beaten Djokovic once in eight meetings, and that victory came in 2017 on the red clay of Monte Carlo, Goffin’s favored surface. It seems unlikely that Djokovic’s run would stop anytime before the semifinals at the least.

Sloane Stephens, left, and Serena Williams at Indian Wells in 2015.
Sloane Stephens, left, and Serena Williams at Indian Wells in 2015.Credit…Julian Finney/Getty Images

Serena Williams could run into Sloane Stephens, a fellow American and the 2017 U.S. Open champion, in the third round. Stephens has been sometimes viewed as a potential successor to Williams, but has only won once in their six head-to-head matches.

This would be their first meeting since the 2015 French Open, and Serena will hope to push past Stephens as she pursues a record 24th Grand Slam title.

The 2020 Australian Open champion, Sofia Kenin could easily be considered one of the favorites to win in Flushing. But she faces an incredibly difficult quarter of the draw, one filled with former champions as well as exciting, young challengers. Kenin, the No. 2 seed, could meet Ons Jabeur of Tunisia, who reached the quarterfinals of the Cincinnati Open, in the third round.

In the round of 16, either the 16th-seeded Elise Mertens or Kim Clijsters will most likely be awaiting her. And her quarterfinal matchup could be any number of stiff opponents, including the veterans Victoria Azarenka and Venus Williams, or highly ranked players in their prime, like Karolina Muchova and Johanna Konta.

Last year, a 15-year-old Coco Gauff stormed into the spotlight with scintillating performances at Wimbledon and kept it up in the early rounds at the U.S. Open. Naomi Osaka, the 2018 champion, defeated her in the third round and, in one of the tournament’s most memorable scenes, invited a visibly emotional Gauff to join her for the on-court interview after the match.

This year, the two could get a rematch in the third round at Flushing. The two also met in the third round of the Australian Open this year, with Gauff winning in two sets of incredible tennis. Here’s hoping we’ll get to see a thrilling matchup between the two young stars again.

Daniil Medvedev, left, and Grigor Dimitrov faced off in the semifinals last year. This time, they’re in the same quarter.
Daniil Medvedev, left, and Grigor Dimitrov faced off in the semifinals last year. This time, they’re in the same quarter.Credit…Ben Solomon for The New York Times

Only one of last year’s semifinalists, Rafael Nadal, will not be participating in this year’s tournament. The other three are packed into one quarter of the draw: Daniil Medvedev, Matteo Berrettini, and Grigor Dimitrov all have reasons to believe that they can match their runs from last year, but the draw will make that task difficult.

In the same quarter is Andrey Rublev, who reached the round of 16 last year as an unseeded player before losing to Berrettini in three hard-fought sets.

New York Times