When British tennis stalwart Liam Broady on Monday described Andy Murray as a great champion of the game, he wasn’t referring to Murray’s 46 ATP titles. This was more of a character reference. Speaking on the Behind the Racquet podcast, Broady stressed that Murray uses his position of influence to champion the sport in this country, where a more selfish player might look the other way. For an example, Broady picked the team instalment of the Battle of the Brits event, which finished nine days ago at the National Tennis Centre in south-west London. “Andy is recovering from a hip injury,” Broady told interviewer Mike Cation, “and he risked his body to play these events knowing that it would help the other British players. The Battle of the Brits was probably not ideal preparation for the US Open, but he was still out there from dawn till dusk watching every single player play.” Broady’s comments might come as a surprise to those who saw him flick a middle-finger salute at Murray on the final day of the BOTB. But the confrontational posturing was only for fun; all the players, with the notable exception of Johanna Konta, could be found bonding over dinner every night. In fact, there has been a remarkable camaraderie between most of the British players during the recent sequence of domestic money tournaments, two of which were assembled by Andy’s brother Jamie Murray. “Without the Murray brothers, British tennis would be in a whole different position,” said Broady. “I have been so amazed with the way Andy has carried himself. We see him speaking out in the press a lot for people who need to be helped. He is the champion of the people in a sense. “From what I’ve seen, Andy is trying to create a new culture in British tennis. He did a little speech at the end of the team event saying that British players are often seen as being soft and this week proved a lot of people wrong. “He doesn’t have to do any of this. He could take his millions and live in his palace and do whatever he wants but he is a genuinely good person who is trying to help the state of British tennis, the British game.” Andy Murray was granted a wild card into the US Open at the weekend, but after a batch of men pulled out of the event, it turned out that he will not need it after all, gaining direct entry on his world ranking of No 129. Several more women joined the list of refuseniks on Monday, including two-time slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova.
The Russian world number 32 on Monday announced her decision on Instagram where she also said she would skip the Western & Southern Open which is being held in New York this year instead of Cincinnati as a lead-up to the Aug. 31-Sept. 13 U.S. Open. "Due to an unfavourable situation caused by coronavirus, and therefore the inability get together all my team, I made a difficult decision to refuse to participate in Cincinnati and the U.S. Open," said Kuznetsova. The 35-year-old Kuznetsova beat compatriot Elena Dementieva in the 2004 U.S. Open final to win the first of her two career Grand Slam titles.
Former Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard won the first and only completed main draw match at the Prague Open on a rainy Monday. The second European tournament in the WTA's restart amid the pandemic is following the same rules as the Palermo Open last week: No fans and media, players have to handle their own towels and are not allowed to shake hands. The players are isolated on one floor of a Prague hotel that was completely booked by tournament organizers.
Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 2004 U.S. Open champion, added her name to the growing group of players withdrawing from the Grand Slam tournament because of the coronavirus pandemic. Kuznetsova wrote Monday on Instagram that she was pulling out of the U.S. Open and the tournament preceding it at the same site in New York. Also withdrawing from the U.S. Open on Monday were No. 31 Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic, a Wimbledon semifinalist in 2019, and No. 108 Wang Xiyu of China.
Former US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova withdrew from this year's tournament on Monday citing concerns over the COVID-19 outbreak. The 35-year-old Russian, who won the first of her two career Grand Slam titles at Flushing Meadows in 2004, joins a lengthening list of players from Europe who have opted to skip the event. "Due to the unfavourable situation due to coronavirus...I made the difficult decision for myself to refuse to participate," Kuznetsova said in a post on her Instagram page.
Fiona Ferro of France upset fourth-seeded Anett Kontaveit of Estonia in the Palermo Ladies Open final to win the first tour-level tennis title in five months.
Fiona Ferro of France upset fourth-seeded Anett Kontaveit of Estonia in the Palermo Ladies Open final on Sunday to win the first tour-level tennis title in five months. Ferro, who is ranked 53rd in the world, won 6-2, 7-5. ''It means a lot especially after a five tough months of practice,'' Ferro said.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Alexei Popyrin withdrew from the U.S. Open on Sunday, allowing 2012 champion Andy Murray to move into the main draw.
Women's world number one Ashleigh Barty has opted against traveling to New York to play the hardcourt Grand Slam amid the COVID-19 pandemic, making the 28-year-old Halep the top draw at this year's event. "I will decide after this tournament for sure," Halep told Reuters by telephone, adding that the conditions are "tough" in the U.S. "And then I will be able to decide, take the final decision."
Serena Williams flexed and then kissed a sinewy right bicep to show down time well spent in training even without bench pressing. Williams now looks to flex her muscles on a tennis court for the first time in six months. The WTA's first event in the U.S. since March features a spectator-free field that includes sister Venus Williams, a seven-time Grand Slam winner herself, Victoria Azarenka, Sloane Stephens and rising star Coco Gauff.
Fourth-seeded Anett Kontaveit will play 53rd-ranked Fiona Ferro for the first tour-level tennis title in five months at the Palermo Ladies Open.
Serena Williams said Saturday she is pressing ahead with plans to play in the US Open despite a wave of player withdrawals from the upcoming Grand Slam event over coronavirus fears. Williams, who was one of the first players to commit to the US Open despite the pandemic, said her plans remain unchanged, adding that she was tentatively planning to go to Europe for the rescheduled French Open. "I see myself doing it all if it happens," Williams said when asked about her schedule during a virtual press conference on Saturday.
The 23-time Grand Slam tournament winner returns to action Monday in Kentucky after six months of isolation with a new attitude of living in the now.
PALERMO, Sicily (AP) -- Fourth-seeded Anett Kontaveit will play 53rd-ranked Fiona Ferro on Sunday for the first tour-level tennis title in five months at the Palermo Ladies Open.
Serena Williams travels with "like 50 masks" and has been a little bit of a recluse since early March and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
Martić beat qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3) then Kontaveit defeated Italian teenager Elisabetta Cocciaretto 6-1, 4-6, 6-1. The other semifinal will feature Fiona Ferro of France against local favorite Camila Giorgi of Italy. Ferro eliminated two-time Palermo champion Sara Errani 6-4, 6-1; and Giorgi saved two match points in the second set before rallying past seventh-seeded Dayana Yastremska 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3 after nearly three hours.
Two more top-10 women -- Elina Svitolina and Kiki Bertens -- will miss the U.S. Open, joining No. 1-ranked Ash Barty in skipping the Grand Slam tennis tournament during the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. Tennis Association also announced Friday that Barbora Krejcikova withdrew. No. 7 Bertens, who is Dutch, wrote on Instagram that one of her concerns is the need to be quarantined upon returning to Europe after the U.S. Open, which runs from Aug. 31 to Sept. 13 and will not have any spectators.
A player testing positive for COVID-19 will be dropped from the U.S. Open, but the U.S. Tennis Association has not established how many infected participants would force the Grand Slam tournament to be called off. According to a 10+-page ''Player Q&A Update'' sent out this week by the USTA, ''There are no guidelines available to determine what number (of positive tests) will compel'' the cancellation of the U.S. Open or the tournament that will precede it at Flushing Meadows this month amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Western & Southern Open, usually held in Cincinnati, is slated for the hard courts at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center from Aug. 20-28, followed by the U.S. Open from Aug. 31 to Sept. 13.
Former champion Stan Wawrinka confirmed Friday that he will not play the US Open citing "the health situation in New York" as the Grand Slam event took another hit. Wawrinka, the US Open winner in 2016, was already missing from the entry list along with four-time champion Rafael Nadal. "And the sequence of tournaments which follows after the US Open will be tough," he added, referring to the Italian Open which starts a week after the conclusion of the New York event.
Elina Svitolina and Kiki Bertens are the latest big names to pull out of the US Open. Svitolina, the world No 5, and Bertens, the No 7, have followed in the footsteps of defending men’s champion Rafael Nadal and women’s world No 1 Ashleigh Barty in deciding against playing in New York due to fears over Covid-19. The grand slam, due to be played in a biosecure bubble with strict safety protocols at Flushing Meadows, is set to take place from Aug 31 to Sept 13, but many players are not prepared to travel. Svitolina said in a statement on Twitter: “Considering all the aspects, I have decided not to play the US Open. I want to thank the USTA, organisers and WTA for giving the players a chance to play and the fans to watch this great event. I understand and respect all the efforts they are putting in to make it happen in a safe environment, but I still don’t feel comfortable to travel to the US without putting my team and myself at high risk.” Dutchwoman Bertens added: “The situation surrounding Covid-19 is still so worrying that everyone’s health is paramount and control of this virus is of course a priority. Our prime minister also indicated yesterday that we should be quarantined for two weeks after America.” French Open champion Barty was the first to withdraw before Nadal’s announcement this week that he was not prepared to go to the United States while infection rates were so high in Spain.
Elina Svitolina and Kiki Bertens, both ranked in the women's top 10, withdrew on Friday from the US Open, joining other senior players in pulling out because of concerns about coronavirus. "The situation around COVID-19 is still so worrying that the health of everyone comes first and control of this virus is obviously a priority," Bertens said. Bertens said she was heeding Dutch government warnings while Svitolina said she did not want to risk travelling.