Second ‘Battle Of The Brits’ A Murray Family Affair

WASHINGTON, July 25, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

Monday’s start to the second Battle of the Brits will be a Murray family affair. To be certain, organizer Jamie Murray has put together a mixed team competition – Union Jacks versus British Bulldogs – for a good cause (NHS Charities and St. James’s Place Wealth Management) that will take place at the LTA National Tennis Centre in Roehampton, England. It includes both his younger brother, Andy Murray, and mother, Judy Murray, who will co-coach the Union Jacks team along with Greg Rusedski that features the Murray brothers.

“It is hugely exciting to bring Battle of the Brits Team Tennis to the British fans at the end of July,” Jamie Murray recently said at the event’s launch. “Battle of the Brits Team Tennis will be showcasing the best of British tennis in a unique team competition. We will continue to raise funds for charity during the week of competition.”

Among the participants besides the Murray brothers are British men’s No. 1 Dan Evans and No. 2 Kyle Edmund, as well as British women’s No. 1 Johanna Konta and No. 2 Heather Watson, and last week’s Progress Tour champion Katie Boulter. Each team will have 13 players (seven men and six women). The British Bulldogs will be co-coached by Great Britain’s Davis Cup and Fed Cup captains, Leon Smith and Anne Keothavong.

Each day of the week-long event, there will be eight matches – singles, doubles and mixed doubles – played across two show courts at the NTC. Teams will accumulate points from each individual match with a target goal of 60 points to be crowned Battle of the Brits team champions.

Fans can follow the action via the BBC’s digital channels (via the BBC Sport website, app and BBC iPlayer channels) as well as on the LTA’s YouTube and Facebook channels.

Krajinovic wins Eastern European Championships final

World No. 32 Filip Krajinovic of Serbia completed an undefeated week at the Eastern European Championships exhibition tournament in Belgrade with a 7-6 (7), 7-5 victory over No. 33 Borna Coric of Croatia on Friday evening at the Tipsarevic Tennis Academy.

With little margin for error, Krajinovic took advantage of three service breaks in the second set and wrapped up the title on his second match-point opportunity when Coric netted a forehand return that capped a 13-shot rally.

En route, Krajinovic earned victories earlier this week over No. 772 Aziz Kijametovic of Bosnia, No. 487 Aldin Setkic of Bosnia and No. 80 Laslo Djere of Serbia.

• The women’s title was won by No. 91 Danka Kovinic of Montenegro over No. 187 Isabella Shinikova of Bulgaria, 7-5, 6-4. Kovinic won on her fourth match-point try after saving three break points during a 16-point marathon final game.

Loss of WTA China events represents a $30 million loss

With Thursday night’s announcement that the WTA’s China swing scheduled for October and November has been cancelled due to the coronavirus, it’s worth noting that the 2019 WTA Finals in Shenzhen provided a record $14 million in prize money, thanks to its backing from primary sponsor, Japanese cosmetics company Shiseido. Tournament champion Ashleigh Barty of Australia – alone – pocketed $4.5 million, a record paycheck for professional tennis. Last year, the WTA China swing offered about $30 million in prize money.

In an interview with The New York Times tennis correspondent Christopher Clarey, WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon said, “All the leagues and all the sporting events right now are struggling. This has hurt everybody significantly. Whatever people have in reserves are going to get burned up, no question. But we are fortunate that we’re is a position that we can manage it. It’s not going to be easy, not easy for anybody, but we’ll get through it. We planned for the worst and so far we haven’t hit total worst. So we’ll look at this with the glass maybe not half full but a quarter full.”

With a 10-year investment in Shenzhen for the WTA Finals, which began last year, Simon said this year is no reason to rethink its investment in China. “We know there’s still a very strong commitment to us there,” he said. “It’s just an unfortunate situation. We are disappointed in the decision but respect it.”

Zverev and Auger-Aliassime added to UTS2

On Friday, World No. 7 Alexander Zverev and No. 20 Felix Auger-Aliassime were added to the lineup for Ultimate Tennis Showdown 2, which begins this weekend at the Mouratoglou Academy near Nice, France. Each has been seeded into the August 2 Final Four. Zverev will play the winner of Group A (Grigor Dimitrov, Richard Gasquet, Feliciano Lopez and Alexei Popyrin) while Auger-Aliassime takes on the Group B winner (Benoit Paire, Fernando Verdasco, Corentin Moutet and Dustin Brown).

“I’ve been looking forward to compete again and I’m excited that it’s finally happening,” Auger-Aliassime was quoted by Tennis Majors as saying. “I’ve been watching what Patrick has done with UTS1; the level was high and the organization was very professional. I can’t wait to play this format.”

Muguruza eager to play as many events as possible

Two-time Grand Slam champion and former World No. 1 Garbiñe Muguruza from Spain has been training diligently at her home in Geneva, Switzerland, awaiting the return of the WTA Tour next month. In an interview this week, Muguruza, who labels herself as a “born competitor”, is eager to play in the American lead-up tournaments to the US Open (Top Seed Open and Webster & Southern Open) and to compete in the US Open, too. “All the possible tournaments if the situation allows it.”

Muguruza admits there is still uncertainty about the US Open being played. “It will be difficult,” she said. “It is better to play than not, but I understand that there are mixed feelings.”

What they’re saying

Hall of Famer Chris Evert, interviewed earlier this month by Christopher Clarey of The New York Times: “Women’s tennis can continue to be No. 1 in women’s sports. It just has to get through this pandemic. Am I worried? No, but I know they will go through struggles for sure financially.”

What they’re sharing on social media

Daniil Medvedev / Thanks for the practice

Mary Pierce / Looking forward to next year’s Olympic Games

G.E.M.S. Life / Together in Cannes

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Racquet Magazine / Thinking Steffi Graf and Olympic gold

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#tokyoolympic2020 would have started today. Who else thinks Steffi could have gotten out there and won at least a ?

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