WASHINGTON, November 26, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)
In a wide-ranking interview with British tennis media on Tuesday, Great Britain’s Andy Murray said he hopes players would be willing to take coronavirus vaccines before tournaments in order for the pro tennis tours to “get back to normality.”
Murray said, “I would hope that all the players would be willing to do that for the good of the sport – providing everything has been proved to be safe, [with] clinical trials done and there are not any significant side effects from what I’ve been hearing on TV and on the news, there shouldn’t really be any long-term effects.”
Among other topics that Murray discussed, he said the ATP, which governs men’s professional tennis, should take domestic abuse cases “extremely seriously.” He cited the recent case concerning World No. 7 Alexander Zverev, in which he’s denied on numerous occasions the claims by his ex-girlfriend, Olya Sharypova, that he had abused her during the lengthy relationship.
Murray said of the ATP’s November 13 statement: “I don’t know how long it was, but it certainly was not immediate. But I have read some stuff, and obviously tennis doesn’t have a domestic abuse policy. That is something we as a sport should be looking into, so the ATP know what to do in a that situation, rather than having to think and react to it. They can be a bit more proactive in a situation like that. They need to take it extremely seriously and see what comes of it in the coming months.”
Although Murray’s comeback this season received mixed reviews, he looks forward to returning to play in 2021. He admitted there’s work to be done in order to achieve “acceptable match fitness.” He’s been working out regularly at the National Tennis Center in Roehampton, where he said he’s pain-free from the psoas hip muscle injury that he incurred at the US Open back in September. His last competition came in mid-October when he lost to Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 6-4 in the first round of an indoor hardcourt tournament at Cologne.
The 33-year-old Briton said: “If I’m fit, I will [play next year]. I haven’t forgotten how to play tennis. I know I will perform and win big matches if I can get properly fit and healthy for an extended period of time.”
Victorian sports minister: Expect Australian Open delay
On Wednesday, Victorian Sports Minister Martin Pakula said that the 2021 Australian Open is “likely” to be delayed by one to two weeks. However, he stated the situation is evolving quickly. Negotiations between Tennis Australia, which governs the Australian Open, and the Victoria state government are ongoing. Tennis Australia is hopeful the tournament can start on time, planned for January 18. Australia’s Channel Nine, which is the home country broadcaster, prefers an on-time start for better summer TV ratings.
“There’s a number of potential dates on the table,” Pakula said, quoted by the Australian Associated Press. “I’ve seen reports that suggest that it’s likely to be delayed by a week or two. I think that’s still most likely.
“But it’s not the only option. As you know, the French Open was delayed by many months and Wimbledon didn’t occur at all.
“I still think it’s much more likely that it will be a shorter than longer delay. I don’t want to unduly repeat myself but these are very complex negotiations.”
However, with players not being allowed entry into Australia before January 1 – and facing a mandatory 14-day quarantine as a prevention against spreading the coronavirus – starting a two-week Grand Slam with just four days of training and practice doesn’t seem safe or practical.
One of Australia’s top men’s players, John Millman, told the Sydney Morning Herald, that a hard hotel lockdown for players – where they are unable to train or practice – “would be a virtual impossibility.”
Millman said: “You just can’t do a two-week hard lockdown to get ready for an Australian Open. I don’t think any of the international players would do that.”
— The Sydney Morning Herald (@smh) November 25, 2020
Mutua Madrid Open expands to two weeks
On Wednesday, organizers of the Mutua Madrid Open, an ATP Tour Masters 1000 and WTA Premier Mandatory, announced plans to expand and become a two-week tournament beginning in 2021. It is expending the women’s event by three days and will bring forward men’s qualifying. The dates for next year’s Mutua Madrid Open will be April 27 to May 9. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s Mutua Madrid Open was cancelled.
“We’re happy to have achieved the goal of becoming a two-week tournament,” said Feliciano Lopez, director of the Mutua Madrid Open. “We sought this expansion and it is well deserved, necessary and will allow us to enjoy the best tennis in the world at the Caja Mágica for a few more days. I’m sure that both our sponsors and all the fans will welcome this news with open arms, as well as the city of Madrid, which will receive more visitors for a longer period of time.”
The #MMOPEN will be a two-week tournament since 2021!
The next season the #MMOPEN will take place from 27 April to 9 May!
— #MMOPEN (@MutuaMadridOpen) November 25, 2020
Nitto ATP Finals – Through the camera lens of Ella Ling
Throughout the 12 years of the Nitto ATP Finals in London, ATP Tour photographer Ella Ling (@EllaLing23) has had a front-row seat to taking some of the most colorful and interesting photographs of the year-end tournament, many which were posted on the ATP Tour’s website. This week, she’s shared some of her favorites on her Twitter platform. Here’s a series of candid photos capturing a team photo with Big Ben as a backdrop, a celebration for the ages by the Bryan Brothers, and Roger Federer entering the O2 Arena like a rock star.
3 of my fave early images from over the years at the #ATPFinals in #London to start off with..the magnificent backdrop of #BigBen for the team photo, one of my best #doubles celebrations from the #BryanBrothers and a mysterious @rogerfederer entering court📸🌟#tennis #photography pic.twitter.com/uU0JG21zDA
— Ella Ling (@EllaLing23) November 25, 2020
One incredible record
— ATP Tour (@atptour) November 25, 2020
What they’re writing
In “Daniil Medvedev and Dominic Thiem show at ATP Finals that Big Three’s reign is finally being challenged,” Reem Abulleil of The National writes that while the Russian’s victory over the 2020 US Open champion last weekend suggests that while Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are far from being finished, there’s a new generation of players in men’s tennis ready to step forward.
“Moments after the trophy ceremony at the O2 on Sunday, both finalists were fielding questions about whether their latest achievements signify a changing of the guard in men’s tennis. Is the ‘Big Three’ dynasty of Djokovic, Nadal and Roger Federer under a serious threat?
“‘We proved that we can play with the legends, that we can beat them, that we can also win the biggest tournaments,’ Thiem said. ‘I think for tennis some exciting times are coming ahead.'”
Dominic Thiem: “I think that’s our challenge, that we perform well, that we play great in big tournaments, that we become huge stars ourselves. That’s our challenge to keep all those people (fans) with tennis & to maybe continue their (the Big 3’s) story.”https://t.co/g0adDcQdzq
— Reem Abulleil (@ReemAbulleil) November 24, 2020
Remembering Diego Maradona
On Wednesday, the tennis world remembered Diego Maradona, the great Argentine football star, who passed away at age 60. Two of Argentina’s best men’s players, Juan Martín del Potro and Diego Schwartzman, as well as Hall of Famer Gabriela Sabatini, shared their thoughts via social media. Also, Rafael Nadal spoke for many when he wrote on Twitter: “Today the world of sports in general and football in particular has a void. It left us #Maradona one of the greatest athletes in history. What he did in football remains. My sincere condolences to his family, the world of football and all of Argentina.” 🇦🇷
Hoy el mundo del deporte en general y el fútbol en particular tiene un vacío. Se nos fue #Maradona uno de los deportistas mas grandes de la historia. Queda lo que hizo en el fútbol. Mi mas sincero y sentido pésame a su familia, al mundo del fútbol y a toda la Argentina 🇦🇷
— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) November 25, 2020
— Randy Walker (@TennisPublisher) November 25, 2020
— Juan M. del Potro (@delpotrojuan) November 25, 2020
Y cómo no te vas a llamar DIEGO?? Te amo para siempre D10S https://t.co/teE1cqjdf8
— diego schwartzman (@dieschwartzman) November 25, 2020
— Gabriela Sabatini (@sabatinigabyok) November 25, 2020
What they’re sharing on social media
Garbiñe Muguruza / ¡En la mejor compañía!
¡En la mejor compañía!
— Garbiñe Muguruza (@GarbiMuguruza) November 21, 2020
Ons Jabeur / Love on the road
Love On The Road 🥰❤️ pic.twitter.com/qksItI2jff
— Ons Jabeur (@Ons_Jabeur) November 19, 2020
Daniil Medvedev / A present from one champion to another
— Daniil Medvedev (@DaniilMedwed) November 23, 2020