Simona Halep takes positives from Wimbledon cancellation: ‘I am now champion for two years’

Simona Halep is trying to look on the bright side regarding the suspension of the tennis season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Romanian former world No. 1 produced a flawless performance to beat Serena Williams in last year’s final, but this week’s cancellation of the grass-court Grand Slam means she will not get to defend her title this summer.

Halep, 28, is currently back in her native Romania where she has been locked down at home for 22 days, only popping out briefly to jog around the grounds of her residence.

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Asked about the Wimbledon cancellation, announced on Wednesday, Halep jokingly told Eurosport’s Tennis Legends podcast: “I take it positively, because I am now the defending champion for two years!

“So, I have to live with that for one more year, so that’s a good thing again.”

The WTA and ATP tours have been shut down until the middle of July at the earliest, but Halep is geared up for a longer suspension of the season – possibly the whole year.

“I know that the worst scenario in my head is that this year is going to be cancelled and, yeah, I’m sure we’re going to overcome this period if we listen and stay home safely,” she said.

“For the moment, I think it’s going to be longer than July. We hope for the U.S. Open [31 August to 13 September], but it’s not sure, because New York is struggling now.

“It’s the longest period that I haven’t touched a racket. Not the ball, the racket – since Dubai,” she said. “And I want to keep it that way for one more month.

“I just kept it very safe, because I am a little bit scared about it. And I just want to stay chilled.”

Halep said that while she misses her job, it was right that sport had faded into the background at a time of global crisis.

“It’s just a world problem and I just want to say that it’s safer that everything got cancelled. It’s not a small problem, it’s a huge problem. And we just have to listen to what they say, to stay home and being very safe,” she said.

“Tennis is not everything in my life.”

Reuters

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Novak Djokovic will eventually get Roger Federer’s Grand Slam record

When all is said and done, Novak Djokovic will be regarded as the greatest tennis player of all time with the most Grand Slam titles. That is according to Eurosport presenter and former player Barbara Schett.

The tennis season is currently suspended due to the global coronavirus crisis which there is a temporary pause on the battle in men’s tennis for the all-time Grand Slam record.

Roger Federer currently leads the list with 20 titles to his name, the last of which came in 2018 at the Australian Open.

Since then Rafael Nadal and Djokovic have significantly closed the gap as they shared the last eight majors.

Nadal is just one behind Federer while Djokovic sits on 17 after winning the Australian Open in January.

The argument over who is the ‘GOAT’ will be heavily influenced by the player who finishes with the most Grand Slams.

Following the cancellation of Wimbledon, Federer has lost out on arguably his best chance of adding to his haul this year.

And speaking in an interview with Eurosport prior to Wimbledon being called off, Schett stated the case against Federer whilst backing Djokovic.

“It’s so hard to say because they are all still playing,” she said.

“Roger has won the most Grand Slam titles at the moment and that’s why we choose him now, but certainly Rafa and Novak could overtake him. “We’ll see how Roger recovers from the knee surgery he had.

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“It’s getting harder and harder for him to win Grand Slams and I’m not sure he’ll get as close again as he did at Wimbledon last year, especially as there is every chance Wimbledon won’t take place this year.

“He’s not getting any younger – for now, Roger is the greatest of all time, but I think Novak Djokovic will eventually get him.”

Schett’s doubts about Federer were echoed by former Australian doubles player Todd Woodbridge.

He told the Australian Associated Press it is “highly unlikely” Federer will win another Grand Slam after the break.

“The question that Roger will have to ask himself is how motivated is he to come back for another year?” Woodbridge said. “Or has this actually helped him?

“But the less match play that you get in this period at that age, it’s so much harder to come back and recover once you start again.

“So I really think that post-2020 will be a new era of people trying to create records because it’ll have really have broken up a great period in tennis.

“It has stopped the potential, I think, of Federer winning one or two more. It becomes very highly unlikely for him.”

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Can Roger Federer and Serena Williams make it to Wimbledon 2021?

Wimbledon cancellation sparks Roger Federer and Serena Williams retirement fears… but what are their prospects of playing in 2021 (just weeks before they turn 40!) and will it help Andy Murray’s hip recovery?

  • Wimbledon was cancelled this week for the first time since World War II
  • Roger Federer and Serena Williams will be 39 by time of 2021 Championships
  • Eight-time champion Federer has already targeted next year’s tournament
  • Williams tweeted that she was ‘shooked’ after its fate was confirmed 

Though expected, the cancellation of this year’s Wimbledon for the first time since the Second World War caused an outpouring of emotion among tennis fans.

Strawberries and cream, Pimm’s, Tim Henman, Sue Barker… it’s all on hold until 2021 as the coronavirus crisis continues to decimate the sporting calendar.

Though such sentiments are secondary in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, it has sparked fears that a great era of the sport will now draw to an anti-climactic close.

Roger Federer and Serena Williams pose with their Wimbledon trophies in 2012

Roger Federer was ‘devastated’ and Serena Williams ‘shooked’ as they led the reactions to the prospect of no action on the green grass at SW19 this summer.

Both turn 40 next year, just weeks after the 2021 Championships, scheduled for June 28 to July 11. They are the great champions of not just the modern age but all time. 

Federer’s chances of coming out on top in the Grand Slam race against Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have surely taken a knock, and Serena is now facing a race against time to catch up with Margaret Court. 

But 20-time Grand Slam winner Federer is already targeting next year, ‘I can’t wait to come back next year. It only makes us appreciate our sport even more during these times. We are going through difficult times but we will come out of them stronger.’

Serena has so far remained tight-lipped, but it would be a huge shock were she not to walk out on Centre Court in 15 months’ time. 

So how will Wimbledon’s cancellation affect the two GOATs and the rest of the game? Sportsmail answer the burning questions.

Federer admitted he was ‘devastated’ after Wimbledon was cancelled on Wednesday

Williams was aiming to win Wimbledon to match Margaret Court’s Slam record of 24

So there’s no Wimbledon this year?

That is the sad truth of the matter. On Wednesday the All England Club confirmed that for the first time in 75 years, since 1945, its doors would remain shut during the summer months. 

Wimbledon became the latest major summer sporting event to be called off, with Euro 2020 and the Tokyo Olympics postponed for 12 months.

It follows the postponement of the French Open, which was due to begin in May but has been rescheduled to September 20 – October 4.

‘This is a decision that we have not taken lightly, and we have done so with the highest regard for public health and the wellbeing of all those who come together to make Wimbledon happen,’ said Ian Hewitt, All England Lawn Tennis Club chairman.

‘It has weighed heavily on our minds that the staging of the Championships has only been interrupted previously by World Wars but, following thorough and extensive consideration of all scenarios, we believe it is ultimately the right decision to cancel this year’s Championships, and instead concentrate on how we can use the breadth of Wimbledon’s resources to help those in our local communities and beyond.

Coronavirus forced the cancellation of Wimbledon for the first time since World War II

The All England Club became the latest victim in sport of the worldwide pandemic 

‘Our thoughts are with all those who have been and continue to be affected by these unprecedented times.’

Unlike Roland Garros, where the clay courts can keep, it was considered impossible for Wimbledon to be moved back to later in the year, or to be played without fans, and so chiefs have pulled the plug entirely.

June 29 to July 12 was the scheduled fortnight for Wimbledon this year, and due to the lack of daylight it will be impossible for the tournament to be played later in the year. Matches at Wimbledon, played outside on grass courts, often run late into the evening on each day of the tournament. Only Centre Court and No 1 Court have a roof to enable indoor matches in case of bad weather or light.

The LTA have also confirmed all pre-Wimbledon tournaments including at The Queen’s Club, Nottingham and Eastbourne have also been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

What tennis is there to look forward to in 2020?

The entirety of the clay and grass court seasons have been wiped out, and though a resumption of the tour is currently scheduled for July 13 in Hamburg, Bastad, Bucharest and Lausanne, don’t hold your breath. 

There is increasing speculation over whether anything will happen at all in tennis this season, even though the French Open has pushed itself back to a start date of September 20. 

Flushing Meadows, home to the US Open due to begin in late August, is currently seeing some of its indoor facilities converted into a temporary medical centre.

Federer tweeted his reaction to the news that this year’s tournament had been cancelled

Williams tweeted she was ‘shooked’ after hearing the news on Wednesday afternoon

There has been talk of staging the final Slam of the year in Indian Wells, California in December, but that appears unlikely. 

The Olympic tournament – the one gold medal missing from Federer’s illustrious haul – is obviously on hold. Even the annual curtain-closer, November’s ATP World Finals are under threat with this year the last to be held at London’s O2 Arena.

In such a globetrotting sport as tennis, with players crossing continents at such regularity, any play while the pandemic rages on appears impractical if not impossible.  

The 2006 Wimbledon champion Amelie Mauresmo said on Twitter earlier this week: ‘I think we are going to have to draw a line under the 2020 tennis season.

‘An international circuit = players of all nationalities, as well as coaches, spectators and those coming from all four corners of the world to bring these events to life.

‘No vaccine = no tennis.’

What does it mean for Roger Federer and Serena Williams?

Federer claimed the last of his eight titles after beating Marin Cilic on Centre Court in 2017

Novak Djokovic defeated Federer in a five-set epic on Wimbledon’s Centre Court last year

Neither are getting any younger, and any extended wait for tennis to resume will harm their chances of further success.

Federer turns 40 next August, Serena a month later. They have rallied admirably against the fading light in recent years, particularly Williams after she took a long break in 2017 while giving birth to her first child.

Federer has found it increasingly hard in recent years to keep pace with the top of the men’s game, particularly his great rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, who are five and six years younger respectively.

He has already made incremental adjustments to his game, more and more favouring serve and volley so as to shorten points and safeguard his stamina. He remains incredibly competitive – reaching at least the last-16 of each Slam he has entered since 2015.

But two semi-final defeats and the agonising loss to Djokovic in last year’s Wimbledon final show how the hardest hurdle to overcome is often the last.

Serena Williams leaps for joy after winning the 2012 final – one of six triumphs at SW19

Williams has been a losing finalist at the last two Wimbledons, beaten by Simona Halep in 2019

It has been a similar story for Williams since she brought up her 23rd Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in 2017. It seemed then only a matter of time before she drew level with and overtook Margaret’s Court haul of 24.

But she missed the rest of that year on maternity leave and has since lost four straight Slam finals, including her astonishing meltdown at chair umpire Carlos Ramos in defeat by Naomi Osaka at the US in 2018.

Wimbledon and the US remain her best chances of making history, and no one can doubt a competitive streak which has kept her coming back again and again. 

But it would place an enormous strain on her body to go deep in 2021.

Where will it put Federer in the men’s Grand Slam race?

The Swiss legend’s ageing body isn’t his greatest obstacle to future success. Nadal and Djokovic have been his greatest competitors for the past 15 years and they are now breathing down his neck in the Grand Slam race.

The Spaniard is on 19, and if the French goes ahead this autumn then he is odds on to rack up an incredible 13th title there and draw level with Federer.

Federer had originally opted out of the clay court season, but may well think again if it goes ahead with the grass court campaign scrapped and the late summer hard court season looking uncertain.

Rafael Nadal can move level with Federer on 20 Grand Slam at this year’s French Open

Novak Djokovic has won five of the last seven Major titles and has 17 Grand Slams to his name

Djokjovic reclaimed his place at the top of the world rankings with victory in Melbourne in January and he is undoubtedly the form man in world tennis, winning five of the last seven Slams. Only injuries can feasibly stop the 17-time winner from catching up.

But now there is the emergence of the next generation, who have spent years bubbling under the surface. Alexander Zverev finally came good at a Grand Slam, reaching the semis of the Australian, while Dominic Thiem reached his first Major final outside of the Parisian clay. 

Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and the teenage Canadian prodigy Felix Auger-Aliassime will all be a year older and more mature in 2021. If they keep in shape and keep their eye in they will inevitably be a bigger threat in a year’s time. 

And will Serena ever overtake Margaret Court now?

Williams has come so close but four final defeats to four different opponents illustrates how difficult her task is to get her hands on just more Slam, let alone two.

Angelique Kerber, Naomi Osaka, Simona Halep and Bianca Andreescu have all beaten her in Major finals since 2018. There is an ever-growing competitive field in the women’s game, packed with young talent that has grown up idolising Serena.

The extraordinary Coco Gauff, who made such an impression as a 15-year-old debutant at the All England Club last year, is developing leaps and bounds all the time.

Serena Williams is still looking to level and overtake Margaret Court’s haul of 24 Slam titles

Ashleigh Barty remains head and shoulders the best women’s player in the world. Sofia Kenin is fast making an impression after winning her first Slam in Melbourne.

It is hard to argue that, reputation aside, Serena no longer stands apart or at the top of the women’s game.

She has become part of a crowded field, and it’s been shown in crunch moments in the last two years that she is fallible. That is the greatest obstacle for her to overcome in pursuit of Slam Nos 24 and 25.

Has Andy Murray got a chance? 

A great winner of all this – such as there is – could be former world No 1 Andy Murray.

Wimbledon is the tournament he was so desperate to bow out in before hip resurfacing surgery saved his career. Now it’s become the tournament he is so desperate to make his singles Slam return in.

The Scot has not played since suffering a groin injury last November and it seemed that a return to action for the grass court season was disappearing a few months ago. 

He said on Wednesday: ‘Very sad that the Fever-Tree Championships and Wimbledon have been cancelled this year but with all that is going on in the world right now, everyone’s health is definitely the most important thing!

Andy Murray has not returned to the Wimbledon singles since a hip injury flared up in 2017

Murray has built his way back to fitness after undergoing hip resurfacing surgery last year

‘Looking forward to getting back out on the grass next year already! Hope everyone is staying safe and healthy.’

His mother, Judy, is ‘sure’ he will be there next year. She told BBC Scotland: ‘It is three months until Wimbledon would have been on and then it will be another 12 months and Andy is still only 33 [he turns 33 next month] and look at [Roger] Federer! 

‘He is still going strong at 38, and there’s Serena [Williams, who is also 38], so there is no reason, so long as he stays fit and healthy, why he can’t play at Wimbledon again. It’s the same for Jamie as well.

‘One of the things that Jamie said recently, when he was asked what his goals are or what he still wants to achieve before the end of his career, he said that he wanted to be able to play a Wimbledon with his brother so let’s hope that can happen one day.’

Perhaps another period of rest will help Murray overcome his various injury niggles and stop him from making a premature return that could have hampered his progress. 




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Roger Federer receives uplifting message from tennis great Rod Laver after Wimbledon axed

Tennis legend Rod Laver sent his well wishes to Roger Federer and struck an optimistic tone as he told fans “our great game will re-emerge” from the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Tennis was rocked on Wednesday when Wimbledon announced the tournament was being cancelled due to the worldwide outbreak.

To put the cancellation into context, it is the first time since the Second World War that there will be no play at SW19.

Among the first to react to the news was Roger Federer, who said on Twitter he was “devastated” but insisted he would be back in 2021.

The Swiss star is recovering from knee surgery in February and earlier this week posted a video of himself performing trick shots at his home.

And Laver, who won the Wimbledon singles title four times, responded to the footage by wishing Federer and family well and sending a hopeful message to disappointed fans.

“You make it look easy Roger. Hope you and the family are well and safe,” Laver tweeted.

“Very sorry to see @Wimbledon cancelled today but this will pass and our great game will re-emerge. Looking forward to seeing everyone again.”

When tennis will actually ‘re-emerge’ remains far from certain.

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  • Federer and Nadal prediction made amid French Open & US Open conundrum

In response to Wimbledon’s cancellation, the ATP and WTA extended the suspension of the season until July 13.

But with the number of Covid-19 cases continuing to rise, the global nature of tennis may mean the sport faces a longer wait than others to return.

This particularly applies to North America where the US and Canada are struggling to ‘flatten the curve’ and the death toll is rising every day.

The US Open is due to start on August 31 and officials at the USTA insist they are still planning for it to go ahead.

The statement read: “We understand the unique circumstances facing the All England Lawn and Tennis Club and the reasoning behind the decision to cancel the 2020 Wimbledon Championships.

“At this time the USTA still plans to host the US Open as scheduled, and we continue to hone plans to stage the tournament.

“The USTA is carefully monitoring the rapidly-changing environment surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, and is preparing for all contingencies.

“We also rely on the USTA’s Medical Advisory Group as well as governmental and security officials to ensure that we have the broadest understanding of this fluid situation.

“In all instances, all decisions made by the USTA regarding the US Open will be made with the health and well-being of our players, fans, and all others involved in the tournament.”

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Implications for tennis after coronavirus pandemic sees Wimbledon cancelled

Wimbledon has been called off for the first time since the Second World War and there will now be no tennis until at least July 13.

The All England Club held an emergency board meeting on Wednesday to discuss the fate of the 2020 Championships.

They decided that they could not justify playing behind closed doors and a postponement was not "without significant risk and difficulty".

But what are the other implications of the cancellation of the grass-court Grand Slam?

1. Will we see Andy Murray at SW19 again?

The last time the Scot was fully fit at Wimbledon was when he won his second singles title in 2016.

The following year he was suffering from the hip problem which ruled him out in 2018.

The double Olympic champion played doubles last year but he missed the Australian Open after complications in his latest comeback.

He will turn 33 next month.

2. The financial implications for British tennis

Wimbledon gives 90 percent of profits each year to the Lawn Tennis Association to invest in grassroots tennis.

The sum was £40.8m in 2018 when accounts were last published.

Wimbledon has invested in “comprehensive” insurance to cover loss of income from tickets and broadcasting revenue because of the pandemic. But such is the complexity of any claim that it could take weeks to work out how much support All England Club will be able to give the sport over the next year although insiders insist they will continue to back British tennis.

Profits from Wimbledon help the LTA run other grasscourts events in the build-up to The Championships, increase participation and invest in a performance budget for top players.

But the LTA still managed to record a loss of £8.8m in 2018 and has lost more than more than £12m in the two years.

3. Will Roger Federer and Serena Williams ever win another Grand Slam title?

The two tennis legends have dominated the singles events over the past two decades – winning 15 titles between them – and Wimbledon is their best chance to win more Majors.

The Swiss superstar holds the record of 20 Grand Slam titles for a male but he is now just one ahead of Rafa Nadal and three ahead of Australian Open winner Novak Djokovic.

And American great Williams has been stuck one short of Margaret Court's all-time record of 24 since January 2017.

The French Open has been moved to September while the US Open is also under threat because New York is the American epi-centre of the coronavirus pandemic.

Both tennis legends turn 40 next year.

4. Is tennis finished for 2020?

Sports like tennis face an uncertain future because of its international nature with tournaments and players from all over the world.

Andy Murray's former coach Amelie Mauresmo tweeted: “I think we're going to have to draw a line under the 2020 tennis season. International circuit = players of all nationalities plus management, spectators and people from the 4 corners of the world who bring these events to life. No vaccine = no tennis.”

The boss of Tennis Australia Craig Tiley, who ran January's Australian Open despite the threat of bushfires, doubts if any more events will be played this year.

"My personal view is for tennis to come back this year is going to be tough," he said.

"It relies on global travel, and I think that's probably the last thing that's going to come back. I think sports that have a domestic focus are in a strong position and sports that have a global focus are more challenged."

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Roger Federer 'devastated' as Wimbledon is cancelled due to coronavirus crisis

Roger Federer is ‘devastated’ after it was announced that Wimbledon has been cancelled this year due to the coronavirus crisis, the first time the event has been cancelled since World War II.

Huge swathes of sport across the globe has been postponed or cancelled as the coronavirus outbreak continues, but there had been hope that Wimbledon, scheduled to start on 29 June, would go ahead.

However, it was announced on Wednesday afternoon that the London tournament has been cancelled for 2020 and will not return until next year.

The eight-times champion simply tweeted one word after the announcement was made: ‘Devastated.’

However, still ranked #4 in the world, he will expect to be in south-west London next year as he approaches his 40th birthday.

Before the announcement was made, former British number one Annabel Croft stated her belief that cancellation would be bad news for ageing legends Federer and Serena Williams.

‘How many more times can Roger Federer realistically try to win Wimbledon?’ Croft questioned. ‘And if the French Open does take place later in the year, that benefits Nadal more than anybody potentially.

‘And then you look at Serena and her best chance to win another Slam is on the grass courts at Wimbledon so that affects her as well. She is now 38 and has started a family.’

An All England Club statement on Wednesday confirmed: ‘It is with great regret that the Main Board of the All England Club (AELTC) and the Committee of Management of The Championships have today decided that The Championships 2020 will be cancelled due to public health concerns linked to the coronavirus epidemic.

Read the latest updates: Coronavirus news live

‘The 134th Championships will instead be staged from 28 June to 11 July 2021.

‘Uppermost in our mind has been the health and safety of all of those who come together to make Wimbledon happen – the public in the UK and visitors from around the world, our players, guests, members, staff, volunteers, partners, contractors, and local residents – as well as our broader responsibility to society’s efforts to tackle this global challenge to our way of life.

‘Since the emergence of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in January, we have followed guidance from the UK Government and public health authorities in relation to our year-round operations, alongside developing an understanding of the likely trajectory of the outbreak in the UK.

‘This has enabled analysis of the impact of the Government restrictions on the usual commencement in April of the significant preparations required to stage The Championships, either on the original date of 29 June, or at a later date in the summer of 2020.

‘These considerations are particularly related to the concerns brought about by mass gatherings and the strain on the medical and emergency services, as well as movement and travel restrictions both within the UK and around the world.

‘With the likelihood that the Government’s measures will continue for many months, it is our view that we must act responsibly to protect the large numbers of people required to prepare The Championships from being at risk – from the training of ball boys and girls to thousands of officials, line judges, stewards, players, suppliers, media and contractors who convene on the AELTC Grounds – and equally to consider that the people, supplies and services legally required to stage The Championships would not be available at any point this summer, thus ruling out postponement.

‘Following a series of detailed deliberations on all of the above, it is the Committee of Management’s view that cancellation of The Championships is the best decision in the interests of public health, and that being able to provide certainty by taking this decision now, rather than in several weeks, is important for everyone involved in tennis and The Championships.

‘Members of the public who paid for tickets in the Wimbledon Public Ballot for this year’s Championships will have their tickets refunded and will be offered the chance to purchase tickets for the same day and court for The Championships 2021. We will be communicating directly with all ticket-holders.

‘In addition, we have taken account of the impact that this decision will have on those who rely on The Championships – including the players and the tennis community in Britain and around the world – and we are developing plans to support those groups, working in partnership with the LTA and the other leadership bodies in global tennis. This also applies to our loyal staff, to whom we take our responsibility very seriously.’

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Roger Federer gives one word reaction to Wimbledon cancellation

Roger Federer says he is ‘devastated’ at the news Wimbledon has been forced to cancel due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Swiss was aiming to play at SW19 this year as part of his comeback from knee surgery.

But those plans have been scuppered by the outbreak of the deadly virus which has had a major impact across the world.

Due to public health concerns linked to the epidemic, the All England Club was left with little choice but to cancel and the 134th Championships will instead be staged from 28 June to 11 July 2021.

With eight titles, Federer is a beloved figure at Wimbledon and he was among the first to react with a one-word tweet saying: “Devastated” and a GIF which said, “There is no GIF for these things that I am feeling”.

Federer was not the only tennis star to respond to the news regarding Wimbledon.

Seven-time champion Serena Williams tweeted: “I’m Shooked” while teen star Coco Gauff said: “I’m gonna miss playing in @Wimbledon this year. Stay safe everyone, love you guys”.

Two-time Wimbledon doubles champion Jamie Murray told the BBC, that there were too many unknowns for Wimbledon to go ahead.

“It was the obvious decision in the end, which is a shame,” he said.

“Obviously Wimbledon means a lot to a lot of people but nothing compares to what’s going on around the world just now.

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“Certainly in Europe, no-one is able to get out on court and prepare and Wimbledon is the focal point of the tennis calendar and they want to show tennis in its best light.

“I assume that if the Tour did start up, that would be the next tournament that players would compete in and obviously preparation would be all over the place.

“And also they don’t know whose borders and going to be open to who, some players might not be allowed to travel out of their country or travel to the UK, there are just way too many unknowns.”

Following the announcement from Wimbledon, the ATP and WTA jointly confirmed the extension of the suspension of the both tours until July 13.

“Regrettably, the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic leaves us with no choice but to suspend the Tour further; a decision we’ve made in close cooperation with our members and the other governing bodies of tennis,” said Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP Chairman.

“Health and safety remain the top priority as we navigate the challenges ahead in these unprecedented times, and we will do everything we can for the Tour to resume at the earliest opportunity once it is safe to do so.”

“This was a decision that the WTA and its members did not take lightly, however, we remain vigilant in protecting the health and safety of our players, staff and fans,” added Steve Simon, WTA Chairman and CEO.

“While we share in the disappointment of the season’s further postponement, our priority remains to support each other during this unprecedented time and work together as a sport in preparation for our return to play.”

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Coronavirus: Tennis Australia chief fears end of season due to Covid-19 crisis

Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley has expressed his worry that the season may be over due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

Over 34,700 people have died from the deadly virus with more than 735,000 positive cases.

The coronavirus has had a huge impact on the sporting world with dozens of events, tournaments and competitions being called off.

In tennis, after just two months of action, the season has been suspended until June but that date is set to be extended when Wimbledon is cancelled later this week.

Then with the rising number of coronavirus cases in America, the summer hard court season is also uncertain.

And Tiley feels the worldwide nature of tennis means play resuming is a major doubt.

“My personal view is I think for tennis to come back this year is going to be tough,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald.

“It relies on global travel, and I think that’s probably the last thing that’s going to come back.

“I think sports that have a domestic focus are in a strong position and sports that have a global focus are more challenged.”

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  • German tennis chief slams French Open officials and warns event

Tiley’s comments echo those made by Australian No 3 John Millman, who feels until a cure is found tennis starting ahead is unlikely.

“We’re going to have to be pretty unified in terms of our recovery process before the tour can resume,” Millman told AAP.

“Maybe the tournament location has got the COVID-19 situation under wraps and then manage to contain it, but if someone’s flying in from South America, say, and their country hasn’t got a hold of it, then the tournament can’t (go ahead).

“You can’t have the tournament going when only certain players can get there. I think that’s where the problems lie.

“It’s almost like we have to have a vaccine or the virus has to run its course before there’ll be any let-up there.

“But I just can’t see us playing tennis for a long time and now it’s a matter of trying to stay (the) fight, trying to scrape by a little bit while not much is coming in.

“You’re used to a bit of money coming in and obviously that’s not the case anymore. Yeah, it’s tough. It’s just not easy. You try and make do.

“But I don’t want to be a sob story, that’s for sure, because I know Australians are doing it a lot tougher than me. When we’re talking about someone’s health as well, it’s pretty serious, and that’s when it puts it into perspective.”

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Special Rafael Nadal trait hailed which sets him apart from ‘most other’ ATP Tour players

Rafael Nadal’s desire and motivation are the traits that set him apart from other players. Nadal is into the 19th year as a professional player but despite the grind of the tennis tour, his will to win remains undiminished.

Last month, before tennis was suspended until June, Nadal celebrated his 85th career title at the Mexican Open in Acapulco.

Not since 2004 has Nadal finished the year outside the top 10 which is a testament to his consistency and longevity.

And in spite of the many injuries he’s suffered, Nadal has always returned to action as hungry as ever to win.

In a discussion about over the greatest player of all time on Tennis Channel, former Wimbledon champion Lindsay Davenport was effusive in her praise for Nadal’s motivation levels.

“I dare anybody to say they have seen Rafa take a point off trying his hardest [or] a practise [off] trying his hardest,” Davenport said.

“I just marvel at how he still has that motivation. Getting into his mid-thirties, he’s just as motivated now as he was in his teenage years.

“Normally that is what takes players out of the game. They can’t call on that reserve energy to get through tough practises day in and day out.

“They lose their zest for going to tournaments and going through the grind of the tour.

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“But you see Rafa and you hear him [say] ‘I love this. I want to be here more than anywhere else in the world’.

“When you watch him play, it is that motivation, that inner desire that seems deeper in him than most other players we have ever seen.

“We are so lucky that he chose our sport and he’s still in our game.”

Meanwhile, a former rival of Nadal, Juan Carlos Ferrero, has backed young star Carlos Alcaraz to live up to the hype and pressure of being dubbed Spain’s new tennis star.

He told the ATP: “Usually he hears people who say he is going to be the next Rafael Nadal… of course, it’s going to be difficult for him to [keep things] normal and stay calm and not tell me, ‘Why are they saying this to me?’

“But he’s a little bit used to it, because most of the people here in Spain, they come to him many times and tell him he’s going to be the next Rafa Nadal.

“Finally, I think he’s used to it and he put it away and he goes his own way to always work very hard and to try to make his own career.

“Of course, the comparison is going to be there because for people here in Spain, it’s been a long time that we haven’t had anyone at the age of 16 or 17 [playing] this kind of level.

“But the team that is around him, we have to try to [keep a circle] around him to help him try to put this pressure away, to make him calm, to keep things normal, so he can go his own way.”

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French Open threatened with loss of ranking points by ATP after tennis calendar hijack

The French Tennis Federation (FFT) have reportedly been told the French Open will not award ranking points to players if they insist on staging their event in September.

Earlier this month, the FFT took the bold action and moved the French Open from its date in May to September over fears it would cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic but the decision has created an uproar within the sport.

The ATP, WTA and US Open have all suggested the FFT made the scheduling decision ‘unilaterally’.

While players were bemused to learn of the move via social media.

But in an act which could cause a greater a rift within the sport, Dirk Hordorff, president of the German Tennis Federation (DTB), says the ATP have issued an ultimatum to the FFT.

“It is not a threat – the ATP has communicated it to Roland Garros and to the FFT: ‘If you continue with this idea, we will not award you ranking points’,” he told French publication, L’Equipe.

“And it will not end with this year’s edition: no points not only this season but also the next one. I don’t like wars, but there is nothing left to do but fight right now. It is madness.

“Above all we must worry about defeating the virus, safeguarding the health of the population, we must stop it with these cat and mouse games within our organization.

“We must do what is best for tennis. Andrea wants to make everyone agree, this is his goal. But there is no need to worry about him, he is very strong.

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“He is easily able to follow up on the threat and take away the points from Roland Garros. The ATP was crystal clear.”

Roger Federer’s Laver Cup is among the events impacted by the rescheduling of the French Open but Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley says he expects the situation to be resolved amicably.

He told ‘The First Serve’ podcast: “I’m not in the shoes of the French Tennis Federation so I can’t comment on decisions they make.

“I’m pretty confident it will all eventually work out because as a group we all need to collaborate. At this point, the Laver Cup is planning to go ahead and there wasn’t communication on it, but I can’t comment on the process they went through and the decision.

“The Laver Cup is one of those cool, new things on the market which has taken the world by storm in many ways.

“People enjoy it, embraced by the players and it has been sold out.

“It is too early to tell. There’s still a lot of conversations that need to take place. We are part of that, we aren’t the only ones.

“There’s five owners of this event and they will all be part of that conversation and the tennis world will work it out. I’m not that worried about it.”

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