Muguruza downs Konta to face Azarenka

On a day of attrition and compassion in Rome, Friday’s play at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia saw Johanna Konta fall to Garbiñe Muguruza, Victoria Azarenka comfort an injured Daria Kasatkina after a nasty tumble, and top seeds Simona Halep and Karolina Plíšková...

Nadal not obsessed with records

The two tournament favourites draw closer to settling this year’s Rome Masters 1000 title as they successfully reached the last eight on opposing sides of the draw with the second seeded Rafa Nadal seemingly having the easier passage so far.

Musetti continues his Roman run

At four-all in the second set the lights went out during the Italian Open which could have disrupted the concentration of Italy’s emerging starlet, the 18-year-old Lorenzo Musetti, who was on his way to eliminating another top player from the Rome Masters listings.

ATP and WTA Kremlin Cup tournaments cancelled

The ATP and WTA jointly announced on Friday that the 2020 Kremlin Cup tournaments in Moscow have been cancelled by a mandate from health officials in the Russian capital, where there has been a surge in coronavirus infections.

Osaka withdraws from Paris, fans reduced

Japan’s Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the upcoming French Open with a hamstring injury, while the FFT is reducing the number of fans that will be allowed to attend Roland Garros due to the worsening coronavirus situation in the country.

On the day of the Bagel 

Bagels are pretty rare in pro tennis but in Rome on Thursday, Johanna Konta and Victoria Azarenka scored three between them - Konta taking one against clay-court specialist Irina-Camelia Begu, 6-0 6-4, while just five days after losing the US Open final, Azarenka...

Battling mental health issues to return to the court

In a short film released this week, the LTA follows 38-year-old tennis player Steven McCann from North London, as he shares his inspirational story of battling addiction to reignite his love and passion for the sport. The feature brings to life Steven’s journey to...

Fans to return in Paris

No one at the beginning of this Covid year could have predicted that we here at Tennis Threads would be writing the French Open in September, just a couple of weeks after the US Open had concluded!

Fed Cup rebrands as the Billie Jean King Cup

Tying in with the 50th Anniversary of the Fed Cup, the women’s team competition has been re-named the Billie Jean King Cup by the ITF, it was announced at a virtual press conference on Thursday.

Halep and Plíšková start Rome campaigns

Top seed Simona Halep overcame an early scare as she was broken 5 times by local wildcard Jasime Paolini in her opening match of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, but moved into the second round smoothly enough, 6-3 6-4, on Wednesday, while No 2 seed Karolina Plíšková...
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Good and bad news for the US Open

Finally, some good news for the US Open organisers with Novak Djokovic declaring his intentions to compete at Flushing Meadows following all the speculation that he wouldn’t. Unfortunately, there was also bad news, the women’s defending champion, Bianca Andreescu, has decided against!

It was not an easy decision to make with all the obstacles and challenges on many sides. But the prospect of competing again makes me really excited Novak Djokovic

Djokovic, the world number one, is flying out to New York tomorrow, Saturday, to compete in the warm-up event the week before the major and has accepted the conditions which the organisers have imposed on participating players to safeguard them against Covid-19.

“It was not an easy decision to make with all the obstacles and challenges on many sides,” the three-time US Open said of the quarantine ‘bubble’ which has been set up around Flushing Meadows, something he has objected to for the past few months.

“But the prospect of competing again makes me really excited.”

Djokovic is now the only member of the ‘Big Three’ who will be competing at this year’s American leg of the grand slams with reigning champion Rafa Nadal, a four time champion, deciding not to travel to the Big Apple and defend his title, and five-time winner Roger Federer recovering from a knee operation.

Between them, the three have won 40 of the last 51 Grand Slam titles, including the last 13.

It is a great opportunity for Djokovic to shorten the gap of grand slam singles titles between himself and his two rivals, as he currently stands on 17 with Nadal on 19 and Federer on a record 20, in a field which will be lacking a number of top players, like France’s Gael Monfils, Italy’s Fabio Fognini, Swiss Stan Wawrinka, the 2016 winner, and the controversial Australian Nick Kyrgios.

Bianca Andreescu joins the list of absentees.

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

On the women’ side, the withdrawals have not been as extensive but the absence of the defending champion, Bianca Andreescu, will hurt.

She has decided not to play because she says she has not been able to prepare properly for it, mostly because of the pandemic restrictions in Canada.

“After many discussions with those closest to me, I have made the difficult decision not to return to New York this year,” Andreescu said in a statement on Thursday.

“I have taken this step in order to focus on my match fitness and ensure that I return ready to play at my highest level.”

“The US Open victory last year has been the high point of my career thus far and I will miss not being there,” Andreescu said recollecting her straight sets win over Serena Williams last year.

“However, I realize that the unforseen challenges, including the COVID pandemic, have compromised my ability to prepare and compete to the degree necessary to play at my highest level.”

She joins a women’s absentee list that includes Australia’s top-ranked Ashleigh Barty, Ukraine’s fifth-ranked Elina Svitolina, seventh-rated Kiki Bertens and past winner Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia.

As a consequence, like Djokovic in the men’s draw, Serena Williams will now be able to finally realise her ambition of equalling Margaret Court’s record of 24 single grand slam titles in the weakened field and then, hopefully, following that up by setting her own record a few weeks later, at the French Open which was rescheduled from May to late September because of Covid.



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