2014/11/28

Serena Williams Receives Written Apology from Russia’s Tennis Chief

Serena Williams

(October 23, 2014) Serena Williams told media in Singapore at the WTA Finals on Thursday that she has received a written apology from Russian Tennis President Shamil Tarpischev.

During her post-match news conference after dismantling Eugenie Bouchard 6-1, 6-1 said: “Yes, I have received ‑‑ he has reached out to apologize to both myself and my sister.”

“It was written. No, I did not speak to him,” Williams added.

The WTA fined and suspended Tarpischev for offensive comments made during his appearance on a Russian TV show including referring to the Williams sisters as the “Williams brothers.”

The WTA fines the Russian tennis chief $25,000 and suspended from tour for a year.

 

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Serena Williams Responds to Shamil Tarpischev Comments

Update: WTA Fines and Suspends Shamil Tarpischev for Williams Sisters Comments

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Update: WTA Fines and Suspends Shamil Tarpischev for Williams Sisters Comments

 

 

(October 17, 2014) Before this week’s Kremlin Cup in Moscow, Russian Tennis Federation President Shamil Tarpischev during the taping of a Russian late-night television show called Evening Urgant, called Venus and Serena Williams “brothers.“

The WTA has come down on Tarpischev fining him the maximum allowed under the WTA tour rules, $25,000 and suspending him from tour for a year for his comments about Serena and Venus Williams.

The WTA Tour wants Tarpischev to be stripped from his position as chairman of the Kremlin Cup tournament for one year.

Here are the full statements from WTA Chairman and CEO Stacey Allaster and US Tennis Association President, Chairman and CEO Dave Haggerty.

 

 

Media preview

 

USTA response to recent comments by Shamil Tarpischev regarding the Williams sisters

“As the President of the USTA and a member of the Board of Directors of the International Tennis Federation, I call on Shamil Tarpischev to issue a formal apology to Venus and Serena Williams. As the President of the Russian Tennis Federation and a member of the International Olympic Committee, Mr. Tarpischev is expected to conduct himself with the highest degree of integrity and sportsmanship. Unfortunately, his comments do not embody either of these traits and in fact were reprehensible.”

— Dave Haggerty, President, Chairman and CEO, USTA

 

October 18, 2014 Update: An official statement from the Russian Tennis Federation and Tarpischev was released on Sunday.

The Associated Press reported on the statement, here are a few excerpts:

Tarpischev: Williams comments meant as jokes

Asked whether he regretted his comments, Tarpischev told The Associated Press at the Kremlin Cup that the program on which he spoke was “a humorous show,” adding: “I don’t answer stupid questions.”

When asked about his ban, Tarpischev said: “I can’t comment. I don’t understand it.”

In a statement released later by the Russian Tennis Federation, Tarpischev denied any “malicious intent” and said his quotes had been taken out of context.

“I didn’t want to offend any athlete with my words,” he said. “I regret that this joke … has garnered so much attention. I don’t think this incident deserves so much fuss.”

The Williams sisters are “outstanding athletes” who “personify strength and perseverance,” he added.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told the ITAR-Tass agency that he regretted that Tarpischev had made the comments and that his suspension was “an unpleasant fact,” but suggested his sanction should be reduced.

“It’s probably worth trying to get the punishment softened,” Mutko said.

 

 

Courtesy of the WTA

Courtesy of the WTA WTAtennis.com Posted on October 19, 2014

 

Related story:

Serena Williams Responds to Shamil Tarpischev Comments

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Petra Kvitova win sets up Third Round Clash with Venus Williams in Beijing

 

By Abigail Hinto

(October 1, 2014) BEIJING, CHINA – A confident and in-form Petra Kvitova raced to an easy 6-4, 6-2 victory on Wednesday at the China Open over China’s new No. 1 player Peng Shuai.

 

Following her title run in Wuhan the last week, the third seed Kvitova acknowledges she’s more confident now after suffering an early loss at the US Open.  Working hard following that US Open defeat and knowing she has to fight for her spot at the season-ending Singapore event Kvitova is back to playing the type of tennis that brought her a second Wimbledon title.  “I feel well on the court.  I know that I can play good tennis because of last week, [in] Wuhan.  I think my confidence is a little bit higher than after US Open,” acknowledged Kvitova.  And now that she has secured her spot, she’s feeling more relaxed on court.

 

And a relaxed and confident Kvitova is trouble for everyone.  How will Venus Williams, Kvitova’s next opponent, who has also been playing well this season, handle Kvitova this time around?  Admittedly one of the best matches of the year was their third round clash at Wimbledon where Kvitova was two points away from losing the match. She went on to win the match and her second Wimbledon title.

Will we see a repeat of that match in another third round meeting here at the China Open?  It’s always been a tight battle between these two players who seemingly match up well against each other.  “I’m looking forward to it,” says Kvitova.  “I think that she’s serving still very well.  She’s moving well, as well.  She’s playing fast.  We’ll see.”

 

“I think that every match what we played with Venus was really great fight until the end. I played her in Doha, 7‑6 in the third. Wimbledon 7‑5 in the third. It’s always great. I’m looking forward for it.”

 

Abigail Hinto and Natalie Ho are in Beijing, China covering the China Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow their twitter updates on @TennisNewsTPN.

Photos by Natalie Ho.

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Mirjana Lucic-Baroni Beats Venus Williams to Win Quebec City

(September 14, 2014) Croatia’s Mirjana Lucic-Baroni won her first WTA title since 1998, beating former world No.1 Venus Williams 6-4, 6-3 to win the Quebec City tennis tournament in 83 minutes.

In the battle between 30-somethings, Lucic-Baroni 32 and Williams 34, the Croatian had last been in a final in 1998.

Lucic-Baroni reached the Wimbledon semifinals back in 1999. After a hiatus off the tour, she came back in 2007 and at the US Open reached the fourth round.

“It was so long ago, I don’t even remember what it’s like to hold a trophy in my hands,” Lucic-Baroni said. “It’s just incredible. I’m still in a little bit of shock because I was so focused today, but oh my goodness, it’s just an amazing feeling right now.”

Venus Williams who was looking to win her 46th title said: “My opponent played too well against me today. She swung as hard as she could on every shot and hit so many lines. It’s not typical that when you go for every shot they almost all go in. I think I played pretty well, but she just played better than me.”

Lucic-Baroni added the doubles crown to her titles list on Sunday, teaming with Lucie Hradecka to win the doubles, her first doubles title since 1998. For Hradecka it was her 17 WTA doubles title.

Baroni is just the second player to win the singles and doubles titles at the same event this year after Caroline Garcia in Bogotá.

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Sara Errani Stuns Venus Williams in Third Round of US Open

Venus Williams

Venus Williams

(August 29, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS – Two points from the match 13th seeded Sara Errani, forced a tiebreak and rallied to beat the two-time US Open champion Venus Williams in a topsy-turvy match 6-0, 0-6, 7-6 (5).

Williams battled to come back from a break down twice in the final set, but in the end, 52 unforced errors and 8 double-faults were her undoing.

“It was a really tough match, even if I won the first set 6-0,” said Errani.  “She’s an amazing player. I just tried to focus on every point. I tried to keep going, not thinking too much about the score.”

“First set I start very good, very aggressive,” said the 27-year-old Italian. “I was playing very good. She didn’t put too many first serves, so maybe that was a bit the key. And the second set I start a bit down with the legs, not pushing too much the ball, and she was coming in the court. More first serves. So that was a big difference between the first and the second set. The third was very near. Many breaks.”

Before this match, Errani had never won more than 3 games in a set against the 34-year-old Williams in three previous matches.

Next up for Errant, she play a qualifier 121st- ranked qualifier, 32-year-old Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who as a teenager reached the semifinals of Wimbledon in 1999, the last time she made the fourth round of a major.

More to follow.

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Venus Williams Moves into US Open Third Round

Venus Williams

Venus Williams

(August 27, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS –  Nineteenth seed Venus Williams is into the US open third round for the first time in four years, stopping Switxerland’s Timea Bacsinszky 6-1, 6-4.

The 2000-2001 US Open champion who at 34 is the oldest woman left in the draw had been eliminated in the second round three straight years.

“I’m happy,” said Williams. “I won a match again. Finally I did something I couldn’t do the last couple years. That’s good stuff.

“I feel like I’m playing well. I feel like I play my best when my opponent pushes me really. Once we start to, you know, really start to get into a slugfest, I feel like I really relax. Sometimes I feel like when they aren’t pushing me as much maybe I’m a little too passive at times. I don’t know. But I do feel like, you know, when things get tight, I feel like I can rely on myself to compete really well. So that’s a good feeling.”
Next up for the 7-time major champion will be Sara Errani, a former French Open finalist. Williams says she’s ready for the challenge.

“Really just focus because she’s so focused,” Williams said. “She does everything well on the court clearly, because she’s a great singles player and a doubles player. Every time I’ve played her, I’ve had to be focused on every single point, because she does not let up on any point no matter what the score is. If she’s down 5-Love, 40-Love and never won a game in the match, she is in there still to win the match. That’s my main thing: to stay focused and play my game.”

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On Althea Gibson’s Birthday, Venus Williams Reflects on Her Legacy After First Round Win

Venus Williams 2

(August 25, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS – On what would have been Althea Gibson’s 87th birthday, 34-year-old Venus Williams overcame 43-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 to win her first round match in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday.

Williams was asked about how Gibson, who was the first black tennis player to win a major, has inspired her.

“What she accomplished is something no one else did, to be not only the best player in the world during that time where she had no support and in a time when it was hard to feel good about yourself because who you were was something that was considered inferior, Williams commented. “So that was very difficult. I can’t imagine how she felt. She did it with class and she did it with grace. I’m very fortunate not to have had to play under those circumstances. I have had an opportunity to play well and be myself, and because of her, I’m really proud of who I am. Really, what she has done, you know, goes beyond words.”
In turn, the 19th seed Williams was asked about the role she and her sister Serena have played in terms of diversity during her career.

“Serena and I played in a different time,” Venus said. “I think we played in a different time where you’re able to have opportunities. And people love to be on the side of a winner, so, you know, the things that everyone did, women’s rights, civil rights, all of those things are a different time, thank God. I’m not saying it’s a perfect time, but it is a different time. So, yes, I think that Serena and I influenced lots of young people, lots of African-Americans, hopefully all kinds of people all around the world, to live a better life through sports or even if they never played.”

In addition to facing a tough opponent on Monday, Williams has to fight off a bee. The two-time US Open champion led 3-0 in the deciding set when a bee buzzed around the court around both players.

“So once it was my turn, then I think I would have been remiss to swat it myself. Kind of came up with a strategy to hopefully, you know, follow her example in that. Just let the fly land on the racquet and in the towel. I guess he’s on his way now.”

The insect was captured and taken off court by ball persons and an additional helper.

Williams’ next opponent will be Timea Bacsinszky in the second round.

Related articles:

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Althea Gibson Inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame

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Venus Williams Falls in Opening Round of Cincinnati

By Dave Gertler

(August 12, 2014) MASON, OHIO – The Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, Ohio, began its qualifying rounds on Saturday, and is now in the completion stages of first-round matches in both the men’s and women’s main draws. On Tuesday morning, the tournament confirmed that Victoria Azarenka – the defending champion – has withdrawn due to injury, thus adding her name to those of Rafael Nadal, Juan Martin Del Potro and Li Na as notable absentees from the event, all due to injury.

 

“I’m going to get more treatment and get more work done,” said Azarenka about her plan for the remainder of the American hard court season, “And should be good for the US Open.”

 

Venus Williams, who last week in Montreal made it to her third WTA final in the last 12 months, won’t duplicate that success this week, having lost to 16th seed Lucie Safarova in the first round. In a match lasting 2.5 hours, Williams won the first set in a tie-break, but Safarova broke her opponent first each set, never giving up the lead, despite Williams breaking back in the second before Safarova served the match out.

 

“I think she just played so well,” said Venus Williams, “No matter what shot I hit she hit a winner, or if I hit it really deep she somehow managed to control it down the line.” Williams said in the third set, “I think she got a little tight at 5‑1. So I had some chances to come back, but it’s a deep hole.”

 

First-round men’s action saw Lleyton Hewitt and Alejandro Falla both advance before the end of the weekend, while Monday’s matches saw no significant upsets. American Jack Sock succumbed to Spaniard Tommy Robredo, while 23-year-old Ohio State graduate Chase Buchanan went down to Portugal’s Joao Sousa in an epic three-setter that lasted over 2.5 hours, touted match of the day by those who saw it.

 

British qualifier James Ward has provided the upset of the day so far on Tuesday, beating No.32-ranked Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. In the second round, the 27-year-old Brit will face either Julien Benneteau or another local favorite, Blaz Rola, another graduate of Ohio State.

14th seed Marin Cilic advanced past Feliciano Lopez in two tight sets to face Spain’s Fernando Verdasco, who overcame compatriot Marcel Granollers in one of Grandstand Court’s most entertaining matches on Monday, 5-7, 6-3, 7-6.

 

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney covering the Western & Southern Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his Twitter updates from the tournament on @TennisNewsTPN, follow him on his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

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Montreal Day 05 and 06 Wrap-Up: Crowd Pleasers

Venus Williams

Venus Williams

Montreal Day 05 and 06 Wrap-Up: Crowd Pleasers

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin | August 8th, 2014

(August 8, 2014) MONTREAL – The Montreal tennis crowd was treated to great matches on Thursday and Friday, as eight of the twelve presented singles matches which went the distance. Here is what stood out from those two days.

Patience is a Virtue (or XXV)

The Montreal-based Williams Sisters fans really didn’t have much to cheer about in the past, as Venus had never showed up to the event and Serena had not played a match at Uniprix Stadium in over 14 years. But patience is a virtue, and the crowd will now be witnessing a Williams showdown in the first semi-final Saturday. A dream match for the tournament organizers, who were understandably worried for the tournament’s storylines after the early defeat of local star Genie Bouchard.

Both sisters had a tough road to the semis: while Serena battled through Lucie Safarova and good friend Caroline Wozniacki (rallying from 6-4, 4-2 down) respectively, Venus played two long battles against Angelique Kerber and Carla Suarez Navarro. The Kerber-Venus match, played under the lights on Thursday, produced some standing-ovation worthy tennis, as both players fought skin and teeth to get the win.

Asked about her previous record of 0-4 at the Rogers Cup, all in Toronto, Venus replied: ‘If I would have known these last 20 years all I had to do was come to Montréal that would be the trick to winning in Canada, I would have done it a long time ago! You live, you learn. Sometimes it takes a couple of decades, but it was worth it!’. This semi-final will be the 25th encounter between the two sisters, Serena having the edge 14-10. It will be their first match in over a year, and only their second meeting since 2009.

3/8

Only three of the top 8 seeds advanced to the quarterfinals in this 2014 edition. After the surprise of Bouchard’s loss to Rogers in round 2, four top seeds lost in thrilling matches on Thursday: Petra Kvitova (2) against Makarova, Maria Sharapova(4) to Suarez-Navarro (14), Kerber (6) to Venus Williams and Jelena Jankovic (7) to Coco Vandeweghe. For Sharapova and Kvitova, signs of rust were apparent in their first tournament on the summer hardcourts, as they couldn’t hit through their feisty, more consistent opponents. Other than Serena Williams, only Agniezska Radwanska (3) and Victoria Azarenka (8) sneaked through the quarters, facing each other in a pretty forgettable quarterfinal on Friday night. Azarenka was clearly hampered by a knee injury, and after missing most of 2014 already, things did not look good for the Belarussian out there. For Radwanska, this is her third semifinal in Canada and she will be looking to reach her first finals against Makarova in the night semifinal.

From Q to QF

Coco Vandeweghe was the revelation of the 2014 Rogers Cup, playing an astonishing 13 sets of tennis in 6 days. After getting comfortably through qualifying by winning two matches on the first Sunday, she handled Shuai Zhang in the first round, before beating the ‘Serbian Sisters’, 9th seed Ivanovic and 7th seed Jankovic, in consecutive battles to reach the quarterfinals. Both matches were classics, and probably two of the most dramatic of the week.

In her post-match interviews this week, she mentioned setting the goal to beat a top 10 player by the end of 2014: she accomplished just that, twice in less than 24 hours, and will be a player to watch for the upcoming hardcourt swing. Her big serve and forehand combination couldn’t get her through Makarova in the quarterfinals, who was solid throughout, but did impress the Montreal crowd. With her pure athleticism and a coach that became a star this week for his honest, very honest, feedback on her matches, Vandeweghe could well be on the way for a seeding position at the 2015 Australian Open.

Follow live twitter updates from the Coupe Rogers Montreal on @TennisNewsTPN throughout the week.

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Montreal Rogers Cup Day 03: Or should we say Day 04?

 

Serena Williams

Montreal Rogers Cup Day 03: Or should we say Day 04?

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin and Maxime Labrecque

MONTREAL – After Tuesday’s Genie-gate and multiple blackouts, Wednesday seemed to follow the script, until a match that lasted until…Day 04. Here is a wrap up of today’s events.

Besties on cruise control

The friendship between Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki seemed to evolve over the past few weeks, especially after both were seen hanging out in Miami after the infamous ‘Wozillroy’ breakup. In her news conference yesterday, Wozniacki was all praise for the American No. 1, stating she was ‘incredible, both on and off the court’, ‘a fantastic person’ and that she ‘loved her personality’. Both players, who are set to play in the quarterfinals, had a near perfect match today, getting comfortably to the third round. On one hand, Wozniacki didn’t have to do much against Czech Koukalova, and won 6-1 6-2 in just over an hour, confirming her great post-breakup form. As for Williams, who was playing her first match in Montreal since retiring in the 2000 finals, she only gave 2 games to veteran and 2011 Us Open champion Samantha Stosur. It was one of Serena’s best performances of 2014, being aggressive and not letting the Australian in the match. Serena’s French was also near perfect in the on-court interview, and it seems that her relationship with the Montreal crowd, which could have been tense after a few boos in 2000, is now back on track.

Paris-Montréal

Maria Sharapova and Garbine Muguruza had played a dramatic quarterfinal match at the French Open this year, and this second round was certainly tricky for the 4th seed. Playing in her first hardcourt match of the summer, Sharapova had no room for rust, facing one of the most promising youngsters on the WTA. Despite finishing up a dramatic and intense three-set match against local Stephanie Dubois very late last night, it seemed like Muguruza wanted revenge on her loss in Paris. Hitting her signature clean and flat groundies, she kept Maria off-balance and on the run, and built a nice 6-4 2-1 lead. Serving at 40-0, it seemed like the Spaniard could pull off the upset. But arguably no other player is as resilient as Maria Sharapova, and she proved it again. Winning 11 of the last 13 games, Maria used her first serve well, only losing 4 points when her first strike when in, and shook off the rust to reach the third round. Asked in the post-match interview what she was most happy about, Sharapova had a very wise answer: ‘You know, when you’re able to finish stronger than your start, that’s always a positive because you give yourself an opportunity to keep playing in the tournament. When you’re in that position, there’s always another chance to work in another match to improve and get better’. That next chance will be against Carla Suarez-Navarro, Muguruza’s doubles partner, who will certainly show Maria a very different type of ball striking.

12.36am (or the Never-Ending Day).

What happens when you add up two third-set tiebreaks, two short rain delays, Ana Ivanovic, Coco Vandeweghe and substract a doubles match? A 12.36am finish. Court Banque Nationale today saw a series of long, very long matches and play ended in possibly one of the latest hours recorded at the Rogers Cup, when qualifier Coco Vandeweghe completed her 6-7(7) 7-6(7) 6-4 second round win against 9th seed Ana Ivanovic after close to three hours of play. It all started with 12th seed Dominika Cibulkova and qualifier Heather Watson, who played for more than 3 hours. The Brit, who led 6-2 4-0, couldn’t finish the match in the second set, which she lost 7-6. She then passively let go of a 5-2 lead in the third set, only to finally win in an error-filled third set tiebreak. Watson will face 8th seed Azarenka in the third round. Then came in Jelena Jankovic and Sloane Stephens, who both didn’t want to be overshadowed in the drama department. The American won a tight tiebreak in the first, only to get broken once in the second and lose it 6-4. Despite some spirited fight, Stephens could not manage to repeat her feat of the first set, losing the last three points, also in a third set tiebreak, this time in 3 hours 15 minutes. In the third match (and only two-setter of the court today), Venus Williams dominated young qualifier Yulia Putintseva. Venus was solid, especially on her forehand, while Putintseva was hoping for mistakes. Venus was about to serve for the match at 6-3 5-2, but a rain delay interrupted the match for 45 minutes, only to add to the delay of the final singles match. Venus finished it quickly when the play resumed and will face 6th seed Angelique Kerber of Germany in tomorrow’s night session match. Then came in Coco and Ana, who played one of the best matches of 2014: hard serves, big fight, huge shot-making and just good ol’ WTA drama.

 

Other results:
2nd round
[15] Lucie Safarova (CZE) def. Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) 6-4 6-2
[14] Carla Suarez Navarro (SPA) def. [LL] Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 6-1 3-6 6-3
[6] Angelique Kerber (GER) def. Caroline Garcia (FRA) 6-4 6-1
Sabine Lisicki (GER) def. Madison Keys (USA) 4-6 6-1 6-4
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) def. [LL] Elena Vesnina (RUS) 6-3 6-2
[2] Petra Kvitova (CZE) def. Casey Dellacqua (AUS) 6-3 6-2

Follow live twitter updates from the Coupe Rogers Montreal on @TennisNewsTPN throughout the week.

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