Tennis Star Svitolina Asks Russian Player to Pick Side

Ukrainian tennis ace, Elina Svitolina has called all players from Belarus and Russia to publicly declare their views on the war and pick sides in their fight against her homeland.

Svitolina, who herself has taken an indefinite break from the game due to the ongoing conflict in her home, said that she will not take part in the French Open and will stay back home. This is the first time in a decade that the Ukrainian ace will miss the French Open.

For us, for Ukrainians, it’s very important that they speak out, that they choose which side they take,” Svitolina told the Associated Press.

We want to know, we want to feel safe about that. Because if they don’t say their opinion on this, we don’t know if they support their government, if they support the action of the army. Because in Russia and Belarus sport is a big propaganda. I feel like they need to speak up about their position, this is very important. Doesn’t matter if it’s in a Grand Slam or (another) tournament.”

I think every Russian and Belarusian athlete should take their position, so that we know that there is no bad people among us.”

Svitolina was asked if any Russian and Belarusian players personally told her they are against the war.

Very few. This is very sad because many athletes from different countries came up to us and showed us their support,” Svitolina added.

That’s why it really hurts us and we don’t understand why exactly they (Russian and Belarusian players) didn’t.”

For me it’s been a really rough couple of months mentally to hold everything on my shoulders. That’s why it was a better decision to take my time to really settle down. To be on top of the game you have to be 100% mentally and physically fit. For me it was not the case.”

Given what Ukraine has been going through, tennis is understandably not the 27-year-old’s focus right now. “I have lots of things on my plate right now,” she said. “I have my foundation; I try to do as much as I can for people who are in need. This is the priority, the foundation and my family.”

YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_zmL_lXzmQ

Rafael Nadal calls for tougher sanctions on Officials Abuse

Tennis pro Rafael Nadal has said more stringent punishments should be levied in future for abuse of officials on the court. 

“It’s so difficult to talk in my position because from one point of view, I have a good relationship with Sascha (Zverev)– I like him and I practice with him very often,” Nadal said.

“I wish him all the very best and he knows that he was wrong, honestly, and he recognized that very early.

“So that’s a positive thing in his side, in my opinion.

“On the other hand … if we’re not able to control and create a rule or or a way to penalise this type of attitudes a little bit in a stronger way, then we as a players, we feel stronger and stronger all the time.

“We need to be a positive example, especially for the kids watching us.

“So from one side, I don’t want a penalization for Sascha because I like him and I have very good relationship with him.

“In the other hand … I’d like to see something harder for this kind of attitudes, not only him, I mean in general terms because this protects the sport and protects the referees.”

Nadal meanwhile is relishing the opportunity of another campaign in the Californian desert, where he has won three times in the past.

The Spaniard has enjoyed a blistering start to 2022, going unbeaten at 15-0 as well as snaffling his record 21st Grand Slam title at the Australian Open.

“It was an unexpected moment for me to be in this position,” Nadal said.

“I’m enjoying it every day and trying to stay with the right attitude to enjoy the fact that I’m playing well and enjoying matches and winning titles.

“I have been able to find a way to adapt my game to what I need to be competitive – some days being more aggressive, some days being more tactical, more defensive.

“Then I have been brave enough to play with the right determination in the moments that I needed.”

YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZD7iif4ei4

Novak Djokovic Slams BBC for Crucial Interview

Controversial Serbian tennis star has hit out at BBC for a public tell-all interview he did with them after his ordeal at the Australian Open. The Serbian tennis star was the topic of all discussions after he was refused entry into Australia due to his inability to get vaccinated in time.

While Djokovic held his tongue during the course of the tournament, he later went towards BBC and gave a tell-all interview that included all details.

However, the Serb star is now angry at BBC for the way they reported the interview and for the way they misinformed the public through their inadequate reporting measures.

“I was painted in a really ugly manner,” he told the Sport Klub, “I was humiliated, if I may say so, on a world stage.

“That is why it is important for me to have the opportunity to say something. I will repeat what I said to the BBC, because I don’t have more to add.

“I’ve done everything that was asked of me.

“There is a belief that I was privileged in a way, that I [got the exemption] because of my stature.

“I will keep saying it and repeat it like a parrot, although the BBC has cut that part of the interview: 10 days before me, a Czech tennis player and Croatian coach entered Australia with the same medical exemption.

“She played a tournament, he coached his player no problem at all. Suddenly I come and there is a problem. Why? You tell me.”

The 34-year-old Serb star is still to get a nod by organizers to play in the French Open. However, he will play in Rome to get back into competitive action. With Nadal leading the competition, Djokovic would like to get back in competitive action and be back in winning ways.

YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNaIMC4XMhc

Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas fined after controversial Australian Open semifinal

With the controversy surrounding Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open, pundits and fans had hoped that things could settle down and improve. However, there was another controversy as well, which led to fines on both Medvedev and Tsitsipas during the semifinal. 

Daniil Medvedev, who went on to lose to Rafa Nadal in the final, had accused Stefanos Tsitsipas’s father of coaching him from the seats. Medvedev then apparently lost it at the umpire’s inaction and went on to hurl obscenities at him. 

“Are you mad? Are you mad?” Medvedev screamed at Campistol during the second set of his 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 win on Rod Laver Arena.

“His father can coach every point? Are you stupid? His father can talk every point? His father can talk every point?

“Answer my question. Will you answer my question?”

Medvedev continued: “Oh my God, you are so bad, man. How can you be so bad in semifinal? Look at me. I’m talking to you.”

Medvedev later went on to mention that he regretted his action. The apology, however, wasn’t enough to save him from a $17,000 fine. 

“Before every return his [Tsitsipas’s father] was talking Greek,” Medvedev told his media conference.

“I don’t know, maybe [if] he’s saying, ‘Come on, come on’, there is no problem.

“I asked him [Campistol] if he [Tsitsipas’s father] can talk. He said he can talk but he can’t coach.

“Then I said, ‘Do you speak Greek? If not, the guy is talking, talking, talking’. I don’t know what he says.

“I don’t consider coaching as cheating but it should be a code violation.”

Tsitsipas, on the contrary, said he couldn’t hear anything and was appalled at Medvedev’s behavior. 

“I cannot hear anything when I’m playing. It’s impossible. Having the crowd being so loud in every single point, you have to have super hearing to be able to hear what your coach says,” said Tsitsipas. 

Tennis Star Elina Svitolina Backflips on Vaccine Stance

Prominent tennis star and Ukrainian pro, Elina Svitolina, has backflipped on her initial stance on vaccines to ensure that she is up for a booster dose. 15th ranked Svitolina was against booster dose’s earlier and has backtracked on that to reveal that she was vaccinated earlier in 2021 and is all willing to get a booster dose.

Even if they tell me that I have to get a third shot, I would be happy to do that, because I see now so many new cases – and lots of players,” Svitolina told News Corp.

Lots of our friends are getting Covid, so it’s quite tough right now.”

Svitolana said she was also happy with the initial response from players and can’t wait for the season to get started. 

 It’s amazing to see so many good players signing to play from the beginning of the season,” she said.

Everyone’s trying to be ready for the first (grand slam) tournament, for Melbourne, so it’s a really good field and it’s going to be really tough from the beginning of the tournament. There’s no time for adjustments – you have to be ready from the first round, mentally, physically, so this is very exciting, I think, for the tournament and for players as well.”

Svitolina recently got married to men world No.6 Gael Monfils in a close private ceremony. Both the stars plan to be in Australia during the year’s first Grand Slam and will be fighting for laurels after their rushed wedding. 

It was a very special moment for me and Gael,” Svitolina said.

“That month was very busy, for both of us. We had our wedding and the next day we had to fly to Tokyo straightaway, so no big celebrations, but in the end it was very special. We shared this moment with our family and our close friends. It was a really small wedding and it was super special … definitely this moment will last forever in our memories.”

YouTube Link; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Urg8Rm7z-6E