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Need A Babysitter? Haase Is Your Man!

  • Posted: Apr 20, 2020

Need A Babysitter? Haase Is Your Man!

Dutchman helps local families during the current pandemic

When Robin Haase started out this year, he likely didn’t imagine that he’d become the most recognisable babysitter in the Netherlands.

But once the Dutchman returned home in early March and remained there due to the COVID-19 outbreak, he felt inspired to help after seeing how parents working in the healthcare sector struggled with childcare. He took to Instagram last month and offered to babysit for parents that still needed to work, encouraging his followers to message him if help was needed.


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Stuur mij een prive bericht indien de hulp nodig is. #corona #samen #gezondheid #helpen

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“I had a lot of requests and that was great, but could only do so much because you put yourself and others at risk by being around a lot of people,” Haase said to “I did it two times, though, and it was really fun and nice to help out. The only babysitting I’d ever done before was for a nephew about 15 years ago, so I didn’t really have any experience, but it worked out well.”

Haase also received suggestions from fans and followers about ways to help. He turned his attention to being of service and still hopes to follow through on some of the more unique requests.

“For the first two-and-a-half weeks, I was helping others non-stop,” Haase said. For one kids’ 10th birthday, he normally celebrates by going with his parents to a restaurant. Since the restaurant was closed, I decided to buy a game and bring it to him myself. When it was my birthday recently (on 6 April), he surprised me with a video message, which was very nice of him.

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“A guy also messaged me who had been working out for several months and asked if I’d go running with him to help him stay motivated. We haven’t done it yet because he lives two-and-a-half hours away, but it’s a great idea and something that I’d really like to do. You can do it outside and be spaced apart from each other, but it’s also an activity to do together and I think that’s important now.”

Looking for ways to give back has been part of Haase’s life long before the current pandemic. He regularly volunteers his time at ATP Tour events for community outreach and hospital visits, but opted to do so quietly in order to avoid publicity.

“I always try to help other people whether or not I’m playing tournaments. I just didn’t put it out on social media or the news because I enjoyed doing it, but it was also for them,” Haase said. “I’ll go to hospitals and visit people who love tennis or kids who love sports in general, talk with them or maybe go on a walk together. But I’m taking a step back from some of this now, thinking about myself and what I can do to get fit again.”

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Although he recently bought a bike, the COVID-19 outbreak has currently halted his tennis and fitness training. Haase admitted that he isn’t certain how his body will respond when he resumes a rigorous schedule on Tour, but is eager to begin competing as soon as possible.

“I have a very bad knee, but I got used to the pain because I kept on playing. But now that I’m not and will have to start up again, I’ll have to go through hell again with the pain. I think I’ll be able to handle it, though, and am really looking forward to playing,” Haase said. “Competing and playing for big crowds are the things I miss most. I see myself not only as a tennis player, but also as an entertainer.”

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Karlovic Brings The Laughs In Twitter Q&A

  • Posted: Apr 20, 2020

Karlovic Brings The Laughs In Twitter Q&A

Croatian answers fan questions on social media

Ivo Karlovic is a man of few words, but proved in his Twitter Q&A this past weekend that those who talk the least often say the most.

The Croatian made time to answer fan questions and several of his funny responses made the rounds on social media. Karlovic also took a more direct approach to other questions including his favourite ATP Tour event, best win and thoughts on Rafael Nadal.

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After Slow Start, Nadal Grills Federer, Murray on Instagram

  • Posted: Apr 20, 2020

After Slow Start, Nadal Grills Federer, Murray on Instagram

Spaniard holds entertaining live session on Monday

Rafael Nadal has overcome plenty of opponents in his legendary ATP Tour career, but he faced perhaps his toughest one on Monday: technology.

The Spaniard held a star-filled Instagram Live that included Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Marc Lopez. Nadal laughed as he visibly struggled with the platform and how to bring his fellow players into the conversation, admitting that it was his first time going live.

“As you can see, I’m a disaster in everything. But I’m trying hard,” Nadal said, smiling. Murray took a playful dig at Nadal in the comments section and wrote, “This is brilliant… He can win 52 French Opens, but not work Instagram.”

Nadal finally managed to bring Federer in and the pair caught up on what their recent weeks have looked like. The Swiss provided an update on his recovery from right knee surgery in February and said he’s happy with the progress made so far.

“I had a really good first six weeks, then things got a bit slower, now it’s good again. But I have plenty of time obviously. There’s no rush,” Federer said. “I’ve been hitting a bit against the wall, doing my rehab and my fitness. The good thing is that the second surgery is easier than the first one. I don’t need to experience a third one, though!”

Federer and Nadal reminisced about their hectic schedules of juggling school and training as junior players. The Swiss said that the importance of keeping to a schedule is something he’s instilled in his children and it’s remained particularly important while in lockdown.

“We’re big on routines with school, when to eat and when to sleep. I think that’s important when you have kids, especially multiple children,” Federer said. “The hard part now is that we can’t interact or see anyone, including my parents. The kids would love to play with other ones. But having four kids here, they can always be with each other.”

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The natural rapport between both men was on display, with Federer jokingly cheering when Nadal admitted that he hadn’t hit a ball since early March. He also grilled the Spaniard about playing as a lefty when he’s naturally right-handed, acknowledging that handling the lefty spin is one of his biggest challenges when they face off.

“I cannot play righty. That’s just a legend!” Nadal said, laughing. “My basketball skills are with the right [hand], everything else is with the right, but not with football or tennis. I started playing with a two-handed backhand and forehand. The people I was working with probably didn’t know if I was righty or lefty.”

After Federer left, Nadal brought Murray in for a conversation. Murray shared the exciting news that the recovery from his right hip injury is going well and joked that his biggest challenge is home schooling their two young children.

“I’ve been training a lot and still able to do lots of things, but haven’t hit any balls for five weeks. I feel pretty good, so let’s see when we’re able to start [competing] again.” Murray said.
“I’m just trying to find stuff to do with the kids every day. It’s been tough, but it’s been nice to spend so much time with the kids and family. We’re not used to that.

“It’s difficult trying to teach your kids as parents. You appreciate the work that the teachers are doing a lot more because the kids don’t always want to listen to what parents have to say.”

Both men will participate next week in the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro, swapping their racquets for a Playstation 4 to compete against other ATP and WTA players using the Tennis World Tour video game. Nadal joked that “they don’t want me to do well in Madrid this year” and only recently played the game for the first time. When Murray said he selected Nadal as his character to compete on clay against Federer, the Spaniard asked if he “hit against [Roger’s] backhand all the time” for the match.

“After a set, you were unbelievably tired,” Murray said, laughing. “The energy bar on the side of the screen was almost empty. I’ve never seen you get tired after one set!” Nadal admitted that he needed to sharpen his gaming skills and said that he would text the Brit to play a match.

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Nadal opened his Instagram Live by answering several fan questions in English and Spanish. He said that while tending to business with his foundation and academy has kept him occupied, he looked forward to competing and seeing his fellow players in person aagain.

“I played with Andy, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Richard Gasquet and Gael Monfils as kids. It’s been a lifetime of experiences,” Nadal said. “We were traveling and practising a lot as kids in order to become professional tennis players. It’s great to stay together now on Tour because we made our dreams come true.

“My motivation is very easy to understand. I love what I’m doing. I feel super lucky for all the experiences that I’m able to enjoy because of tennis. I like to be out there playing in the best stadiums, enjoying the competition. I’m doing my best to stay healthy and keep the same routines so I can be ready for when I have the chance to come back.”

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Flashback | Almagro On Nadal Barcelona Stunner: ‘Finally I Beat Rafa’

  • Posted: Apr 20, 2020

Flashback | Almagro On Nadal Barcelona Stunner: ‘Finally I Beat Rafa’

Almagro ended Nadal’s 41-match Barcelona winning streak

Rafael Nadal arrived at the 2014 Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell quarter-finals on a 41-match winning streak at the event, and he was also the World No. 1. The lefty had won all 10 of his previous ATP Head2Head matches against his opponent, Nicolas Almagro. In those clashes, Almagro claimed only two sets.

However, Nadal had lost in the quarter-finals of the recent Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters against David Ferrer, and he was upset in the Round of 32 at the BNP Paribas Open by Alexandr Dolgopolov.

Almagro carried no apprehension into their battle, and it paid dividends. Despite losing the first set, Almagro rallied for a 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 victory to end the top seed’s Barcelona winning streak.

“It was tough because the court was a little bit windy and it’s really difficult to play with those kind of conditions,” Almagro told Tennis TV. “But I think I played really good tennis with a lot of power and I was very focussed. Finally I beat Rafa. The last game was really tough. Many things were in my head. I’m very happy.”

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Almagro had previously lost against Nadal in Barcelona twice — in the 2006 semi-finals and the 2013 final.

“You try to think in another part of your tennis. It is better not to think about that kind of statistic,” Almagro said. “I think the last times I played really tough matches and I had many chances. I tried to play my tennis and finally I could beat him.”

Nadal seemed in control after taking the first set. Even with Almagro winning the match, Nadal won eight more points than his countryman (110-102). But Almagro hung on under pressure, saving 13 of the 18 break points he faced before ultimately triumphing in two hours and 47 minutes.

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“It’s the sport, that’s it, nothing else. Obviously it’s not the happiest day for me, but obviously I never felt that I was going to win here so many matches in a row,” Nadal said. “That’s part of this sport. Today was not my day. I felt that I did a lot of things well to win the match. But at the end remained a little bit [short], and that’s it. [I] just [have to] accept the situation and keep fighting.”

Almagro lost in the semi-finals against Colombian Santiago Giraldo, but he left Barcelona with a victory to remember. Almagro retired in April 2019, and he’d never win another match against Nadal, who dominated their rivalry 15-1.

“I’m very happy with my tennis today,” Almagro said. “I think I played a really good match against the best player on that surface and that victory could be a really important victory in my career.”

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Jarry can return in November as doping ban is backdated

  • Posted: Apr 20, 2020

Chile’s Nicolas Jarry will be able to return to tennis on 16 November after his ban for testing positive for two banned substances was backdated.

Jarry provided a sample which contained anabolic agent ligandrol and anabolic steroid stanozolol at the Davis Cup in November.

The 24-year-old had said his positive test was due to “cross-contamination”.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has accepted his explanation and backdated his ban.

The ITF said: “He must serve a period of ineligibility of 11 months and that period of ineligibility is back-dated to start on 16 December 2019, and so ending at midnight on 15 November 2020.”

Jarry, the world number 89, had initially been charged on 4 January and was provisionally suspended on 14 January 2020.

He said he had taken “multi-vitamins made in Brazil” that his doctor recommended because they were “guaranteed to be free from banned substances”.

He added that he had undergone two urine tests during the Davis Cup in Madrid in November and that the first one was clean before the second detected “levels so low that neither substance could have provided me any performance-enhancing benefit”.

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Flashback: Successful Kids' Day Supports More Than 400 Children In Budapest

  • Posted: Apr 20, 2020

Successful Kids’ Day Supports More Than 400 Children In Budapest

ATP World Tour stars, including Pouille and Shapovalov, help create memorable day for kids

The Gazprom Hungarian Open, a 2018 ATP ACES For Charity grant recipient, held a successful kids’ day Wednesday in Budapest, benefitting more than 400 children. The tournament also donated three junior-sized sports wheelchairs, which kids used to play tennis with the help of wheelchair tennis instructors and ATP World Tour pros.

Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili, No. 2 seed Damir Dzumhur, Colombian Santiago Gonzalez, Briton Dominic Inglot, Germans Yannick Maden and Maximilian Marterer, Japan’s Ben McLachlan, Aussie John Millman, Hungarian Zsombor Piros, top seed Lucas Pouille, #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov, Croatian Franko Skugor, Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky, and Swede Elias Ymer joined the festivities to help create a memorable experience for all of the kids. The event was held in tandem with the Hand in Hand Foundation, which helps disabled people and their families through various aspects of life, such as education, health and family care, employment and recreation.

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There was a wheelchair tennis clinic for both disabled and able-bodied children, as well as a mini-tennis clinic involving ATP World Tour players and top Hungarian wheelchair tennis players. It was a fun day for everyone in attendance, with various entertainment off the court, including opportunities to try out the tennis wheelchairs, play volleyball, soccer and much more. 

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Sporting Hero: 'I could watch that backhand over and over' – Beattie on Federer

  • Posted: Apr 20, 2020

Almost every sportsperson who has reached the top of their field was inspired by an athlete that came before them. Often it’s one from their own sport, but sometimes that inspiration can come from an entirely different discipline. In this series, BBC Sport Scotland speaks to Scottish sporting stars about some of those heroes.

This week, Arsenal and Scotland defender Jen Beattie tells us about her sporting hero – Roger Federer, winner of 20 Grand Slam titles and arguably the greatest male tennis player that’s ever lived.

From a young age, I’ve been a big tennis fan. I used to play at a club across the road from my school in Jordanhill, normally me and my three best mates playing doubles.

I’ve always loved watching Wimbledon and when I was growing up Roger Federer was the men’s champion every year. He had some epic finals – the ones against Andy Roddick in particular – but he always seemed to prevail.

Federer was ridiculous at that time, winning 12 Grand slams between 2003 and 2007. And I could just watch that backhand in action over and over again.

I love the way he carries himself on and off the court. His calmness and composure is something I have always really admired. I remember watching him when I was younger and thinking, “This guy is playing in front of tens of thousands of fans, millions more around the world watching on TV, and he’s just so cool, calm and collected”.

Even in his interviews, he makes a point of showing admiration and respect – genuine respect – for his opponents. His sportsmanship is second to none and I’ve always loved that about him.

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In my football career I’ve played in big, important matches for my club and particularly for my country, the World Cup being the obvious one. With that comes pressure to perform, but I’ve always felt that pressure must be amplified when you are an athlete in an individual sport.

When I’m walking on to a pitch, I know I’ve got the full team behind me. You’ve got 10 other players to talk to, to help motivate you or find solutions. Federer just has to figure it out in his own head. It’s very different.

I honestly think sometimes that’s why I never pursued an individual sport, I was more suited to team sports. I’ve always had the utmost respect for those that can do that on an individual level, just be nobody but yourself in your own head. I think that’s an incredible talent to have.

The best among the best

There are any number of variables you can throw into the mix when examining what makes a sporting legend. A big one for me is the quality of the opponents you have to overcome, and the ones we consider greats of their sport usually have had to contend with other world-class talents. Federer has not just been a tennis great, he’s been a great in undoubtedly the greatest era of men’s tennis.

His rivalry with Rafael Nadal alone is one for the ages. But he’s also had to live with Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, not to mention the numerous other quality opponents who, were they not competing with perhaps four of the greatest tennis players in history operating at the same time, may be considered greats in their own right.

To win 20 Grand Slam titles in this period, as well as reaching another 11 finals, marks Federer out as a legend.

After winning Wimbledon in 2012, the Slams started to dry up for Federer. He lost the 2014 and 2015 finals to Djokovic at the All England Club, and lost the 2015 US Open final to the same man. In 2016, time seemed to be catching up with him, knee and back injuries ruining his season.

At that stage the chances of Federer returning to top form, and the notion of him competing with a rampant Djokovic, seemed remote. And yet there he was in 2017, winning the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2017 and triumphing in Melbourne again in 2018.

That belief and confidence he must have had within himself to keep going, and even change little aspects of his game to prolong his career, is so impressive. And not just prolong his career but actually improve as a player. Not many people look to do that when the end is in sight.

The comparison I would draw from the the football world would be Ryan Giggs. He was always the one guy I looked at as a great example of a player who changed the way he played to prolong his career and stay at the top.

I think that’s a natural thing that a lot of athletes will figure out as they go along but Roger has done that on an unbelievable level. To be 38 and still operating at the level he is is a testament to him.

Josh Taylor was speaking to BBC Scotland’s Andy Burke.

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