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Rafter, Barty Visit Healthcare Workers At Brisbane Hospital

  • Posted: May 06, 2020

Rafter, Barty Visit Healthcare Workers At Brisbane Hospital

Australian stars show support for healthcare workers in Queensland

Former World No. 1 Patrick Rafter and WTA World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty visited frontline healthcare workers at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital in Queensland on Tuesday to show their appreciation and support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pair met with David Rosengren, Executive Director of the RBWH, and had a surprise hit at a pop-up court on the hospital’s helipad with clinical nurse consultants from the Infection Prevention and Monitoring Service Trish Hurst and Michelle Doidge.

“Being in that environment, it’s pretty tricky. You can’t thank these guys enough for what they’re doing,” said Rafter.

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Barty, whose sister Sara is a midwife and mum Josie also works in the medical field, came up with the initiative, and she and Rafter also toured the hospital, including the Emergency and Infections Unit, where the most Queensland COVID-19 cases have been treated. The pair also joined a video conference with other members of the medical team to express their thanks.

“It was really incredible to come into one of the COVID wards and just to see how it all works and how it’s sectioned off,” said Barty.

“There were a lot of people and a lot of unsung heroes who are going unnoticed at the moment who are doing a lot of work to keep us safe, keep the community safe and to keep us tracking in the right direction.”

Rosengren said the visit from two of the country’s most popular athletes was uplifting for everyone dealing with the pandemic.

“Being the largest hospital in Queensland, we often have to bear the brunt of lots of the hard work and lots of the complexity,” said Rosengren.

“It is so good to be able to just spend five minutes and look at the bright side of life and to get some recognition. We have plenty of Pat and Ash fans here and the smile on their faces around the hospital has been exceptional.”

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When Nalbandian Beat Nadal, Djokovic & Federer Consecutively

  • Posted: May 06, 2020

When Nalbandian Beat Nadal, Djokovic & Federer Consecutively

Relive the Argentine’s magical run at 2007 Madrid

David Naldbandian earned a 0.35 winning percentage (11-20) against the ‘Big Three’ of Novak Djokovic (1-4), Roger Federer (8-11) and Rafael Nadal (2-5) in his career. But over the course of three magical days in 2007, the Argentine beat them consecutively.

Entering that year’s Mutua Madrid Open — which at the time was held in October — Nalbandian had only made one quarter-final all season, and that came more than five months earlier on Barcelona’s clay. The ATP Masters 1000 in Madrid was played on hard through 2008.


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Madrid 2007: @nalbandiand makes history on the ATP Tour ? #MMOPEN

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But Nalbandian defeated Arnaud Clement, Tomas Berdych and Juan Martin del Potro to gain momentum, and what he did for the rest of the tournament remains in the history books.

Nalbandian became the first player to defeat Nadal, Djokovic and Federer in the same tournament, doing so to win his first Masters 1000 title. First up was Nadal, who he had never previously faced. The Spaniard was World No. 2, and Nalbandian was unseeded, but the Argentine broke five times en route to a 6-1, 6-2 quarter-final win after only 71 minutes.

“Everything went right for me today,” Nalbandian said, according to Reuters. “I took advantage of all Rafa’s errors and he never felt comfortable, but I felt I played really well.”

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Djokovic, who had recently cruised past Nalbandian in Montreal, was next. But Nalbandian was in far better form this time around.

“Sometimes you play bad and he was on a roll. He won against Rafa and a lot of good players this week, so obviously he had a lot of confidence on the court and you could see that,” Djokovic said.

Nalbandian earned his only victory of their ATP Head2Head series, saving the two break points he faced in a 6-4, 7-6(4) triumph. The 2005 Tennis Masters Cup champion earned another shot at maiden Masters 1000 glory, after falling short on three previous occasions.

“This is a very important win for me as I haven’t had a good year,” Nalbandian said. “I had some physical problems this year but I’ve been working hard, regained confidence, and today I got the reward on the court.”

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It would not get any easier against Federer, who had won their previous five matches. But Nalbandian had a date with destiny, rallying past the top seed 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 for the trophy.

“I was very focussed, knowing I’d have to play incredibly to win and everything went right for me,” Nalbandian said. “It was a big boost for me to beat so many good players here this week.”

To this day, nobody else has beaten the ‘Big Three’ at the same tournament. Even then, Federer knew it was an impressive accomplishment.

“I guess when you beat Nadal and Djokovic back-to-back you come into the final feeling better than ever,” said Federer. “It was a pity I couldn’t stop him today.”

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Roger Federer Foundation Grants $1m For Meals In Africa

  • Posted: May 06, 2020

Roger Federer Foundation Grants $1m For Meals In Africa

Grant to help 64,000 people affected by COVID-19 pandemic

Roger Federer has announced that his foundation will donate $1m to provide meals for young children and their families in Africa while schools are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 103-time tour-level titlist took to Twitter to spread the message of the Roger Federer Foundation’s pledge, which will feed 64,000 vulnerable people affected by the crisis.

The Foundation is working through its normal local partner organisations in Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi to provide the extra meals for the next two months.

“The normally provided school meals are often the only nutritious meal children get,” said Janine Haendel, CEO of the Roger Federer Foundation. “With schools now closed, children no longer have access to these meals. Hunger is a problem, in particular in the countries with lockdowns where vulnerable families have no reserves.”

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Federers Make Big Donation To Vulnerable Swiss Families

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Founded in 2003, the Roger Federer Foundation supports educational projects located in southern Africa and Switzerland. The programmes on the African continent focus on the improvement of the quality of early learning and basic education and in Switzerland on the promotion of extra-curricular activities for children affected by poverty. All activities are realised and implemented by local non-governmental authorities in close collaboration with the local communities.

Since sharing the post on Twitter, Federer’s followers have been quick to praise the 38-year-old’s work. Ruth (@ruth_rf) said, ‘Beautiful work Roger! These strange times make us think about what really matters. Mar (@sheeriow) from Peru said, ‘Thank you for being so heartwarming and humble during this situation’ and Em (@emzitto_) from South Africa added, ‘God bless you’.

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Resurfaced: Ouch! Diego Cops It Where It Hurts

  • Posted: May 06, 2020

Resurfaced: Ouch! Diego Cops It Where It Hurts

Schwartzman suffers blooper moment against Nishikori

Editor’s Note: is resurfacing features to bring fans closer to their favourite players during the current suspension in tournament play. This story was originally published on 10 May 2017.

Diego Schwartzman had a far more eventful warm-up than he would have liked against Kei Nishikori on Wednesday at the Mutua Madrid Open, with a shot from the sixth seed hitting him directly in the groin. 

Both Schwartzman and Nishikori had a laugh at the incident and the crowd even gave Schwartzman a sympathetic round of applause as he briefly collected himself. But the most crushing blow that Nishikori delivered was a backhand winner to wrap up a 1-6, 6-0, 6-4 second-round win in exactly two hours.

Nishikori next plays local favourite David Ferrer in the round of 16 on Thursday.

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Coronavirus and sport: Tennis bodies set up fund to support players

  • Posted: May 06, 2020

Tennis’ governing bodies have confirmed the creation of a Player Relief programme to support players affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The fund, which is already worth at least $6m (£4.8m), will target around 800 singles and doubles players from the ATP and WTA Tours.

The figure is likely to rise as donations from players, including Briton Andy Murray, will also be added.

Novak Djokovic has been campaigning for all of the men’s top 100 to donate.

The programme has been set up by the men’s ATP, the Women’s Tennis Association, the International Tennis Federation and the sport’s four Grand Slams – the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open.

The ATP and the WTA will administer the distribution of the money, with eligibility determined by both a player’s ranking and previous earnings.

The fund will be split equally between men and women.

World number one Djokovic – as president of the ATP Player Council, and in collaboration with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal – had initially hoped the top male players would contribute to a separate $1m fund for men ranked outside the top 250.

But he admitted it was difficult to “pressure players into giving money, whatever their ranking is”.

Dominic Thiem, who was the runner-up to Djokovic in this year’s Australian Open, had expressed his reservations.

“I’ve seen players on the ITF Tour who don’t commit to the sport 100%. Many of them are quite unprofessional. I don’t see why I should give them money,” he told the Austrian newspaper Krone.

Now players can make donations directly to the Player Relief programme, and the fund will further benefit from auctions and virtual tennis tournaments.

  • No fans, handshakes or ball kids – tennis returns

When Murray won last week’s Virtual Madrid Open, he donated half of his prize money to the NHS, and the other half to the fund.

In an interview on CNN on Friday, he explained why the money is so important and how more could be raised.

“Hopefully in a few months time there might be some events we can put on as well to help raise some more money for those players, as they will be the ones feeling it the most just now,” he said.

“The players ranked in that ranking bracket will also be the future of our sport. There will be some young players coming through just now that will go on to be Grand Slam champions, and the number one and top 10 players in the world, so it’s important that we try and support those players just now in any way we can.”

Professional tennis is suspended until at least 13 July, and a decision is expected next week about the European clay-court tournaments which take place in the three weeks to follow.

It seems inevitable all will be cancelled because government restrictions on large scale gatherings remain in place in virtually all of the countries in question.

The US Tennis Association will then decide in June whether the US Open can go ahead in New York from 31 August.

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