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Arina Rodionova set to play a match on her wedding day: Rodionova is caught in a scheduling tizzy. She’s into the semifinals of the Australian Open wildcard playoff on Saturday. That also happens to be the same day as her wedding. Organizers have moved the match to start at 9am. Good luck!
Serena ready for another Grand Slam run: The World No.1 says the Grand Slam – nay, Golden Slam – is on her mind as she readies for 2016.
Sania Mirza hoping for less controversy at the Olympics: After a divisive Olympic selection bid last time around in London, Mirza his hoping for smoother waters in Rio this summer.
Belinda Bencic partnership still in flux: On the heels of Martina Hingis confirming her mixed doubles pairing with Roger Federer at the Olympics, Bencic’s potential pairing with Wawrinka is still in up in the air.
Meanwhile, here’s Bencic with her IPTL Singapore Slammers. Looks like a fun time is being had by all.
Singapore calling! @andy_murray @Charlymoya @BelindaBencic @marcelomelo83 @NickKyrgios @KaPliskova #Tenfie pic.twitter.com/mmI9cMYNbP
— IPTL (@iptl) December 17, 2015
Petra Kvitova announces her engagement: The two-time Wimbledon champion announced on Thursday that she’s engaged to Czech hockey player Radek Meidl. Congrats!
Vincanity: Steve Tignor for Tennis.com on his second-best match of the year: Roberta Vinci’s shocker over Serena Williams at the US Open.
Kristina Mladenovic living her dream: The Frenchwoman tells Sport360.com that playing IPTL alongside Roger Federer is blowing her mind.
The Best Interviews: We’ve created a playlist on Soundcloud featuring the best player interviews so far from the WTA Insider Podcast. It’s a great jumping off point if you haven’t heard the podcast yet.
Strong IS beautiful: We see you, Dominika Cibulkova.
#strongisbeautiful @Cibulkova @wta @DomiCollection pic.twitter.com/NKqhRLyt4h
— Dominika Cibulkova (@Cibulkova) December 17, 2015
Greatness has been found: Nifty Nike collection honoring Serena here:
Strong. Powerful. Beautiful. @nikelab honors @serenawilliams with the Greatness Collection: https://t.co/mUskPo4YEH pic.twitter.com/pcMnc7Mg8O
— NikeCourt (@Nikecourt) December 16, 2015
Petra Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon champion in 2011 and 2014 and a former No.2 player in the world, has announced her engagement to Radek Meidl, a hockey player from the Czech Republic.
So happy to share the news with you that we got engaged! pic.twitter.com/8aXm9rGPk0
— Petra Kvitova (@Petra_Kvitova) December 17, 2015
Always one of the most popular players on the tour, and winner of the Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship Award for the last two years, it may come as no surprise Kvitova’s fellow WTA stars were thrilled:
@Petra_Kvitova congrats Petra , so happy for you ?
— Angelique Kerber (@AngeliqueKerber) December 17, 2015
Congrats!!! ?? @Petra_Kvitova https://t.co/PzyITuIcDk
— Sabine Lisicki (@sabinelisicki) December 17, 2015
@Petra_Kvitova I am so happy for you!!! ???
— Yanina Wickmayer (@wickytennis) December 17, 2015
@Petra_Kvitova congrats girl !!!! ?❤️
— Jovana Jaksic (@JaksicJovana) December 17, 2015
Two-time US Open finalist Caroline Wozniacki may have made her major breakthrough in the hustle and bustle of New York, but she first came to prominence under calmer circumstances, winning her first junior Grand Slam title in 2006 at the Wimbledon Championships.
“I like to play on grass,” she said at the All England Club this past summer. “It’s a fun surface for me to play on. I enjoy it.”
Though her maiden Premier title came in New Haven, it was less than a year later that her second big title came at the Aegon International Eastbourne.
Despite these early successes, Wimbledon remains the only major tournament where she is yet to reach the quarterfinals. Most maddeningly, her tournament has ended on the Championships’ Manic Monday five of the last seven years.
“I’m very motivated for that. I’ve won Eastbourne. I’ve done so well there so many times. I won junior Wimbledon. I feel so comfortable on the grass. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to make it past the fourth round.”
In defense of the Dane, she has run into some stiff opposition at this stage of the tournament. Three of her round of 16 losses have come to future Wimbledon starlets in Sabine Lisicki, Petra Kvitova, and Garbiñe Muguruza, who went on to reach the final later that week.
A player who enjoys outfoxing opponents, Wozniacki is aware of the need to earn the initiative early in grass court rallies.
“It’s all about being good on the first couple of shots in the rally. Once you have that, you can kind of dictate, and then you have to think about where you can place the ball.”
Wozniacki is also hoping to make changes when it comes to her court assignments, having ended up on the wrong end of one too many matches on Wimbledon’s newly constructed Court 2.
“Court 2 hasn’t been very nice to me through the years. Maybe next year I’ll ask to be put on one of the small courts. I don’t know. Try and mix it up a little bit.”
Spoken in jest, the former No.1 and two-time year-end No.1 is still hungry for the big results, and the big stages that come with them – though she admits it’s even tougher for WTA players to get their due at Wimbledon.
“The women really haven’t gotten the opportunity here to play on the big courts. You only get one woman’s match on Court 1 and Centre Court. Most of last week it was only one woman’s match on Court 2 as well. It’s definitely different. That’s all I can say.
“I think a lot of us women feel like we deserve to play on the big courts in front of a big crowd, as well.”
With another Wimbledon on the horizon in 2016, will Wozniacki fulfill her potential for Grand Slam glory at the tournament that started it all?
Players prepare for 2016 campaign at ATP training camp
World No. 1 and Monte-Carlo resident Novak Djokovic has been honing his preparations for the 2016 ATP World Tour season at the ATP training camp in Monaco.
The Serb, who captured 11 tour-level titles in a staggering 2015 campaign, has enjoyed full use of the facilities at the Monte-Carlo Country Club, including the gym and discounted meals.
Djokovic has been joined in the warm weather at the training camp by fellow Monte-Carlo resident, Milos Raonic, Italians Andreas Seppi and Marco Cecchinato, China’s Di Wu and all the Monaco team. Junior players also took the opportunity to train with the world’s best as practice partners.
As well as benefitting from the facilities at the Monte-Carlo Country Club, the players were also welcome at Stade Louis II, home of AS Monaco, where they could use the athletic track. Hotel discounts were also available for ATP members.
The Monte-Carlo Country Club also hosts the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay-court tournament, to be played 10-17 April, 2016.
Arina Rodionova will be busier than most brides on her wedding day as she attempts to win a wildcard to the Australian Open in the morning before tying the knot in the afternoon.
The Russian-born Australian has reached Saturday’s semi-finals of the Australian Open play-offs which could see her win a spot in the main draw for January’s first Grand Slam of the year.
The 26-year-old had been scheduled to play Storm Sanders in the afternoon, which clashed with her wedding to Australian Rules football player Ty Vickery at 16:00 local time.
But tournament organisers and her opponent have agreed to move the match to the morning.
If Rodionova beats Sanders she will be back at Melbourne Park on Sunday for the final.
She told the Sydney Morning Herald she would be taking it easy at her wedding as a result, if she makes it that far.
“I don’t think brides should be very drunk at the wedding,” said the world number 309. ” That’s not a good look, so I’m definitely not going to be having more than three. It should be good.”
Nick Kyrgios, No. 30 (20 years, 7 months)
The Aussie young gun revolution continued in 2015, with Kyrgios joining Bernard Tomic in the year-end Top 30 of the Emirates ATP Rankings. The Aussie turned in another strong campaign, highlighted by his first ATP World Tour final on the clay of Estoril in late April and a quarter-final run on home soil at the Australian Open. Kyrgios became the first player from his country to reach the quarters in Melbourne Park since Lleyton Hewitt in 2005, and the first teen to advance to the last eight at multiple majors since Roger Federer in 2001. He posted a 24-19 win-loss record overall, with a thrilling 6-7(2), 7-6(5), 7-6(12) upset of Federer at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Madrid also on his résumé.
Borna Coric, No. 44 (19 years, 1 month)
The highest-ranked teen in the Emirates ATP Rankings, Coric soared to a career-high World No. 33 in late July. Currently at No. 44, the sky’s the limit for the 19 year old from Croatia after reaching two ATP World Tour semi-finals, in Dubai and Nice, and notching his first Top 5 victory – a 6-1, 6-3 rout of Andy Murray. He achieved his best Grand Slam result in advancing to the third round at Roland Garros and got off to a winning start in his Masters 1000 debut at Indian Wells, reaching the second round as a qualifier. The Zagreb native also clinched his second ATP Challenger Tour title, triumphing on the clay of Barranquilla without dropping a set.
Read Coric Stars of Tomorrow
Hyeon Chung, No. 51 (19 years, 6 months)
Chung has become Asia’s newest tennis sensation after crashing onto the scene in 2015. Just the second Korean to crack the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings, joining Hyung-Taik Lee, he vaulted 122 spots this year to a career-high World No. 51. The 19 year old won his first ATP World Tour match at the Masters 1000 event in Miami and later claimed his first on the Grand Slam stage at the US Open. One of nine different teens to lift ATP Challenger Tour trophies in 2015, Chung was victorious on four occasions – in Burnie, Savannah, Busan and Kaohsiung. He capped his season with a first ATP World Tour quarter-final in Shenzhen.
Read Chung Stars of Tomorrow
Lucas Pouille, No. 78 (21 years, 9 months)
France’s rising star Pouille has enjoyed a steady ascent up the Emirates ATP Rankings since reaching the Round of 16 at the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris last year. The World No. 78 attained a career-high No. 64 spot in early August, following a stunning run to the semi-finals at the ATP World Tour 500 event in Hamburg as a qualifier. Also a semi-finalist as a lucky loser in Auckland, Pouille was calm under pressure, posting a 9-2 record in tie-break sets. He would cap his campaign with a final run at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Mouilleron Le Captif (l. to Paire).
Thanasi Kokkinakis, No. 80 (19 years, 8 months)
Kokkinakis was a key contributor to a history-making season for the teenage contingent. For the first time since 2008, four teens cracked the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings and the Aussie from Adelaide was a dominant force. The World No. 80 broke into the Top 100 for the first time with a maiden Challenger title in Bordeaux and qualified at six ATP World Tour events. Kokkinakis was clutch in Grand Slams as well, winning a match at his home major for the second straight year after saving four match points against Ernests Gulbis. He would prevail 8-6 in the fifth set and proceeded to claim another 8-6 thriller on the terre battue of Roland Garros, rallying from two sets down to defeat countryman Bernard Tomic. In addition, in Indian Wells, he became the first teen to reach the Round of 16 of an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event since Tomic in Cincinnati 2012.
Alexander Zverev, No. 83 (18 years, 7 months)
The youngest player in the Top 100, 18-year-old Zverev was recognised for his sterling 2015 campaign in being awarded the ATP Star of Tomorrow presented by Emirates. The German claimed his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 match win after emerging from qualifying in Miami. Zverev won 14 tour-level matches in total in 2015, reaching his second ATP World Tour semi-final on the clay of Bastad and securing his second Top 20 win (d. Anderson) en route to the Washington quarters. Zverev also won his first Grand Slam match, a 9-7 fifth set thriller over Teymuraz Gabashvili at Wimbledon, and was a doubles finalist in Munich alongside brother Mischa. His shining moment came in cracking the Top 100 with a second ATP Challenger Tour title on home soil in Heilbronn.
Kyle Edmund, No. 102 (20 years, 11 months)
Davis Cup champions Great Britain have a bright future with Kyle Edmund continuing his assault on the Emirates ATP Rankings. Peaking at a career-high World No. 99, Edmund finished the year at No. 102. The Brit enjoyed a strong first half of the season, qualifying at a Grand Slam for the first time at both the Australian Open and Roland Garros. He would beat Stephane Robert in five sets on the clay for the second tour-level match win of his young career. A maiden Challenger title in Hong Kong in late January would be followed by more success on the circuit, hoisting the trophy on the hard courts of Binghamton and clay of Buenos Aires to cap his campaign. In total, Brits posted an 8-0 record in Challenger finals in 2015.
Yoshihito Nishioka, No. 117 (20 years, 2 months)
Nishioka’s 2015 season will be remembered for his audacious behind-the-back hot shot at the Aptos Challenger, but there was much more to the Japanese’s campaign to be impressed with. Closing in on the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings, the 20 year old concluded the year at World No. 117 after successful qualifying campaigns in Delray Beach, Roland Garros, Washington and the US Open. He notched his first ATP World Tour main draw wins in Delray Beach, reaching the quarter-finals, and his first at the Grand Slam stage in beating Paul-Henri Mathieu in five sets in New York. Nishioka capped his campaign with a title run on home soil at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Toyota.
Jared Donaldson, No. 134 (19 years, 2 months)
The 19 year old from Providence, Rhode Island, quietly constructed an impressive 2015 season. Donaldson registered his first ATP World Tour match victory in Memphis and would follow that up with a second on the grass of Newport, a third on the hard courts of Atlanta and another at the Masters 1000 level in Cincinnati in August. On the ATP Challenger Tour, the American earned his maiden title in Maui to open the season and reached the final in Sacramento, falling to fellow young gun Taylor Fritz. It was the first Challenger final between two teens since 2007.
Read Donaldson Stars of Tomorrow
Elias Ymer, No. 136 (19 years, 8 months)
In 2016, Sweden will host its first ATP Challenger Tour tournament in 20 years. The Ymer brothers – Elias and Mikael – are a big reason why, putting the Scandinavian nation back on the tennis map. Elias became just the second player (Dancevic, 2011) to emerge from qualifying at all four Grand Slams in one season, securing his spot as one of 10 teens in the US Open main draw. He also won two matches in reaching the Round of 16 at the ATP World Tour 500 event in Barcelona, stunning Nick Kyrgios 9-7 in a deciding tie-break en route. The Swede would get his hands on a trophy as well, claiming his maiden Challenger title in Caltanissetta, Italy.
Others Making Noise
There were four more teens in the year-end Top 200 of the Emirates ATP Rankings, with Russians Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev, and Americans Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe making strides. Rublev made the most noise of the foursome, becoming the first teen to win matches at five different ATP World Tour events since Rafael Nadal in 2004. With Rublev, Coric, Chung and Zverev notching victories at the Masters 1000 event in Miami, it marked the first time in tournament history that four players aged 18 and younger advanced to the second round. Fritz and Tiafoe also won their first matches on the ATP World Tour, with the former advancing to the second round in Nottingham and the latter doing so in Winston-Salem. Also, Fritz became just the second player aged 17 and younger to win consecutive Challenger titles when he triumphed in Sacramento and Fairfield.
Read Tiafoe Stars of Tomorrow | Fritz Feature