Can Serena at less than full health dominate the WTA circuit?

By July 09, 2019
Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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  • Opinion: Hosts keep missing the point about COVID19 Opinion: Hosts keep missing the point about COVID19

    The hosts of the various big events in the world of sports have been missing the point over and over for the last three months, much like many governments have.

    The COVID-19 Pandemic has inch by inch, ground sports to a halt all over the world and looming events have had to be either cancelled or postponed as it becomes clear that the word ‘pandemic’ is as horrifying as it sounds and the world won’t get over this issue in a few weeks or months as administrators seem to feel.

    But even more important than that, these administrators seem to feel that whether or not an event can go on, depends on the environment at the event.

    But I suggest there is more to it than that.

    The Olympics, for instance, in Tokyo, Japan, seemed to hinge on whether or not the island could get its COVID-19 problems under control before the rest of the world would travel to the event.

    When it became clear that this would not be the case, the event was postponed.

    However, up until that time, even as preparatory events for the Olympics were being cancelled and/or postponed all over the world, the International Olympic Committee had been asking athletes to prepare as if there would still be an event in July of 2020.

    That, I believe, was unfortunate, because it meant, even without travelling to meets all over the world, training was putting athletes at risk of contracting the virus.

    The danger of picking up the virus becomes even more acute when you consider team sports and how much contact it takes to get one working in unison and performing at a high level.

    For that to happen, there needs to be a combination of technical staff, trainers, teammates, and much more. That will up the chances of contracting a virus and therefore it doesn’t matter what is happening at whichever venue in the world, the athletes are at risk.

    I am acutely aware that much planning goes into putting on a large event like the Olympics or the UEFA Champions League, and that there is a lot of money riding on the event going ahead as planned.

    These considerations, I believe, make decisions grey and not as completely black and white like it might from the outside, however, sports and entertainment being the last to get on board with social distancing was, in my mind, slightly callous.

    But that’s just in my mind. These organisers may well have foreseen the financial fallout for the athletes themselves and wanted to save them, for as long as they could, from months without earning in some cases.

    Whichever way you see it, the truth is COVID-19 is likely to bankrupt far more people than it kills.

    Many of the reports on COVID-19 have also indicated that it hurts people with underlying conditions and the elderly, so the athlete with his fitness at the peak of their value, along with usually being under 40, is not in any real danger.

    But how about the person the athletes give it to? And, as was the case of 21-year-old Spanish coach, Francisco Garcia, who knows who has an underlying condition that this virus may attack?

    Garcia, a coach at Atletico Portada Alta, found out he had undiagnosed Leukemia, after being admitted to hospital with coronavirus symptoms. By then, it was too late.

    How I see it is that people and countries can recover from going broke. It happens all the time.

    I’ve never seen anybody recover from being dead.

    Cricket West Indies and the England Cricket Board are entertaining the idea of having a series between the two, scheduled for June, behind closed doors.

    Hopefully, they think better of it in short order.

  • Wimbledon cancelled: Federer 'devastated', Halep 'so sad' Wimbledon cancelled: Federer 'devastated', Halep 'so sad'

    Roger Federer says he is "devastated" while Simona Halep was left feeling "so sad" following the decision to cancel Wimbledon.

    Organisers announced on Wednesday that the 2020 tournament will not take place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    The ATP and WTA Tours have also been further suspended, with top-level tennis now not expected to resume until at least July 13.

    Federer, who has won a record eight Wimbledon men's singles titles, had been planning to return to action in time for Wimbledon and the Olympic Games after undergoing knee surgery.

    With both events now not taking place in 2020, the Swiss great tweeted to say he was "devastated" alongside a gif displaying the text 'There is no gif for these things that I am feeling'.

    Reigning women's champion Halep was disappointed at missing out on the chance to defend her title this year, writing on Twitter: "So sad to hear Wimbledon won't take place this year.

    "Last year's final will forever be one of the happiest days of my life! But we are going through something bigger than tennis and Wimbledon will be back! And it means I have even longer to look forward to defending my title."

    Angelique Kerber, the 2018 champion, was left saddened to not only see Wimbledon and the Olympics called off but also the grass-court season as a whole.

    "It goes without saying that I'm heavy hearted that the cancellation of the grass-court season also means that I won't be able to play in front of my home crowd in Bad Hamburg and Berlin..." she said.

    "It's disappointing for me but also for all those who put their heart and soul into these events and for the fans who love our sport and support us players all year round.

    "But I also know very well that there are more important things that we have to focus on right now and that professional sports have to take a step back for a while."

    Rising American star Coco Gauff tweeted she would miss playing at the All England Club, while Petra Kvitova, winner in 2011 and 2014, said it was "definitely a tough one to take".

    "Not only is it a special tournament to me, but it's a tournament that has been part of history for so long that it will leave a big hole in the calendar," Kvitova said.

    "I will miss playing on the beautiful grass and wearing my whites, BUT of course we know it will be back better than ever next year. And maybe we will all appreciate it even more!"

    In a message shared by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), Milos Raonic insisted the decision was "the right thing we have to do with everything that's going on around the world right now".

    Marin Cilic, finalist in 2017, added: "Enjoy yourself at home. Now is the time to do some things that you don't have so much time to do when you're not at home."

  • Coronavirus: US Open organisers push ahead with slam plans after Wimbledon blow Coronavirus: US Open organisers push ahead with slam plans after Wimbledon blow

    US Open chiefs were taking stock of Wimbledon's cancellation on Wednesday but remained hopeful their grand slam would go ahead.

    The coronavirus pandemic made it unrealistic to continue with planning for Wimbledon, which was due to begin on June 29 and run for two weeks.

    However, the US Open is not due to get under way until August 24, and there is optimism that the Flushing Meadows event may still go ahead on schedule.

    Its host city, New York, is being severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis, yet United States Tennis Association (USTA) officials are not rushing to abandon their major.

    In a statement, the USTA said: "We understand the unique circumstances facing the All England Lawn Tennis Club and the reasoning behind the decision to cancel the 2020 Wimbledon Championships.

    "At this time the USTA still plans to host the US Open as scheduled, and we continue to hone plans to stage the tournament.

    "The USTA is carefully monitoring the rapidly-changing environment surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, and is preparing for all contingencies.

    "We also rely on the USTA's medical advisory group as well as governmental and security officials to ensure that we have the broadest understanding of this fluid situation.

    "In all instances, all decisions made by the USTA regarding the US Open will be made with the health and wellbeing of our players, fans, and all others involved in the tournament."

    Rafael Nadal and Bianca Andreescu are the reigning US Open singles champions.

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