News bites: Serena in for Australian Open 2018

Published by Bede Briscomb

Serena Williams
Serena Williams will play in next year’s Australian Open but Victoria Azarenka is a little less clear. Meanwhile, Juan Martin del Potro kicked off his pre-season with a bang.

AO entry lists are in

The entry lists for the 2018 Australian Open are in and they’re spectacular. On the men’s side, Rafael Nadal is the top seed with every player in the ATP top 100 on the list. On the women’s side, Serena Williams is on the list but two-time AO champion Victoria Azarenka, who is still in an ongoing custody battle, is not — although there is speculation she will still play via a wild card. World No.12 Svetlana Kuztensova will definitely miss the tournament with an injured wrist.

Kuznetsova hits out at Genie

In an interview on Russian radio, Svetlana Kuznetsova was asked a number of questions about the WTA. Courtesy of Sport-Express, here are some of the more interesting answers (translated by Ilya Ryvlin):

Q: Who is the most overrated player by media?

SK: [Eugenie] Bouchard. She is a cool girl, but there are many great tennis players. Bouchard had only one good season but looks like she is a consistent top ten player based on this hype and attention.

Q: Let’s imagine you can change something in the rules. What would you do?

SK: I’d shorten tennis season. We are playing from January to November and preparing for next season in December. I have only two weeks off per year. I’ve been living like this for 17 years. I would [also] cancel five setters in men’s tennis. I’ve never seen a five setter from first ball to last ball. Not even once! I could imagine it’s really tough for coaches to sit for five hours every other day.

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Delpo starts pre-season with a bang

Juan Martin del Potro kicked off his pre-season training in remarkable fashion, inviting loyal fans on Twitter to watch him practice and donate non-perishable food to a homegrown charity.

“The idea was to give back to Tandil a bit of the love and support that I receive throughout the year and to help out the foundation ‘Banco de Alimentos’. It was an amazing day and everyone had a great time,” Del Potro said.

Nadal, Muguruza ITF world champions

Rafael Nadal and Garbine Muguruza were named International Tennis Federation (ITF) world champions over the weekend. It is the first time in 19 years the awards have gone to players from the same nation. Rafael Nadal finished the year as ATP world No.1 behind 67 match wins, six titles and two Grand Slams, while Garbine Muguruza finished with a career-high year-end ranking of world No.2 behind 47 match wins and a Wimbledon trophy.

Related: the top five most entertaining tennis players 

Bouchard, Raonic dethroned

Denis Shapovalov has broken Milos Raonic six-year streak as Tennis Canada’s male tennis player of the year. The 19-year-old’s breakout season included two ATP Challenger titles, becoming the youngest ever semifinalist at a Masters 1000s tournament, wins over Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro, reaching the fourth round of the US Open as a qualifier and a career-high ranking of world No.49.

And Bianca Andreescu snapped Eugenie Bouchard’s four-year Tennis Canada female player of the year streak. At just 17-years-old, Andreescu won 27 matches on tour and won WTA Breakthrough of the Month in July. Bouchard struggled with a 13-21 singles record.

Cilic and Bjorkman part ways

Marin Cilic parted ways with former world Swedish star Jonas Bjorkman on the weekend. Bjorkman has coached Cilic since August 2016; in that time Cilic has won two titles and reached one Grand Slam final (Wimbledon).

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