Category Archives: Tennis

2019 QUALIFYING ROUND TAKES SHAPE AFTER BUMPER DAVIS CUP WEEKEND

The ITF has announced the nations that have secured a place in the 2019 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Qualifying Round following the completion of this weekend’s World Group play-offs. The draw for the Qualifying Round will take place at the ITF offices in London on Wednesday 26 September 2018 at 15:00 local time (14:00 GMT). The draw will be streamed live on the Davis Cup website and Davis Cup Facebook page.

The eight winners of this weekend’s World Group play-offs join the four losing quarterfinalists from the 2018 competition as seeded nations in the 2019 Qualifying Round. The Qualifying Round ties will take place on 1-2 February 2019.

The 12 seeded nations for the 2019 Qualifying Round are (current Davis Cup Nations’ Ranking in brackets):

1. Argentina (3)
2. Belgium (4)
3. Great Britain (5)
4. Serbia (8)
5. Italy (10)
6. Germany (11)
7. Kazakhstan (13)
8. Czech Republic (14)
9. Sweden (15)
10. Austria (16)
11. Canada (17)
12. Japan (18)

They will be drawn against 12 unseeded nations (six from Europe/Africa, three from Asia/Oceania and three from Americas), 10 of which have been confirmed based on their position on the Davis Cup Nations’ Ranking of Monday 17 September.

The unseeded nations for the 2019 Qualifying Round are (current Davis Cup Nations’ Ranking in brackets):

Europe/Africa
Switzerland (12)
Hungary (21)
Netherlands (22)
Russia (23)
Europe/Africa nation TBC
Europe/Africa nation TBC

Asia/Oceania
Australia (9)
India (20)
Uzbekistan (24)

Americas
Colombia (19)
Chile (25)
Brazil (27)

The two remaining nations from Europe/Africa will be confirmed after the Europe/Africa Zone Group I relegation play-offs in October: Portugal v South Africa (19-20 October) and Slovakia v Belarus (26-27 October). Two ‘Europe/Africa Nation TBC’ slots will be drawn at the draw for the Qualifying Round.

Eighteen nations will compete at the 2019 Davis Cup Finals. The four semifinalists in 2018 – Croatia, France, Spain and USA – will be joined by the 12 winners from the 2019 Qualifying Round and two wild card nations. France and Croatia will contest the 2018 Davis Cup Final on 23-25 November.

The two nations that will receive wild cards into the 2019 Finals will be announced prior to the draw. If a nation that is due to take part in the Qualifying Round is awarded a wild card, their place in the Qualifying Round taken by the next-highest ranked nation. If a seeded nation is given a wild card the next-highest ranked nation will be seeded in the Qualifying Round.

To be eligible to receive a wild card, nations must be ranked in the Top 50 on the Davis Cup Nations’ Ranking of Monday 17 September OR have at least one player ranked inside the Top 10 of the ATP World Rankings.

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ITF STATEMENT RELATING TO UMPIRING DECISIONS DURING THE 2018 US OPEN WOMEN’S FINAL

The ITF has released the following statement relating to the 2018 US Open women’s final:

“Carlos Ramos is one of the most experienced and respected umpires in tennis. Mr. Ramos’ decisions were in accordance with the relevant rules and were re-affirmed by the US Open’s decision to fine Serena Williams for the three offences.

It is understandable that this high profile and regrettable incident should provoke debate. At the same time, it is important to remember that Mr. Ramos undertook his duties as an official according to the relevant rule book and acted at all times with professionalism and integrity.”

A copy of the Grand Slam Rule Book can be found on the ITF website. Player on site offences, including the point penalty schedule used in this instance, can be found in Article III

Otu Crashes As Imeh, Babalola Advance At Vemp Tennis Championship

Thomas Otu was the biggest casualty in the second round of the ongoing 1st Vemp Open Tennis Championship following a 6-4, 5-1 (ret) loss to unseeded Sunday Emmanuel.

However, there was no further upset as all the other seeds in the men’s singles all progressed to the quarterfinals of the tournament sponsored by Nigeria tennis Federation President, Ifedayo Akindoju.

Top seed, Joseph Imeh coasted to a 6-1, 6-0 win over Tochukwu Eze to set up a last-eight meeting with Clifford Enosoregbe, a 6-1, 6-0 conqueror of Amos Michael.

Abdulmumin Babalola, the second seed also moved on with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Albert Bikom and will meet Uche Oparaoji, who outclassed Oche Adehi 6-2, 7-6 (3), 7-5.

Spain-based Sylvester Emmanuel, who clinched the CBN Open in July is also in the running for the top prize after a 6-2, 6-1 win over Michael Michael. He will come against Emmanuel Idoko for a place in the semifinal as the latter bagged a 6-4, 6-3 win over Musa Mohammed.

In the women’s singles, the form-book was made absolutely relevant as prime seed, Sarah Adegoke coasted to a 6-4, 6-4 win over Stella Udokwelu. She is joined by her nearest rival and second seed, Blessing Samuel who eased past Oluchi Ozurumba 6-1, 6-3. In fact, all the seeded players triumphed against their unseeded opponents to set up mouth-watering pairings in the last eight.

NADAL, CILIC AND THIEM HEADLINE DAVIS CUP NOMINATIONS

Rafael Nadal, Marin Cilic and Dominic Thiem headline the nominations for the upcoming round of Davis Cup by BNP Paribas on 14-16 September.

World No. 1 Nadal and No. 7 Cilic will lead their nations into battle in semifinal clashes against France and USA, respectively, while No. 9 Thiem will hope to help Austria defeat Australia and secure an all-important seeding ahead of the qualifying round in February, which marks the start of a new format for Davis Cup in 2019.

With the new Davis Cup Finals set to involve 18 nations in a week-long season finale at the end of 2019, nations will compete in next week’s World Group play-off ties with an eye on February’s qualifier round.

Rafael Nadal
photo credit: Manuel queimadelos
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

The eight winners of the World Group play-offs will join the four losing quarterfinalists from 2018 as seeded nations in the draw for the 2019 Davis Cup Finals Qualifier Round.

The eight losers of the World Group play-offs are not guaranteed a place in the Davis Cup Finals Qualifier Round. The 12 unseeded nations in February’s qualifier round will be determined by the Davis Cup Nations Ranking of Monday 17 September, with six nations coming from Europe/Africa, three from Americas and three from Asia/Oceania.

Vemp Open Tennis Championship Debuts In Abuja

The national Tennis Centre, Abuja will come alive from September 1 to 8 as the 1st Vemp Senior Open Tennis Championship holds.

The tournament which is expected to attract about 250 players from all parts of Nigeria will see participants compete in four categories namely Men’s Singles, men’s doubles, Women’s singles and Women’s doubles,

Tournament Administrator, Maryam Akande disclosed that the tournament is being bankrolled by Nigeria Tennis Federation President Ifedayo Akindoju with N 2.567, 000 as the total prize money for the men while that of the women is N1, 941, 000.

There will be two days of qualifiers for men which is in a round of 64 while that of women will be round of 32 with ITF bronze-badge referee, Saidu Musa as tournament Supervisor.
The main draw for men and women is 32 while the men’s double will also be a round of 32 draw. The women’s double will be a round of 16.

“This is what we have been clamouring for, and I hope more tournaments will be in the tennis calendar,” Thomas Otu, one of Nigeria’s leading players said, in reaction to the new tournament.

Otu’s view was shared by coach Ekiti state coach Wunmi Ogunsakin who said regular tournaments will help Nigerian players develop with most of them unable to attend tournaments outside the country.

“This is good news for Nigerian tennis because we just had the CBN Open in July. What this means is that players can look up to play tournaments regularly which will help them focus on their training,”

Akande, the scribe of the NTF urged the players to take advantage of the tournament which she stressed will keep them in shape for the forthcoming Nigeria Open Tennis Championship ( formerly known as Governor’s Cup) coming up in late September.

ITF ANNOUNCES RECORD FED CUP INVESTMENT FOR 2019

World Group and World Group II will compete for $7.5 million in prize money – up 100% from 2018

The ITF has announced record prize money increases for Fed Cup by BNP Paribas for 2019. Next season the 16 teams contesting World Group and World Group II will compete for $7.5 million, up from $3.7 million in 2018.

Following the ITF’s AGM in Orlando, Florida earlier this month, the ITF has also unveiled a timetable for Fed Cup format reform. Several formats and calendar approaches will be assessed including the creation of a new, one-venue tournament for 16 teams to be held in one world-class city with the possibility of one week of home-and-away qualifying.

ITF President David Haggerty said: “Following the approval last week of historic changes to the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas, the AGM heard and supported our ambitious plans to create a new and exciting Fed Cup format that will take this historic team competition to new levels. That work starts with an immediate injection of record investment into the 2019 edition of the competition.”

Additional changes for 2019 include the introduction of five player teams and third set tie breaks, both designed to support player health.

Katrina Adams, Chair of the Fed Cup Committee, said: “The ITF has a proud history of supporting women’s tennis most notably through the creation of the Fed Cup in 1963. As a Committee our ambition is to ensure Fed Cup remains one of the world’s leading sports events. Our aim is to create a team tennis event that works for fans, partners and above all players. We will continue to collaborate with the WTA as we look to improve and enhance the competition for the benefit of women’s tennis. These are exciting times for the Fed Cup.”

Fed Cup by BNP Paribas is the World Cup of Tennis. It is the largest annual international team competition in women’s sport, with 99 nations entered in 2018. The competition is 55 years old, having been founded in 1963. The title sponsor is BNP Paribas (Official Bank of Fed Cup). Adecco (Official HR Sponsor) is an international sponsor, while beIN SPORTS is the Official Global Media Rights Partner.

HISTORIC DAVIS CUP REFORMS APPROVED AT AGM

The ITF AGM today voted in favour of the ITF and Kosmos’ transformational reforms to the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas, which will secure the long-term status of the competition.

From 2019, the competition will see 18 nations and the world’s best players compete in a week long season finale to be crowned Davis Cup champions. The first edition of the new event will be held in Madrid or Lille from 18-24 November, with the inaugural host city to be announced in the coming weeks.

ITF President David Haggerty said: “I am delighted that the nations have today voted to secure the long-term status of Davis Cup by BNP Paribas. By voting in favour of these reforms, we will be able to work with Kosmos to realise the huge potential of the competition and elevate it to new standards. This new event will create a true festival of tennis and entertainment which will be more attractive to players, to fans, to sponsors and to broadcasters.

“In addition, the new revenues for nations that the event will generate will have a transformative effect on the development of tennis in all nations. Our mission is to ensure that this historic decision will benefit the next generation of players for decades to come.

“I would like to thank the nations for taking this historic decision and the ITF Board of Directors for their commitment and support. I would also like to thank Kosmos for their passion and partnership. I have no doubt that by working together we will ensure a brighter future for tennis all around the world.”

Gerard Pique, President and Founder of Kosmos, said: “Today is a historic day and we are convinced that the agreement ratified by the nations certainly guarantees the future of the Davis Cup and the development of tennis at all levels. I would like to thank ITF President David Haggerty, the ITF Board of Directors and the entire team of ITF professionals for their work with Kosmos over the past few months and welcome a new stage in which we will continue to evolve together. I would also like to congratulate all those who, with their votes, have embraced this change and have seen the momentous decision that was in their hands.

“This is the beginning of a new stage that guarantees the pre-eminent and legitimate place that the Davis Cup should have as a competition for national teams while adapting to the demands of this professional sport at the highest level. It is a great honour for me to be part of this historic process of a sport that I am passionate about and, without a doubt, in both personal and professional terms this is one of the happiest days of my life.”

The 25-year agreement represents a total investment of $3 billion into tennis, creating substantial and historic levels of investment into the global development of tennis through the ITF and its 210-member National Associations. There will be a significant increase in the nations’ income from the competition and a new player prize fund of $20 million, elevating Davis Cup by BNP Paribas to Grand Slam prize money levels.

Gerard Pique with David Haggerty

The new format will involve a qualifying round in February, in which 24 teams will take part in home and away matches – a key element of the Davis Cup’s heritage. The 12 winners will secure a direct place into the final and will join the four semifinalists of the previous year – who qualify without having to play in February – and two wildcards that will be announced before the draw for the qualifying round.

The Davis Cup Finals will be held in a round-robin format from Monday to Thursday, with the countries divided into six groups and each qualifying round consisting of three matches – two singles and one doubles – of best-of-three sets. The first-placed teams from each group and the two best runners-up will reach the quarterfinals on Friday, while Saturday and Sunday will host the semifinals and the final. The two worst qualified teams from the round robin stage will be relegated to the Zone Groups for the following year and the rest of the nations that did not qualify for the semifinals will have to participate in February’s qualifying round the following season.

The ITF and Kosmos have already taken all the necessary steps to successfully consolidate this transition and are planning to announce further details in the coming weeks.