Greek tennis star Maria Sakkari has squashed the rumors of her and fellow compatriot Stefanos Tsitsipas being in a love relationship. However, 24-year-old Sakkari appears to have left the door open for a relationship with Tsitsipas some time in the future, saying that you never know what could happen.
WTA world No. 23 Sakkari and ATP world No. 6 Tsitsipas have drawn lots of positive attention to themselves this year with their results. “Nothing is going on with me and Stefanos, but you never know what will happen in the future,” Sakkari told Greek TV, as revealed on Twitter by Greek tennis journalist Vicky Georgatou.
Tsitsipas, 21, has made five finals this year and achieved a career-high ranking of No. 5 in the world, The Greek claimed titles in Marseille and Estoril, while he ended runner-up at Madrid Masters, Dubai and Beijing. The 21-year-old also made his maiden Grand Slam semifinal at the Australian Open, before losing to world No.
1 Rafael Nadal. Per Georgatou, Sakkari also said that Tsitsipas is a “wonderkid” and that he is a “future No. 1.”
Tennis great’s message to Emma Raducanu amid coaching drama
British teenage tennis phenomenon Emma Raducanu has been urged to find some coaching stability after a tumultuous period in the wake of her historic US Open title.
Raducanu raised eyebrows after parting ways with coach Andrew Richardson after her US Open victory – in a move that surprised many tennis commentators.
Richardson coached the teenage star for two years at youth level and linked up with her again in July on a short-term deal for the duration of her time in the United States.
However, Raducanu said she was looking for a coach with more experience at the elite level of world tennis.
The 18-year-old parted ways with coach Nigel Sears after her breakthrough Wimbledon run to the last 16, where she eventually succumbed to breathing difficulties.
She then linked up with Richardson to claim an almost unthinkable maiden grand slam title at Flushing Meadows, before again deciding to move on to new pastures.
Raducanu’s partnership with Katie Boulter’s coach Jeremy Bates was always going to be a stop-gap situation for the Indian Wells tournament in which the Brit crashed out in her first match.
Pictured here, Emma Raducanu speaks to the media at the Indian Wells tournament.
Emma Raducanu’s search for a new coach has taken many in the tennis world by surprise. Pic: AAP
The World No.24 is now set to link up with Spaniard Esteban Carril – who previously worked with fellow Brit Johanna Konta, before being axed just weeks after she was named most improved player of 2016 and broke into the world’s top ten.
Raducanu in set to play in the Transylvania Open in her father’s native Romania, but Carril is not set to start his tenure with the Brit until after the tournament.
Carril will be Raducanu’s fourth different coach in four months and British tennis great Greg Rusedksi says the teenager needs to find some stability for her game to flourish.
“Esteban (Carril) did a great job with Jo Konta when she had her big breakthrough and got into the top 10 in the world,” he said.
“Hopefully this works out for Emma. But she needs consistency from a team point of view to push on with all the success she has had at the US Open.”
Former British tennis player Barry Cowan said despite enjoying success at Wimbledon and then the US Open, Raducanu simply cannot keep churning through the coaches.
Teen warned about chopping and changing
“She made the Last 16 of Wimbledon and the coach got fired. She won the US Open and the coach got fired,” Cowan said.
“You cannot keep running your career like that. It will eventually catch up with you.
“Certainly she needs to build up and strike a relationship with Esteban. I hope it is successful and lasts.
“I don’t care who you are, whether you are Emma Raducanu, Serena Williams or Novak Djokovic, if you are having coaches short-term, it’s going to come back to bite you.”
‘Not our favourite’: Karl blasts Novak Djokovic over vaccine saga
Channel Nine identity Karl Stefanovic has taken a swipe at Novak Djokovic over the controversial vaccine debate that threatens the World No.1’s participation at the Australian Open.
Djokovic – the 20-time grand slam champion and defending Australian Open champion – revealed he would rather miss the grand slam than prove his vaccination status.
Unvaccinated stars will likely be banned from competing at the Melbourne tournament as Victoria recovers from a third wave of coronavirus.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has introduced a vaccine mandate for professional athletes competing in domestic sporting leagues and has hinted tennis stars who haven’t been double jabbed may not be granted entry to the state.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke also confirmed on Wednesday that Djokovic would not be allowed into Australia unless he was double-vaccinated.
Djokovic – who has admitted his opposition to vaccinations in the past – this week refused to confirm or deny whether he’s had a Covid-19 jab.
“Things being as they are, I still don’t know if I will go to Melbourne,” Djokovic told the online edition of Serbian daily Blic.
“I will not reveal my status whether I have been vaccinated or not, it is a private matter and an inappropriate inquiry.
“People go too far these days in taking the liberty to ask questions and judge a person.
“Whatever you say ‘yes, no, maybe, I am thinking about it’, they will take advantage.”
The issue has sparked plenty of debate, with Today Show co-host Stefanovic the latest to take aim at the Serbian superstar after supporting Victoria’s stance.
Novak Djokovic's (pictured) vaccine status is unknown. (Getty Images)
Novak Djokovic’s (pictured) vaccine status is unknown. (Getty Images)
“You’re going to have people going to the Australian Open tennis tournament, which is going to be incredible,” Stefanovic said.
“A shame not to have him there. You’ll have double vaccinated people in the crowd, you can’t let him in.
“He is not our favourite anyway.”
Co-host Allison Langdon added: “He is not well liked, is he?”
Victoria’s premier said unvaccinated players would be unlikely to receive a visa to enter Australia and, if they were, they would likely have to complete two weeks of quarantine.
Record quest could dictate Novak Djokovic decision
However, tennis commentator and coach Roger Rasheed doubts Djokovic will miss the Australian Open and says there is plenty of time for circumstances to change.
“I think it’s a given that (Novak Djokovic) will be here in January,” Rasheed said on SEN Sportsday.
“We’ll get to a vaccination rate here in Australia by then; the circumstances are going to change in the next few weeks. We’re getting closer and closer to unravelling everything and the circumstances will be different by the end of the year.
“Novak is probably only interested in what’s happening towards the end of December, because those conditions will probably dictate how it works when he gets into Australia.
“He wants to break the record, it would be brilliant for us to have it in Australia and we’d want to have him break that record here as that’s something that will stand up in world sport.”
One of the reasons why people find it hard to believe Djokovic would willingly miss the Australian Open is his desire to stand alone at the pinnacle of men’s tennis.
Djokovic has won the Australian Open a record nine times and would be heavy favourite to take his tally into double digits.
The added incentive to overtake Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the grand slam title race also looms as irresistible factor for the Serb.
The absence of Djokovic in Melbourne, couple with doubts over whether Federer plays, would give Nadal a terrific chance win a record-breaking 21st men’s major.
“Of course I want to go, Australia is my most successful grand slam tournament,” Djokovic said.
“I want to compete, I love this sport and I am still motivated.
“I am following the situation regarding the Australian Open and I understand the final decision (on Covid-19 related restrictions) will be made in two weeks.
“I believe there will be a lot of restrictions just like this year, but I doubt there will be too many changes.
“My manager, who is in contact with the Australian tennis federation, tells me they are trying to improve the conditions for everyone, both for those who have been vaccinated and those who have not.”
Rafael Nadal: ‘I am determined to do it’
Rafael Nadal cannot be satisfied with his results in 2021, winning two titles but not reaching a Major final. Worried about injuries, Nadal had to end his season already in early August, playing two games after Roland Garros and skipping Wimbledon and the US Open with a major setback.
The 20-time Major winner claimed two titles in 2021, conquering Barcelona and Rome after fending off three match points in two matches against Stefanos Tsitsipas and Denis Shapovalov. Leaving everything at Roland Garros, Rafa failed to claim the 14th Parisian title after losing to Novak Djokovic in a thrilling semi-final that lasted four hours and 11 minutes.
Before Roland Garros, Nadal was eager to put the defeats at Monte Carlo and Madrid behind him and be a contender for another crown in Paris. Also, Rafa talked about his longevity, never believing that he would still be active in his mid-30s.
At 35, Nadal is still eager to get back to his prime and play another high-quality season in 2022 if his foot heals properly, he underwent treatment in Barcelona a couple of days ago and is hoping for a positive result. . Rafael Nadal is still ranked in the top 10 despite numerous injuries over the years.
“Nobody is invincible, anywhere. I lost early in Monte Carlo and Madrid this year, hoping to avoid that at Roland Garros. I will do my best to pursue another title. Ten years ago, I didn’t think I would still be active in my mid-30s.”
Nadal cannot be satisfied with his results in 2021
“I’ve been better, but I’m fine. A little sore from the foot. It is a time that is a bit complicated on a personal and professional level, but, honestly, with the illusion of improving and facing a process that is going to be difficult and painful at some point but that I have to go through to put myself back in a position to fight for what I want.
I am determined to do it” – Rafael Nadal said. “The script was playing at Wimbledon, the Olympics or the US Open. In the script was not being lame today (laughs). He has been lame for a few days. But the scripts are not to be followed to the letter.
You have to adapt and accept things as they come. I have had fantastic things, bigger things than I would have ever dreamed of, and also more complicated moments in the form of injuries, but within what is possible I have always had a way to get ahead.
Over the years, one must be realistic and things are more complicated because the clock is ticking, but I am positive and I appreciate how lucky I am to be able to experience this kind of thing” – the Spaniard added.