Novak Djokovic and Emma Raducanu.
Novak Djokovic, who’s currently competing at the Serbia Open, interacted with his country’s Paralympic team at the tournament. Djokovic referred to them as “true heroes” for their success despite facing adversity.
Meanwhile, Elina Svitolina, along with other Ukrainian players, have demanded a ban on Russian and Belarusian players from international events as well. Emma Raducanu, competing in her first WTA tournament on clay, made a winning start to her campaign at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.
Carlos Alcaraz, who made an early exit from last week’s Monte-Carlo Masters, has made a winning start at the Barcelona Open. Dominic Thiem, who lost in the first round of the Serbia Open upon his return to action, is keeping a positive outlook following his loss.
Here’s a roundup of the day’s headlines.
Novak Djokovic meets with Serbian Paralympic Team
Novak Djokovic recently met up with some other sporting icons from his home country as he interacted with the Serbian Paralympic Team. They were visiting the Serbia Open, where the World No. 1 is currently competing.
Djokovic was proud to host them and called them real heroes who inspire people to succeed despite all odds. He wrote on social media:
“You are true heroes that inspire us. Thank you for showing us that despite hardship, there’s always a way to succeed and be happy. Proud to have the Serbian Paralympic Team visit us at @serbiaopen 🎾🤗😃”
Djokovic made a winning start to his Serbia Open campaign as well, defeating Laslo Djere 2-6, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (4) to progress to the quarterfinals. He’s set to square off against compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic next.
Djokovic will look to go all the way at his home tournament as he gears up to defend his Roland Garros crown next month.
Emma Raducanu makes winning start at Porsche Tennis Grand Prix
2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu easily swept past Storm Sanders, winning 6-1, 6-2 to advance to the second round of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. This was her first WTA win on clay. While she did win a match on the surface at the Billie Jean King Cup last week, the tournament wasn’t under the WTA.
Raducanu’s next opponent is Tamara Korpatsch, with a potential quarterfinal showdown against World No. 1 Iga Swiatek on the horizon after that.
“There comes a time when silence is betrayal, and that time is now” – Ukrainian tennis players demand ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes from international events
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been going on for two months now, with the former country showing no signs of slowing down. Belarus has also sided with Russia in this conflict.
As such, tennis bodies have banned the two nations from the Davis Cup and the Billie Jean King Cup, along with having the athletes compete under a neutral flag.
Ukrainian tennis players have now demanded more accountability from their Russian and Belarusian peers. They’ve asked the ATP, WTA and ITF to ask if they support their country’s actions and their leadership. If so, a request has been made to even exclude and ban them from competing in international events as well.
Wimbledon has already decided to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing in the tournament this year.
Carlos Alcaraz kicks off Barcelona Open campaign with a win
Carlos Alcaraz defeated Kwon Soon-woo 6-1, 2-6, 6-2 to reach the third round of the Barcelona Open. After winning the first set, the teenager led 2-0 in the second set as well, but lost the next six games in a row. However, he regrouped in time and raised his level in the deciding set to win the match.
Alcaraz will take on compatriot Jaume Munar in the next round on Thursday.
“Today was a day that didn’t go as planned, but it was still positive” – Dominic Thiem after his first-round loss at the Serbia Open
Dominic Thiem, who competed in his first ATP tournament since June 2021, lost in three sets to John Millman in the first round of the Serbia Open. While the loss was indeed disappointing, he’s keeping a positive outlook as he prepares for his upcoming tournaments. Thiem wrote on social media:
“Today was a day that didn’t go as planned, but it was still positive! I didn’t start the match today with high expectations, but as always I gave everything I could. When I was on the court, I was very happy, to be honest. It was a challenge and it was a real match. And that’s what I’ve been aiming for over the past few months.”
Thiem is glad that he’s in good health after struggling with injuries for months and will be able to compete on the tour once again, and thanked everyone for their support.
“We must learn from our failures and continue to give everything to achieve our personal goals. That’s exactly what I’m going to do and continue to pursue!”
“At the moment, I am glad of my situation. I’m in good health, I can practice and participate on tour. I would like to thank everyone who has supported me today and in the past few days! It means a lot to me! 🙏🏼 On to the next one!”