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Golden Slam
 Post subject: Re: News, Articles & Interviews
PostPosted: 29. May 2021 20:06 
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Dani's Picks: Hantuchova predicts Barty, Swiatek to battle for Roland Garros title

The former world No. 5 also tagged Karolina Pliskova and Bianca Andreescu as players to watch in Paris.
By David Kane

Published May 28, 2021

The second major tournament of 2021 is upon us and the women's draw is replete with big names, all aiming to capture the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen. The last two champions, Iga Swiatek and Ashleigh Barty, look ready to put down their best tennis on the terre battue, but can they outfox the other pre-tournament favorites and double up in Paris? Former world No. 5 Daniela Hantuchova makes her picks:

The Favorite
Iga Swiatek (POL): When you win a Grand Slam seemingly out of nowhere, it’s easy for the expectations and pressure to take over, but the soon-to-be 20-year-old has quickly found her momentum, and has remains very solid.

She’s been able to be so solid in backing up her results and that incredible run at Roland Garros. It has surely taken a huge effort to find this level of consistency at such a young age. When I watched her play in Rome, I was in awe of how she handled the final but was even more impressed by matches she won earlier in the week—even when she wasn’t playing well.

She has a natural, pure talent reminiscent of a Martina Hingis or Agnieszka Radwanska, and much like those two players, Iga has very little to work on because she’s had it all, right from the start of her career.

The Contenders
Ashleigh Barty (AUS): Ash is another one with so much natural talent and athleticism, and is clearly capable of translating that to other sports beyond tennis. Whatever she touches, she’s going to be very good at because of her feel for the ball and her superior hand-eye coordination.

I think all of that lends itself to adjusting well to any surface, even though I thought her best results would come on grass. When you’re No. 1 in the world, you have a target on your shoulders all the time, but she’s done so well in the face of so many players who’ve brought their best tennis against her this year. She manages to find ways to turn matches around, which we saw in Miami when she was match points down and later went on to win the tournament.

She has so many different options in her game, and it allows her to deal with whatever is thrown at her.

Aryna Sabalenka (BLR): Aryna just has that kind of power where, on a good day, she can beat anyone off the court, and I have to say I’m not surprised to see her as a Top 3 seed at a Grand Slam. When I saw her coming up on tour, I thought she had so much potential. Perhaps she only needed to mature a bit more to gain that consistency.

The power she’s got through those huge groundstrokes and incredible serves, you just knew it was a matter of time before she put it together. When she does, she reminds me very much of Petra Kvitova, where all you can do is move from side to side, trying to pick up balls. I know I wouldn’t want to be facing her on one of her good days!

The Longshots
Karolina Pliskova (CZE): It’s never easy to take a 6-0, 6-0 loss, especially in the final of a big tournament, but I think Karolina has been around for quite some time now, and she’ll be able to bounce back quite quickly. She still has the serve and huge game.

Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP): Garbiñe is another player I’d like to see do well. A former champion, she really had a phenomenal start to the season. As long as she’s healthy, I think she’s very capable of hitting through these courts with the power she has in her arsenal.

Bianca Andreescu (CAN): With all Bianca has been through, physically, it’s tough to say whether her injuries are bad luck, or if her body is simply predisposed to breaking down more easily, because I’m sure she’s doing all she can to maximize her preparation and prevent injuries. Provided she’s back to her best in Paris, I can see her going far.




Daniela Hantuchova is right about everything.


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Golden Slam
 Post subject: Re: News, Articles & Interviews
PostPosted: 13. June 2021 20:39 
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Dani's Take: Krejcikova's triumph, Djokovic's usurpation, and taking stock of the final 72 hours in Paris

Hantuchova has already witnessed an epic two days of action unfold between the men's semifinals and women's final, and previews Novak Djokovic vs Stefanos Tsitsipas on Sunday.
By David Kane

Published Jun 12, 2021

The last three days of any major tournament bring an intrigue unlike any that come before it. At this year’s Roland Garros, the championship weekend began with an epic 58th encounter between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, and continued on Saturday with a maiden major triumph for Czech sensation Barbora Krejcikova. Former world No. 5 Daniela Hantuchova has been there through it all in Paris, and recaps a jam-packed 48 hours while previewing what’s to come on Sunday, when Djokovic takes on Stefanos Tsitsipas for a possible 19th Grand Slam title.

Friday: Djokovic overcomes Nadal for only the second time in Paris

That was one of the most special moments I’ve ever witnessed on a tennis court. It was one of the best matches, particularly when you factor in the emotion from the fans, and the standing ovations from the crowds. The fans were thinking they’d have to leave at 11 P.M., but the announcer surprised us all when it was revealed they could stay. As a tennis player, I admit I sometimes watch Novak and Rafa play and make me think they’re playing an entirely different sport. They’re just from a different planet with the shots that they’re able to make.

This is clearly the time in tennis history where we get to sit back and appreciate everything. I know we’ve been saying things like that since around their 30th match, and here we are after the 58th match of their rivalry, but it’s truly a privilege to be a part of the game right now—whether you’re a member of the media, or you’re a player competing in this kind of field because of what they’ve been able to achieve.


Saturday: Krejcikova sinks Pavlyuchenkova in dramatic first final

It was obviously going to be emotional for both girls, but Barbora Krejcikova was able to do what she’s done so well this tournament, getting though overwhelming situations even when she would get tight. Playing Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, you could see her realize that Nastia couldn’t move that well after injuring herself in the second set, and that put double the pressure on her, leading to her momentarily losing some of her intensity. Nastia picked up her levels big time; it was almost as if she had nothing to lose.

In the third set it could have gone either way, but I’m just so impressed with the way Krejcikova has been able to deal with all of her emotions, being in a territory she’s never been before. I truly believe that her doubles experience, which has put her on big stages like Philippe Chatrier stadium for Grand Slam finals, helped her big time.

It’s hard to believe she will be playing singles at Wimbledon for the first time in her career; it goes to show how quickly things can change in tennis. These next couple of weeks will be a big test for her, with all of the media attention she’s going to get at home in the Czech Republic, but she’s overcome so many emotional moments in the last two weeks and has been able to deal with it. The grass-court season will surely be a poignant part of the year for her, especially given what it meant to Jana Novotna. I’m sure she will provide plenty of inspiration from above; the story of their time together is so beautiful and loved that she was able to share it on court today.

From a tactical standpoint, her variety made her dangerous from the very beginning. She has such beautiful hands honed from her doubles, can hit the high balls—as we saw in her previous matches—and is able to make good use of her slice backhand, which is always going to be effective on clay. I think it was just a matter of putting it all together and with the confidence she now has, she clearly believes in herself so much more. We talk about mental strength in this tournament, and it’s fascinating how many more girls are traveling to major tournaments with sports psychologists.

Tennis has truly become a mental game in the last few years, but even more so since Iga Swiatek won here in October and what she was able to accomplish with a mental coach. They’ve certainly become the fashion these days, but in the best possible way; I absolutely love this development, because it allows the girls to really work on their mental game. Armed with this new confidence, Barbora isn’t afraid to use all of her shots, and use them the correct way.

I was definitely missing this aspect in my own career; I wish I could have had that person to talk to. Nastia discussed how important it is to have someone who will listen to what you’re going through, and helping you become your own person. That can also come naturally with age, but much more slowly. Thankfully, I was very lucky to meet the right people after I retired!

Speaking of Nastia, she should also be very proud of herself even if she couldn’t win the title today. I was her first opponent at a Grand Slam, all the way back in 2007 at Wimbledon. There was so much hype and attention around our match, and I remember all of the agents and sponsors who were watching us play. She was supposed to be the next big thing, and I don’t know why, but I always loved to get up for those kinds of opponents. Maybe I liked the idea of defending the older generation’s territory, of being able to say, ‘I know you’re going to be good, but not yet!’ To her credit, she’s had a long time to wait and she never gave up. I’m so happy for her and the success she’s had this week, because she’s always had the game, the potential, the shots. She has exceptional timing, particularly off the backhand side—it’s one of the best shots we have in women’s tennis.

We really had an amazing day for women’s tennis.


Sunday: Tsitsipas stands between Djokovic and his march toward history

I strongly believe Novak will be able to take the momentum of beating Rafa through to the finals, and I pick him as the overwhelming favorite on Sunday. For him to overcome Rafa in the semifinals at Roland Garros, it couldn’t get better than that for his confidence. Some of the shots he’s hit in his last six matches, you’re watching and thinking, ‘There’s no way he’ll be able to make that,’ and every time he comes up with tennis I didn’t know was humanly possible.

Stefanos Tsitsipas has had an incredible tournament, and the match he played one of his best matches ever against Novak in Rome, but it’s hard to see him winning in final.

If Novak can win a second French Open title, it would put him only one away from tying Rafa and Roger, but it’s still so hard to make any predictions when it comes to the “Greatest Ever…” debates. The time now is better spent enjoying each and every second that the three of them are out there on the court.

What I do believe is that all three are better players because of each other, and that what they’ve achieved is as much because of their rivalries as their individual abilities. Had it just been Roger, I don’t see him reaching the level he has without the presence of Rafa and Novak. Looking towards Sunday’s final, it’s also cool to see the Next Gen challenging this "Golden Gen," and we’ll see how that turns out tomorrow.




Daniela Hantuchova is right about everything.


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Golden Slam
 Post subject: Re: News, Articles & Interviews
PostPosted: 24. June 2021 21:00 
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Naomi Osaka-Rafael Nadal Resigns, 2021 Wimbledon Prestige Will Not Fade

Kompas.com - 24/06/2021, 16:00
Author Faishal Raihan | Editor Faishal Raihan

KOMPAS.com - Former tennis player Daniela Hantuchova considers that the absence of Naomi Osaka and Rafael Nadal does not reduce the value of the 2021 Wimbledon competition. Wimbledon 2021 is confirmed to be minus several tennis stars after Naomi Osaka and Rafael Nadal declared their resignation. Naomi Osaka has decided not to participate in the Wimbledon grasscourt Grand Slam because she needs some personal time. Osaka felt compelled to take time for her mental health after a dispute that occurred at the previous tournament, the 2021 French Open. Although she decided not to play at Wimbledon, the Japanese tennis player will take part in the Tokyo Olympics. "Naomi will not be playing at Wimbledon this year. She is taking private time with friends and family," Naomi Osaka's agent, Stuart Duguid, told AFP on Thursday (17/6/2021).

Prior to withdrawing from Wimbledon, Osaka was also known to withdraw from the 2021 French Open clay Grand Slam tournament. This was because she had a dispute with the organizers regarding her decision not to attend the mandatory press conference after the match. The 2021 Australian Open champion revealed that he was battling depression when he announced his retirement from Roland Garros (French Open).

Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal has decided not to enter the 2021 Wimbledon Grand Slam for the good of his career. In addition to this year's Wimbledon, the Spaniard has also stated that he will not participate in the Tokyo Olympics which will start on July 23, 2021. "Hi everyone, I have decided not to participate in this year's Championships at Wimbledon and the Olympics in Tokyo," Nadal tweeted on Monday. his personal Twitter account on Thursday (17/6/2021). "This was not an easy decision to make, but after knowing the condition of my body and discussing it with my team, I understand that it was the right decision," added the 20-time Grand Slam winner. "The goal is to extend my career and continue to do what makes me happy, which is to compete at the highest level and continue to fight for professional and personal goals at the maximum level of competition."

The absence of Osaka and Nadal will certainly affect the competitive landscape at Wimbledon, but will not reduce the value of the competition in the world's oldest tennis tournament. Former Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova also believes that the prestige of Wimbledon 2021 will not fade just because of the absence of Osaka and Nadal. Because, according to Hantuchova, there are many other top tennis stars who will keep Wimbledon 2021 "alive". "Of course the absence of Osaka and Nadal will affect the Wimbledon tournament and make fans feel disappointed," said Hantuchova to Kompas.com in an interview via Zoom, Wednesday (23/6/2021).

"However, there are other players such as Novak (Djokovic) and Roger (Federer). Then, in the women's sector there are also many good players. So, Wimbledon will still be interesting," said the tennis player who hung her racket in 2017. Hantuchova, who has now switched professions as a commentator, also slipped a few predictions for this year's Wimbledon. In the men's sector, the world number five women's singles favored Novak Djokovic, but he also did not rule out Stefanos Tsitsipas. "Men's sector I think Novak. Mentally and physically he is at the highest level. It makes perfect sense that he won this Grand Slam tournament," said Hantuchova. "Roger Federer is looking forward to waiting after his comeback from injury. Besides that, there is still (Stefanos) Tsitsipas," said the 38-year-old woman added. Djokovic previously won the 2021 French Open last week. He beat Tsitsipas in the final 6-7 (6-8), 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.

With the first podium at the French Open, Djokovic has now collected 19 Grand Slam titles. The Serbian is only one title behind Federer and Nadal, who both have 20 Grand Slam titles. Meanwhile, for the women's sector, Hantuchova put forward the Greek tennis player Maria Sakkari. He also named Simona Halep and senior tennis player Serena Williams. "Maria Sakkari, because she has worked so hard and has a lot of experience, has often come close to winning," said Hantuchova. "Serena is still there, Simona is also interesting to see her ability after recovering from injury," said Hantuchova admits.

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Golden Slam
 Post subject: Re: News, Articles & Interviews
PostPosted: 27. June 2021 17:30 
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Tennis: Who among the women can win it all at Wimbledon?
Rosy Mina
Posted at Jun 27 2021 12:47 AM

MANILA—It has been an open field for the women’s game in recent years, without great rivalries even if up-and-coming players have stepped up to clinch a grand slam. Because of this, 23-time grand slam singles champion Serena Williams of the United States remains to be a top contender for the Wimbledon crown, a title she has won seven times.

Williams, eyeing to equal the 24 grand slam singles titles record of Australian Margaret Court, is among the Wimbledon Ladies’ Singles frontrunner choices of FOX Sports Asia pundits Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia and Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand. Williams, the No. 6 seed, will face Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus in the first round.

“Obviously, we’ve got Serena on grass, which you can never underestimate,” reminded former World No. 5 Hantuchova in an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN News.

Despite mentioning younger players, former World No. 19 Tanasugarn ended with: “Actually, Serena is still there.”

The Thai star added that Williams, who turns 40 on September 26, is out to show her “mother power.” Williams last won Wimbledon in 2016 after overpowering Angelique Kerber of Germany. She was a runner-up to Kerber in 2018 and to Simona Halep of Romania in 2019.

In addition, Tanasugarn mentioned the strong chances of two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic, who was also chosen by Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus, the third FOX Sports Asia pundit. The 31-year-old No. 10 seed Czech will go up against 2017 US Open Champion Sloane Stephens of the United States in the opening round.

“She won Wimbledon before and she’s still hungry after the hand incident that happened a few years back,” Baghdatis said, pertaining to the knife attack that injured Kvitova’s left hand in 2016.

Despite that and a freak ankle injury suffered during her Roland Garros post-match press duties that forced her to withdraw with a first round finish, Baghdatis continued, “She still wants to win a grand slam and I think she’s hungry. I believe that her biggest chance of winning a grand slam [again] will be at Wimbledon.”

Former World No. 8 Baghdatis noted that it is difficult to say who could gain success on the women’s side at The Championships, Wimbledon from June 28 to July 11.

“There’s no big difference between the new generations and the old generations, especially now Serena is not out of the game but close to out of the game. It’s very tough to say who will go far. Anything can happen in early rounds as we saw in the French Open,” he said.

Hantuchova agreed that it is tricky to share a lot of possible frontrunners, so she named one more player, 25-year-old No. 15 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece.

“I really like Sakkari's chances just because of how hard she works. She stays really low with her legs on grass, which is one of the keys to play well. She moves incredibly and she was very close to having an incredible Roland Garros as well. I mean, the semis was already a great result.”

Other players with big serves and big groundstrokes will have a greater opportunity to do well in London, added Tanasugarn. She cited No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, No. 3 seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, and No. 8 seed Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic. “We would like to see Pliskova win one of the grand slams as well,” Tanasugarn said of the former World No. 1.

The historic and elegant slam

Wimbledon is making a comeback this year after its 2020 edition was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The better news is that The Championships is opening its doors to crowds with a minimum 50% capacity. A full capacity of 15,000 spectators was approved for the Gentlemen’s and Ladies’ Singles Finals on Centre Court.

“There is something so special entering those gates,” recalled Hantuchova, a career Grand Slam champion in mixed doubles who won the 2001 Wimbledon title with Czech Leos Friedl. “I would say it’s the respect to the tradition and the elegance of the game that I appreciate the most whenever I go there.”

The 2002 quarterfinalist who lost to eventual champion Williams went on, “It’s the beauty and the artistic part of playing on grass. Everyone respects the tradition, plays in white, and it transfers to the elegant styles and the way you have to play on grass. You can’t really get away with not a good technique. I think that’s the part I enjoyed the most as a player, you have to have really nice timing and smooth shots.”

Tanasugarn, the 2008 quarterfinalist who was defeated by the eventual champion, Serena’s sister Venus Williams, treasures her Wimbledon memories. “I didn’t grow up on grass court. I grew up with a really fast hard court so I got used to grass court quite well because it is low and fast. And you don’t have time to think a lot on grass court because every ball was coming so fast,” she said. “I’ve been in the Round of 16 for quite many years and to be in the quarterfinal was really my dream. I’m glad I made it and it’s a good memory for me.”

Baghdatis, the 2006 semifinalist who lost to runner-up Rafael Nadal of Spain, talked about the surreal feeling whenever he entered the Millennium Building at the All England Lawn Tennis Club at SW19.

“Every year going there, for whenever you enter the Millennium Building where they drop off the players, you have goosebumps every time you enter because for me, it’s the history of tennis. Since I was young, Wimbledon was the only tournament that was shown on TV in my country,” shared the Cypriot.

“It’s where every player, every person who loves tennis wants to be and wants to compete one day,” said Baghdatis, who played his last professional match in 2019 at the Wimbledon second round where he lost to Italian Matteo Berrettini. “It was sad because I didn’t wanna leave the sport I love but on the other hand, it was the best gift I ever had in my life to have such a career and finish it at Wimbledon.”

Catch the live coverage of the Wimbledon Championships as it premieres from June 28 to July 11 across FOX Sports channels.




Daniela Hantuchova is right about everything.


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 Post subject: Re: News, Articles & Interviews
PostPosted: 28. June 2021 14:37 
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Dani's Picks: Experience to aid Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams at Wimbledon

Former No. 5 Daniela Hantuchova also predicts big results from Greek stars Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari.
By David Kane

Published Jun 27, 2021

Looking at a pair of Wimbledon draws that featured few certainties, former world No. 5 Daniela Hantuchova was left looking to phone a friend.

“I almost wanted to ask my Instagram followers for help making predictions!” she joked on Sunday.

A great many players have made major breakthroughs since the last grass-court major took place in 2019; a few will even make their main-draw debut at SW19. Now more than ever, Hantuchova predicts, experience will prevail through the coming fortnight.

“On grass, I always say the more years you play on it, the better you become. I remember playing Martina Navratilova in Eastbourne during one of her singles comebacks in the early 2000s. She was in her 40s at the time, but I was freaking out at the thought of playing this nine-time Wimbledon champion on grass even though I was half her age and the favorite to win. Still, players with that amount of grass court experience just know what it takes in how to cover the court, what shots to choose and when. All of that just comes with years of being on the surface.”

Starting off with one certainty and branching out into the more opaque scenarios, the psychic-adjacent Slovak goes forth with some bold predictions ahead of the third major of 2021:

The Favorites

Novak DJOKOVIC (SRB): I know many people think this tournament will come down to Novak or Roger Federer, but looking at the draw, I’m not even putting Roger in my Top 3 picks. There is nothing like match play, and for Roger, it’ll be so important for him to get through the first week and, if he can manage that, he’ll deserve to be as big of a favorite here as he’s ever been. I just think it’ll be interesting to see how he performs through the first few rounds.

For Novak, there’s a combined advantage for him in that Rafael Nadal is not playing and Roger doesn’t have the same number of matches he’s used to ahead of a Wimbledon Championships; don’t forget, he’s won Halle ten times! With those two factors in his favor, it wouldn’t surprise me if Novak goes on to win all four Slams and the Olympics. He’s absolutely a level above everyone else and it couldn’t have been tougher for him in Paris, beating Rafa and then being two sets down to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the finals, but he still found a way. Seeing him off the court and how he was, emotionally, I sense he’s in a really good place and arguably even fitter than when he was when he first came onto tour.

Even though he’s getting older, he has that much more experience on grass compared to his younger rivals, and that’s huge in helping him feel more confidence. He’s mentally and physically in a different league compared to the field so I’m picking him for everything he plays the rest of the year!

Serena WILLIAMS (USA): You can never, ever write off Serena—especially on grass. For me, Serena at Wimbledon isn’t too different from how Paris turns Rafa into a completely different player. At her best, she was absolutely untouchable on this surface. I remember some years where the serve was working and she could take the returns even earlier than usual; it all combined to make her that much more explosive and aggressive on every point. When she played like that, there was certainly nothing I could do on the court. If she can make it through the first few rounds without wasting too much energy, she’s got a shot because she knows what it takes to win there, and there’s nothing like going back to a place where you’ve achieved that level of success. It all comes down to the serve. In her last few Grand Slam finals, the serve just wasn’t working, and that’s the shot that unlocks the rest of game.

The younger girls are hitting much harder than they were a decade ago—some, arguably, as hard as she can—and that’s making a bit of a difference for her when she, for example, played Elena Rybakina at Roland Garros. Her speed of shot, off the ground and especially on the serve, was once so much greater than anyone else. She also doesn’t necessarily have the same aura she once had at her best because when you lose these kinds of matches, other players begin believing they can win, as well. That locker room respect is hard to gain and easy to lose; and no one’s had it longer than her.

Still, Serena has that undeniable fighting spirit, and there’s nowhere she turns it on better than at Wimbledon. To beat Serena on Centre Court, you really have to come up with something special to take it from her.


The Contenders

Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE): Stef is a phenomenally hard worker with incredible discipline. He’s getting more mature with each result, so perhaps two years ago, I might have said a loss like what he took in Paris would take him weeks or even months to recover from. Now, he’s on a different mental plateau and I believe he’s able to take heart in being two sets up on the best player in the world in a Grand Slam final and feel like it only came down to a few points here and there in the third set.

He admittedly has this philosophical side and I like how he feels comfortable sharing his deeper thoughts with us and show his personality. So many fans can relate to him and become part of his life, and ultimately, I feel he feeds off that energy. He enjoys the fan support and it was obvious how well he played with the fans in Paris. Having crowds back at Wimbledon will be huge for him.

Maria SAKKARI (GRE): I’m such a fan of her as an athlete as much as a tennis player—starting with how much effort she puts in off the court. I would never want to be near her at the gym! But it’s so cool to see that hard work finally paying off to defeat Iga Swiatek at Roland Garros. It was obviously a tough learning experience to lose in the semifinals after being so close, but she has to come away from that knowing she can do it; it was literally one point that stood in her way. I hope that gives her confidence instead of putting her down, although I’m sure the days after that match were hard on her.

She’s super prepared for every tournament she comes to play, and she does all the right things to give herself opportunities to succeed; I’m a huge fan of players who maximize their potential the way she does.

Angelique KERBER (GER): She’s one who knows how to win Wimbledon, and has to be high on confidence after winning an emotional title at home in Bad Homburg.

The only thing that worries me is the reality that she isn’t one of the youngest players. Hopefully, she recovers well, and after not winning that much, the muscles may be hurting that much more than if you were coming off a physical week with a lot of momentum. Physically, it takes time getting used to winning so many matches again. If she can move well and be sharp with her footwork, she has that priceless experience on her side.

Matteo BERRETTINI (ITA): I was in Queen’s Club and so I can tell you firsthand just how hard Berrettini can hit the ball on grass. It’s unreal how he can adapt his game to this surface. It’s fascinating to see this group of Italian men, who may traditionally have been more partial to clay, do such a good job adjusting to grass.

His big serve opens up the court for his forehand, but I’m also impressed by how he’s improved his slice backhand over the past couple of weeks—starting in Madrid, where he played so well to make the final. There were some pretty good players in Queen’s Club and I couldn’t believe how comprehensively he outplayed each of his opponents that week.

There’s nothing like the confidence that comes with winning a grass-court warm-up event. I always felt you get those few extra free points off that momentum alone; in years where I won Birmingham or performed well before Wimbledon, I felt like, unless it was Serena Williams or one of the other top players, I can’t lose.


The Longshots

Alex DE MINAUR (AUS): I love the way he was able to play last week to win Eastbourne. His first-round against Sebastian Korda is absolutely on my radar as one of the early ones to watch when the tournament gets underway; whoever comes out of that one could end up being a big challenge for Tsitsipas starting off the second week.

Anett KONTAVEIT (EST): Watching her in Eastbourne, I absolutely love the way Anett is playing at the moment. She can really go deep as long as she remains solid off the ground. She doesn’t have any weaknesses that I can see; she’s a complete player, but it all comes down to belief. She works hard off the court, so the more she can put herself in these situations against top players, the more likely she’ll finally beat one and that will make all the difference. I feel like she’s on the cusp of achieving something really special.

Ons JABEUR (TUN): She’s finally putting everything together, and I think she’s more mature than she used to be, because it requires a certain level of maturity to choose the right shots at the right time. She’s so much fun to watch because of the variety, but being solid is what wins you matches, and that’s a balance she was able to strike so well in Birmingham. Percentages on grass are so important, so as long as she doesn’t start feeling the need to do too much out there, she can keep this momentum going.

Ugo HUMBERT (FRA): I first saw him play last year in Paris-Bercy at the Masters event and really enjoy his game. He’s in a section with Félix Auger-Aliassime, but this Frenchman’s got so much potential, and again, that feeling of winning a title on grass—and your first title at that—you can come to Wimbledon feeling like one of the favorites regardless of where you are in the draw.

Lorenzo SONEGO (ITA): Like Matteo, he’s clearly adjusted his game big-time to the grass and shook off the disappointment of bowing out early in Roland Garros to finish runner-up to de Minaur in Eastbourne. I haven’t had a chance to listen to his song yet, but I have a feeling what the DJ will be playing around the grounds if he goes far this week!

Jelena OSTAPENKO (LAT): Here’s another former Grand Slam winner, and I think winning Eastbourne will be something she can carry to Wimbledon, where she’s made the semifinals in 2018. When you’re in the second week of a Slam and some less experienced players may get tight, I wouldn’t expect her to. It was nice to see how much winning Eastbourne meant to her, because it clearly took her a while to adjust to being a Grand Slam champion, and she’s come a long way. She’s a strong returner and isn’t afraid to go up the line.




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PostPosted: 14. July 2021 15:53 
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Tennis Channel Inside-In 7/8/21: Greg Rusedski & Daniela Hantuchova on The Wimbledon Championships Tennis Channel Inside-In

It's a star-studded episode of Tennis Channel Inside-In this week, as two former top players join the show to preview the final rounds of the 2021 Wimbledon Championships. Former US Open finalist and Great Britain native Greg Rusedski breaks down Novak Djokovic's sustained brilliance, Roger Federer's potential farewell at the All England Club, a trio of rising young stars making their first Wimbledon semifinal, and Andy Murray's return to the major he won twice. Then Daniela Hantuchova joins to dissect the parity in the current women's game, Ashleigh Barty's role as top dog and ambassador, Emma Raducanu's tremendous debut, and a look at the women's Wimbledon final. Hosted by Mitch Michals.

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices





Daniela's @ 32 minutes



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Tennis star Daniela Hantuchová enjoys golf: Why didn't I see the Tokyo Olympics!
14.08.2021 08:00 | Sports | Tennis

Totally burned! Former great Slovak tennis player Daniela Hantuchová (38) admitted that she did not see a single live broadcast of the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
"I was on vacation and cut myself off everything," the two-time Indian Wells tournament winner explained to Novy Cas.

One of the most beautiful tennis players in the world relaxes during the summer with golf. It is her second sports heart. She has only been playing it for a few years, but she is doing very well. A few days ago, she blinked on the green in Tatranská Lomnica. Mihla, because she had already gotten behind the wheel of her car in the evening.

"I'm going to the airport in Vienna and from there for my new job," continued Daniela, who has been moderating tennis matches for several years.

"However, I am already used to such fast and long transfers. Such was my tennis life. I have to comment on the match and I admit that it is even harder than the game itself. You have to prepare very responsibly for this, knowingly and mentally.

It takes me so much time and energy that I have no time left for anything else. It's a huge responsibility and a lot harder in many things than playing tennis. There is also a big 'push', there are a lot of tennis families who are very interested in it and it is not easy and easy to make it there at all, " continued the former fifth player of the WTA rankings.

Sabbatini surprised her

Only after the holiday did Hantuchova go to the internet to find out how the Olympics turned out.

"It's only now that I'm finding out who's been up to everything. A very nice surprise was that Rory Sabbatini came here for golf with his medal and breathtaking game.

What he did there is unreal. Of course, I also captured the victory of Belinda Benčičová. I always said that Belinda had huge potential and now she has finally used it. "


@ google translate



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PostPosted: 20. August 2021 20:41 
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Exclusive – Daniela Hantuchova insists tennis stars have to speak to the media or not play at all
Kevin Palmer August 20, 2021

Daniela Hantuchova believes all tennis players have an obligation to commit to media duties when they enter an event and they should not play if they are not willing to take part in all aspects of a tournament.

Speaking to Tennis365 ahead of Amazon Prime’s coverage of this year’s US Open, the former world No 5 gave us her views on one of the hottest topics in tennis, in a week that has seen Naomi Osaka’s issue with press conferences come to the fore once more.

The four-time Grand Slam winner quit the French Open in May after saying she didn’t want to attend press conferences as it had a negative impact on her mental health and she left her first media briefing in tears this week as she returned to speak to journalists while playing in Cincinnati.

Osaka’s agent Stuart Duguider agent accused Cincinnati Enquirer reporter Paul Daugherty of ‘appalling behaviour’ as he asked the Japanese star whether she needs the media to promote the other aspects of her career.

Yet Hantuchova suggests Osaka’s position is hard to justify, as she offered her views on the relationship between tennis players and the media.

“Press conferences are part of the job, that is why we are called professional athletes,”
Hantuchova stated.

“When you enter a tournament, it’s like saying I will play but only if my opponent plays to my backhand. Or I don’t feel like serving today, so I’m just going to return.

“It’s a little bit disrespectful to the tournaments, I would say, especially these days when we know how much it takes to run any event after what has happened the last two years.

“The least you can do as a professional athlete in any sport is to show up for a press conference. It’s not rocket science for half and hour or an hour to talk about what you have just done and a sport you love.

“If you want to take some pressure away, probably the best way to do that is not to be on social media to start with.

“All the players have so many things to deal with off the court and it is just part of life.

“If you need, I personally wouldn’t share that with the world, but if you do, I would seek professional help and maybe go away from the tour and the sport for a little bit to get some perspective and appreciation again.

“The spotlight she (Osaka) has got on her cannot be easy, but doing the press conference is the least any player can do for the tournament.”


Hantuchova admitted she did not enjoy press conferences after she lost matches in her career, but she warned that tennis without media attention would not pay the players the huge sums they earn at the top of the game.

“If you feel like you are not ready for a press conference, it is better not to play the tournament at all,” she added.

“Without the media, we wouldn’t be earning that amount of money, it’s as simple as that.”

Amazon Prime will screen the US Open in the UK and Ireland from August 30th.




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PostPosted: 21. August 2021 16:58 
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Exclusive – Daniela Hantuchova names Novak Djokovic’s two main US Open rivals as he chases history
Kevin Palmer August 21, 2021

Daniela Hantuchova believes Novak Djokovic is still a step or two ahead of his rivals, as she backed the world No.1 to complete the calendar Grand Slam at the US Open.

Djokovic is chasing history when he plays in the final major of the year in New York, as he looks to bounce back from what is the only major setback of his 2021 season after failing to win a medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

Speaking to Tennis365 at an Amazon Prime event, the former world No.7 picked out the two main contenders to Djokovic at the US Open and suggested he will thrive on the pressure that will inevitably be on him.

“I still feel like Novak is a level above them all in the best of five matches,” Hantuchova told us. “It will be interesting to see how sharp he can be without playing any warm-up events before the US Open, but he is generally in cruise control in the first week of a major and I would expect him to try and use the first week in New York to get into top shape for the challenges in the second week.

“The ones who I feel are closest to his level are Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas, with Sascha (Alexander Zverev) not far behind when he is playing at his best.

Over five sets, I feel Daniil is the one who has the best chance against Novak. He is in good form. He won in Canada, he is high on confidence and he will believe he can beat Djokovic.

“With Roger (Federer) and Rafa (Nadal) not playing right now, it feels like the change is coming in tennis and I’m sure the Next Gen guys will be looking to see which one will be the first to get the breakthrough and now we have more guys behind them who are coming through and might be even more exciting.”


Hantuchova went on to suggest Djokovic will be inspired by his failure to claim a medal at the Olympics, with his angry reaction as he exited the singles and then withdrew from the mixed doubles bronze medal match evidence of his passion for success.

“This is his personality, he’s not Rafa, he’s not Roger,” she added. “It shows how much he cares and how competitive he is.

“I think it’s good that all three are so different in so many ways and it allows us to enjoy what they have done over the last 20 years for our game.

“I feel losing in Tokyo could be good for him because he is always good at reacting to a setback and everything is lined up for him to do it, but we have seen with Serena Williams that the pressure can be difficult when you are so close to something so special.

“He will face pressure trying to do something so special, but this is when he feels the most comfortable for me, when he has pressure.”





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PostPosted: 2. September 2021 18:29 
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Emma Raducanu's technique is 'better than Coco Gauff' – and this is why

Raducanu was declared a Grand Slam winner in waiting after an impressive US Open first-round performance
By Simon Briggs, Tennis Correspondent 1 September 2021 • 4:11pm

As Emma Raducanu prepares for her second-round meeting with Zhang Shuai at the US Open, she has been hailed as a grand-slam champion in the making, with better technique than American contemporary Coco Gauff.

The high praise of the 18-year-old starlet only added to the bubble of excitement surrounding her, with former professional-turned-pundit Daniela Hantuchova declaring that she “has something special”.

On Tuesday, Raducanu’s thumping 6-2, 6-3 victory over the experienced Swiss player Stefanie Voegele sent her into the second round as one of four teenagers still standing – the highest-profile of whom is 17-year-old American sensation Gauff.

According to Hantuchova, whose own career peaked at No5 in the world in 2003, Raducanu has no weaknesses and is on track to reach the world’s top ten within a year or so.

“Emma has it all, whatever it takes to become not only a top-ten player but I believe also a grand-slam champion,” said Hantuchova on Amazon Prime. “There is not one part of her game where I would say ‘This needs to improve.’ Unlike Coco Gauff, where I feel like technically she needs to improve a lot of things. Emma is ahead.

“Technically there are no mistakes but also the mental strength she showed today, that is something very special,”
Hantuchova added. “Plus the joy she brings. She really connects to the crowd. She is going to be able to gain a lot of energy from the fans all around the world. As soon as she smiles everyone is going to be on her side. We saw it today, playing on a big court for the first time in America, everyone is trying to get photos with her. I can’t even imagine the future that she has in front of her.”

Gauff is a magnificent athlete who can strike the ball with massive power, particularly on her serve. But this shot has been repeatedly remodelled and can also go on the blink on a bad day.

Hantuchova – whose former coach Nigel Sears also worked with Raducanu at Wimbledon this summer – was clearly inspired by the way Raducanu dismantled Voegele in just 78 minutes, even if she tightened up in the final game and needed seven match points to serve out for victory.


The rest of the article is just about Raducanu and Daniela doesn't feature and can be read Here:



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Daniela Hantuchová: From Court to Course

By Emma Ballard on October 1, 2021

We speak to Slovakian tennis star Daniela Hantuchová about Emma Raducanu, the BMW PGA and her growing passion for golf.

Following a highly successful tennis career that saw Daniela Hantuchová reach a career-high ranking of World No. 5 in singles, and win a number of the WTA’s biggest events including the BNP Paribas Open twice, Daniela has seamlessly transitioned into a sought after media personality. Since her retirement from tennis in 2017, the Slovak native has worked as an analyst for Amazon Prime UK and Fox Sports Asia, covering the most viewed and high-profile tennis events throughout the year.

In addition to Amazon and Fox, Daniela has partnered with the Tennis Channel, Roland Garros, Wimbledon, and 5 Live on BBC Sport. Most recently, she founded and is the host of a successful new podcast, The Real DNA. Daniela’s podcast provides a unique insight into the world of sport, entertainment, and culture as she interviews some of her peers, sporting icons, and cultural influencers.

We had to start by asking Daniela about the night she witnessed a little British and tennis history when Emma Raducanu became the first qualifier in the Open Era to win a Grand Slam singles title.


What was it like for you that night, it seemed quite special to me watching it but then I am British?
Even for me, who is not British, it was special. We witnessed a historic moment, and everyone in studio and behind the cameras were just getting so emotional at what Emma had achieved. Obviously, it will be remembered forever in the world of sports in the UK and it was a really proud moment to be part of.

I have to say throughout her journey during the tournament, I saw so much of me at her age. You know how much braver I was back then, having that smile as well. You know she's in that wonderful space where she's got nothing to lose, only to gain. No-one has figured her out yet, how to play against her so. And then, that smile that she brings everywhere she goes, that's special and let's hope she can keep it for a very long time.


How does she cope with the expectations on her shoulders going forward?
You know it’s easier said than done and being realistic, she has had this wonderful journey but it doesn’t mean that every tournament that she enters is going to be the same. Now players and coaches will try to figure her game out. It’s about sticking to what works for her which means hard work. She’s got a great work ethic and her parents have done such a great job bringing her up the way they’ve done. I also think that the fact that she’s got a good education behind her is huge.

I know how much that helped me in those situations, knowing that if this doesn't work out in 10 years, I still have my academics that I can rely on, and that takes a lot of that pressure and expectations away. And like she keeps saying, you know, everything is a bonus these days and she's just enjoying the ride. I wish for her that she can continue like that because it’s not going to be the same say, in 12 months from now where she's going to go in as favourite to win in most of the tournament she enters. So much pressure. I just hope that she doesn’t lose the fun part of it.


Let’s talk about the BMW PGA Championship that you played in, the same week as the U.S. Open!
Yes, it was very busy and quite a rush to wake up! I think I had to be there at 6:45am and we’d finished in the studio very late the night before. So, the first couple of holes I was literally just waking up but it was worth it. It was my first Pro-Am ever and I really enjoyed every single second of it.

You got to play with Marcus Armitage, how was that?
Just being able to that close to him and obviously the speed he has got in his swing. They also presented him with his Guinness World Record, so it was special to be there for that. It was really cool to be paired with him. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stay and follow the results, due to everything that was happening at Amazon Prime in the studio with Emma. I played in the Pro-Am and then had to leave. Next time, I hope for a more relaxing experience!

I can see from your Instagram that you have played Wentworth before. What do you like about playing there?
I'm very lucky I play at either Wentworth or Sunningdale when I am in London. Obviously both courses are very special. As far as my golf game goes, I just love the environment. I also work out there too and use the pool when I can, before heading into the studio. It’s a nice way to start the day before I get into my work and I just love the atmosphere of the place. I also have great friends there that I always look forward to playing with, it’s a very special golf course to me.

How did you get into golf?
The first time I played was the day after I won Indian Wells (2002), my coach at the time Nigel Sears asked if I wanted to play. He’s a great golfer. He took me and my parents to play, which was a brave move from him playing 18 holes with us for the first time. It took us a while to get round the course! Indian Wells was definitely the reason that I started playing.

I wouldn’t play much as I was busy with tennis but I would play in Indian Well and Australia but that was it, maybe five to six times a year. I played more when I retired but it’s definitely in the last year that I have played a lot more.


How have you learnt to play?
When I started, I never had a proper lesson, it was just trying to look at some details of the process and kind of imitating that. I didn’t have time to do anything more than that.

I’ve really gotten into it in the last few months. I'm very lucky that Claude Harmon sometimes helps me with a few little tips. I haven't had time to go to regular lessons or practice too much. I'm hopeful that once the tennis season is over and my work is done for TV that I'll have time to really focus on it.


What do you love about playing golf?
Firstly, for me, it’s all about who you play with and I think it's such a wonderful time to spend time together and have fun being in nature. I totally turn off my phone, emails and I’m able to really check out mentally. It’s such a benefit for someone who has a busy life. I’ve been very lucky and privileged to explore so many wonderful golf courses around the world. Also the social part of it, you know, having a nice cup of coffee and being with good friends. It's just a wonderful environment that I do enjoy being part of.

What are your thoughts on golf fashion?
I love to talk about golf fashion. Unlike tennis, I think golf is where fashion can be really creative. You don’t have that element of sprinting, stopping and needing to move incredibly well. Golf clothing can be designed in a really classy and special way. I think there's still so much that can be done.

I absolutely would love to be part of that conversation. It's one of the reasons why I love golf because it’s just a beautiful sport to watch, the finesse and class. I’ve always been attracted to the sport, tennis as well, because of the beauty and the visual look of it.


Could we learn anything from tennis clothing?
The lighter material, especially can be more useful. However, there are so many manufacturers that have done that already. I do love the golfing industry because I think there are more styles. In tennis we can’t play in pants or even ¾ ones.

Do you have a go-to outfit for golf?
I’ve spent my life wearing dresses for tennis, so I do enjoy playing in shorts and a classy classic top. Something that I haven’t worn on a tennis court much over the last 10 years. So I’m more of the traditional outfits at the moment.


Quickfire questions…

Handicap: 22 (at the moment).

What clubs are in your bag: I have my Cobra clubs which I absolutely love. They were custom fitted for me and I just love the look and feel of them.

What’s your go-to club: My nine iron as that’s the one I got my hole-in-one with!

How many hole-in-ones have you had: I’ve had one, it was during the Hopman Cup in Australia. This was back in the day when it was like my third or fourth time playing, so I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about! My coach Nigel went nuts because he’d been playing for about 30 years by then and he’d never had one and I honestly didn’t know why he was celebrating so much for me!

Go-to golf clothing brand: Lacoste and Golfino.

What’s the favourite golf course you have played: Porcupine Creek Golf Club in Indian Wells has to be one as I have very special memories from winning at Indian Wells. Also, Marco Simone, the golf course hosting the next Ryder Cup. I’d also have to add in Bighorn in California too.

Your ultimate fourball: That’s such a good question. Obviously my boyfriend. Then Nelly Korda and her brother Seb – so we could challenge them like in mixed doubles!


The Real DNA podcast is now a part of the 8 Side Network a collaboration between Octagon and IHeart Radio for podcasts, and we currently preparing for Season 2 of the podcast.

The podcast can be found at all good podcast providers, including Spotify:





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Daniela Hantuchová looks the same as she did 15 years ago. What does She owe it to?
SLOVAK CELEBRITIES
10/22/2021

Despite the fact that she ended her professional career four years ago, her name is increasingly used in the sports industry. At the moment, she is working as a moderator and it seems that this role will fall to her.

The beautiful Poprad woman became known as soon as she entered the tennis courts. Even as a young teenager, she showed her ferocity and combativeness, which she immediately became interested in. However, the real glory came when Daniela was 22 years old and won her first prestigious tournament. From that moment on, she brought many victories to Slovakia, thanks to which she created a decent fan base. This is also evidenced by the seven Tennis Player of the Year awards, which she managed to win over her career.

Despite saying goodbye to the courts in 2017, she did not leave tennis, quite the opposite. Around that time, she became a full-fledged moderator and editor of the prestigious streaming service Amazon Prime Videos , which is becoming popular in our country as well. This work allows Daniel to literally dream working conditions. In addition to watching with suspense what she loves and what she once fed on, she travels to prestigious tennis events and confesses to her former sports colleagues. The end of her career was not bitter, on the contrary. She transformed her experience into moderation, which makes her a quality presenter - despite the fact that she never studied journalism or similar industries.

She takes care of a balanced diet even after years
Daniela openly admits that the many years spent on the tennis courts, mostly in sunny weather, have had a significant effect on her skin. In addition to the fact that it is a matter of course for her to use a cream with a protective factor, she cannot afford a high-quality moisturizer that helps to give her skin a boost. Although make-up is not a regular part of her beauty routine, she wears it quite often because of her work. However, she is taken care of by a team of professionals - and the only task of the former tennis player is not to forget a thorough make-up, without which she will not go to bed. The obligatory ride is again a high-quality, night cream that helps hydrate the skin even at night.

An integral part of her routine is the exercise of the whole body. "Since I've been super active all my life, it's easier for me to maintain it now that I'm in sports. I think it's the duty of all the athletes bred, because in case of insufficient movement, problems will start to appear, as we were used to exercising,'' she told Women Fitness magazine, adding that even though her workouts look different, she enjoys them.

"My favorites are squats. This exercise involves so much muscle in your legs that if you don't have time for anything else, squats are what is best to do, '' she admitted to the magazine, adding that she also likes plank or ball exercises. Of course, a healthy diet full of vitamins, which supplies her body with the necessary nutrients - and that's why Daniela came up with the idea of ​​her own brand of fast snacks years ago, which will supply our body not only with energy, but also with the necessary dose of mandatory substances. It seems to be the best advertisement for itself. The fact that she is 38 years old would probably not be guessed by anyone.

@ Daniela's instagram



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