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Leylah Fernandez reveals deal with major American multinational investment bank



Leylah Fernandez

Canadian tennis star Leylah Fernandez has been announced as the new ambassador for investment bankers Morgan Stanley. On Sunday, Fernandez captured her second Monterrey title after beating Camila Osorio in the Monterrey final.

Fernandez won her maiden WTA title last year in Monterrey and this year returned to the event and successfuly defended her title. Hours after her victory, Morgan Stanley announced Fernandez as their new ambassador. “We are honoured to have Leylah join Morgan Stanley as a brand ambassador.
Leylah Fernandez training
As a talented tennis player, Leylah truly embodies Morgan Stanley’s core values of integrity and giving back. Her sportsmanship and dedication are an inspiration to the next generation,” the company announced.

Fernandez happy to join the Morgan Stanley brand
“I am thrilled to join the Morgan Stanley team as a brand ambassador.

They have a longstanding commitment to giving back to their communities, which is something I am passionate about. I look forward to partnering with the Morgan Stanley team in expanding access to the game of tennis, especially amongst underrepresented communities and diverse youth”.
Leylah Fernandez
Meanwhile, Fernandez survived a thriller Monterrey final. Fernandez saved five match points en route to edging out Osorio 6-7 (5) 6-4 7-6 (3). Fernandez, ranked at No. 21 in the world, revealed her goal for this season is to finish ranked inside the top-10 and debut at the WTA Finals.

“I am just planning to be consistent at every tournament [this season]. Hopefully, I will be in the top ten at the end of this season and play in the WTA Finals. Those are my goals for this season, and [I] just [want to] have fun,” Fernandez said.
Leylah Fernandez
“Like I’ve said every year, the number one thing is the mind, the body and the emotions. I just want that to be a 100% throughout the year and on court I am always going to have fun.”


Maria Sharapova Leaves A Storied Legacy



Clenched fist, true grit: there will never be another Maria Sharapova.

One of only seven women to win all four majors at least once in the Open era, Sharapova’s retirement due to injuries not only robs tennis of one of its the fiercest competitors but also of one of the world’s most recognizable female athletes who transcended her sport and opened tennis up to new markets.

One of the most ferocious baseliners in the women’s game, with a game built around aggressive ground strokes and mental strength, Sharapova won 36 career titles, including five majors, an Olympic silver medal, held the No. 1 ranking for 21 weeks and amassed $38 million in prize money.

But after 28 years of playing tennis, Sharapova’s body can no longer deal with competing at the highest level, she told the New York Times in an interview this week.

One of Sharapova’s biggest assets was her never-say-die attitude, laser-like focus and work ethic, both on and off the court, which has inspired generations of young tennis players.

“She’s great fighter. As dedicated as someone can really be in our sport,” top-ranked Novak Djokovic told reporters in Dubai after he heard the news.

“Maria, you inspired millions of people with your passion for the game and we thank you for that,” rising Russian star Karen Khachanov wrote on Twitter. “You have set an example for everybody in many ways. Humble, determined and a true champion.

Just 17, Sharapova had become a global star virtually overnight when she defeated then two-time champion Serena Williams of the U.S. in the finals of Wimbledon in 2004. A year later, Sharapova rose to the No. 1 ranking, the first woman from Russia to do so.

Her defeat of Serena Williams on Centre Court turned Sharapova into one of the world’s most famous sportswomen, who would end up rewriting the rules about sports marketing and female athletes. She amassed more than $325 million in earnings, both on and off the court, during her career, according to Forbes.

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“From the day Maria Sharapova won her first Wimbledon at age 17, she has been a great champion,” WTA Tour co-founder Billie Jean King, who first met the Russian when she was 13, said on Twitter. “A 5x major champion and a former World No. 1, her business success is just as impressive as her tennis achievements.”

Guided by her long-time agent at management agency IMG, Max Eisenbud, Sharapova became a global fashion and style icon, whose business empire not only included a string of endorsements with blue-chip companies including Tag Heuer, Porsche, Evian and Avon but also a successful candy and chocolate line founded in 2012, Sugarpova. She was ranked as the world’s top-paid female athlete for 11 straight years by Forbes.

Mastering the slow red clay of Roland-Garros in 2012 and 2014, where she once famously compared herself to “a cow on ice” was perhaps her greatest achievement on a tennis court. Her first French Open victory came three years after a potentially career-ending shoulder injury which required surgery on a torn rotator cuff.

Sharapova’s rise to the top having escaped the aftermath of a nuclear disaster in the former Soviet Union was nothing short of remarkable.

Sharapova was born 19 April, 1987 in Nyagan, western Siberia, not long after her parents, Yuri and Yelena, moved to the remote oil town from their hometown of Gomel, Belarus to escape the fall-out from the nearby Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. Two years later, the family moved to the Black Sea resort of Sochi, where Sharapova started playing tennis at the age of four.

Eighteen-time major winner Martina Navratilova spotted the talented Maria a year later at an event in Moscow, and advised her father to move the family to the U.S.

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This was easier said than done. Maria and Yuri moved to the U.S. in 1994, but had to leave Yelena behind for two years because of visa restriction issues and lack of money. But Maria was only seven years old, and deemed too young to start training at a tennis academy. For the next two years, her father worked low-paid jobs in construction to pay for her coaching. When Maria was nine, the family were finally reunited and she earned a $30,000 scholarship to train at the Nick Bollettieri Academy in Florida.

Eight years later, she won the Wimbledon title.

Although Sharapova would also beat Williams at the 2004 WTA Finals, her rivalry with the now 23-time major singles winner was lopsided, with the former top-ranked American taking 20 matches in a row after that year.

The legacy Sharapova leaves behind is in some ways an unfinished one. Struggling with a shoulder injury and inflammation in both forearms, Sharapova told the New York Times she had been in pain for much of the past two years, as she made a comeback to tennis following a 15-month ban for taking the banned substance meldonium in 2016.

Her body left her unable to reach the same heights as before her shock admission in March 2016 that she had failed a doping test after failing to notice the drug in question had been banned at the start of that year by the World Anti-Doping Agency. An initial two-year ban was eventually reduced to 15 months, with the highest sports court, CAS, saying the former world No. 1 wasn’t an “intentional doper.”

Ironically, the doping ban would in fact end up extending Sharapova’s career by a few more years.

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“If (the suspension) didn’t happen, this probably would have been her last year,” IMG’s Eisenbud told CNN in a phone interview in 2017.

Before the doping suspension, Sharapova had been struggling with multiple injuries. “Her body was in bad shape,” Eisenbud said.

Although Eisenbud had been planning for Sharapova’s retirement for years, with the Sugarpova brand and other deals in place for when her career would eventually finish, and a stint at Harvard Business School and an internship at the NBA during her ban, no longer being a professional tennis player may take some getting used to.

READ: Maria Sharapova To Mentor Female Business Owners

When asked if closing a business deal was similar to winning and competing for major tennis titles, Sharapova said in an interview in 2018:  “Everything that you put into it previously, you have to pour out onto the court, every fear that you’ve faced before, you have to bring out onto the court. You have to be powerful, but yet you have to handle being vulnerable at moments when things don’t go your way.

That, I don’t know if I will ever have that feeling when I am being a businesswoman, because it is just an experience that is so unique, and that’s why I still continue to do this, because I have that passion of figuring things out and getting it done, whether it’s a tough day, or whether it’s a great day.”

In an exclusive essay announcing her retirement for Vogue and Vanity Fair, Sharapova said: “Looking back now, I realize that tennis has been my mountain. My path has been filled with valleys and detours, but the views from its peak were incredible. After 28 years and five Grand Slam titles, though, I’m ready to scale another mountain—to compete on a different type of terrain.”

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Rafael Nadal reveals key to his success in 2022



Former world No. 1 Rafael Nadal thinks his ability to adapt his game has been one of the biggest reason behind his early success in 2022. Nadal, who played just one event in the second part of the 2021 season due to a foot injury, is having a stunning comeback to tennis.

Rafael Nadal reveals key to his success in 2022

Nadal is 15-0 in 2022 as he has claimed titles at the Melbourne Summer Set, Australian Open and Acapulco. Nadal will be 36 in a few months but he is still a dominant force and absolutely one of the best players on the Tour.

“I have always been able to find a way to adapt my game when I have needed to become better,” Nadal said in his pre-tournament press conference in Indian Wells. “Some days I have played aggressively, some days I have played a little more defensively and more tactically.

“My serve has been working well, which is important at this stage in my career. Then I think I have been brave enough to play with the right determination when needed. I am just working hard to continue to improve, but I am happy with the level of tennis and intensity I am showing on court”.


Nadal aims a fourth Indian Wells title

Nadal captured his first Indian Wells title in 2007, while his second Indian Wells title came two years later. Nadal’s hasn’t enjoyed a victorious run in Indian Wells ever since he defeated Juan Martin del Potro in the 2013 Indian Wells final.

Nadal is back to playing an outstanding tennis and he arrived to Indian Wells among top favorites for the title. Nadal’s big rival, Novak Djokovic, wasn’t allowed to enter the United States. Nadal took the advantage of Djokovic’s absence from the Australian Open and collected a record 21st Grand Slam title. It remains to be seen if Nadal can continue his outstanding season and win Indian Wells.

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Rafael Nadal returns to practice court ahead of Roland Garros



The 21-time Major winner Rafael Nadal is preparing for his 18th Roland Garros. The season’s second Major starts next week, and Rafa is back on the practice court at home in Mallorca, doing his best to recover from a foot injust and stand a chance in Paris.

Nadal has won 13 of the previous 17 Roland Garros titles, experiencing only three losses at his beloved tournament and hoping to regain the title he lost to Novak Djokovic a year ago. Rafa missed the second part of the 2021 season due to a foot injury, experiencing it in the Roland Garros semi-final against Novak and playing two more matches by the end of the season.

Like many times before, Nadal made a perfect comeback and scored 20 wins from the opening 20 encounters in 2022.

Rafael Nadal is back on the court following the latest setback in Rome.

Rafa secured the 21st Major crown at the Australian Open to write history books and remained undefeated until the Indian Wells final.

Struggling with a rib injury, the Spaniard missed six weeks and skipped his favorite tournaments in Monte Carlo and Barcelona. The king of clay returned to action in Madrid and Rome, and he failed to deliver his best tennis.

Rafa won two matches in Madrid before losing to a young gun Carlos Alcaraz in three sets in the quarter-final. Hoping for a better run in Rome, Nadal toppled John Isner before experiencing a 1-6, 7-5, 6-2 loss to Denis Shapovalov in two hours and 37 minutes.

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Rafa barely finished the match without retiring, struggling with foot pain since the middle of the second set and standing no chance in the decider. With dark clouds gathered over his Roland Garros preparations, Nadal hit the practice court on Monday and will travel to Paris on Wednesday alongside his doctor.

Rafa has been the dominant figure in Paris since making a debut at 18 in 2005, winning the title in his first visit and becoming the last teenager with a Major crown. Nadal claimed nine out of ten Roland Garros titles between 2005 and 2014 and became the most successful player at a single Major in history.

After two poor runs in 2015 and 2016, Nadal restored the order and secured four more titles between 2017 and 2020 to extend his tally to 13! Seeking the 14th Parisian Major last June, Rafa lost an epic semi-final to Novak Djokovic in over four hours.

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Novak Djokovic, Jelena determined to ensure all Serbian kids have access to preschool



The Novak Djokovic Foundation continues to impact the lives of people in Serbia as the world No. 1 and his wife Jelena have been very active during this year’s Season of Giving. Djokovic and his wife Jelena have been raising funds for the opening of a new preschool in Nis, Serbia.

The Novak Djokovic Foundation has the goal of making preschool available to all Serbian children in the next 10 years. “This and the previous year have further demonstrated how important it is for children to attend preschool, particularly in a situation when parents are forced to work from home, and are not able to adequately dedicate their time to children.

However, it should not be forgotten that there are still those who are not able to go to preschool, even in normal circumstances,” Jelena said, per Tennis Up To Date,

The Djokovic family determined to help Nis

“Nis is a lovely city with unique culture whose citizens have been recognized both domestically and abroad.

We have great memories from this city and we are happy that, this Season of Giving, we are raising funds for a new preschool there, thus enabling children and their families to dream big. Reconstructing the old building of the local community and turning it into a beautiful, modern preschool will give 100 children an opportunity to get the best possible start in life and it will also help their parents to have more time for themselves and their careers.

With love and light, we thank you for your support. Let’s go together for another victory,” Jelena added. Meanwhile, Djokovic kicked off his preparation for the 2022 season in Belgrade. Djokovic signed up to play the ATP Cup and Australian Open but there is no guarantee that the Serb will indeed play at Melbourne Park.

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Djokovic is a record nine-time Australian Open champion and not having him at Melbourne Park would be a major blow for the tournament.


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Petar Popovic: “Novak Djokovic made a mistake against Carlos Alcaraz, because ..”



In a recent interview with L’Equipe, Serbian coach Petar Popovic analyzed the defeat suffered by Novak Djokovic against Carlos Alcaraz in the Mutua Madrid Open 2022. Djokovic showed signs of recovery at the Mutua Madrid Open, losing in the semifinals to a wild Carlos Alcaraz.

In what was the best game of 2022 (at least so far), the Serbian only surrendered to the decisive tiebreak and proved to be on the right track. After coming close to the ‘Calendar Grand Slam’ last year, the 34-year-old from Belgrade has had to contend with a lot of difficulties at the start of the season.


Petar Popovic: "Novak Djokovic made a mistake against Carlos Alcaraz, because .."

Due to his choice not to get vaccinated against Coronavirus, the 20-time Grand Slam champion was unable to defend his title at the Australian Open and suffered serious damage to his image. Strict US regulations forced him to skip the Indian Wells and Miami Masters 1000s as well.

The world number 1 has repeatedly reiterated that his great goal is to reach 100% at Roland Garros, where he will be called upon to defend the title won in 2021.

Petar Popovic: “Novak Djokovic made a mistake against Carlos Alcaraz”

Petar analyzed: “Novak Djokovic had a great match, but struggled tremendously to return Carlos Alcaraz’s serve.

He should have moved closer to the pitch to prevent the ball from rising too much. Nole is probably the best nerker of all time, but he got his position completely wrong in Saturday’s game. He was too far behind and suffered a damn kick from Carlos from the left.

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Madrid’s altitude did the rest, forcing him to strike almost at head level. It was not a technical problem, it was a positioning error. I did not understand why Goran Ivanisevic did not suggest him to approach, it was the key to the challenge.

In any case, I believe Djokovic has made significant progress in all aspects of the game. I am more and more convinced that he will arrive at Roland Garros in the best conditions.”


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