février 21, 2024

Gigi Salmon Column: The launch of Sky Sports Tennis, Emma Raducanu, and Andy Murray’s legacy | Tennis News

5 min read

Sky Sports Tennis has officially launched and not even thunder and lightening could stop us getting on air – and staying on air!

That was, until Laura and Marion’s eyes widened with fear as the sky lit up behind me and not long after that, with most of the matches finished, play was cancelled for the day!

Speaking to a friend of mine, it rains six times a year in Doha and Sunday was very much one of those days!

It meant the action was a bit stop-start at the WTA 1000 event in the capital of Qatar, which is our base for the week, but it was also media day which gave us the chance to speak to a number of the players including Emma Raducanu who was our very first guest and is making her debut in Doha having being given a wildcard.

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Continuing her return from injury, Emma Raducanu explains her fitness goals for the season ahead and how she is feeling following the Abu Dhabi Open

We also spoke to Naomi Osaka, who opened up about enjoying being back on tour, defending champion and Polish Lego ambassador Iga Swiatek and Victoria Azarenka who revealed that watching Yellowstone has unleashed her passion for horses!

Ons Jabeur returns after missing the Middle East swing last year due to surgery which we only found out fairly recently was on an enlarged nodule that was blocking oxygen from getting to her lungs, which got so bad that at one point her coach Issam Jellali thought she was going to die.

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Ons Jabeur was beaten in straight sets by Beatriz Haddad Maia in the Abu Dhabi Open semi-finals

She is currently struggling with a flare up of a longstanding knee injury that left her in tears recently in Abu Dhabi.

This is such an important part of the year for her and when she sat down with us to talk about trying to manage her knee, Ons also reiterated that her big goal for 2024 is to finally get her hands on that Wimbledon trophy.

Murray’s legacy: He has earned the right to be left in peace

Someone who will be arriving in Doha later this week is Andy Murray ahead of next week’s ATP 250 tournament.

Now a lot has been written and said about Murray in recent weeks after he replied on social media to an article written about him which posed the question as to whether his legacy could be tarnished if he continues to play and doesn’t win.

The first thing to say is that while it has been tough to watch in recent times, after everything that Murray has done for the sport, it is up to him and only him when he decides to call it a day.

It was summed up perfectly when I was on the touchline of my son’s U9s football match last weekend when one of the Dad’s came up to me, knowing that I work in tennis, and said somewhat out of the blue, ‘I will never forget the joy Andy Murray brought to British sport and me in 2016, what he has achieved has earned him the right to be left in peace!’

Sadly it wasn’t to be for the U9s who lost 2-0, but went down fighting with the odd two-footed tackle right until the final whistle!

Running and tennis combine!

Now, after my short-lived coaching experience in Australia I was hoping for a quieter time in Doha, so I’m still not sure how I was persuaded to sign up for the Doha 10k that’s taking place at the end of the week.

Laura Robson sat down with Coco Gauff to discuss her year ahead
Image:
Laura Robson sat down with Coco Gauff to discuss her year ahead

I think it was the lesser of the evils on offer when my friend rang and asked if I fancied doing a marathon or a half marathon, to which I said – thinking I was being clever – that sadly due to work commitments I would only manage something shorter. Who knew there was a 10k too!

It turns out there is also a 1k but when I pressed the ‘sign up’ button it said I was too old! Laura is also signed up but rather worryingly she asked me what pace I was going to do to, which I replied slow!

So plenty of running and tennis to come over the next week. We hope you can join us and enjoy it with us and while as I write this the rain continues to thunder down outside, the forecast for the rest of the tournament is good.

Tennis is back on Sky Sports, you will have multiple matches at your fingertips all day, every day and as you know tennis never stops, it never gets boring. In fact it is the gift that keeps on giving!

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