Tennis News: Mirra Andreeva, Emma Raducanu and Australian Open

(Photo by Andy Cheung/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Cheung/Getty Images) /

Mirra Andreeva got a surprise this weekend at an exhibition event at Complexe Vercors in Bourg-de-Péage, France, but it was not the kind of surprise she likely wanted. Trying to get some work in ahead of the 2024 season beginning, the 16-year-old and WTA No. 57 made her way to the final of the tournament. She was supposed to play Donna Vekic of Croatia but Vekic pulled out of the tournament and was replaced by Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk and trouble ensued.

Because Ukraine and Russia are at war, the players from the two countries naturally don’t want to play each other. Both Russian and Belarusian players – Belarus is helping Russia in the war – have not had their nation’s flag next to their name in tournaments because the International Tennis Federation banned both tennis federations for both countries. In the exhibition event this weekend, Kostyuk simply refused to play Andreeva leading event organizers to find literally anyone else who might play the Russian.

No WTA players could be found, so local ATP player Yanis Ghazouani Durand accepted the chance to play. He is currently ranked number 1,145 on the ATP tour but he was able to defeat Andreeva in straight sets in the final 7-5 6-2. This unexpected battle of the sexes was a bit unfair, though, as Mirra Andreeva had to be thrown off for the events leading up to the final, and Durand his seven years her senior.

Mirra Andreeva gets a surprise opponent, Emma Raducanu expected to compete for majors

Jack Draper is an up-and-coming British player who is currently ranked number 61 on the ATP tour. But Draper doesn’t just stick to his own game and likes to see his fellow Brits do well. This includes Emma Raducanu. Raducanu surprisingly won the US Open at just 18 years old in 2021. Since, however, she has struggled with form and health.

Draper thinks she is ready to get back to that 2021 level soon, however. According to Tennis Head, Draper, said, “I think if she can get herself to a good fitness level, she’ll be right up there with the best in the world and she’ll be competing for Grand Slams again.” The issue is Raducanu hasn’t been anywhere near her 2021 form and there is no indication she ever will be again. But she is a popular player so her competing for major titles would be good for tennis.

Watch the Australian Open for free!

It’s true. You can watch the 2024 Australian Open for free, but there is a catch. You might need a VPN, unless you are already subscribed to one of the many global sports channels that will broadcast the Australian Open. In which case, of course, the tournament would not be free. But you can also get ExpressVPN, connect to a server location in Australia, and then sign up for 9NOW.

But you might have to provide an Australian zip code. In other words, if you don’t want to pay to watch the Aussie Open, you might need to make a good friend in Australia right now. Then maybe you can use their zip code.

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