Emilio Sanchez Vicario

Mondays With Bob Greene: The whole week Amelie was playing very solid

STARS

Andy Murray beat Rafael Nadal 6-3 4-6 6-0- to win the ABN Amro World Tennis in Rotterdam, Netherlands

Amelie Mauresmo beast Elena Dementieva 7-6 (7) 2-6 6-4 to win the Open GDF Suez in Paris, France

Radek Stepanek won the SAP Open in San Jose, California, by beating Mardy Fish 3-6 6-4 6-2

Vera Zvonareva won the Pattaya Women’s Open, beating Sania Mirza 7-5 6-1 in Pattaya City, Thailand

Thomas Robredo beat Thomaz Bellucci 6-3 3-6 6-4 to win the Brasil Open in Costa Do Sauipe, Brazil

Pete Sampras won the Champions Cup Boston by beating John McEnroe 7-6 (10) 6-4 in Boston, Massachusetts

SAYING

“The feeling you have when you conclude a tournament with the title is different than a good week with a defeat. It’s a special feeling. It gives you an extraordinary confidence.” – Amelie Mauresmo, after winning the Open GDF Suez in Paris, France.

“The whole week Amelie was playing very solid. She really picked up her game and played her best, especially today. … She has had some difficult times with all of those injuries, and it’s really great to see her win here, especially since it’s at home.” – Elena Dementieva, who lost the Paris final to Amelie Mauresmo.

“He made it difficult as he was hitting the ball so hard and being aggressive on every shot to try and keep the points short. It just shows how good he is that he can beat me on one leg.” – Andy Murray, after beating an injured Rafael Nadal to win in Rotterdam, but losing the second set.

“I had a problem with the injury, but I don’t want to talk about that. Andy played very well today and he deserved to win the tournament.” – Rafael Nadal.

“I’ve been playing a lot of tennis. Maybe it’s just a sign that I need to take a day off or two and get ready for the next event.” – Serena Williams, after pulling out of a WTA Tour event in Paris.

“The Tour is reviewing appropriate remedies for Ms. Peer and also will review appropriate future actions with regard to the future of the Dubai tournament. The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour believes very strongly, and has a clear rule and policy, that no host country should deny a player the right to compete at a tournament for which she has qualified by ranking.” – Larry Smith, Sony Ericsson WTA Tour CEO, on the refusal of the United Arab Emirates to give a visa to Israeli Shahar Peer.

“This is my second tournament this year after six months of injury last year. I couldn’t ask for a better start by winning the mixed doubles in the Australian Open and making it to the final here in Pattaya City.” – Sania Mirza, who lost to Vera Zvonareva in the Pattaya Women’s Open title match.

“Everything went – starting with my leg, my feet. You stop moving, you get a little tight. … To say it doesn’t creep in your mind that you remember some of those losses you have in all those finals – I have 10 losses in all those finals – that’s a lot.” – Mardy Fish, the losing finalist in San Jose, California.

“It was an amazing week for me. It never happened to me to win the singles and doubles in the same week. It seems like there is some magic around here. I’m always playing well here.” – Radek Stepanek, who won both singles and doubles at the SAP Open.

STOPS PEER

Shahar Peer was denied a visa to compete in the Dubai Tennis Championships, a move that could damage Dubai’s efforts at fostering an image of full openness in business, sports and other high-profile events. Peer broke barriers last year when she became the first Israeli to play a WTA Tour event in Qatar. But the visa denial could prove to be a blow to Dubai. “Ms Peer has earned the right to play in the tournament and it’s regrettable that the UAF is denying her this right,” said Larry Scott, WTA chief executive. Scott said WTA tour officials will take a close look at the event’s future. Peer’s brother said the 21-year-old player applied for a visa months in advance and was assured by tournament organizers that she would be allowed entry.

SWEET SUCCESS

Amelie Mauresmo returned to the winner’s circle for the first time in two years when she beat Elena Dementieva in the final of the Open GDF Suez in Paris, France. A two-time Grand Slam tournament winner, Mauresmo has been beset by several injuries. Her last title came in Antwerp, Belgium, in February 2007.

STOPPED

Losing to Andy Murray in the final at Rotterdam, Netherlands, was the least of Rafael Nadal’s problem. The Spaniard hurt his knee in the first game of the second set and received treatment from the ATP trainer after the third game. Then came eight successive service breaks as Nadal went for broke on Murray’s service games. The strategy worked for awhile as Nadal won the second set to level the match. But after that it was all Murray, who kept the ball in play and cut down on his own errors. Murray’s victory was the first in Rotterdam for a British player, while the final pitted the top two seeds against each other for the first time since Ivan Lendl played Jimmy Connors in 1984.

SERBIA VS SPAIN

Serbia will travel to Spain for their World Group playoffs in April. In other matchups, with the winners qualifying for next year’s World Group competition, Slovak Republic will be at France, Germany and China and Ukraine an Argentina. The losing nations of the April 25-26 competition will drop to the World Group II in 2010. In World Group II playoffs, Canada will be at Belgium, Estonia at Israel, Poland at Japan, and Switzerland at Australia.

SIDELINED

A right knee injury forced Serena Williams to withdraw from her semifinal match at Elena Dementieva at the Open GDF Suez tournament in Paris, France. “My left knee always hurts, but this time it’s my right knee,” said Williams. “When I woke up this morning it wasn’t feeling good. I wasn’t moving well at all in practice.” Williams said she hurt her knee during a victory against Emile Loit and was in too much pain to compete.

SWIMMINGLY STUNNING

Three tennis players – Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia, Maria Kirilenko of Russia and Tatiana Golovin of France – are appearing in the 46th edition of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. Joining some of the world’s top supermodels, the players spent five days shooting on the secluded beaches of the Dominican Republic. While Hantuchova, Kirilenko and Golovin are making their SI Swimsuit debuts, several other players have been featured in the publication, including Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Anna Kournikova, Steffi Graf and Ashley Harkleroad.

SWITCHING COACHES

In a bid to regain the form that brought her the French Open title a year ago, Ana Ivanovic has hired Craig Kardon as her new coach. The 47-year-old Kardon has coached a number of other top players, including Martina Navratilova, Lindsay Davenport, Mary Pierce and Jennifer Capriati. Ivanovic, who had been coached by Sven Groeneveld, took over the number one ranking when she won at Roland Garros, but has since dropped to number eight in the world.

SPANISH RESCUE

Brazilian tennis is turning to Spain in a bid to reinvigorate the sport in the South American country. Emilio Sanchez Vicario, who led Spain to the Davis Cup title last year, will oversee a project to find new talent and reorganize the structure of the sport in Brazil. “The project will focus on high level in all spheres of the confederation, from youths to professionals. I chose Brazil because it has a very large base to work with,” said Sanchez Vicario, who won 15 singles and 50 doubles titles on the ATP tour. The only Brazilian player to reach number one in the world was Gustavo Kuerten, the three-time French Open champion who retired last year. There are currently no Brazilian women ranked in the top 100.

SAVES DAY

Tommy Haas helped out tournament officials of the SAP Open by playing two singles matches on the same day. The German downed Lars Poerschke 6-1 7-6 (8) in a first-round match, then returned to the court to play an exhibition match against Pete Sampras. “Tommy saved the day,” said Sampras, who had been scheduled to play James Blake. But citing back spasms, Blake withdrew from the exhibition match less than 15 minutes before the scheduled state. “Pete asked me and I said sure, why not?” Haas said. “A lot of people came to see Pete tonight, and not who he played. It was fun. Pete still has an unbelievable serve.” For the record, Haas beat Sampras 6-7 (4) 6-4 12-10 (match tiebreak).

SERBIAN IRE

Jelena Jankovic is a little ticked off at Roger Federer. Last month, Federer criticized the WTA rankings, saying a player who has never won a Grand Slam tournament should not be ranked number one in the world. Jankovic, who has been number one and has never won a major singles title, told Reuters that she could not understand why Federer felt he needed to hit out at women’s tennis while Rafael Nadal was, in her words, “so humble.” Jankovic said Federer should not criticize fellow players. “I don’t think it’s nice to attack other players,” the Serbian right-hander said.

STILL OUT

Maria Sharapova is now looking at the end of March before returning to tennis. Her shoulder injury has caused her to miss the last two Grand Slam tournaments as well as the Beijing Olympics. Writing on her web site, Sharapova said she hopes to return by March 25 at Key Biscayne, Florida, “depending on how things shape up.” The Russian has been recovering from a torn rotator cuff tendon in her right shoulder.

SENIORS

Mark Philippoussis, Jim Courier and Goran Ivanisevic will headline the field at The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Legends Championships to be held April 24-26 in Grand Cayman. The tournament is the fourth of eight events on the 2009 Outback Champions Series, the global tennis circuit for champion tennis players age 30 and over. The event’s other three competitors will be announced in the near future.

SUCH HIGH HOPES

Grigor Dimitrov, who won the Junior Boys titles at Wimbledon and the US Open last year, is moving to France where he will be coached by Peter Lundgren, the man who has coached Roger Federer and Marat Safin. A native of Bulgaria, Dimitrov will train at the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in France.

SHARED PERFORMANCES

Rotterdam: Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic beat Lukas Dlouhy and Leander Paes 6-2 7-5.

Paris: Cara Black and Liezel Huber beat Kveta Peschke and Lisa Raymond 6-4 3-6 10-4 (match tiebreak)

San Jose: Tommy Haas and Radek Stepanek beat Rohan Bopanna and Jarkko Nieminen 6-2 6-3

Pattaya City: Tamarine Tanasugarn and Yaroslav Shedova beat Yuliya Beygelzimer and Vitalia Diatchenko 6-3 6-2

Costa Do Sauipe: Marcel Granollers and Tommy Robredo beat Lucas Arnold Ker and Juan Monaco 6-4 7-5

SITES TO SURF

Marseille: www.open13.fr/

Buenos Aires: www.copatelmex.com/

Memphis: www.rmkchampionships.com/1/home/

Dubai: www.dubaitennischampionships.com

Bogota: www.copacolsanitas.com

Acapulco: www.abiertomexicanodetenis.com

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

(All money in USD)

ATP

576,000 Open 13, Marseille, France, hard

$600,000 Copa Telemex, Buenos Aires, Argentina, clay

$1,226,500 Regions Morgan Keegan Championships, Memphis, Tennessee, USA, hard

WTA TOUR

$2,000,000 Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships, Dubai, United Arab Emigrates, hard

$220,000 Regions Morgan Keegan Championships & the Cellular South Cup, Memphis, Tennessee, USA, hard

$220,000 Copa Colsanitas, Bogota, Colombia, clay

TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK

ATP

$2,233,000 Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships, Dubai, UAE, hard

$1,226,500 Abierto Mexicano Telcel, Acapulco, Mexico, clay

$500,000 Delray Beach International Tennis Championships, Delray Beach, Florida, USA, hard

WTA TOUR

$220,000 Abierto Mexicano Telcel, Acapulco, Mexico, clay

Mondays with Bob Greene – Novak Djokovic Wins Rome

STARS

Novak Djokovic beat Stanislas Wawrinka 4-6 6-3 6-3 to win the Rome Masters in Rome, Italy.

Dina Safina defeated Elena Dementieva 3-6 6-2 6-2 to win the Qatar Telecom German Open in Berlin, Germany.

Thomas Muster won the BlackRock Tour of Champions in Rome, Italy, by a walkover when Goran Ivanisevic was unable to play because of a shoulder injury.

SAYINGS

“This year has been like a dream for me, but I want to continue. I want to finish the year as number one.” – Novak Djokovic, who added the Rome Masters to his 2008 Australian Open title.

“My mother can buy anything she wants. She can walk into any store and I will pay for it.” – Dina Safina, after beating her third top-ten player of the week and winning the German Open.

“I’m a little surprised, because in one week playing the final in Masters Series, and to be 44 and then top ten after the week is a big jump for me.” – Stanislas Wawrinka, whose surprising week at the Rome Masters has boosted his ranking from number 44 in the world to number 10.

“It happens once in a while, but never anything like this – a tournament without semifinals.” – American tennis commentator Bud Collins on players retiring from both Rome Masters semifinals because of injuries.

“The problem is there’s a real risk the injury might get worse.” – Amelie Mauresmo, who said a scan showed she has an intercostal tear in her rib area, the reason she has pulled out of two tournaments, including the Italian Open.

“This is another showing that the season is really tough. The players are not getting injured for nothing.” – Novak Djokovic, after both Rome Masters semifinals ended with retirements because of injury.

“We are aware that this year’s calendar asks a great deal of all ATP players in terms of scheduling for the European spring clay court season.” – Andy Anson, ATP CEO of Europe, about the players’ complaints of the packed ATP calendar.

“You can put me on the list if you want to, but I don’t know if I can keep playing like this. This week I played so good, starting with Justine (Henin), just so good.” – Dina Safina, when asked if she should be considered one of the favorite for the French Open women’s title later this month.

“I came into the match with the belief that I can win.” – Radek Stepanek, after upsetting Roger Federer 7-6 (4) 7-6 (7) in the quarterfinals of the Rome Masters.

“It’s quite disappointing. I played so poorly on the big points.” – Roger Federer, after losing to Radek Stepanek.

“If someone had told me I would be in the final I would have shaken his hand and given him half the prize money.” – Dinara Safina before she won the German Open title.

“I definitely lost that match, rather than she won it off me. It just wasn’t my day out there. It wasn’t pretty for me out there at all.” – Serena Williams, following her 2-6 6-1 7-6 (5) loss to Dinara Safina at the German Open.

“It’s a very important win for me and I feel special right now. I haven’t had this special feeling for a long time.” – Juan Carlos Ferrero, after handing Rafael Nadal only his second loss on clay in three years, 7-5 6-1 in the second round of the Rome Masters.

“I have this pain at the back of my foot, so it was tough for me. I just congratulate Juan Carlos. I think this is an important win for him because he’s trying to go to the Olympics.” – Rafael Nadal, after losing to Juan Carlos Ferrero.

“This dispute isn’t specifically about whether or not Madrid is the venue. The players and Davis Cup team captain (Emilio Sanchez Vicario) have once again been misled, and a promise has not been kept to defend and approve the conditions established for us so as not to give our rivals an advantage.” – Statement from Spain’s top players complaining about the choice of venue for September’s Davis Cup semifinal against the United States.

“It just comes to the point where the schedule is too long without the biggest sporting event in the world shoved right in the middle of its busiest part of the season.” – Andy Roddick, saying he’s skipping the Beijing Olympics tennis tournament to instead prepare for the U.S. Open

“For my favorite fan base – 75-year-old women – this proves to you that can still be young at an advanced age.” – John McEnroe, 49, after winning his first Outback Champions Series title in Boston in his 13th career tournament on the 30-and-over tour.

SUPER RUN

Dina Safina rode her string of upsets to the title at the Qatar Telecom German Open in Berlin, Germany. The 22-year-old Russian knocked off world number one Justine Henin, then fifth-seeded Serena Williams during the week. In the final, Safina beat ninth-ranked Elena Dementieva 3-6 6-2 6-2. Safina is the sister of two-time Grand Slam tournament champion Marat Safin.

SWISS SURPRISE

Switzerland has been represented in many tournament finals over the past few years, but the Rome Masters produced a surprise from the Alpine confederation. It was Stanislas Wawrinka, not Roger Federer, who reached the title match before Novak Djokovic struggled to a 4-6 6-3 6-3 victory. Wawrinka’s run included victories over two top ten players, James Blake and Andy Roddick, as well as Britain’s Andy Murray and Juan Carlos Ferrero right after he had shocked fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal. The run to the final boosted Wawrinka’s ranking to number 10 in the world, make it the first time since the rankings began in 1973 that two Swiss players have been in the top ten at the same time.

SHORT SEMIS

The Rome Masters singles semifinals lasted all of 10 games. Total. Andy Roddick pulled out of his match against Stanislas Wawrinka with a back injury while trailing 0-3. Then Radek Stepanek retired from his semifinal with Novak Djokovic leading 6-0 1-0. Djokovic’s quarterfinal opponent, Nicolas Almagro, also retired with an injury. And although he didn’t retire, defending champion Rafael Nadal suffered from a blister on his right foot in his second-round loss to Juan Carlos Ferrero. In all, there were a tournament-record five retirements as Fernando Gonzalez withdrew from his third-round match because of a right leg injury and Juan Martin Del Potro retired in his first-round match against Andy Murray.

SHORT FINAL

Fans at the Rome Masters should have expected as much. One day after both men’s singles semifinals were drastically shortened because of injury retirements, the BlackRock Tour of Champions final wasn’t held at all: Goran Ivanisevic, who beat Pat Cash on Saturday in three sets, woke up Sunday with a sore shoulder and couldn’t play, giving the title to Thomas Muster on a walkover. Muster did take to the court, however, playing an exhibition match with Henri Leconte.

SHOCKING WEEK

The top two players in both the men’s and women’s singles- Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, and Justine Henin and Ana Ivanovic – were among the big names who were upset in tournaments the past week, the men in Rome and the women in Berlin. Others who were upset this week included Svetlana Kuznetsova, Jelena Jankovic and Serena Williams in Berlin, while David Ferrrer, James Blake and David Nalbandian were among those toppled in Rome.

SPANISH IRE

Spanish players are upset that their nation’s Davis Cup semifinal against the United States will be played in Madrid. The players, who want to play at sea-level where the ball would be slower, feel that Madrid’s 600-meter (1,968 feet) altitude will favor the big-serving American team. Emilio Sanchez Vicario was confirmed as team captain even though Sanchez sided with the players in complaining that Spanish Tennis Federation president Pedro Munoz had gone back on a promise to listen to the players’ advice regarding the selection of the site. Munoz said: “They can say I didn’t keep my promise, but not that I lied.”

SHARAPOVA SURGE

Maria Sharapova’s decision to skip the German Open has proved beneficial to her ranking. When Ana Ivanovic was upset in the semifinals of the Berlin tournament by Elena Dementieva, it meant the Serbian player would slip from her world number two ranking and be overtaken by Sharapova. The Russian still hasn’t said why she pulled out of the Berlin event.

SKIPPING ROME

Two-time champion Amelie Mauresmo has pulled out of this week’s Italian Open because of a rib injury. The Frenchwoman won the Rome tournament in 2004 and 2005 and has twice been runner-up. Mauresmo was replaced in the draw by Nadia Petrova.

STAKING A CLAIM

Madison Brengle, an 18-year-old from Dover, Delaware, earned a spot in the main draw of the French Open after winning a USTA wild card tournament in Boca Raton, Florida. Currently ranked number 274 in the world, Brengle has now won four USTA wild card playoffs – for the Australian Open main draw wild cards in 2007 and 2008, and a French Open qualifying draw wild card in 2007. The U.S. Tennis Association and the French Tennis Federation have a reciprocal agreement in which wild card entries into the main draw at the 2008 French Open and 2008 U.S. Open are exchanged.

STEPPING UP

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has appointed Andrew Jarrett as Chief of Officiating. A former British Davis Cup player, Jarrett coached the British Olympic team and has been manager of Women’s National Training at the Lawn Tennis Association. He is a gold badge referee and has worked as a Grand Slam supervisor at the Australian Open and U.S. Open. In 2006, he was appointed Wimbledon referee.

SITE FOR SENIORS

Three players who have been ranked number one in the world and have been inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame – John McEnroe, Jim Courier and Mats Wilander – will play in the Hall of Fame Champions Cup in Newport, Rhode Island, August 13-17. The three Hall of Famers will be joined by five other tennis champions in the five-day singles round-robin competition.

SO CLOSE

While heavy fighting was going on in the country, Anne Keothavong of Britain beat Lourdes Dominguez-Lino of Spain 6-4 6-1 to win a $50,000 International Tennis Federation women’s tournament in Jounieh, Lebanon. Jounieh is located eight miles (30 kilometers) north of Beirut, which for four days during the week was the focus of bloody sectarian clashes between Sunnis and Shiites. The tournament was conducted with no problems.

SO TIRED

Justine Henin was slapped with a $20,000 (USD) fine by the WTA Tour when the world number one player was a late withdrawal from the Italian Open, citing fatigue. Henin lost in the third round of the German Open this past week after taking a month off with a knee injury. The four-time French Open champion will head to Roland Garros with having played just two clay court matches this spring.

SHIPPING STAR

Chinese star Peng Shuai helped celebrate the 100-day countdown to the Beijing Olympics by becoming UPS’s star Courier For A Day. The first stop for courier Peng was the Beijing Organizing Committee where she presented a letter for commitment from United Parcel Service, one of the sponsors of the Games. Then Peng headed to the China Charity Federation to make a special delivery. Besides sponsoring the 2008 Paralympics Games, the UPS Foundation is donating $100,000 (USD) to the China Paralympics Games Management Center.

SERBIAN STARLET?

Jelena Jankovic says she has been taking acting lessons, with a possible movie role in the future. “It was super,” she said of the acting lesson. “I’ve always enjoyed activity that is not connected with tennis. It (the lesson) lasted only an hour. I got instructions to use my imagination and I acted the scene without anybody’s advice. At the end we did several exercises because they wanted to test my acting talent.”

STUMBLES

Kimiko Date-Krumm’s comeback ran into reality in Fukuoka, Japan. Ranked as high as number five in the world, Date-Krumm’s second tournament back from a 12-year retirement ended in the quarterfinals of the $50,000 International Tennis Federation event when she lost to top-seeded Aiko Nakamura 6-2 6-2. The eventual winner was Tomoko Yonemura of Japan, who beat Thailand’s Tamarin Tanasugarn in the final 6-1 2-6 7-6 (8). In her first tournament back, Date-Krumm won the doubles. This time she and her partner lost in the first round.

SEE FOR YOURSELF

ESPN360.com will provide more than 150 hours of live online tennis coverage from Sony Ericsson WTA Tour events around the world. The coverage has already begun and will conclude with coverage of the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha, Qatar. Additionally, matches will be available for on-demand replay for at least 48 hours after their completion.

SUPPORTING THE SPORT

Juan Maria Tintore, president of the Real Club De Tenis Barcelona, has been awarded the Golden Achievement Award for 2008 by the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The award is presented annually to individuals who have made important contributions to tennis in the fields of administration, promotion or education, and have devoted long and outstanding service to the sport. Tintore was presented the award at a ceremony in Barcelona by Arantxa Sanchez Vicario.

SCORING DAVIS CUP

Bosnia/Herzegovina, Lithuania, Moldova and Norway took another step toward being promoted to Davis Cup Europe/Africa Zone Group II next year. Competing in an eight-nation round-robin competition played on clay in Yerevan, Armenia, the four will now play for two spots in Group II. The other four nations – Armenia, Andorra, Estonia and Ghana – will meet, with the teams finishing third and fourth being relegated to Europe/Africa Zone Group IV in 2009.

SHARED PERFORMANCES

Doubles Champions

Rome: Bob and Mike Bryan beat Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic 3-6 6-4 10-8

Berlin: Cara Black and Liezel Huber beat Nuria Llagostera Vives and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 3-6 6-2 10-2

SITES TO SURF

Hamburg: www.dtb-tennis.de/AmRothenbaum/

Rome: www.internazionalibnlditalia.it

Duesseldorf: www.arag-world-team-cup.com

Poertschach: www.atppoertschach.info

Casablanca: www.frmtennis.com

Istanbul: www.istanbulcup.com

Strasbourg: www.internationaux-de-strasbourg.com

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

ATP

$2,270,000 Hamburg Masters, Hamburg, Germany, clay

WTA TOUR

$1,340,000 Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Rome, Italy, clay

SENIORS

BlackRock Tour of Champions Hamburg, Germany, clay

TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK

ATP

$1,500,000 ARAG ATP World Team Championship, Duesseldorf, Germany, clay

$370,000 The Hypo Group Tennis International 2008, Poertschach, Austria, clay

$370,000 Grand Prix Hassan II, Casablanca, Morocco, clay

WTA TOUR

$200,000 Istanbul Cup, Istanbul, Turkey, clay

$175,000 Internationaux de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France, clay

$1,340,000 Qatar Telecom German Open, Berlin, Germany, clay

SENIORS

BlackRock Tour of Champions, Sao Paulo, Brazil, clay