By Maud Watson
Rafael Nadal made his return to tennis last week in Chile, and his comeback left mixed results as to where exactly he is with his game. He moved relatively well, tracking down drop shots and hustling to chase lobs, but he also got wrong-footed more than we’re used to seeing. Up until the singles and doubles finals, he was able to shake off the nerves and rust to routinely dismiss the opposition, but it was the kind of opposition that even a subpar Rafa always dismisses in the early rounds of any tournament. The fact that he reached the finals of both events after a 7-month layoff was something to be proud of, but his loss in the singles final likely did further damage to his clay court aura. Zeballos, who had a great record in clay court challengers coming in, deserves his due. He played the match of his life and handled the bigger moments better, but Zeballos was still the heavy underdog in that final. The Argentine had never won a singles title, had never been ranked inside the Top 40 or even won 40 career singles matches at the main tour level. This marked a stunning loss for Nadal that just goes to show there’s no substitute for match play. But, all in all, it was a good showing by the Spaniard. Plus, the great thing about tennis is there’s always next week. A good showing in Brazil should wipe away any bad memories from Chile and move him one step closer to being ready for the European clay court swing.
On Tuesday, the sport of wheelchair tennis said good-bye to one of its greatest competitors and ambassadors as Esther Vergeer decided to call it a career. The Dutch woman lost the use of her legs at the tender age of 8 due to a surgery to repair blood vessels around her spine. Instead of getting down about her situation, however, she began to playing wheelchair sports, and eventually wheelchair tennis. Her prowess on the court has made her the greatest to play that sport, and the numbers speak for themselves. Ranked No. 1 from 1999 until the end of her career, she amassed 21 singles and 23 doubles major titles, 4 singles and 3 doubles gold medals at the Paralympics, 148 career singles titles and 136 in doubles. She won 470 consecutive matches over the course of the last decade, with her last loss coming in January, 2003. Her ability to generate these phenomenal statistics has helped put her sport on the map, and she’ll be greatly missed. Hearty congratulations on such an accomplished career are in order, as well as a big thank you to Vergeer for demonstrating that even the bleakest situations can be turned into something positive.
The 2013 Australian Open may be over, but the remnants of the infamous medical time out taken by Azarenka has forced the WTA to take a harder look at the medical timeout rule to ensure it cannot be used for gamesmanship. It’s refreshing that the WTA is reviewing the rule to right potential future wrongs, but this is something that should have been done some time ago. It shouldn’t have to wait for a situation like what we saw in Melbourne to occur before action is taken. Hopefully the ATP will learn from the WTA and not wait until things hit the fan before conducting a similar review of the rule on its books. After all, neither tour, nor the governing body of the majors, the ITF, is going to be able to completely eradicate the possibility of gamesmanship occurring under the rules for a medical timeout, but it’s about time they devise a plan to at least curb it.
Nadal made further headlines this week when he voiced his displeasure with the ATP and the number of hard court events on the calendar, as well as the stricter reinforcement of the 25-second rule. To be fair, Nadal is not the only one to take issue with the 25-second rule, and he did raise some valid points. But his notion that it will cut down on strategy is bogus, as is the idea that fans want to see a ton of long rallies (serve and volley anyone?). Nadal also needs to realize he’s one of the two biggest reasons for the stricter reinforcement of the rule, with the other being Djokovic, and the Serb has at least admitted to his slowness and has since sped up his overall pace of play. But the issue of the 25-second rule has taken a back seat to Nadal’s crusade against hard courts, and this is one area where Nadal needs to get off his high horse. Hard courts are tougher on the joints, but his rhetoric that essentially blames the ATP for his health issues is off base. Many players from previous generations played a significant number of hard court tournament and yet continue to enjoy competing on the various senior tours. There’s also been talk of the “greying of the field,” with many – despite playing numerous hard court tournaments in prior seasons – producing their best tennis in their mid-to-late 20s. His failure to fully recognize his own part in damaging his knees and insistence that he can’t (or won’t?) change his playing style does him no favors either. Bottom line, like him or hate him, he’s good for the game. His rivalries with the other top players are some of the most compelling in the sport. But if he’s honestly worried about his life post-tennis, he needs to accept that he’s going to have to play a limited schedule, or hang it up completely. This business of misplacing blame has to stop. It only comes off as whining, and he’s going to have a difficult time finding fans, and likely even some fellow players, who are going to sympathize with his plight when the guy can walk away now, financially set for life, and still go down as one of the greatest in history.
In addition to recent comments by Murray, Djokovic and Nadal, Federer also continues to voice ideas to help ensure the sport of tennis is clean. In his most current comments, Federer pushed for biological passports. A biological passport serves as an electronic record for each athlete that collates the biological markers of doping and the results of the athlete’s doping tests. PEDs users could then potentially be caught via detecting variances in their established levels vs. actually identifying an illegal substance. In addition, Federer has advocated the use of blood passports, stating that while some drugs can’t be discovered now, it doesn’t mean that they won’t be in the future. Fear of such a discovery could deter potential cheaters. But like other ideas, the crux of the problem is funding. Federer has suggested the Grand Slams help foot the bill, as keeping the sport clean is in their best interest. Whether the majors will be happy with that line of thinking remains to be seen, but with all of the controversy surrounding PEDs and calls for more action to keep tennis clean, a solution needs to be worked out sooner rather than later.
By Rick Gleijm
ROTTERDAM (Feb. 12, 2013) — After a ten year winning streak that included 42 Grand Slams and 7 Paralympic titles, 31-year-old Esther Vergeer has retired from the sport of wheelchair tennis, ending one of the most prestigious careers in all of sports.
The Woerden, Netherland native conducted am emotional book presentation and reading of her biography “Esther Vergeer: Strength and Vulnerability” to a room filled with media, family and friends at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament today in Rotterdam.
She began by reading out loud the final chapter of her book, explaining how the decision to retire from wheelchair tennis slowly developed. She was unable to hold back the tears when she came to the concluding paragraph.
“During the Australian Open, where everyone in the wheelchair tennis circuit was playing the first Grand Slam of 2013, I was sitting home on the sofa with Marijn, watching the matches quietly from a distance and at the same time looking at the beautiful snowy landscape in Woerden. It felt wonderful. I made my decision, I quit,” stated Vergeer.
She continued: “I am very proud of my achievements and my titles, and am looking back on my career with a wonderful feeling. Continuing had no added value … It can’t become more beautiful than this.”
Afterwards a short interview with Esther by Dutch anchorwoman Quinty Trustfull, followed by distribution of the first copies to Richard Krajicek and Johan Cruijff. Finally her parent, brother and friend were called on stage, receiving a copy as well.
ROTTERDAM (Feb. 11, 2013) — World No. 2 Roger Federer and Dutch wheelchair tennis player Esther Vergeer took part in the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament opening ceremony in Rotterdam today. All suited and dressed up, the two hit some balls on court amid pyrotechnics on center court.
Earlier in the day, defending champion Federer paid a visit to the media for a pre-tournament press conference. “I feel at home in Rotterdam. This is one of the best indoor tournaments in the world with a very strong field and always lots of spectators.” Later in the day he joked about hoping to “win some match this week,” before having a hit with David Goffin and congratulating Benoit Paire on reaching the final in Montpellier last week.
In first round match play, No. 3 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was frustrated by and eventually lost in three sets to wildcard Igor Sijsling, 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-4.
“I’m very happy”, said Sijsling after the match. “This is perhaps my best victory ever. To beat a top-10 player in my own country in front of such an audience. Thank you all.”
In similar fashion, Martin Klizan also took out Paul Henri Mathieu, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5. ”I’m very happy with this victory,” beamed Klizan. “It was a tough first round fight. It was fun with many spectators in the stands. I hope I can keep this level.”
(Gallery by Tennis Grandstand photographer Rick Gleijm.)
Women’s singles: Kim Clijsters beat Caroline Wozniacki 7-5 6-3
Men’s doubles: Leander Paes and Lukas Dlouhy beat Mahesh Bhupathi and Mark Knowles 3-6 6-3 6-2
Women’s doubles: Serena Williams and Venus Williams beat Cara Black and Liezel Huber 6-2 6-2
Mixed doubles: Carly Gullickson and Travis Parrott beat Cara Black and Leander Paes 6-2 6-4
Boys’ singles: Bernard Tomic beat Chase Buchanan 6-1 6-3
Girls’ singles: Heather Watson beat Yana Buchina 6-4 6-1
Boys’ doubles: Cheng Peng Hsieh and Marton Fucsovics beat Julien Obry and Adrien Puget 7-6 (5) 5-7 10-1 (match tiebreak)
Girls’ doubles: Valeria Solovieva and Maryna Zanevska beat Elena Bogdan and Noppawan Lertcheewakarn 1-6 6-3 10-7 (match tiebreak)
Men’s wheelchair singles: Shingo Kunieda beat Maikel Scheffers 6-0 6-0
Men’s wheelchair doubles: Stephane Houdet and Stefan Olsson beat Maikel Scheffers and Ronald Vink 6-4 4-6 6-4
Women’s wheelchair singles: Esther Vergeer beat Korie Homan 6-0 6-0
Women’s wheelchair doubles: Esther Vergeer and Korie Homan beat Daniela DiToro and Florence Gravellier 6-2 6-2
Alberto Martin beat Carlos Berlocq 6-3 6-3 to win the AON Open Challenger in Genoa, Italy
“When I would have a dream, it was to win the US Open, and the other one is to be like Roger. One is done.” – Juan Martin del Potro, after beating Roger Federer and winning the US Open men’s singles.
“Five was great, four was great, too. Six would have been a dream, too. Can’t have them all. I’ve had an amazing summer and a great run. I’m not too disappointed just because I thought I played another wonderful tournament.” – Roger Federer, after losing the US Open men’s singles final to Juan Martin del Potro.
“I can’t believe this happened. Because it still seems so surreal that in my third tournament back I won my second Grand Slam. Because it wasn’t in the plan. I just wanted to come here and get a feel for it all over again, play a Grand Slam so to start the next year I didn’t have to go through all the new experiences over.” – Kim Clijsters, who won her second straight US Open women’s title four years after her first title.
“I think that I’ll learn that it pays to always play your best and always be your best and always act your best no matter what. And I think that I’m young and I feel like in life everyone has to have experience that they take and that they learn from, and I think that’s great that I have an opportunity to still b e physically fit to go several more years and learn from the past.” – Serena Williams, after losing her semifinal to Kim Clijsters after receiving a point penalty on match point.
“I cannot really tell that I was playing bad. She was playing good.” – Kateryna Bondarenko, after losing to Yanina Wickmayer.
“Today, I could’ve been better in pretty much every part of my game, whether it was mental, forehand, backhand, return.” – Andy Murray, after losing his fourth-round match to Marin Cilic.
“I lost it myself because I made so many unforced errors. So many unforced errors, you can’t win against anybody. No chance.” – Svetlana Kuznetsova, after committing 69 unforced errors in her three-set loss to Caroline Wozniacki.
“I was thinking, every point, do the same, try to put the ball in the court. When you fight that way to the final point, you have many chances, and that’s what happened today.” – Juan Martin del Potro, after his quarterfinal win.
“I think the biggest weapon can be mental toughness. It doesn’t have to be a stroke or a shot or anything like that. If you’re mentally tough out there, then you can beat anyone.” – Melanie Oudin, after beating Maria Sharapova to advance to the fourth round.
STARTING NEW ERA
By winning the US Open, Juan Martin del Potro became only the third player to beat both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in the same tournament. He also became the first player this year to defeat the world’s top three players, having also beat Andy Murray in Madrid, Spain. Del Potro is the first South American to be in the US Open final since fellow Argentine Guillermo Vilas won in 1977, and the first South African to be in a Grand Slam final since Fernando Gonzalez of Chile lost to Federer in the 2007 Australian Open.
SO SWEET, SO WRONG
After he ran onto the court to kiss Rafael Nadal, a New York City man, Noam U. Aorta, was arrested and charged with trespassing. Aorta jumped out of the stands after Nadal beat Gael Monfils in a fourth-round match. “For me it wasn’t a problem. The guy was really nice,” Nadal said. “He said, ‘I love you,’ and he kissed me.” District Attorney Richard Brown called it “particularly disturbing” since Aorta made physical contact with Nadal, noting that Monica Seles was stabbed in 1993 by a spectator who jumped out of the stands in Hamburg, Germany.
SAFINA STILL ON TOP
Serena Williams lost the chance to move back into the number one spot on the women’s tennis tour. The American could have replaced Dinara Safina on the top of the rankings if she had successfully defended her US Open title. Instead, she lost to eventual champion Kim Clijsters in the semifinals and, consequently, will remain in the number two spot.
The US Open was the third tournament back for US Open champion Kim Clijsters since she ended her two-year retirement. And you need to play three tournaments to get a Sony Ericsson WTA Tour ranking. In this week’s rankings, Clijsters is number 19 in the world.
The world’s top doubles team, Cara Black and Liezel Huber, are the first to qualify for the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships, which will be held October 27-November 1 in Doha, Qatar. It will be the third trip the final Championships for Black and Huber, having clinched the title in the last two years. The top four doubles teams will compete for the title. Two players have already qualified for the eight-player singles competition, Dinara Safina and Serena Williams.
STANDING FOR ELECTION
Doubles players will get a chance to shine in the 2010 International Tennis Hall of Fame ITHF) balloting. The ITHF announced the names of the 12 nominees for possible induction into the Newport, Rhode Island, shrine next year, including Beatrizs “Gigi” Fernandez, Natasha Zvereva, Todd Woodbridge, Mark Woodforde and Anders Jarryd. On the ballot in the Master Player category are Owen Davidson, Peter Fleming and Bob Lutz, while the Contributor category has four nominees: wheelchair tennis pioneer Brad Parks, coach Nick Bollettieri, Lawn Tennis Association chairman Derek Hardwick and Japan’s Eichi Kawatei. Voting for the 2010 ballot will take place over the next several months with an announcement of the induction class scheduled for January. The Class of 2010 induction ceremony will be held July 10 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport.
Ai Sugiyama is ready to say sayonara. The Japanese veteran says she will probably retire at the end of this year, concluding her 17-year career. She once was ranked as high as number eight in the world. “I am normally the type that can picture what the near future holds, but to be honest at this moment in time, I can’t see myself competing next season,” Sugiyama told Kyodo news. She won six WTA Tour singles titles and doubles championships at the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. She lost in the Australian Open final this year.
When Kim Clijsters won the US Open, she became the first mother to win a Grand Slam tournament singles title since Australian Evonne Goolagong Cawley captured Wimbledon in 1980. But Clijsters wasn’t the only mother competing at America’s premier tennis event. Sybille Bammer of Austria lost in the first round to Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, while Rossana de los Rios of Paraguay fell to 14th-seeded Marion Bartoli in her first-round match. After the birth of her baby, Bammer climbed as high as number 19 in the world and won at Prague, Czech Republic, earlier this year. De los Rios has won six ITF singles titles since giving birth to her daughter in 1997.
Sloane Stephens was looking forward to the US Open junior girls tournament, where she was seeded fourth. But just before junior play got underway, Stephens’ father, former NFL running back John Stephens, died in a car accident. The 16-year-old from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, took a day off to fly to her father’s funeral in Louisiana, then returned to win her second-round match. But she lost her next outing to Jana Cepelova of Slovakia 4-6 6-1 6-0. “I was trying to focus and do things I should have done, but mentally I wasn’t there,” she said. The youngster had reconnected with her father three years ago and she had met him only a handful of times, but the two had developed a relationship over the telephone.
Venus and Serena Williams won their 10th Grand Slam tournament women’s doubles title, beating the top-seeded team of Cara Black and Liezel Huber. The sisters have never lost in a Grand Slam tournament once they’ve reached the final. “Hopefully that’s a record that won’t end yet,” Serena said. It is their first US Open doubles crown since 1999, and the sisters are now halfway to the record set by Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver.
As far as fans were concerned, Melanie Oudin didn’t outstay her welcome at the US Open. That’s not true about her New York City hotel room. The 17-year-old from Marietta, Georgia, was one of the biggest surprises of this year’s final Grand Slam event, reaching the quarterfinals before being eliminated. But she outstayed her hotel reservation at the Marriott in Manhattan, according to SportsBusiness Journal. Her management company quickly got her a room at the Intercontinental Hotel. Oudin, who was not seeded, was not expected to play in the second week of the US Open. So the room she shared with her mother was apparently reserved for someone else. “Obviously we will not be sending any of our players back to that hotel (the Marriott),” Oudin’s agent, BEST Tennis president John Tobias, told the Journal.
He won the first US Open in 1968 and the main stadium at America’s premier tennis tournament is named for him. But it wasn’t until this year that Arthur Ashe was inducted into the US Open Court of Champions, which honors the greatest singles champions in the history of the 128 years of the US Championships/US Open. Ashe joined prior inductees Don Budge, Maureen Connolly, Jimmy Connors, Margaret Court, Chris Evert, Althea Gibson, Steffi Graf, Billie Jean King, Jack Kramer, Rod Laver, Ivan Lendl, Molla Bjurstedt Mallory, John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, Pete Sampras, Bill Tilden and Helen Wills. An international panel of journalists selects the inductees annually. Former President Bill Clinton participated in Ashe’s induction ceremonies.
SET FOR DOHA
US Open runner-up Caroline Wozniacki and Elena Dementieva are the latest to qualify for the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships, which will be held October 27-November 1 in Doha, Qatar. The world’s top eight singles players and top four doubles teams will compete for the Sony Ericsson Championships title and a share of the record Championships prize money of USD $4.45 million.
STAYING IN TOUCH
Fans attending the US Open sent a record number of emails and text, picture and video messages from in and around Arthur Ashe Stadium the first week of the tournament. “US Open fans are letting their fingers do the talking this year as increasing numbers of Verizon Wireless customers use Smartphones and PDAs to stay in touch with their homes and offices,” said Michele White, executive director-network for company’s New York Metro Region. “The number of data connections established by Verizon Wireless customers in and around the tennis center during the busiest hours of the event last week was 80 percent higher than last year while voice traffic was down.”
Despite the gloomy global economy, the women’s tennis circuit is doing just fine, thank you. Stacey Allaster, CEO of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, said they have lost just one title sponsor in 2009 and have added two new tournaments in 2010. “The bottom line is we want to be a credible product, consistently delivering to fans and sponsors, and in 2009 our athletes have done that,” Allaster said. Of the tour’s 51 title sponsors, only one has dropped out, and that is “an incredible success story for women’s tennis,” she said. Tournaments have been added in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Kuala Lumpur, Indonesia, while the Los Angeles event has moved to San Diego.
Three teenagers have been convicted in Malmo, Sweden, for rioting outside a Davis Cup tie between Israel and Sweden in March. The three Swedish males, aged 17 to 19, were sentenced to community service for juveniles. Two of them were also ordered to pay USD $19,020 for sabotaging a police vehicle. The three were among 10 people arrested after protesting Israel’s offensive in Gaza. The court had previously sentenced two others to 9 and 15 months in prison. No spectators were allowed to watch the matches after Malmo officials said they could not guarantee security. The International Tennis Association (ITF) fined the Swedish tennis federation USD $5,000 for that decision and banned Malmo from staging Davis Cup matches for five years.
SAY IT AIN’T SO
A media report that he and his wife are living in fear amid crime and poverty in the Bahamas has brought an angry response from Lleyton Hewitt. The 2001 US Open champion told a newspaper that the report in an Australian magazine was “absolute rubbish.” Hewitt said he and his family have had “fantastic experiences” in the nine months they have lived in a gated community on New Providence island. “For us it’s a fantastic place to raise a young family.”
SAYS YOU, SAYS ME
You knew it had to happen. Novak Djokovic and John McEnroe took turns imitating each other during an impromptu US Open moment. Following his victory over Radek Stepanek, Djokovic called McEnroe down from his television booth, then mimicked the mannerisms and serving style of the four-time US Open champion. He tossed his racquet onto the court and screamed at an imaginary umpire. Once McEnroe arrived on court, he unbuttoned his white shirt, rolled up his sleeves and, using a borrowed racquet, bounced the ball repeatedly, imitating Djokovic’s pre-serve habits. Two years ago, Djokovic delighted the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd by impersonating Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova, among others. “What I’ve done in 2007 with those impersonations and tonight playing with Johnny Mac, I think that’s what the crowd wants, especially in these hours,” Djokovic said. “I think these night matches are very special.”
Her exciting run to US Open quarterfinals kept Melanie Oudin in New York City doing what she wants to do. She doesn’t do the ordinary high school things, like going to the junior prom or homecoming, or even hanging out with friends at the mall. “She doesn’t do any of that kind of stuff, and she’s OK with it,” said Katherine Oudin, Melanie’s mother. “I know she misses the normal life a little, but she does not regret it at all. Zero. She’s totally OK with it because she knows this is what she’s wanted her entire life.”
SOCKING IT AWAY
Each of the singles champions here at the US Open will take home USD $1.6 million, a nice tidy sum in any language. Going into the year’s final Grand Slam tournament, Roger Federer has earned USD $36 million over the past 12 months. His three Grand Slam wins – 2008 US Open, French Open and Wimbledon – and other tournament play netted him USD $8 million. And when he won his first-round match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center this year, he became the first player to surpass USD $50 million in career earnings on the court. The 28-year-old Federer has 10-year endorsement deals with Nike, Rolex, Wilson and Swiss coffee machine maker Jura. His Nike contract extension that he signed in 2008 is worth more than USD $10 million annually. Maria Sharapova is close to Federer in off-court earnings. The Russian earned USD $22.5 million over the past year despite missing most of the season with a shoulder injury.
The US Tennis Association (USTA) has been sued by a New York City documentary filmmaker who claims the ruling tennis body discriminates against wheelchair players by refusing to sell broadcast licensing rights to their matches. Brooklyn, New York, filmmaker Alan Rich is a lawyer who is representing himself and seven handicapped players. He has been filming a documentary about the players called “Fire in the Belly.” Rich contends that because the major networks covering the tournament – CBS, ESPN and Tennis Channel – do not cover wheelchair events, he should be given the rights. USTA spokesman Chris Widmaier said his organization limits filming of matches to the three television companies that have contracts with them. He said that two years ago, Tennis Channel aired the wheelchair finals competition live and produced a half-hour highlights show of the tournament.
Jeremy Chardy will play Davis Cup for France against the Netherlands. Chardy replaces Gilles Simon, who has a knee injury. France plays the Netherlands for a spot in next year’s World Group. The French team also includes Gael Monfils, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and doubles specialist Michael Llordra. Chardy originally had been selected as an alternative. That role now goes to Julien Benneteau.
Sixteen writers were honored at the US Open by the US Tennis Writers Association in the 10th annual USTWA Writing Contest. William Weinbaum and John Barr of ESPN.com won first place in Hard News/Enterprise for their story about the controversial match between Nikolay Davydenko and Martin Vassallo Arguello. Other first-place winners were: Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle, Column/Commentary; Cindy Shmerler, TENNIS Magazine, Feature Story (Pro); Stephen Tignor, TENNIS Magazine, Feature Story (Non-Pro); Filip Bondy, New York Daily News, Game Story (Pro); and Paul Fein, TennisOne.com, Service Story.
The USTWA announced the election of its board of directors at its annual meeting at the US Open: Cindy Cantrell, Tennis Life; Paul Fein, freelance writer; Ann LoPrinzi, The Times of Trenton (New Jersey); Richard Kent, freelance writer; Jim Martz, Florida Tennis; and Art Spander, The (San Francisco) Examiner. Fein, Kent and Spander are new to the board. The officers will be determined by the board.
Genoa: Daniele Bracciali and Alessandro Motti beat Amir Hadad and Harel Levy 6-4 6-2
SITES TO SURF
Davis Cup: www.DavisCup.com
Saint Malo: www.opengdfsuez-bretagne.com
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
(All money in USD)
$150,000 Pekao Open, Szczecin, Poland, clay
$220,000 Bell Challenge, Quebec City, Canada, hard
$220,000 Guangzhou International Women’s Open, Guangzhou, China, hard
World Group Semifinals
Croatia vs. Czech Republic at Porec, Croatia
Spain vs. Israel at Murcia, Spain
World Group Playoffs
Chile vs. Austria at Rancagua, Chile; Belgium vs. Ukraine at Charleroi, Belgium; Brazil vs. Ecuador at Porto Alegre, Brazil; Netherlands vs. France at Maastricht, Netherlands; South Africa vs. India at Johannesburg, South Africa; Serbia vs. Uzbekistan at Belgrade, Serbia; Sweden vs. Romania at Helsingborg, Sweden; Italy vs. Switzerland at Genova, Italy
Group I Playoff: Peru vs. Uruguay at Lima, Peru
Group II Final: Dominican Republic vs. Venezuela at Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Group I Playoff: China vs. Thailand at Jiaxing, China
Group II 3rd Round: Philippines vs. New Zealand at Manila, Philippines
Group I Playoffs: Slovak Republic vs. FYR Macedonia at Bratislava, Slovak Republic; Great Britain vs. Poland at Liverpool, Great Britain
Group II 3rd Round: Latvia vs. Slovenia at Jurmala, Latvia; Finland vs. Cyprus at Salo, Finland
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
$650,000 BCR Open Romania, Bucharest, Romana, clay
$650,000 Open de Moselle, Metz, France, hard
$220,000 Hansol Korea Open, Seoul, Korea, hard
$220,000 Tashkent Open, Tashkent, Uzbekistan, hard
$100,000 Open GDF Suez de Bretagne, Saint Malo, France, clay
Trophee Jean-Luc Lagardere, Paris, France, clay
Robby Ginepri beat Sam Querrey 6-2 6-4 to win the Indianapolis Tennis Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Nikolay Davydenko beat Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-4 6-2 to win the International German Open in Hamburg, Germany
Dinara Safina won the Banka Koper Slovenia Open in Portoroz, Slovenia, beating Sara Errani 6-7 (5) 6-1 7-5
Andrea Petkovic beat Ioana Raluca Olaru 6-2 6-3 to win the Gastein Ladies in Bad Gastein, Austria
“I have some exciting news to share with you. Late last night, in Switzerland, Mirka and I became proud parents of twin girls. This is the best day of our lives.” – Roger Federer, announcing the births on his Web site and Facebook page.
“The twins certainly come from good tennis stock. If they are half as good as their dad they will still be a potent force on the court.” – Nick Weinberg, spokesman for British bookmaker Ladbrokes on the twin girls one day winning Wimbledon.
“When you have a lot of losses, you start questioning if you can play at this level. It creeps in the back of your mind, so this is definitely a confidence boost for me the rest of the summer.” – Robby Ginepri, after winning the Indianapolis Tennis Championships.
“It’s been a great week for me. Of course, when you are in a final you always want to win but it has been a great week for me.” – Paul-Henri Mathieu, after losing in the Hamburg, Germany, final to Nikolay Davydenko.
“I know I am good enough to beat most players on this level.” – Andrea Petkovic, after reaching her first career WTA Tour final, which she won.
“I played better each match this week. I beat two Top 30 players this week, the best wins of my career. I’m sorry about today: I wish I could have done more, but there’s always next tournament.” – Ioana Raluca Olaru, who lost in the Gastein Ladies final to Andrea Petkovic.
“I am a hundred percent. I mean, if I wasn’t at that point, I certainly wouldn’t be playing.” – Maria Sharapova, who played for the Newport Beach Breakers in a World TeamTennis match against Kansas City.
“There’s always a lot of pressure against Korie (Homan) because I have not lost a set at this tournament since 2000 and of course I have the winning streak.” – Esther Vergeer, after stretching her unbeaten singles record to 364 matches in wheelchair tennis by again beating world number two Korie Homan.
“Andy’s presence really does give a boost to County Week and British tennis in general. It proves to 12-, 13- and 14-year-old children that if the world number three can be bothered to show up and compete for his county, then they can do it, too.” – Ian Conway, captain of the North of Scotland team, on Andy Murray playing an amateur event.
It’s been awhile since Nikolay Davydenko took home the biggest check at a tournament. The Russian won his first ATP World Tour title in over a year when he trounced Paul-Henri Mathieu at the International German Open in Hamburg. Davydenko last appeared in a final at the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai last November, and he hadn’t won a title since Warsaw, Poland, in June 2008. Davydenko also became the first Russian to win in Hamburg.
Until this past week, Andrea Petkovic had a 3-8 lifetime record in WTA Tour-level events, with all three match wins coming at Grand Slam tournaments. That changed in Bad Gastein, Austria, where Petkovic won five straight matches and her first Sony Ericsson WTA Tour title, the Gastein Ladies, when she stopped Ioana Raluca Olaru. The unseeded German dropped only one set all week, that to seventh-seeded Anna-Lena Groenefeld in the quarterfinals. “It’s the best moment of my career,” Petkovic said. “I hope I can keep playing like this and build on it.” Olaru was also appearing in her first Tour singles final, having upset third-seeded Sybille Bammer, sixth-seeded Magdalena Rybarikova and top-seeded Alize Cornet en route to the title match.
It didn’t take the British bookmakers long. Just a day after their birth, Roger Federer’s twin daughters were given 100-1 odds for either to win Wimbledon. Charlene Riva Federer and Myla Rose Federer are 50-1 to win a Grand Slam as part of the same doubles team and 200-1 to capture the Wimbledon women’s doubles. Andy Roddick, who has lost the Wimbledon final three times to the twins’ father, agreed with the bookies. The American sent a message from his Twitter page, which read: “Wimbledon women’s champs in 2029-2040 … the Federer girls: congrats to the new parents!”
Playing together for the first time, Dmitry Tursunov of Russia and Ernests Gulbis of Latvia won all four matches in third-set super tiebreakers to capture the doubles title at the Indianapolis Tennis Championships. “They’re obviously better as a team, but when there’s a lot of firepower against you, there’s not much you can do,” Tursunov said after the pair beat top-seeded Ashley Fisher and Jordan Kerr 6-4 3-6 11-9 (match tiebreak). Not one to break up a winning pair, the two plan to play together in Los Angeles this week. “It’s kind of like beginner’s luck in poker, so we’ll see how it goes,” Tursunov said. “If we’re having success, it makes sense to continue to play.”
STEPPING IT UP
The knee injury must be better. Rafael Nadal has returned to training for the first time since he was sidelined by tendinitis in his right knee. Nadal is planning on returning to the ATP tour at the Montreal Masters next month. He has been out since losing to Robin Soderling in the fourth round of the French Open, where he was seeking his fifth straight title. The injury also kept him from defending his Wimbledon crown. With Nadal not there, Roger Federer won both Roland Garros and Wimbledon to record his 15th Grand Slam trophy and reclaim the number one ranking.
Leander Paes was named the league’s male MVP as he led the Washington Kastles to their first World TeamTennis Pro League championship. Paes teamed with Scott Oudsema to win the men’s doubles and with Rennae Stubbs to win the mixed doubles as the Kastles downed the Springfield Lasers 23-20. Oudsema beat Springfield’s Raven Klaasen in the men’s singles, while Washington’s Olga Puchkova downed Vania King in women’s singles. King and Liezel Huber captured the women’s doubles. King was named the league’s female MVP.
Cara Black is only 5-foot-6 ( 1.67m) but she stands tall in the tennis record book. The Zimbabwean player is second only to Hall of Famer Martina Navratilova in the number of weeks spent as the number one doubles player in the world. When Black recorded her 125th week at number one spot, she moved past Natasha Zvereva. The 30-year-old first took over the top spot on October 17, 2005, staying there for 16 weeks. She regained the spot on June 11, 2007, before relinquishing it two weeks later to Lisa Raymond. But Black began her third and current stint at number one on July 9, 2007, after winning Wimbledon. Navratilova led the doubles rankings for 237 weeks.
Austria’s national anti-doping authorities are investigating Tamira Paszek after she received a medical treatment for a back injury that allegedly violated doping regulations. Authorities say that during treatment earlier this month, blood was taken from Paszek for enrichment, then later injected back into her, which is not allowed under international anti-doping rules. Paszek said she was not aware that the treatment was possibly illegal until a reporter told her. Paszek then alerted the Austrian anti-doping agency NADA, which began its investigation. The Austrian right-hander has struggled with back problems since last season. She has not played since retiring during her first-round match at Wimbledon.
Argentina’s David Nalbandian and Croatia’s Mario Ancic won’t be playing in this year’s US Open. According to the United States Tennis Association (USTA), the 15th-ranked Nalbandian is still recovering from recent hip surgery, while Ancic is battling mononucleosis. Their spots in the men’s main draw were taken by Ivan Navarro of Spain and Karol Beck of Slovakia.
An injury has caused Li Na of China to withdraw from China’s National Games in Shandong. The 27-year-old said she felt a recurrence of her right knee injury. Li will undergo tests in Beijing to determine whether she will be able to play the North American hard court season, including the US Open. “We have signed up for it and got the visa,” said Li’s husband and coach, Jiang Shan. “If she is OK by then we will go to play.”
John McEnroe seems to be a lightning rod for problems on a tennis court. His World TeamTennis club has been fined for what the league called “unprofessional conduct.” During the men’s doubles match between McEnroe’s New York Sportimes and the Washington Kastles, a shot by Washington’s Leander Paes hit New York’s Robert Kendrick. McEnroe and Sportimes coach Chuck Adams went to Paes’ side of the court and yelled at him. Four points later, Kendrick hit Paes with a serve, prompting more confrontations. The league suspended and fined Adams the next day, then, after reviewing the video and getting the umpire’s report, issued fines on both teams. Kendrick and Kastles player Olga Puchkova received individual fines.
SHORT STICH STAY
Michael Stich’s return to competitive tennis lasted only 62 minutes. The former Wimbledon champion lost his first-round doubles match at the German Open in Hamburg. The 40-year-old Stich, who retired from the sport 12 years ago, and 21-year-old Mischa Zverev were beaten by Simon Aspelin of Sweden and Paul Hanley of Australia 6-4 6-2. Stich won Wimbledon in 1991 and reached the final at both the French Open and US Open. His best ranking was number two in the world. As tournament director of the German Open, Stich gave himself and Zverev a wild card into the tournament. Stich is not the only retired player to make a brief doubles comeback. John McEnroe was 47 when he and Sweden’s Jonas Bjorkman won the doubles at San Jose, California. That came 14 years after his previous title.
SAYING AU REVOIR
Nathalie Dechy is calling it a career. The 30-year-old Frenchwoman is expecting a child and wants to devote her time to family life. Dechy reached the Australian Open semifinals in 2005, but is currently ranked 88th in the world. She won two US Open women’s doubles titles, with Vera Zvonareva in 2006 and Dinara Safina in 2007. She also won the French Open mixed doubles in 2007 with Israel’s Andy Ram. Dechy won her only WTA Tour singles title at the Gold Coast tournament in 2003 and reached her career-highest ranking in January 2006 when she rose to 11th in the world. She played for France in the Fed Cup in singles and doubles from 2000 until this year.
STRIKE IT WASN’T
Robby Ginepri had an unusual way of throwing out the game’s first pitch when he was a special guest at the Triple-A baseball game between the Indianapolis Indians and the Durham Bulls. In Indiana where he was competing in the Indianapolis Tennis Championships, Ginepri used his racquet and a tennis ball to serve to the Indians catcher. The umpire called balls on both of Ginepri’s “serves,” but the American was delighted with his performance. “It was very close to a strike,” Ginepri said. “It is quite different to have to serve at a catcher’s glove. The target is just very small.”
SCHOLARSHIPS BY MARIA
Maria Sharapova is continuing to give back. The former world number one has launched the Maria Sharapova Foundation to distribute scholarships among first-year students at Belarusian State University throughout the 2009-2010 academic year. The USD $3,500 scholarships will be available to Belarus residents attending BSU who come from areas formally recognized as affected by the Chernobyl nuclear accident. According to the BSU press office, recipients should actively participate in public, research and volunteer activities, and should have a high average grade in their general education school diplomas. It’s not the first time the tennis player has given generously. In February 2007, Sharapova, who serves as a Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations Development Program, donated USD $100,000 for eight Chernobyl relief projects in Belarus and Ukraine. Sharapova’s father and pregnant mother fled Homyel, a town 80 miles north of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, shortly after the accident in April 1986. She was born in a Siberian city months later.
SUMMER COUNTY CUP
Forget the ranking. Andy Murray took time to compete in the AEGON Summer County Cup, a 115-year-old amateur team tennis competition. With no umpires, line judges or ball-persons, the players call their own lines in the last amateur grass-court competition in the United Kingdom where senior professionals mix with junior players to represent their county in a competitive team environment. It was a huge surprise to the other players and the 300 spectators at Eastbourne when Murray showed up to play for North of Scotland. “Andy has come down to Eastbourne under his own steam, paying for his transport and lunch out of his own pocket,” said North of Scotland captain Ian Conway. “I was surprised and delighted, and his presence has given the rest of the team a huge boost.” While Murray and Owen Hadden won all three of their matches for the North of Scotland, Hertfordshire won the tie 5-4 when Andy’s brother, Jamie Murray, and his partner lost the deciding match 6-3 6-7 (3) 10-8 (match tiebreak).
Esther Vergeer is not slowing down. The Dutch woman won her ninth consecutive women’s wheelchair singles title at the British Open in Nottingham, defeating Korie Homan. Ranked number one in the world, Vergeer stretched her winning streak to 364 matches.
Shingo Kunieda of Japan won the men’s main draw singles, while American David Wagner captured the quad singles titles. Kunieda beat Stephane Houdet for his third successive men’s main draw singles title. Wagner won his second British Open quad singles in three years as he beat world number one and home favorite Peter Norfolk.
Nicole Pratt has been appointed Australian national women’s coach. A former junior Australian Open champion, Pratt will work with Australia’s Fed Cup team and on player development, according to Tennis Australia. Pratt’s highest ranking on the WTA Tour was 35th in the world.
Indianapolis: Dmitry Tursunov and Ernests Gulbis beat Ashley Fisher and Jordan Kerr 6-4 3-6 11-9 (match tiebreak)
Hamburg: Simon Aspelin and Paul Hanley beat Marcelo Melo and Filip Polasek 6-3 6-3
Bad Gastein: Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka beat Tatjana Malek and Andrea Petkovic 6-2 6-4
Portoroz: Julia Goerges and Vladimira Uhlirova beat Camille Pin and Klara Zakopalova 6-4 6-2
SITES TO SURF
Los Angeles: www.latennisopen.com/
San Marino: www.atpsanmarino.com/
Los Angeles: www.latennischamps.com/
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
(All money in USD)
$700,000 Countrywide Classic, Los Angeles, California, USA, hard
$500,000 Allianz Suisse Open, Gstaad, Switzerland, clay
$450,000 Studena Croatia Open, Umag, Croatia, clay
$100,000 Orbetello Challenger, Orbetello, Italy, clay
$700,000 Bank of the West Classic, Stanford, California, hard
$220,000 Istanbul Cup, Istanbul, Turkey, clay
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
$1,402,000 Legg Mason Tennis Classic, Washington, DC, USA, hard
$150,000 ATP Open Castilla y Leon, Segovia, Spain, hard
$120,000 San Marino CEPU Open, San Marino, clay
$100,000 Odlum Brown Vancouver Open, Vancouver, Canada, hard
$700,000 LA Women’s Tennis Championships presented by Herbalife, Los Angeles, California, USA, hard
Men’s singles: Roger Federer beat Andy Roddick 5-7 7-6 (6) 7-6 (5) 3-6 16-14
Women’s singles: Serena Williams beat Venus Williams 7-6 (3) 6-2
Men’s doubles: Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic beat Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan 7-6 (7) 6-7 (3) 7-6 (3) 6-3
Women’s doubles: Venus and Serena Williams beat Samantha Stosur and Rennae Stubbs 7-6 (4) 6-4
Mixed doubles: Mark Knowles and Anna-Lena Groenefeld beat Leander Paes and Cara Black 7-5 6-3
Boys’ singles: Andrev Kuznetsov beat Jordan Cox 4-6 6-2 6-2
Girls’ singles: Noppawan Lertcheenakarn beat Kristina Mladenovic 3-6 6-3 6-1
Boys’ doubles: Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Kevin Krawietz beat Julien Obry and Adrian Puget 6-7(3), 6-2, 12-10.
Girls’ doubles: Noppawan Lertcheewakarn and Sally Peers beat Kristina Mladenovic and Silvia Njiric 6-1 6-1
Wheelchair women’s doubles: Korie Homan and Esther Vergeer beat Daniela Di Toro and Lucy Shuker 6-1 6-3
Wheelchair men’s doubles: Stephane Houdet and Michael Jeremiasz beat Robin Ammerlaan and Shingo Kunieda 1-6 6-4 7-3 (match tiebreak)
Oscar Hernandez beat Tiemurax Gabashvili to win the Nord/LP Open in Braunschweig, Germany
Potito Starace beat Maximo Gonzalez 7-6 (4) 6-3 to win the Trofeo Regione Piemonte in Turin, Italy
Polona Hercog beat Varvara Lepchonko 6-1 6-2 to win the Cuneo ITF Tournament in Cuneo, Italy
“It’s not really one of those goals you set as a little boy, but, man, it’s been quite a career. And quite a month.” – Roger Federer, who won his sixth Wimbledon title, and 15th Grand Slam tournament crown, just four weeks after capturing his first French Open title.
“He’s a legend. Now he’s an icon.” – Pete Sampras, talking about Roger Federer after the Swiss star broke Sampras’ Grand Slam tournament victory record of 14 titles.
“Sorry, Pete, I tried to hold him off.” – Losing finalist Andy Roddick, apologizing to compatriot Pete Sampras.
“I’d rather definitely be number two and hold three Grand Slams in the past year than be number one and not have any. I don’t know what to do to be number one. I don’t even care anymore.” – Serena Williams, who won Wimbledon to go along with her 2009 Australian Open and 2008 US Open titles, yet is ranked number two in the world.
“Do I feel invincible? I’d like to say yes, but I really do work at it.” – Venus Williams, after winning her semifinal but before losing the title match to her sister Serena.
“I think I will beat him in a marathon easy.” – Robin Soderling, on meeting Roger Federer in another sport after losing to the Swiss star for the 11th straight time.
“Oh, it is only because he is better than everybody else. That’s it.” – Ivo Karlovic, when asked about Roger Federer’s secret for success.
“I don’t play to break records but it’s great to have them.” – Roger Federer.
“It’s a wonderful achievement. She’s played so well so many times. You know, a lot of the times actually at my expense.” – Venus Williams, on her sister Serena winning an 11th Grand Slam tournament title by beating Venus in the final.
“There’s no easy [way] to losing, especially when it’s so close to the crown. Either way, it’s not easy. ” – Venus Williams.
“One of the first things I noticed was our name on the board, on the big plaque. Now we get it twice. It’s obviously going to be special to come back next year and see that.” – Daniel Nestor, after teaming with Nenad Zimonjic to win their second straight Wimbledon men’s doubles title.
“It’s a game of inches and when you’re playing two guys who are serving close to 130 (mph), and you’re not getting a lot of sniffs on your return, it’s a dice roll. They were the better team today and I have to give them a lot of credit.” – Bob Bryan, on losing the men’s doubles final.
“I was Santa Claus on the court, serving so many double-faults.” – Dinara Safina, after overcoming 15 double-faults to beat Sabine Lisicki in the quarterfinals.
“I wasn’t sure if it’s Serena or Andy Roddick on the other side of the net, 125 mph all the time.” Elena Dementieva, on Serena Williams’ big serves in their semifinal match.
“Venus played as if she had some place to go and she was in a major league hurry to get a great dinner.” – Father Richard Williams, on Venus’ 51-minutes semifinal victory over Dinara Safina.
“I think she gave me a pretty good lesson today.” – Dinara Safina, after losing to Venus Williams in 51 minutes.
“I’m still scared of Serena Williams. I find her very intimidating.” – Laura Robson, a 15-year-old from Britain, talking about the ladies’ locker room at Wimbledon.
“Roof! Roof! Roof!” –Centre Court crowd chanting as the new retractable roof was closed for the first time when a light sprinkle interrupted play.
He had to work overtime to do it, but Roger Federer became the first man in history to win 15 Grand Slam tournament singles titles. His record-breaking 15th was the longest men’s Grand Slam final in history at 77 games as Federer outlasted Andy Roddick 5-7 7-6 (6) 7-6 (5) 3-6 16-14. The previous record was 71 games in the 1927 Australian Championships, while the previous Wimbledon mark was 62 games last year when Rafael Nadal beat Federer. The Federer-Roddick battle also was the longest fifth set in a men’s Grand Slam tournament final, breaking the old mark of 11-9 set in 1927 at Roland Garros. Federer served 50 aces, the most he has served in a match and only one behind Ivo Karlovic’s Wimbledon record of 51 aces. Federer’s previous best was 39 aces when he beat Janko Tipsarevic at the Australian Open in 2008.
SISTERS DOING IT
Sisters Serena and Venus Williams tried to take home all of the hardware from Wimbledon. Serena beat Venus in the women’s final, snapping the older sister’s two-year reign at Wimbledon. The two then teamed up to win the women’s doubles for the second time.
Ana Ivanovic will rest for at least a week after she suffered a slight tear in her left thigh during her fourth-round match at Wimbledon. The 2008 French Open champion left the court in tears after the first game of the second set against Venus Williams, who won the first set 6-1. Ivanovic is not scheduled to play again until August 3.
SHUT MY TOP
It took a brief shower, but Wimbledon showed off its new roof. With the crowd shouting “Roof! Roof! Roof!,” the retractable roof over Centre Court was closed for the first time on the second Monday of the tournament. The light sprinkle had halted play during he second set of a match between top-ranked Dinara Safina and 2006 Wimbledon champion Amelie Mauresmo. By the time the roof was closed and the match resumed, the rain had stopped. But officials decided to keep the roof shut for the final match of the evening, Andy Murray beating Stanislas Wawrinka in a five-set match that ended at 10:39 p.m., more than an hour later than the previous record. Wimbledon joins the Australian Open as the only two Grand Slam tournaments with roofs. The Australian Open has roofs over its two main courts and plans to cover a third. The French Open plans on having a roof over its center court by 2011, while the US Open is looking into the possibility of covering a court.
Twenty-eight staff members at Wimbledon were asked to stay at home because they were suspected of having swine flu. Two players – Michal Mertinak and Filip Polasek – also showed symptoms of the world-wide ailment. Mertinak withdrew from the second round of the mixed doubles because he was not feeling well. The two players were sharing a hotel room in London. All England Club spokesman Henry O’Grady said that despite the precautions, no one at Wimbledon is known to have swine flu.
India’s Prakash Amritraj and Pakistan’s Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi hope their recent play will allow them to form a full-time doubles partnership. In only their third tournament together, Amritraj and Qureshi reached the third round before falling to the fourth-seeded team of Mark Knowles and Mahesh Bhupathi 6-4 5-7 7-6 (3) 6-0. “I’m glad we had these two weeks as a team,” Amritraj said. “I think we should take this partnership forward and we’re definitely a team to be reckoned with.”
Women’s tennis is returning to New York’s Madison Square Garden, if only for one night. Four top players will compete March 1 in the second Billie Jean King Cup featuring no-ad scoring, a one-set semifinal and best-of-three final. Serena Williams won the inaugural event earlier this year, besting her sister Venus in the final. The 2008 field also included Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic. This year’s four Grand Slam tournament winners will be invited to participate in next year’s tournament. Serena has won the Australian Open and Wimbledon, while Svetlana Kuznetsova captured the French Open.
Rafael Nadal won’t be there when Spain’s Davis Cup takes on Germany in a World Group quarterfinal. Nadal, who has been struggling with tendinitis in his knees, was left off the Spanish team, just as he was for last year’s final, which Spain won by defeating Argentina. Spanish captain Albert Costa has named Fernando Verdasco, Tommy Robredo, David Ferrer and Feliciano Lopez for the tie that will be played on clay in Marbella, Spain, later this week.
Wimbledon quarterfinalist Ivo Karlovic and Marin Cilic will lead Croatia’s Davis C up team against the United States. Croatia, which won the Davis Cup in 2005, will stage the tie on an indoor clay court in Porec, Croatia. Led by Wimbledon finalist Andy Roddick, the American team includes James Black and brothers Bob and Mike Bryan, marking the 12th time in the last 13 Davis Cup contests that the same quartet of players will be together. Croatia has beaten the United States twice in Davis Cup competition.
Andre Agassi will play World Team Tennis this summer for the Philadelphia Freedoms. He will play at home on July 10 against the Boston Lobsters and at Newport Beach, California, on July 17. While Agassi played World Team Tennis before – for the Sacramento Capitals from 2002-04 – there will be two veterans stars making their WTT debuts. Michael Chang will play for the Capitals, while Kim Clijsters will suit up for two matches with the St. Louis Aces. Clijsters plans to return to the WTA Tour after a two-year retirement. Other stars playing this season include Serena Williams (Washington, DC), Venus Williams (Philadelphia), Maria Sharapova (Newport Beach), Martina Navratilova (Boston) and John McEnroe (New York). WTT is getting a boost this summer from its new partnership with the United States Tennis Association and a new team in New York City. The USTA has become a 25 percent owner of the league in an effort to expand the USTA Junior Team Tennis program.
The Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Award will be awarded by the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum (ITHFM) to Tennis Channel for its ongoing contributions to tennis. The award will be given at the 28th annual “Legends Ball” on Friday, September 11, in New York City. The special night will also honor a host of tennis luminaries, including Rod Laver, who will receive a special Life Trustee Award, and the Hall of Fame Induction Class of 2009: Donald Dell, Andres Gimeno, the late Dr. Robert Johnson and Monica Seles. The Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Award was created in honor of an individual whose passion and generosity for the game of tennis inspired others to contribute to the advancement of the sport. Cullman served as president and chairman of the ITHFM from 1982-88. Previous winners of the award include BNP Paribas, Rolex and Sony Ericsson. Tennis Channel will be covering its first US Open this year. The network also covers Wimbledon, the French Open and Australia Open in high definition, as well as the US Open Series, Davis Cup, ATP Masters series, fEd Cup and top-tier Sony Ericsson WTA Tour championship competitions.
SITTING IT OUT
Anna Kournikova won’t be playing World Team Tennis this season. The Russian star has been sidelined with a wrist injury. A WTT spokesperson said Kournikova made her decision after experiencing pain from tenosvnovitis while practicing for what would have been her seventh season with the league. The St. Louis Aces player has not responded to therapy or a series of cortisone shots. But while she’s unable to play, Kournikova plans to travel with her team to matches in Philadelphia, Washington DC, Springfield and St. Louis.
Braunschweig: Johan Brunstrom and Jean-Julien Rojer beat Brian Dabul and Nicolas Massau 7-6 (2) 6-4
Turin: Daniele Bracciali and Potito Starace beat Santiago Giraldo and Pere Riba 6-3 6-4
Cuneo: Akgul Amanmuradova and Darya Kustova beat Petra Cetkovska and Mathilde Johansson 5-7 6-1 10-7 (match tiebreak)
SITES TO SURF
Davis Cup: www.daviscup.com
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
(All money in USD)
$500,000 Campbell’s Hall of Fame Championships, Newport, Rhode Island, USA, grass
$100,000 Open Diputacion Ciudad de Pozoblanco, Pozoblanco, Cordoba, Spain, clay
$220,000 GDF Suez Grand Prix, Budapest, Hungary, clay
$220,000 Collector Swedish Open Women, Bastad, Sweden, clay
$100,000 Open GDF Suez de Biarritz, Biarritz, France, clay
World Group Quarterfinals
Czech Republic vs. Argentina at Ostrava, Czech Republic
Croatia vs. United States at Porec, Croatia
Israel vs. Russia at Tel Aviv, Israel
Spain vs. Germany at Puerto Banus, Marbella, Spain
Americas Zone Group 1 Playoff
Peru vs. Canada at Lima, Peru
Americas Zone Group 2 Second Round
Venezuela vs. Mexico at Maracaibo, Venezuela
Dominican Republic vs. Paraguay at San Francisco de Marcons, Provincia Duarte, Dominican Republic
Asia/Oceania Zone Group 1 Playoff
Thailand vs. Kazakhstan at Nonthaburi, Thailand
Korea vs. China at Chun-cheon City, Korea
Asia/Oceania Zone Group 2 Second Round
Philippines vs. Pakistan at Manila, Philippines
New Zealand vs. Indonesia at Hamilton, New Zealand
Europe/Africa Zone Group 1 Playoffs
Belarus vs. FYR Macedonia at Minsk, Belarus
Europe/Africa Zone Group 2 Second Round
Slovenia vs. Lithuania at Otocec, Slovenia
Latvia vs. Bulgaria at Plovdiv, Latvia
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
$600,000 Catella Swedish Open, Bastad, Sweden, clay
$600,000 Mercedes Cup, Stuttgart, Germany, clay
$125,000 Bogota, Columbia, clay
$220,000 Internazionali Femminili di Tennis di Palermo, Palermo, Italy, clay
$220,000 ECM Prague Open, Prague, Czech Republic, clay
Men’s Singles: Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer 6-1 6-3 6-0
Women’s Singles: Ana Ivanovic beat Dinara Safina 6-4 6-3
Men’s Doubles: Pablo Cuevas and Luis Horna beat Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic 6-2 6-3
Women’s Doubles: Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual beat Casey Dellacqua and Francesca Schiavone 2-6 7-5 6-4
Mixed Doubles: Victoria Azarenko and Bob Bryan beat Katarina Srebotnik and Nenad Zimonjic 6-2 7-6 (4)
Boys Singles: Tsung-Hua Yang beat Jerzy Janowicz 6-3 7-6 (5)
Girls Singles: Simona Halep beat Elena Bogdan 6-4 6-7 (3) 6-2
Boys Doubles: Henri Kontinen and Christopher Rungkat beat Jaan-Frederik Brunken and Matt Reid 6-0 6-3
Girls Doubles: Polona Hercoq and Jessica Moore beat Lesley Kerhove and Arantxa Rus 5-7 6-1 1-0 (7)
Under 45 Doubles: Goran Ivanisevic and Michael Stich beat Richard Krajicek and Emilio Sanchez 6-1 7-6 (5)
Over 45 Doubles: Anders Jarryd and John McEnroe beat Mansour Bahrami and Henri Leconte 6-4 7-6 (2)
Men’s Wheelchair Singles: Shingo Kunieda beat Robin Ammerlaan 6-0 7-6 (5)
Men’s Wheelchair Doubles: Shingo Kunieda and Mailkel Scheffers beat Robin Ammerlaan and Ronald Vink 6-2 7-5
Women’s Wheelchair Singles: Esther Vergeer beat Korie Homan 6-2 6-2
Women’s Wheelchair Doubles: Jiske Griffioen and Esther Vergeer beat Korie Homan and Sharon Walraven 6-4 6-4
Agustin Calleri beat Martin Vassallo Arguello 6-0 6-3 to win the UniCredit Czech Open 2008 in Prostejov, Czech Republic
Tathiana Garbin won the Tiro A Volo in Rome, Italy, by defeating Yvonne Meusburger 6-4 4-6 7-6 (6)
“Roger, I’m sorry for the final.” – Rafael Nadal, after destroying Roger Federer 6-1 6-3 6-0 to win his fourth straight French Open.
“After a loss like this, you don’t want to play Rafa again tomorrow, that’s for sure.” – Federer.
“Roger’s going to be back, and so will Rafa.” – Bjorn Borg, the only other player to win four consecutive French Open singles titles.
“This was amazing. I think we both played a very nervous match. I’m just so happy to keep my composure at the end.” – Ana Ivanovic, after beating Dinara Safina and winning the French Open women’s title.
“Tennis is an easy sport. You don’t need to change anything when you do things well.” – Rafael Nadal, who has never lost at Roland Garros, winning 28 consecutive matches.
“Not one job is easy out there. I mean, the great thing about being a tennis player is that there are some opportunities that you’re going to get during the year, and it’s really up to you to take those opportunities.” – Maria Sharapova, after a fourth-round loss in Paris.
“If Rafa continues to play the way he plays, it’s just impossible.” – Nicolas Almagro, after winning three games against Nadal, the most lopsided French Open men’s quarterfinal in the Open era.
“I was just, I think, tired, mental and physically. Even though I wanted to, my heart couldn’t and my body couldn’t do it anymore.” – Dinara Safina after the women’s final.
“Those are not drop shots. I don’t know what they are, but those are not drop shots. His balls were not bouncing up at all. They had a spin effect. I’ll ask him to explain to me because I don’t know what those were.” – Gael Monfils, on drop shots hit by Roger Federer in their semifinal.
“Kill myself? No, I will have some dinner and maybe get drunk or do something. I don’t know. Whatever makes me feel better.” – Jelena Jankovic, after losing to Ana Ivanovic in the semifinals.
“It was pretty horrible. I felt pretty bad out there.” – Svetlana Kuznetsova, after her semifinal loss to Dinara Safina.
“I feel like I’m playing a Russian championship, not Roland Garros.” – Elena Dementieva after beating compatriot Vera Zvonareva to set up a quarterfinal meeting against another Russian, Dinara Safina, who then went on to beat yet another Russian, Svetlana Kuznetsova.
“I am just mother. Win or lose, it’s my children.” – Raouza Islanova, a famed Russian tennis coach who is the mother of Dinara Safina and Marat Safin.
“I’m not the girl to keep all the emotions I have inside. I guess I have to pay lots of fines because that’s the way I am.” – Dinara Safina.
“If somebody would tell us when we were 12 or 13 when we were practicing that we would play on Suzanne Lenglen in a quarterfinal, I wouldn’t have believed it.” – Ernests Gulbis, after losing to Novak Djokovic, friends since the two trained together at the Niki Pilic academy in Munich, Germany..
“It’s hard to comprehend that a person so young had to die. He accompanied me, challenged me and motivated me over the years.” – Thomas Muster, about fellow Austrian player Horst Skoff.
“He’s the defending champion. … What he achieved back in Athens, winning singles and doubles, maybe it’s never going to happen again.” – Roger Federer, backing defending Olympic champion Nicolas Massu’s bid to gain a wildcard entry to the Beijing Olympics.
“Leander and Mahesh, being true patriots and professionals, have agreed to put in their best effort by pairing up for Beijing Olympics to win a medal for the country.” – India Tennis Association (AITA) secretary Anil Khanna, announcing Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi will team up again for the Summer Games.
“He wanted to work with me, a lowly tennis player. He saw something in me that no one else has ever seen, the side that’s classic tennis player with elegance and grace.” – Venus Williams, about photographer Koto Bolofo’s new book, “Venus.”
“I am fulfilling my role as president according to the constitution. I am not interfering in the government at all. These days I play a lot of tennis, go swimming. Sometimes I play a hand of bridge.” – Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.
SURGE TO THE TOP
Ana Ivanovic left Roland Garros with her first Grand Slam tournament title and the world number one ranking. The first player from Serbia to reach the top in the rankings, Ivanovic replaced Maria Sharapova as number one when she defeated fellow Serb Jelena Jankovic in the semifinals.
Defending champion Jelena Jankovic and French Open runner-up Dinara Safina will skip this week’s DFS Classic, a grass-court tournament in Birmingham, England. Jankovic has been bothered by an arm injury, while Safina withdrew because of a bad back.
SOUTH AMERICAN SHUFFLE
Luis Horna of Peru and Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay became the first South American team to win a Grand Slam doubles title when they knocked off second-seeded Daniel Nestor of Canada and Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia 6-2 6-3 at Roland Garros. Horna and Cuevas beat three other seeded teams in the fortnight, including top-seeded Bob and Mike Bryan in the quarterfinals and number seven Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra in the opening round. The only other South American man to win a Grand Slam doubles title was Ecuador’s Andres Gomez, who captured the U.S. Open in 1986 with Slobodan Zivojinovic of Yugoslavia and Roland Garros in 1988 with Emilio Sanchez of Spain.
Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi are setting aside their differences and teaming for the Beijing Olympics. Winners of three Grand Slam titles together, the pair are India’s best shot at a medal in Beijing. The two will play together in two events before and after Wimbledon.
Maria Sharapova will play just one grass court tournament this year: Wimbledon. The 21-year-old Russian said on her web site that she will bypass grass-court warmup events in Birmingham and Eastbourne in order to focus on Wimbledon, a tournament she won in 2004.
Justine Henin, who retired just before defending her French Open title, was among those honored at the ITF World Champions Dinner in Paris for finishing the year ranked number one. Henin and Roger Federer were honored as singles champions. Other recipients were doubles champions Bob and Mike Bryan, junior champions Ricardas Berankis and Urzula Radwanska, and wheelchair champions Shingo Kunieda and Esther Vergeer. The Philippe Chatrier Award, the ITF’s highest accolade, was presented to Neal Fraser, an integral part of Australia’s Davis Cup history. Fraser played on 11 Davis Cup-winning squads, including four as captain, a position he held for 24 years to become the competition’s longest-serving captain.
SPOT IN OLYMPICS GONE
Any chance Tzipi Obziler had to participate in the 2008 Beijing Olympics ended when fellow Israeli Shahar Peer lost in the quarterfinals of the French Open doubles. Obizer needed Peer to reach the tourney’s final, which would put Peer in the top ten in the rankings. And that would have allowed the two Israelis to have direct entry into the tennis event at Beijing.
SAYS NO WAY
Japan’s Akiko Morigami denied she was told by a coach to throw a doubles match at the French Open. It had been widely reported that she had been asked to deliberately lose the match in order to boost partner Aiko Nakamura’s chances of qualifying for the Beijing Olympics. “I am aware of the media reports, and unfortunately my comments were misunderstood,” Morigami said in a statement. On her blog, Morigami said: “I’m sorry for the trouble my remarks have caused.”
Horst Skoff, who won four ATP Tour titles during his career, died in Hamburg, Germany, while on a business trip. He was 39. The Austrian tennis federation said Skoff died of a heart attack, but Skoff’s friend, Arno Puckhofer, said German police have ordered an autopsy to verify the cause of death. Once ranked as high as 18th in the world, Skoff helped lead Austria to the 1990 Davis Cup semifinals along with Thomas Muster. Skoff won the first two sets before losing a five-setter to Michael Chang in the decisive fifth match as the United States won 3-2.
Two former U.S. presidents are expected to be on hand when Chris Evert and golfer Greg Norman are married later this month in the Bahamas. According to news reports, the guest list includes Lleyton Hewitt, Anna Kournikova, Lindsay Davenport, Jim Courier, Martina Navratilova and Jimmy Connors from the tennis world. Entertainers Chevy Chase, Jon Lovitz, Kenny Loggins, Gwen Stefani, Matt Lauer also will watch the nuptials, alongside ex-Presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush Sr. Evert and Norman, both 53, will reportedly tie the knot in a dusk ceremony on a private beach at The One And Only Ocean Club Hotel on Paradise Island. An Australian newspaper, The Sunday Telegraph, reported that Norman’s son Gregory will be best man at the wedding.
SO LONG BARRY
Barry Lorge, who had been tennis writer for the Washington Post and sports editor of The San Diego Union, died after a long battle against cancer. He was 60. Lorge’s first Wimbledon was in 1970, right after he had graduated from Harvard with a degree in political science. Since leaving the Union, Lorge operated a public relations firm in San Diego.
SMALL WORLD INDEED
Another way of proving tennis is the number one sport in the world. The semifinalists in all the competitions played at the French Open – including men, women, boys, girls, singles, doubles and wheelchair – represented 32 nations: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Ukraine, United States, Uruguay, and Zimbabwe. The senior exhibitions added two more countries: Paraguay and Croatia.
France’s top player, Richard Gasquet, will not compete in the Beijing Olympics this summer. Ranked number nine in the world, Gasquet withdrew from the French Open with a knee injury but is scheduled to play at Wimbledon later this month. Also skipping the Summer Games will be Americans Ashley Harkleroad, Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish.
The 1950 Davis Cup-winning team has been honored by the Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Frank Sedgman and John Bromwich headed the squad that beat the United States 4-1 at Forest Hills in New York City, starting a golden era for Australia, which held the Cup for 15 of the next 18 years.
Scott MacLeod has joined the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour as senior vice president of business development, a new position. MacLeod, who will be based in London, will be responsible for sponsorship sales development, on-line advertising sales and licensing.
Prostejov: Rik De Voest and Lukasz Kubot beat Chris Haggard and Nicolas Tourte 6-2 6-2
Rome: Klaudia Jans and Alicja Rosolska beat Alina Jidkova and Marie-Eve Pelletier 6-3, 6-1
SITES TO SURF
Akiko Morigami: www.40love.jp/morigami/
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
(All money in USD)
$1,125,000 The Artois Championships, London, England, grass
$1,125,000 Gerry Weber Open, Halle, Germany, grass
$670,000 Orange Prokom Open, Warsaw, Poland, clay
$200,000 DFS Classic, Birmingham, Great Britain, grass
$145,000 Torneo Barcelona KIA, Barcelona, Spain, clay
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
$584,000 Ordina Open, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, grass
$584,000 The Nottingham Open, Nottingham, Great Britain, grass
$125,000 Braunschweig Challenger, Braunschweig, Germany, clay
$600,000 International Women’s Open, Eastbourne, Great Britain, grass
$175,000 Ordina Open, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, grass