Evgeny Korolev

ATP Munich Gallery: Dodig Defeats Cilic; Dolgopolov and Kohlschreiber Also Thru

MUNICH (May 1, 2013) — Defending BMW Open champion Philipp Kohlschreiber took just 63 minutes to defeat world No. 195 Evgeny Korolev in his opening match, 6-2, 6-4. Croat Ivan Dodig also found himself in the quarterfinals after ousting tournament No. 2 seed and fellow Croat Marin Cilic in an easy two sets, 6-4, 6-2. Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov defeated Dmitry Tursunov, 7-6(2), 7-6(3) as Viktor Troicki took out Radek Stepanek, 6-4, 6-4.

Full gallery of the day’s matches by photographer Moana Bauer below.

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Up for the Cup! First-Round Davis Cup World Group Preview

Eight first-round Davis Cup ties unfold around the world this weekend.  We discuss the key players and themes that might emerge from each of them.

Canada vs. Spain:  Without any of their top three men, Davis Cup Goliath Spain finds itself at a surprising disadvantage when it travels to the western coast of North America.  Had either Nadal or Ferrer participated in this tie against Canada, the visitors would remain heavy favorites even against a squad spearheaded by Milos Raonic and aging doubles star Daniel Nestor.  Instead, Canada now can rely on two victories from their singles #1 against the overmatched pair of Marcel Granollers and Albert Ramos, forcing Spain to sweep the remaining three matches.  Among those is a doubles rubber that pits Nestor against World Tour Finals champions Granollers and Marc Lopez, who lost three of their four Davis Cup doubles rubbers last year.  If the tie reaches a live fifth rubber, as seems plausible, Spanish champion Alex Corretja might consider substituting Guillermo Garcia-Lopez for Ramos against the net-rushing Frank Dancevic.  Buoyed by their home crowd, though, Canada should find a way to snatch one of the three non-Raonic rubbers and send Spain to the playoff round for the first time in recent memory.

Pick:  Canada

Italy vs. Croatia:  This tie should hinge on home-court advantage and the choice of ground that it entails.  On a fast hard court, the formidable serves of Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig would stifle the less imposing firepower of the Italians.  But Croatia faces Andreas Seppi and Fabio Fognini on the red clay of Turin, a slow surface where the superior consistency of the hosts should lead them to victory.  The visitors will face the intriguing choice of whether to substitute their singles stars on Saturday for a doubles pairing almost certainly doomed to defeat.  Three straight days of best-of-five matches for Cilic, Dodig, or both would leave them even more vulnerable to the Italian war of attrition, though.  At any rate, the contrast of styles between the fearless first strikes of the Croats and the patient baseline rallying of the Italians should provide entertaining viewing.

Pick:  Italy

Belgium vs. Serbia:  One might see Djokovic’s name on the schedule and automatically checking off the “Serbia” box, but a few flickers of doubt persist.  First, the Australian Open champion may have arrived physically and mentally drained from his recent exploits, and he has struggled against Friday opponent Olivier Rochus throughout his career.  Breaking from a long history of Davis Cup participation, Serbian #2 Janko Tipsarevic cannot step into the breach if Djokovic falters.  That duty lies in the suspect hands of Viktor Troicki, who endured a miserable 2012, and in the aging hands of Nenad Zimonjic, well past his prime despite his many accomplishments.  Serbia thus might find itself in real trouble if they played a team with a notable talent, like Canada.  With just the 32-year-old Rochus and the volatile but unreliable David Goffin barring their path, however, they should advance even if their stars underperform.

Pick:  Serbia

USA vs. Brazil:  Tennis Grandstand will feature more detailed coverage of this tie over the weekend.  For the moment, we will note that Team USA stands in promising position with two serving leviathans on an indoor hard court, complemented by the reigning Australian Open doubles champions.  While Isner did not win a match in January as he struggled with a knee injury, and Querrey did not impress in Melbourne, both should steamroll the harmless Brazilian #2 Thiago Alves.  In the best-case scenario for Brazil, which would feature two victories for their #1 Bellucci, their doubles duo of Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares still should fall short against the Bryans.  All of these Americans have played some of their best tennis on home soil and in Davis Cup, including on less friendly surfaces, whereas Brazil has accomplished little of note in this competition recently.

Pick:  USA

France vs. Israel:  Across from one team that often proves less than the sum of its talents in Davis Cup stands a team that typically overperforms expectations at the national level.  Whereas France will bring two members of the top 10 to this tie, Israel can claim no top-100 threat in singles.  The fast indoor hard court should allow the offensive might of Tsonga to overwhelm Dudi Sela and Amir Weintraub, although the latter has developed into a more credible threat over the last several months.  In a tantalizing doubles rubber, a battle of all-stars pits Jonathan Ehrlich and Andy Ram against Julien Benneteau and Michael Llodra.  Underdogs in every singles rubber and arguably the doubles too, Israel can hope for an upset only if Gasquet crumbles under the pressure of playing for national pride on home soil as he has so infamously before.  Otherwise, the talent gap simply looms too large.

Pick:  France

Argentina vs. Germany:  Perhaps the most tightly contested tie, this battle on outdoor red clay will unfold in the absence of Del Potro, who would have given the home squad a clear edge.  While Argentina will field a squad of clay specialists, leading Germans Philipp Kohlschreiber and Florian Mayer have acquitted themselves well on the surafce and should not find themselves at a disadvantage parallel to Croatia in Italy.  Much rests on the shoulders of Juan Monaco, tasked with avoiding the daunting 0-2 deficit after Kohlschreiber likely opens the tie by dismissing Carlos Berlocq.  The top Argentine here enjoyed his best season to date last year but did not start 2013 especially well.  Lurking in the shadows, as he so often does, is long-time Argentine Davis Cup hero David Nalbandian.  Argentina will hope that Nalbandian’s contribution in doubles on Saturday will combine with two Monaco victories to give them the points that they need without reaching a live fifth rubber.  There, one would favor Mayer to overcome both Berlocq and the Argentine crowd.

Pick:  Er, Argentina?

Kazakhstan vs. Austria:  In a tie without a singles star of note, the opportunity beckons for someone to seize the spotlight in a way that he could not at a major.  The most likely candidate to do so would seem Austrian #1 Jurgen Melzer, the only top-100 singles player on either side.  His opponents can produce better tennis than their current rankings suggest, though, and Andrey Golubev already has started the tie in promising fashion with a straight-sets victory over Andreas Haider-Maurer.  The doubles edge probably belongs to Austria with the greater expertise of Alexander Peya and Julian Knowle, specialists who will allow the 31-year-old Melzer to rest for Sunday.  Excluded from the initial lineup is top-ranked Kazakh Mikhail Kukushkin, whose absence will force #211 Evgeny Korolev to win a best-of-five match for the hosts to survive.

Pick:  Austria

Switzerland vs. Czech Republic:  While Tomas Berdych is the highest-ranked man in this clash between nearby nations, the most intriguing role goes to opposing #1 Stanislas Wawrinka.  After he came far closer than anyone to toppling Djokovic at the Australian Open, the latter may suffer a hangover in a competition where he has struggled lately.  Moreover, Switzerland leans on Wawrinka to win both of his singles matches and contribute to a doubles victory on the intervening day, an enormous challenge for the sternest of competitors when the last of those matches involves Berdych.  The Czech Republic will not enlist the services of Radek Stepanek, a rare absentee this weekend like Tipsarevic, but singles #2 Lukas Rosol intimidates much more than anyone that Switzerland can throw at him.  In the Federer/Wawrinka era, no Swiss team ever has presented the united front that the defending champions have behind Berdych.  The medium-slow hard court should not trouble the broad-shouldered world #6 unduly.

Pick:  Czech Republic

Mondays With Bob Greene: I Fought For My Country

STARS

Shahar Peer won the GDD-Guangzhou International Women’s Open, beating Alberta Brianti 6-3 6-4 in Guangzhou, China

Melinda Czink beat Lucie Safarova 4-6 6-3 7-5 to win the Bell Challenge in Quebec City, Canada

Evgeny Korolev beat Florent Serra 6-4 6-3 to win the Pekao Szczecin Open in Szczecin, Poland

DAVIS CUP

World Group Semifinals

Czech Republic beat Croatia 4-1 in Porec, Croatia

Spain beat Israel 4-1 in Murcia, Spain

World Group Playoffs

Switzerland beat Italy 3-2, France beat Netherlands 4-1, Sweden beat Romania 3-21, Serbia beat Uzbekistan 5-0, India beat South Africa 4-1, Belgium beat Ukraine 3-2, Ecuador beat Brazil 3-2, and Chile played Austria

Americas Zone

Group I Playoff: Peru vs. Uruguay beat Peru 4-1; Group II Final: Dominican Republic beat Venezuela 3-2

Asia-Oceania Zone

Group I Playoff: China beat Thailand 4-1. Group II 3rd Round: Philippines beat New Zealand 4-1

Europe/Africa Zone

Group I Playoffs: Slovak Republic beat FYR Macedonia 5-1; Poland beat Great Britain 3-2; Group II 3rd Round: Latvia beat Slovenia 3-2; Finland beat Cyprus 3-2

SAYING

“I feel like I was in a 10-round boxing match. Everything hurts.” – Ivo Karlovic, who served a record 78 aces, yet lost his Davis Cup match against Radek Stepanek.

“I fought for my country. It was an amazing game.” – Radek Stepanek, who survived Ivo Karlovic’s record 78 aces to win 6-7 (5) 7-6 (5) 7-6 (6) 6-7 (2) 16-14.

“I have to go on holiday badly. I have a problem with my leg. I have a problem with my arm – everything is hurting. And I’ve got to do some babysitting.” – Roger Federer, after helping Switzerland beat Italy and remain in the World Group in 2010.

“I tried everything, but he was particularly good today.” – Potito Starace, who lost to Roger Federer to give Switzerland an insurmountable lead in its Davis Cup playoff against Italy.

“It’s not the way to act – win or lose, good call or bad call, in any sport, in any manner.” – Serena Williams, apologizing for her verbal assault towards a line judge during the US Open women’s final.

“I was very tired after the first two sets, lost the third and the fourth. But then, when I went to the locker room when the fourth set finished, I told my brother I wasn’t going to lose the match. This is the beauty of Davis Cup, the energy of a team and the energy of a country.” – Nicolas Lapentti, whose 6-4 6-4 1-6 2-6 8-6 victory over Marcos Daniel clinched Ecuador’s World Group Playoff tie over Brazil.

“It’s like David against Goliath – and we know who won that one!” – Andy Ram, before Israel played Spain in a Davis Cup semifinal. This time Goliath won.

“I hope it’s the start of something.” – Eyal Ran, Israel’s Davis Cup captain, on his team’s surprising run to the World Group semifinals.

“I hope to come back next year and do better. Unless you win, you can always do better.” – Lucie Safarova, who lost to Melinda Czink in the final of the Bell Challenge.

“I thought they (India) were trying different tactics. I couldn’t understand why he (Mahesh Bhupathi) was serving and staying back.” – Jeff Coetzee, who with his partner Wesley Moodie earned South Africa’s lone point in their Davis Cup tie against India when the Indian doubles team was forced to retire after Bhupathi suffered a groin injury.

“At last we are where we deserve to be.” – Andy Murray, on Great Britain being relegated to Group II in the Euro/Africa Zone after losing its Davis Cup tie to Poland.

SMOKIN’

Ivo Karlovic slammed a record 78 aces yet lost his Davis Cup match against Radek Stepanek in a marathon that lasted one minute short of six hours. Stepanek’s 6-7 (5) 7-6 (5) 7-6 (6) 6-7 (2) 16-14 victory gave the Czech Republic a 2-0 first-day lead over Croatia. The Czechs captured the tie 4-1 and advanced to the final against Spain. The 82 games equaled the Davis Cup record since tiebreakers were introduced in 1989, but the elapsed time was well short of two matches played by John McEnroe, against Mats Wilander in 1982 and against Boris Becker in 1987, both of which lasted around 6½ hours. Karlovic wasted four match points in the final set, and there were only five break-point chances in the match. Karlovic obliterated both the men’s record and Davis Cup record for aces, marks he held. He had 55 aces in a loss to Lleyton Hewitt at the French Open in May, and his previous Davis Cup mark was 47, which he shared with Brazil’s Gustavo Kuerten and Switzerland’s Marc Rosset.

SMALL CHANGE?

Apparently apparel company Fila has deep pockets. According to reports, Kim Clijsters was given a significant bonus by her shoe and clothing sponsor for her surprising US Open singles championship. And where companies usually insure these bonuses, CNBC says Fila did not. The bonus is reported to be in the range of USD $300,000, which could buy a lot of shoes for Clijsters’ young daughter. Darren Rovell of SportsBiz says that while it’s standard practice for companies to insure their big incentive bonuses to minimize the risk, Fila didn’t do it with Clijsters since she had played just two tournaments following a two-year retirement. The odds on Clijsters winning were as high as 40-to-1.

STAYING UP

You can excuse Radek Stepanek and Tomas Berdych if they want to take an extra nap or two. Between them, the Czech duo played for nearly 10 hours on the first day of the Czech Republic’s Davis Cup semifinal against Croatia. But the two then joined forces on the second day to play – and win – their doubles, clinching a spot for the Czech Republic in the final against Spain. On the first day, Stepanek needed one minute less than 6 hours to outlast Ivo Karlovic, and then Berdych was on court for 3 hours 48 minutes to down Marin Cilic in five sets. Together, Stepanek and Berdych needed only 2 hours, 16 minutes to defeat Lukas Dlouhy and Jan Hajek. Stepanek and Berdych are unbeaten together in Davis Cup doubles, improving their record to 5-0, including 3-0 this season.

SINKING BRITS

Even with Andy Murray playing all three days, Great Britain was relegated to Group Two of the Euro/African zonal play when Poland won their Davis Cup tie 3-2. Murray won both of his singles matches, but Michal Przysiezny beat Dan Evans in the decisive singles to give Poland the victory. It is the first time in 13 years that Great Britain has been dropped to the third tier of the world-wide competition. Evans also lost his first-day singles match to Jerzy Janowicz, But Poland’s Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski beat Murray and Ross Hutchins in the doubles.

SURPRISING BELGIUM

When talking about Belgium tennis, most are thinking about the women. The country has produced former number ones Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters, the latter winning the US Open earlier this month on her return to the sport following a two-year retirement. But Belgium’s men have also proved their mettle, keeping the country in the World Group for 2010 by besting Ukraine 3-2. And that came despite Belgium losing it’s number one player with an injury just hours before the Davis Cup Playoff began. Olivier Rochus withdrew with a leg injury, but his brother Christophe Rochus joined with Steve Darcis to help Belgium beat Ukraine.

SETTLED SUIT

Zina Garrison has settled the racial discrimination suit she brought against the United States Tennis Association (USTA). A deal was signed on August 27, although its terms were not disclosed. A former Fed Cup captain, Garrison filed her lawsuit in February, saying she was unfairly treated, paid a lower salary than Davis Cup coach Patrick McEnroe while being held to higher standards. As a player, Garrison was the 1990 Wimbledon runner-up, at the time becoming the first black woman since Althea Gibson to play in a Grand Slam tournament singles final. She became the first black captain of the US Fed Cup team when she replaced Billie Jean King in 2004. Spokesman Chris Widmaier said the USTA is happy the case was resolved and looks forward to working with Garrison in the future.

STOP RIGHT NOW

Martina Hingis should stick to tennis and stay away from dancing, at least according to the British public. Hingis became the first celebrity to be ousted from the new BBBC reality talent show, “Strictly Come Dancing.” It’s England’s answer to the American TV show “Dancing With The Stars.” Hingis and her partner Matthew Cutler were in the bottom two when phone votes were added to the judges’ score. They then lost a dance-off against policeman-turned-crime-presenter Rav Wilding and his partner Aliona Vilani. Two years ago, Cutler teamed with Alesha Dixon to win the competition. This year, Dixon, a singer, is a judge on the show.

SERENA SPEAKS

Admitting she lost her cool, Serena Williams has issued an apology for her outburst towards a line judge in her women’s singles final at the US Open. “I need to make it clear to all young people that I handled myself inappropriately,” Williams said. “I want to sincerely apologize first to the lineswoman, Kim Clijsters, the US Tennis Association and tennis fans everywhere for my inappropriate outburst.” The line judge had called a foot fault on Williams on her second serve, giving Clijsters match point. William, who already had been handed a code violation for racquet abuse, unleashed a tirade towards the line judge, briefly walked away, and then returned for another blast at the official. When chair umpire Louise Engzell asked the line judge what had been said, she called for the tournament referee Brian Earley and eventually ordered a point penalty, the next level of punishment under the code. That gave the match to Clijsters. Williams was fined USD $10,000 for the infraction, and was further penalized USD $500 for the racquet abuse.

SPEAK YE NOT

Saying the “magic” word cost Roger Federer a USD $1,500 fine at the US Open. The Swiss superstar was fined for using a profanity while arguing with the chair umpire during the US Open final. Television microphones picked up the naughty word during the live broadcast of the match. Tournament spokesman said Federer was fined the same amount as two other players – Vera Zvonareva and Daniel Koellerer – for audible obscenities. Daniel Nestor was fined USD $5,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct toward a fan, but the big loser at this year’s final Grand Slam tournament was Serena Williams, who was docked USD $10,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct. She also was fined USD $500 for racket abuse.

SUCCESS

Melinda Czink is finally a winner on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. The left-hander from Hungary beat Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic to capture the Bell Challenge in Quebec City, Canada. Playing in her second career final, it was Czink’s first title. “It feels great. I haven’t really processed it year, but I will,” she said. Czink’s first final was somewhat historic. She lost to Ana Ivanovic in the final round of qualifying in Canberra, Australia, in 2005, gained entry into the main draw as a “lucky loser,” then met and lost to Ivanovic in the final, the only known time that has happened.

SAYS YOU, SAYS ME

India has two of the world’s best doubles players. Both are now sidelined with injuries. Leander Paes pulled out of India’s Davis Cup World Group Playoff tie against South Africa because of an injury he sustained during the US Open, where he won the doubles title with Lucas Dlouhy of the Czech Republic and reached the mixed doubles final with Cara Black of Zimbabwe. Mahesh Bhupathi, who lost the men’s doubles with his partner Mark Knowles of the Bahamas, suffered a groin injury during the Davis Cup doubles. The injury forced the Indian doubles team to retire, giving South Africa its lone point in the tie.

SOME KIND OF PROBLEM

Albert Costa has a problem every Davis Cup captain would love to have. Costa has been Spain’s Davis Cup captain for just nine months, but already he faces several decisions that could make him unpopular with several players and their supporters. Costa’s team just swept past Israel 4-1 to return to the final to defend their Davis Cup title. This time they will take on the Czech Republic, which beat Croatia. Costa’s problem. His top two players missed the Israeli tie because of injuries. Does he now name the players who took Spain to the final or go with the two missing players – second ranked Rafael Nadal and ninth-ranked Fernando Verdasco. Of course, there may be no problem. Although injured, both Nadal and Verdasco sat through all three live rubbers on Friday and Saturday, cheering on their compatriots.

SEATS ARE FREE

Admittance to next week’s Vogue Athens Open will be free. The organizers Liberis Publications and Hellenic Tennis Federation decided to open the doors to the public for the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour event that will be played on the same courts where five years ago the Athens Olympic Games were held. The decision was also made because of the large capacity at the Olympic Tennis Center. All seats are available to anyone, beginning with the qualifying all the way through the final, which will be played on October 4.

STAYING HOME

Juan Martin del Potro’s five-set upset of five-time defending champion Roger Federer had the fans at home turning on their television sets. The men’s final, which was postponed because of rain to Monday, drew a 2.3 rating and 5 share on CBS. That’s up 35 percent from the 2008 final, which was also played on Monday because of rain delays. That was when Federer beat Andy Murray in straight sets. Ratings represent the percentage of all households with televisions, and shares represent the percentage of all homes with TVs in use at the time.

SEEING IS BELIEVING

Things at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center are normal. The US Open set an attendance record this year, just as it has done every year. This year’s attendance was 721,059, slightly more than the previous record of 720,227 set last year. The tournament also set a Week One attendance record of 423,427, including a single-day high of 61,554 for the combined day and night sessions on the first Friday.

SPONSOR

Remember Melanie Oudin, the 17-year-old from Marietta, Georgia, who reached the quarterfinals of the US Open. Well, she has signed on to be a pitch woman for AirTran Airways Inc., an Orlando, Florida-based company. Oudin became the youngest woman to reach the US Open quarterfinals since Serena Williams did it in 1999. Oudin had victories over fourth-ranked Elena Dementieva, 13th-seeded Nadia Petrova and former US Open champion Maria Sharapova. The youngster is currently ranked 44th in the world and is the third-highest ranked American woman, behind sisters Serena and Venus Williams. AirTran, a low-cost airline, recently took over as the official airline of the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League.

SHARED PERFORMANCES

Guangzhou: Olga Govortsova and Tatiana Poutchek beat Kimiko Date Krumm and Sun Tiantian 3-6 6-2 10-8 (match tiebreak)

Quebec City: Vania King and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova beat Sofia Arvidsson and Severine Bremond Beltrame 6-1 6-3

Szczecin: Tomasz Bednarek and Mateusz Kowalczyk beat Oleksandr Dolgopolov Jr. and Artem Smirnov 6-3 6-4

SITES TO SURF

Bucharest: www.bcropenromania.ro/

Metz: www.openmoselle.com

Hansol: www.hansolopen.com

Tashkent: www.tashkentopen.uz

Saint Malo: www.opengdfsuez-bretagne.com

Bangkok: www.thailandopen.org

Kuala Lumpur: www.malasianopentennis.com/

Athens: www.vogueathensopen.com

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

(All money in USD)

ATP

$650,000 BCR Open Romania, Bucharest, Romana, clay

$650,000 Open de Moselle, Metz, France, hard

WTA

$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

SENIORS

Trophee Jean-Luc Lagardere, Paris, France, clay

TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK

ATP

$947,750 Proton Malaysia Open, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, hard

$608,500 Thailand Open, Bangkok, Thailand, hard

WTA

$2,000,000 Toray Pan Pacific Open, Tokyo, Japan, hard

$100,000 Vogue Athens Open, Athens, Greece, hard

Mardy Fish Enters Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships

Newport, RI – The International Tennis Hall of Fame announced today that ATP World Tour Pro Mardy Fish has entered the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships. Scheduled for July 6-12 in Newport, the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships features 32 of the top men in professional tennis competing for $500,000 in prize money. Fish will be making his eighth appearance in Newport, where he reached the quarterfinals in 2000, 2002 and 2006. He also captured the 2008 Newport doubles title with partner John Isner.

This past weekend at the Delray Beach International Championships (Florida), Fish captured his third ATP World Tour title by defeating Russia’s Evgeny Korolev 7-5, 6-3. Fish, as the No. 1 seed in Delray Beach became the first top seed to win the event in its17-year history and the first American winner since Jan-Michael Gambill in 2003 (Gambill defeated Fish in that final). Fish enters the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships where the No.1 seed has not been able to claim the title for 32 years.

Since turning pro in 2000, Fish has reached 13 singles finals; his other singles titles include Stockholm (2003) and Houston (2006). Last month, he reached the February 15 final in San Jose, defeating World No. 7 Juan Martin Del Potro in the quarterfinal and World No. 11 James Blake in the semifinal, before bowing to the No. 21 ranked Radek Stepanek in the final.

“Mardy is looking very strong and playing very competitively,” said Mark Stenning, CEO of the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Tournament Director of the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships. “We are pleased he will be returning to Newport in July, as he has been loyal to our tournament.”

The 27-year-old is the third-ranked American (behind Andy Roddick and Blake) and has broken the World Top 20, now ranked at No. 20. In 2008, Fish finished in the Top 25 for first time since 2003. He reached two ATP World Tour finals – New Haven and Indian Wells, where he dismissed Roger Federer in the semifinal before bowing to Novak Djokovic in the final. Fish also reached the semifinal in Los Angeles and the quarterfinals in Delray Beach, San Jose and Houston.  At the 2008 US Open, he achieved a career-best Grand Slam showing, reaching the quarterfinal round. Fish defeated No. 25 Paul-Henri Mathieu, No. 9 James Blake and No. 33 Gael Monfils, before losing to World No. 1 Rafael Nadal.

The Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, an ATP World Tour tennis event, brings the top men in professional tennis to Newport, Rhode Island to compete on the legendary grass courts at the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. The first U.S. National Lawn Tennis Championships were played in Newport in 1881, the tournament which evolved into the US Open. Today, the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships remains the only professional tournament played on grass in North America.

Tickets are on sale now for the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, played for the Van Alen Cup, and can be ordered online at www.tennisfame.com or by calling 866-914-FAME (3263). In conjunction with the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, the International Tennis Hall of Fame will hold its annual Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Saturday, July 11 (12:30pm). The Class of 2009 represents Recent Player Monica Seles; Master Player Andres Gimeno; and Contributors Donald L. Dell; and Dr. Robert “Whirlwind” Johnson (posthumously). Tickets for Saturday’s semifinal matches and the 2009 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony are also available online. To purchase tickets, go to tennisfame.com. For additional information call the Tournament Office at 866-914-FAME (3263).

The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history and heritage of tennis and its champions. For more information regarding the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, 2009 Hall of Fame Induction Weekend, Tennis Tournaments, Events and Programs, please call 401-849-3990 or visit our website at www.tennisfame.com.

Mondays With Bob Greene: What happened to me?

STARS

Novak Djokovic beat David Ferrer 7-5 6-3 to win the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Venus Williams won the Abierto Mexicano Telcel women’s title by beating Flavia Pennetta 6-1 6-2 in Acapulco, Mexico

Mardy Fish beat Evgeny Korolev 7-5 6-3 to win the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships in Delray Beach, Florida, USA

Nicolas Almagro defeated Gael Monfils 6-4 6-4 to win the Abierto Mexicano Telcel men’s singles in Acapulco, Mexico

SAYING

“It’s a bridge that connects people, countries, culture, everything, religions, and that’s the beauty of it. That’s why I decided to go into sports and not politics.” – Andy Ram, after becoming the first Israeli to play a tennis tournament in the United Arab Emirates.

“What happened to me? Venus Williams is what happened to me. The number five player in the world is what happened to me. She was just playing so strong, serving so well, it was hard to fight against her power. I didn’t feel I played badly. She just overpowered me.” – Flavia Pennetta, the defending champion who lost the final in Acapulco, Mexico, to Venus Williams.

“Today was one of those matches where you just want to get off the court with a win. It was like I don’t care what the score is, I don’t care what it looks like, I just want to get off this court with a win.” – Mardy Fish, who endured the wind and a rain delay before finally converting his fifth match point to win in Delray Beach, Florida.

“Nobody is a favorite in a final. Everyone has the motivation to do well. But I was physically and emotionally really involved with this tournament and to win it is a great feeling, because Dubai has a history of having one of the strongest fields on the tour. And despite some players pulling out, it was still a tough field.” – Novak Djokovic, noting the field was missing five of the world’s top ten players, including Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

“I’ll probably sleep a little bit better next week as we prepare for the match and not have to prepare for Roger.” – Patrick McEnroe, US Davis Cup captain, noting that Roger Federer will not be on Switzerland’s team during the upcoming World Group tie.

“I didn’t feel any pressure because he’s one of the best players in the world, so I just played my best tennis.” – Lu Yen-Hsun, after upsetting Lleyton Hewitt at Delray Beach, Florida.

“With players of the caliber of (Andre) Agassi, (Steffi) Graf, (Kim) Clijsters and (Tim) Henman, this test event promises to be hugely entertaining.” – Ian Ritchie, chief executive of the All England Club, about a special event on May 17 to celebrate the completion of Wimbledon’s Centre Court roof.

“I got it first down in Australia and I haven’t been the same really since. I woke up in the middle of the night sweating. I got some anti-viral (medication) from the doctor … but it didn’t help so much.” – Andy Murray, after withdrawing from the Dubai Tennis Championships because of a viral infection.

“It’s going to be a new experience and I’m looking forward to it. I’ve heard so much about it from Ana (Ivanovic) and (Fernando) Verdasco, who had trained there before he made the semifinals of the Australian Open. This is going to be a short stint because I’ll be playing tournaments in the following week. If it works well for me I want to go over for a longer stint in the near future.” – Sania Mirza, about training in Las Vegas with Gil Reyes.

“Now I don’t want to let her go.” Boris Becker, talking about his fiancée, Lilly Kerssenberg.

SHAMEFUL ACTION

Even though he lost in the first round, Andy Ram of Israel said he achieved something big at the Dubai Championships. The United Arab Emirates gave Ram a “special permit” to compete in the tournament one week after it refused to issue a visa for fellow Israeli Shahar Peer to play in a women’s event. “It was obviously something big, history here, what’s been done, the first Israeli coming to play sport in Dubai,” Ram said after he and Kevin Ullyett lost their first-round doubles match to Marat Safin and David Ferrer. “I fought for something really, really big, and coming here was something big because it showed that we should not involve sports with politics.” Like most Arab countries, the UAE has no diplomatic ties with Israel and routinely denies entry to its citizens. Spectators and media were stopped from entering the arena until just before the start of the match. Ticket holders had to pass through airport-style security scanners, cell phones were banned and bottles of water confiscated even though spectators had to sit in blazing sunshine with the temperature reaching 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit). Water was eventually passed out in plastic glasses.

STAR POWER

Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi will once again play on Wimbledon’s Centre Court. The couple will play Tim Henman and Kim Clijsters in an exhibition on May 17 to celebrate the completion of the roof over the famed Centre Court. The event, which is being used to test the new roof and air management system, will feature singles matches and a mixed doubles match. Graf won 22 Grand Slam tournament titles, including seven Wimbledon crowns, during her career. Agassi’s eight Grand Slam tournament crowns include the 1992 Wimbledon title. Agassi and Graf, who are married to each other, are both former number one players, as is Clijsters, who won the US Open in 2005. Henman remains one of the most popular players among British fans.

SWINGING AGAIN

Andre Agassi will play two matches for the Philadelphia Freedoms in the World Team Tennis (WTT) league this July. The WTT announced Agassi will play July 10 in Philadelphia and July 17 in Newport Beach, California. Agassi, who retired in 2006, played for WTT from 2002-04. Among other stars who will play during the WTT’s 34th season will be Serena Williams (Washington DC), Venus Williams (Philadelphia), John McEnroe (New York), Anna Kournikova (St. Louis), Michael Chang (Sacramento), Bob and Mike Bryan (Kansas City) and Martina Navratilova (Boston). The 10-team league runs from July 2-26.

SAID WHAT??

Novak Djokovic slammed what he thought was a game-winning ace in his title match against David Ferrer. But an official called the serve out. Djokovic challenged and was proven to be correct. “That was an unusual way to finish the match, and something like this has never happened to me before,” Djokovic said of the 7-5 6-3 victory. “But what worked for me during the match was that I mixed the pace well, which I think David does not like at all.” It was the first final of the year for the third-ranked Djokovic and his first title since capturing the Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai last November. Both top-ranked Rafael Nadal and number two Roger Federer pulled out of the tournament with injuries, Andy Murray withdrew from his quarterfinal match because of a viral infection, and Andy Roddick pulled out of the tournament because the United Arab Emirates refused to allow Israel Shahar Peer to play in a women’s tournament the week before.

SECURE AND QUIET

There won’t be fans, but about 1,000 police from seven countries will handle security on March 6-8 when Sweden plays host to Israel in a Davis Cup tie in Malmo. Police commissioner Hakan Jarborg Eriksson said officials expect a “Stop the Match” protest to be relatively calm. But there are fears that protests from small, radical groups could turn violent. The first-round World Group match will be played without fans at the 4,000-seat Baltic Hall. Only teams, officials, some sponsors and journalists will be allowed in the hall. Organizers of the “Stop the Match” campaign expect 8,000 to 12,000 demonstrators before Saturday’s doubles match. Left-wing groups, human rights organizations and pro-Palestinian groups also plan to demonstrate during the tie.

SILENCE, PLEASE

Japan’s top player, Kei Nishikori, has been warned not to let his mobile phone ring on court during Japan’s Davis Cup tie with China. The 19-year-old Nishikori has been told to leave his phone in the locker room after it kept ringing during his first-round loss in a recent tournament in Memphis, Tennessee. Nishikori had left his phone in his jacket pocket and later admitting the ringing phone had interrupted his concentration in his 7-5 6-3 loss to Marcos Baghdatis. Eiji Takeuchi, Japan’s Davis Cup coach, said Nishikori “at the very least will have to learn to put it on vibration mode.”

STREAKING – 1

Venus Williams wound up with the title, but Flavia Pennetta kept one of her streaks going. Williams beat Pennetta 6-1 6-2 in the final of the Abierto Mexicano Telcel for her second straight title this year and 41st of her career. The victory increased her winning string to 10 consecutive matches. While Pennetta failed to defend her title in Acapulco, she reached the final for the sixth consecutive year. The 27-year-old Italian won her first Acapulco title in 2005 and was runner-up in 2004, 2006, 2007 and now 2009.

STREAKING – 2

When Nicolas Almagro successfully defended his men’s single title at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel, he became the first back-to-back men’s winner since the clay court tournament was moved from Mexico City to Acapulco. The fourth-seeded Spaniard also became the first to successfully defend the men’s title since Thomas Muster won four straight from 1993-96.

SWISS WEDDING

Hall of Famer Boris Becker says he will marry his Dutch girlfriend Lilly Kerssenberg in Switzerland on June 12. Becker made the announcement as he and his girlfriend appeared on a television show in Germany. The three-time Wimbledon champion said he had “taken a wrong turn” last summer when he announced his engagement to Sandy Meyer-Woelden, the daughter of his late former manager. The engagement was broken off after only a few weeks. Becker has two sons with his former wife Barbara and a daughter with a London-based Russian model.

SHAPING UP

Sania Mirza is spending some time in Las Vegas, but not at one of the city’s famed casinos. The 22-year-old Indian will be working out with Gil Reyes, the former trainer for Andre Agassi. Mirza is being joined in the Nevada city by coach Sven Groeneveld and will be working both on and off the court. After the week-long session in Las Vegas, Mirza hopes to play in Indian Wells, California, and Miami, Florida.

SHARED PERFORMANCES

Dubai: Rix De Voest and Dmitry Tursunov beat Martin Damm and Robert Lindstedt 4-6 6-3 10-5 (match tiebreak)

Acapulco (men): Frantisek Cermak and Michal Mertinak beat Lukasz Kubot and Oliver Marach 4-6 6-4 10-7 (match tiebreak)

Acapulco (women): Llagostera Vives and Martinez Sanchez beat Dominguez Lino and Parro Santonja 6-4 6-2

Delray Beach: Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan beat Marcelo Melo and Andre Sa 6-4 6-4

SITES TO SURF

Bergamo:  www.olmesport.it

Monterrey: www.abiertodetenismonterrey.com

Davis Cup: www.DavisCup.com

Indian Wells: www.bnpparibasopen.org

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

(All money in USD)

ATP

$135,000 Internazionali di Bergamo, Bergamo, Italy, hard

WTA TOUR

$220,000 Monterrey Open, Monterrey, Mexico, hard

DAVIS CUP

World Group

(First Round)

Argentina vs. Netherlands at Buenos Aires, Argentina, clay

Czech Republic vs. France at Ostrava, Czech Republic, carpet

United States vs. Switzerland at Birmingham, Alabama, USA, hard

Croatia vs. Chile at Porec, Croatia, hard

Sweden vs. Israel at Malmo, Sweden, carpet

Romania vs. Russia at Sibiu, Romania, carpet

Germany vs. Austria at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, hard

Spain vs. Serbia at Benidorm, Spain, clay

Americas Zone Group I (First Round)

Uruguay at Colombia, Ecuador at Canada

Americas Zone Group II (First Round)

Jamaica at Mexico, Netherlands Antilles at Venezuela, Guatemala at Dominican Republic, Bahamas at Paraguay

Asia/Oceania Zone Group I (Second Round)

Australia at Thailand, India at Chinese Taipei, China at Japan, Korea at Uzbekistan

Asia/Oceania Zone Group II (First Round)

Philippines at Hong Kong, Pakistan at Oman, Kuwait at Indonesia, Malaysia at New Zealand

Europe/Africa Zone Group I (First Round)

Macedonia at South Africa

Europe/Africa Zone Group I (Second Round)

Slovak Republic at Italy, Ukraine at Great Britain, Poland at Belgium

Europe/Africa Zone Group II (First Round)

Georgia at Lithuania, Egypt at Slovenia, Latvia at Moldova, Bulgaria at Hungary, Finland at Denmark, Montenegro at Monaco, Ireland at Algeria, Portugal at Cyprus

TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK

ATP

$4,500,000 BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells, California, USA, hard

WTA TOUR

$4,500,000 BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells, California, USA, hard