game

Maria Sharapova’s Stay in Tokyo is Short but Sweet

Even though it’s still early in the tournament , the Toray Pan Pacific has been very surprising already so far. Before this tournament started I had high hopes for a good series in Tokyo but Sharapova never really launched at this year’s Toray Pan Pacific. She lost in the first round to WTA Tour veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm.But Sharapova ended up losing in the first round in three sets 7-5 3-6 6-3.

As you may know, Maria Sharapova has been struggling ever since her shoulder surgery back in ’08.  She has won three Grand Slam tourneys but after that operation nothing ever really was the same for Sizzlin’ Sharapova.

Said Date-Krumm: “Playing against a player who used to be number one and the defending champion I knew I had to play my best. I just got back from Korea yesterday and felt really tired but my body felt a little better today.”

And what did Sharapova about her 40 year old opponent:

“It’s incredible,” said Sharapova. “It just shows you how she has stayed in such great shape while away from the game. She is incredibly fit.”

But at least Sharapova had some fun at Kids Day:

And here are some photos of the first round match between Maria Sharapova and Kimiko Date-Krumm

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Player Bounces Racquet Over Fence, Where It Gets Stuck!

Santiago Giraldo of Colombia was involved in a very unusual circumstance in his first-round US Open match Tuesday against Feliciano Lopez of Spain.

Playing on Court No. 7 at the Billie Jean King USTA National Tennis Center, Giraldo was disgusted in his play, trailing two sets to love and a service break in the third set. After he committed an unforced error, Giraldo smashed his Babolat racquet to the hard court surface, where it bounced over the 10-foot fence landing in the shrubbery that lined the back of the court. The racquet was out of reach for the Colombian Davis Cupper and he had to go to his bag sitting courtside and pick up another stick to play with.

After receiving a code of conduct warning for the abuse of his racquet, Giraldo finished the game and then grabbed a lines person’s chair and stood on it to reach and grab the bounced racquet.

In the corresponding photos, note Giraldo’s racquet sitting in the shrubbery in the middle of the back of the court and him retrieving it with the linesperson’s chair. Lopez went on to win the match 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.

Breast-Reduction Surgery Gains Simona Halep New Followers

The best match so far today at the US Open is the one between Simona Halep and Jelena Jankovic.  Jankovic barely won and survived a major scare in the first round of the final major of the year versus the 18 year old Romanian.

I recalled hearing the name Simona Halep before. I just couldn’t figure out where I got that name from. So I asked my big friend Google and I remembered fairly quicky who Simona was: Simona is the girl who had breast-reduction surgery a few months back.

In an interview with Belgian newspaper “De Pers” she told that she felt better after the surgery and that she didn’t care what others thought of it.

Halep also didn’t care much about the fact that her breasts often drew more attention than her qualities as a tennis player.  She complained that breasts would often get in the way of her game, were the cause of a serious backache and made it hard for her to serve. She would have also performed surgery even if she wasn’t a tennis player.

Halep may have disappointed her fans by reducing her breastsize but gained a new bunch of followers who like her for her tennis qualities.

Check the photos of Simona Halep before and after the breast-reduction surgery:

Before the surgery:

After the surgery:

RALPH LAUREN CELEBRATES ITS FIFTH YEAR AS OFFICIAL OUTFITTER OF WIMBLEDON

Ralfph Lauren is holding a tennis clinic tomorrow at 11 am E.T. / 4 PM UK time. The tennis clinic is to celebrate the fifth year of Ralph Lauren as the official outfitter of the Wimbledon tournament.

To celebrate its fifth year as Official Outfitter of the Wimbledon Championships, on 17th June Polo Ralph Lauren will introduce the first ever Legends Clinic, a live interactive virtual tennis clinic featuring 3 times Wimbledon champion Boris Becker. Tennis enthusiasts around the world will tune in as Becker answers their emailed questions, fed to him by presenter Annabel Croft, demonstrates technique, and offers hints and tips on how to improve your game during this interactive clinic, which will be streamed exclusively on RalphLauren.com/Wimbledon.

The page is live and accepting questions for Boris at RalphLauren.com/Wimbledon,

Feel free to submit questions and who knows, yours might just be answered!

ROGER FEDERER ON TARGET IN MADRID

Roger Federer made it the to semis at the Madrid Open beating Ernests Gulbis 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.  Last month Ernests Gulbis turned into Federer’s “bête noir” beating Federer in Rome and Gulbig was looking to repeat. However, Federer got himself together and ensured victory in Madrid.

“I think it’s one of the toughest things in tennis if you lose against a player and you have to play against him in the next couple of weeks,” Federer said. “I was very happy with the way I was able to return and mix up the game a bit, and at the end I thought it was a really great performance.”

The renewal of the rivalry between Federer and Nadal is coming closer with Nadal also reaching the semis. Nadal faced Gael Monfils and beat him 6-1, 6-3.

“In the first set I played at a very high level,” said Nadal, who compared the high-altitude conditions of Madrid with his previous two tournaments.

“In Monte Carlo I played one of the best tournaments of my life on clay. In Rome, I played very well, too. This is the toughest tournament for me. The conditions are the most difficult of the year for me on clay, but I’m fine. Yesterday I played quite well (against John Isner), today better. I’m very happy.”

Roger Federer faces David Ferrer in the semis while Rafael Nadal plays fellow countryman Nicolas Almagro.

Ralf Reinecke was on the scene taking pics of the Roger Federer / Ernests Gulbis match.

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ROGER FEDERER AND RAFAEL NADAL PICTORIAL AT THE MADRID OPEN

And he does it again. Ralf Reinecke managed to capture two of the best players in the world on cam in Madrid.  Earlier this week an interview with Roger Federer it was like he was giving Rafael Nadal a subtle swipe about his clay court dominance.

The interview was on Gototennis.com and Federer has the following to say:

On clay you don’t need a volley or a serve. You just need legs, an incredible forehand and backhand, and to run after every ball. I’m not trying to take anything from Rafa: He has been successful in other surfaces as well. But on clay you can get away, you can be competitive even with a very incomplete game. I’m not saying it’s so simple, but it’s too easy.

Whether or not Federer is right remains to be seen. Until then I would suggest that you enjoy the pics.

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ELENA DEMENTIEVA INCIDENTALLY

I wish I knew then what I know now. That’s pretty much my opinion when it comes to Elena Dementieva. As I am writing this I am staring at her photos from the Medibank International in Sydney. Two photos in particular draw my attention. It’s the two dark shots.

In the meantime Dementieva has told the press that she found the Hopman Cup in Perth as an ideal preparation and a good way to get her going in the 2010 season.

“I had some good matches here, — singles and also mixed doubles — and it is good for your confidence to be playing real matches, but also to be able to relax and enjoy them,” she said.

“I think it was good preparation — we had done all the hard work already off the court.

“Now it is just about playing points and matches and feeling your game.”

I am seriously hoping that she can win a slam this year. I know her nervosity on critical moments is a problem but I am hoping she will get over it. In my view she should have won a slam many moons ago.

I am actually even going to insert a little poll here, just because I am curious about your opinions. Will Dementieva ever win a slam before she retires? Cast your votes after the photos!

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I’LL SUPPLY THE LOVE: MARIA KIRILENKO

With the 2010 tennis season right around the corner I have been digging up some old videos of one my favorite players on the WTA Tour: Maria Kirilenko.

I know she lost that exclusive deal with Stella McCartney to Caroline Wozniacki but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t look stylish on the courts anymore. In fact she still looks good in whatever she wears.

I have high hopes for her this upcoming tennis season. I am actually hoping she will grab at least one title and make it into the fourth round of any Grand Slam tournament. She deserves it. But most of all I am hoping she will actually be consistent in her game this year. That’s what she lacks in my opinion. Consistent performances on the court and I don’t mean first round crashes by that.

If you are interested in more videos then please take a look at the World Tennis Magazine YouTube Channel by clicking here or visit this link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WorldTennisMagazine.  Many interesting interviews by Harry Cicma with Serena Williams, Ana Ivanovic and Anna Kournikova and many more.

Agassi’s Challenger Loss

Twelve years ago on November 16, 1997, Andre Agassi finished his first step towards his comeback from the depths of tennis – and as his new book OPEN revealed – the depths of his life. As excerpted from the book ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY ($19.95, New Chapter Press, www.TennisHistoryBook.com), Agassi returned to the minor league Challenger circuit to try and resurrect his game, Andre Agassi was surprisingly defeated by No. 202-ranked Christian Vinck of Germany 6-2, 7-5 in final of the Luxor Challenger in Las Vegas, Nevada  “I have my goals long-term, and this week was assisting me to getting there,” said the former No. 1 ranked Agassi, whose ranking dropped to No. 141 after a dismal stretch of play over 18 months. “I can’t start questioning the big picture because of this. It’s ridiculous. That’s what the press’ job is. For me, it’s just to go one at a time.”

In OPEN, Agassi revealed that depression lead him to taking the drug crystal meth for much of the 1997 season.

To purchase OPEN, click HERE.

Isner Upsets Roddick In An Open Classic

With the crowd against him and Andy Roddick becoming more energized as the match progressed, John Isner dug deep to pull off the biggest upset of his career.

As day turned into night in front of a packed crowd on Arthur Ashe Stadium, Isner hit a staggering 90 winners in his nearly four hour match with Roddick, bringing the crowd to its feet as he advanced into the 4th round with a 7-6 (3), 6-3, 3-6, 5-7, 7-6 (5) victory.

“Once I got the first set, I knew that I was in with a chance,” said Isner. “He wore me down and had me on a string when we played a few weeks ago (in Washington D.C.), so I knew I had to be more aggressive in this match.”

The first set went by in straightforward fashion, with each player holding their serve throughout. Isner went down 0-40 while serving at 3-3, but rallied with two aces and a forehand winner to eventually take the game.

A forehand into the net sent Isner down an early mini-break in the first set tiebreaker, but he immediately rebounded with a string of winners. A backhand passing shot gave Isner back the mini-break on Roddick’s serve, and he followed it up with four more consecutive winners to give himself four set points. A missed forehand erased one of them, but a 112 MPH second serve ace on the next point allowed Isner to take the opening set.

“You can’t teach 6’9”,” said Roddick. “He’s serving out of a tree and really dialed in with his ground strokes in that tiebreaker. I don’t know if I really did anything wrong out there. He just hit his spots when he needed to.”

Midway through the second set, with Isner leading 3-2, Roddick mistimed two forehands in a row to send go down double break point. One point later, Isner guided Roddick into the net with a drop shot and then sent a backhand pass up the line to take a 4-2 lead.

The break of serve would be all that the Greensboro native needed. A volley winner while leading 5-3 gave Isner two set points. On his first one, Isner hammered down his 17th ace of the match at that point and took a commanding two set lead.

At 1-1 in the third set, Isner had triple break point on Roddick’s serve after the former US Open champion’s backhand began to betray him. With the crowd now squarely on Roddick’s side, he erased all three points and then hit a 128 MPH ace to deny a fourth chance for Isner to break.

With Isner serving down 3-4, Roddick began to display a retrieving ability normally uncharacteristic of his style. He returned an Isner overhead to force a volley error, giving him two break points. On his second opportunity, Roddick ran down an Isner volley and hit a forehand winner up the line to lead 5-3. He quickly held serve, hitting an ace on his first set point to take the third set.

The effects of the match began to take their toll on Isner. He began moving more slowly and started stretching his left leg during the changeovers. Roddick had a chance to break Isner’s serve at 3-3, but the former NCAA champion bravely knocked off a volley winner and eventually kept the match on serve.

With Roddick serving at 4-5, he hit his first double fault of the match to give Isner a match point. What looked to be the finish ended up being the last point that Isner would win in the set.

A 121 MPH ace by Roddick brought the game back to deuce and the crowd gave him a standing ovation. Two more big serves leveled the match at 5-5. With the sold-out stadium chanting “Let’s go Roddick,” Isner appeared overwhelmed by the occasion. He missed two routine forehands and then hit an overhead well beyond the baseline to go down triple break point in the game. A forehand pass by Roddick gave him the break, and he leveled the match at two sets each with a 130 MPH serve.

“I wasn’t too upset about it because there wasn’t anything I could do,” said Isner. “I might have thought about it differently if it was a missed overhead or an easy shot, but he aced me. It was just too good.”

Isner went down 0-30 in his opening service game, but ended his losing streak at 13 consecutive points with an ace, eventually holding serve to start the 5th set. Despite taking an early lead, Roddick still looked fresh as the match wore on, while Isner began gingerly around the baseline, eventually calling for the trainer at 3-2.

“I was cramping a little bit late in the match,” said Isner. “He was definitely the fresher of the two of us out there, but I knew that I was still in the match.”

The two players traded service holds to force a deciding tiebreaker after nearly four hours of play. With Isner up 3-2 on Roddick’s serve, he hit one of his only cross-court passing shots of the day to grab the mini-break and a 4-2 lead.

“That’s when you have to tip your hat,” said Roddick. “I was covering the line because he had been going there all day, and you don’t expect to see a low dipping crosscourt shot at a moment like that.”

A successful serve and volley play on Isner’s second serve, followed by a drop volley winner, gave Isner two match points at 6-3. Roddick removed the first two match points with aces of his own, forcing Isner to serve it out. Coming in behind a short backhand by Roddick, Isner’s first volley forced Roddick to hit a forehand into the net. Isner dropped to the ground in celebration as the crowd rose to their feet, cheering for the arrival of a new American star.

“I don’t know if (the win) has really sunk in yet,” said Isner. “It’s by far the biggest win of my career, hands down. Nothing even comes close. And I kind of knew that if the match went a little bit long, it would turn into a night match and I really wanted to be in that atmosphere. The crowd was giving me goose bumps at times.

Ranked well outside the top 100 just three months ago, Isner will find himself just outside of the top 40 with his first ever appearance in the second week of a Grand Slam.

“If you had told me this would happen a month ago, I wouldn’t have believed you,” said Isner. “Being out with mono for a month, you’re not even sure if you’ll be able to play the US Open, let alone do well. You can definitely say I’m a bit surprised by all of this.

With a fourth round showdown against No. 10 seed Fernando Verdasco scheduled for Monday, Isner said he’s looking forward to going even further in the tournament.

“It’s a great win to have, but I still feel like I can do some damage,” said Isner. “I’m not satisfied just yet.”