international tennis

Sony Ericsson highlights: Ana Ivanovic dances the Petkovic

So how is everyone’s first week of the Sony Ericsson Open coming along? Are your favorites still in or are they already out of the singles tournament? I hope for many of you that it is an enjoyable ride so far.  It has been for me and it is not because of the news that Roger Federer tied with Pete Sampras’ 7th place with 762 victories each.  Or that Kim Clijsters is feeding daughter Jada extra jodium to counteract radioactive radiation that hit the atmosphere after the tsunami in Japan two weeks ago.  Because of that disaster Clijsters has said to the press that she will not play in Japan or Beijing for this year. In  a statement released by the WTA Tour, Clijsters had the following to say:

“Most importantly, my thoughts and sympathies are with the people in Japan,” Kim Clijsters said in the statement. “It’s heart-wrenching to see what they’re going through right now. Of course the health and safety of anyone traveling to a potentially impacted area is my top priority as well as the WTA’s, and I know that the WTA will continue to monitor the situation.”

It is very understandable that you don’t want to go play there but I also think that a tennis tournament could be the furthest thing on their mind. Ofcourse we are very greatful for the great message that Kim Clijsters and other WTA tour and ATP Tour players have sent to Japan. From benefit soccer matches to Caroline Wozniacki & Victoria Azarenka creating a huge ad. It is great to see that tennis players are so involved with the world and are politically aware . They raised money for Haiti in 2010, Australia in 2011 and now Japan.It is a great gesture.

To complete my ongoing list of  remarkable things that happened this week in the world of international tennis, the racy ad that featured a very sexy Serena Williams in a Topspin 4 commercial. Now I don’t have a problem with that advertisement but then again I am from the Netherlands. I don’t know if that makes a difference with whereever you are but it does, apparently, in other parts of the world. But then again I can understand 2K Sports for not running it. They are selling a tennis game and not subscriptions to Playboy.

Ofcourse one of the biggest the surprises this week was Andy Roddick’s demise. He didn’t give up without a fight though. He admirably finished his lost match versus Paraguay’s Pablo Cuevas 6-4, 7-6. After three visits from his trainer in the second set and his  trouble breathing because of chest congestion Roddick admitted to the press that he has sustained an injury but would not ellaborate any further.Roddick has struggled with a bronchial infection since last month and plans to see a doctor when he gets back to Texas.

More exciting news was  LeBron James and Dwayne Wade came to watch Rafael Nadal’s match. And they didn’t just watch the game but they were also part of the coin toss.

“There’s certain things in Miami that guys should experience,” Wade said. “So I had to drag LeBron out here, but I think this is something he’ll probably come back to next year and come back for years after that. This is a good experience. It’s something different and it’s a great day off, getting over here with the kids.”

Now that is interesting. Last year we had Kim Kardashian and this year we have two major basketball stars. I wonder who they will get for next year’s edition. And to be honest all this makes me wonder why Europe does not have such a pre  event. A coin toss with soccer players or former soccer players like Zinedine Zidane or Lionel Messi would be great. We did have Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos and others watch the Madrid Open of last year. That was pretty cool but no coin toss.

My highlight of the week was Ana Ivanovic dancing the Petkovic!  I was just as baffled when I first saw it as you who is going to hit play in just a moment. Even Petkovic was baffled by the fact that she managed to pull it off to have Ana dance her dance.

 

And here is the video:

And I found another funny video of Ana Ivanovic. She won the official bomb competition in Australia. Bomb competition? Yah, just watch the video and you will see what I mean!

WHEN DID SITTING ON CHANGE-OVERS START AT WIMBLEDON?

A great trivia question out there that one might not find too easily with a Google search, and was touched upon briefly on American television by Cliff Drysdale and Patrick McEnroe on ESPN and Mary Carillo, Ted Robinson and John McEnroe on NBC, is the following:

“What was the last year in which there was no sitting on changeovers at Wimbledon?”

The answer is 1973, with the men’s final that year being between Jan Kodes of Czechoslovakia and Alex Metrevelli of the Soviet Union.

Writes Kodes his new coffee-table glossy book JAN KODES: A JOURNEY TO GLORY FROM BEHIND THE IRON CURTAIN (New Chapter Press, available for $36.46 on www.amazon.com), “In the course of the entire Wimbledon competition we were not allowed to sit down during change-overs; that got introduced only the following year. My final with Metreveli was thus the last match when players could not rest – there were no chairs. We had thirty seconds to drink, towel off and get back to the other side of the court. It was ok with me. The matches flowed, there was nothing disturbing the continuity. But what a difference a year later, when I played against Connors in the quarter-finals and he sat down at 2:1 in the first set and stayed there for a minute and a half! That made a real difference….”

Kodes won that 1973 Wimbledon, defeating Metrevelli 6-1, 9-8 (5), 6-3.

JAN KODES: A JOURNEY TO GLORY FROM BEHIND THE IRON CURTAIN was originally published in Czech and provides a narrative and illustrated history of Czech tennis through the eyes of Kodes and author Peter Kolar. The book, filled with hundreds of unique and personal photographs, documents the successful journey of Kodes from political turmoil of the Cold War to international tennis fame, detailing the early days of darkness and family persecution in communist Czechoslovakia and the complexities of becoming a professional tennis player under a totalitarian regime. Entertaining anecdotes featuring Czech tennis legends Ivan Lendl and Martina Navratilova are also featured as well as the stories behind Kodes’ victories at Wimbledon and the French Open and his two runner-up finishes at the U.S. Open. The book is available for $49.95 in bookstores and retail outlets across the United States and Canada. It is a deluxe glossy photo and text hard cover that fills 548 pages.

Kodes is considered the most under-rated tennis champion of the Open Era, reaching five major singles finals, winning the French Open in 1970 and 1971 and the men’s singles title at Wimbledon in 1973. He also reached the U.S. Open final in both 1971 and 1973, losing to Stan Smith and John Newcombe, respectively. Kodes played Davis Cup for Czechoslovakia for 15 years, leading his country to the final in 1975, where it lost to Sweden in Stockholm. His Davis Cup finale came in representing the team in 1980 when it won the championship over Italy in the final. Kodes has served as his country’s Davis Cup captain, president of the Czech Tennis Association, and tournament director of ATP Czech Open tournament.

Federer, Nadal Set To Play In Abu Dhabi

Flash Entertainment, in partnership with Capitala, has announced six of the most prominent players currently competing in the world of professional tennis are set for a thrilling return to the Capitala World Tennis Championship.

Following last year’s successful tournament, the event has attracted a star-studded field with world number one Roger Federer and Spanish superstar Rafael Nadal, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Nikolay Davydenko, Fernando Verdasco and Robin Soderling completing a spectacular line-up of the world’s top tennis players.

The Capitala World Tennis Championship will see the players in action across three spectacular days at the Abu Dhabi International Tennis Complex at Zayed Sports City from 31 December 2009 – 2 January 2010.

Tickets for the event are on sale online at www.boxofficeme.com. Fans who buy their tickets before 31st October 2009 will have a chance to win a signed Roger Federer Wilson racket! Visit www.capitalawtc.com for more information.

As well as three days of spectacular tennis, the Capitala World Tennis Championship will also boast its very own Tennis Village which will include a range of fun and exciting activities including player signings and practice sessions, competitions and a Nintendo Wii wall. The Tennis Village is absolutely free and open to the public and for those who don’t get their hands on a ticket there will still be the opportunity to soak up all the atmosphere in the village and catch the live action on the big screens.

Roger Federer As A 16 Year Old

It was on September 22, 1997 that 16-year-old Roger Federer debuted on the ATP computer. As documented in the book ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY, Federer was less than two months after turning 16 years old when he debuted on the ATP computer with a world ranking of No. 803. Nearly six and half years later, the man from Basel, Switzerland moved into the No. 1 ranking on the computer, and kept the top spot for more consecutive weeks than any player in the history of the sport.

Rene Stauffer, the Swiss reporter who wrote the Federer biography THE ROGER FEDERER STORY: QUEST FOR PERFECTION ($24.95, New Chapter Press, www.RogerFedererBook.com), documents the future six-time Wimbledon champion during this time period in his global selling book, excerpted below.

His rush towards the top continued unimpeded in 1997 when he won both the indoor and outdoor Swiss national junior championships in the 18-and-under division. These titles marked his last national titles as Roger became more focused on the challenges of international tennis. Allegro, who fell victim to Federer during his final national junior triumphs, said he began to notice the enormous potential that lay dormant within the player. “When Roger was returning to Ecublens from a major international junior tourna­ment in Prato, Italy, I asked him how it went and how did he play,” Allegro said. “Roger said, ‘Well. Thank you. I won.’ I said, right, sure, but he had re­ally won and, not only that, but without losing a set. I thought to myself if he can win at tournament like this at 16, he’s really going to be a great player.”

Allegro recalled another story during this time period that also impressed him and gave him the indication of where Federer was headed. “We had to fill out a form stating our goals. Everybody wrote: To someday be among the top 100 in the world, but Roger was the only one to write: To first be in the top 10 in the world and then become No. 1,” he said. “From that point on, we viewed him in a different light.”

Swiss Tennis made a big move in 1997. Ecublens served its purpose and the “House of Tennis”—the new Swiss National Tennis Center opened in Biel along the German-French language border within Switzerland. The National Tennis Center, the “Tennis Etudes” program as well as the association admin­istration was united under one roof at this facility. There were courts with a variety of surfaces, a modern restaurant and a real players’ lounge—a vast improvement over Ecublens.

At the same time, Swiss Tennis also expanded its training staff. Among the new members of the coaching staff was Peter Carter, Federer’s coach from Basel. “He was brought in under the ulterior motive that he could be paired with Roger,” Annemarie Rüegg admitted. “We saw the potential he had and wanted to provide him with individualized training.” Federer also sometimes worked with another coach, Peter Lundgren, a former professional player from Sweden.

In the summer of 1997, at the age of 16, Roger Federer completed the man­datory nine years at school and decided to become a professional tennis player. With the exception of a few English and French lessons, he concentrated com­pletely on the sport from this point forward. His parents were aware that this step was unpredictable and risky. “We had immense respect for the entire process,” Robert Federer recalled. “Everybody was telling us how talented Roger was,” his mother added. “But we wanted to see results. We made it very clear to Roger that we could not financially support him for ten years so that he could dangle around 400 in the world rankings.” Although the parents’ finan­cial commitment to Roger’s career was sustainable—due to the Swiss Tennis Federation’s assistance with Roger—Lynette Federer increased her workload from 50 to 80 percent in order to ensure the family’s financial security. Money, it would soon prove, would not become an issue for very long.

Now training in Biel, Roger no longer lived with a guest family and moved into an apartment with his good friend Allegro. “Roger’s parents approached me and said that he would like to share an apartment with an older player and they asked me if I would be willing to do this,” said Allegro. “This sound­ed financially interesting to me so Roger’s and my parents went out looking for apartments together.”

The 16-year-old and the 19-year-old teenagers moved into a two-bedroom apartment with a kitchen, a bathroom and a small terrace above a soccer field. “We often watched matches and gave live commentary,” Allegro said. “It was a lot of fun. I usually did the cooking because I had more experience. Roger didn’t have much initiative but he always helped if I asked him to. His room was usually somewhat messy and when he cleaned it up, it was just as chaotic two days later.”

The young professionals, however, were completely focused on the sport. They otherwise passed the time watching television or playing electronic video games. “Roger was never a party guy,” Allegro said. “I once read that he drank alcohol but that only happened very rarely.” He played computer games sometimes until two in the morning but he never went out or went to parties.

Marco Chiudinelli, meanwhile, moved to Biel to further his tennis abilities and also became part of Federer’s circle. “We were cyber world guys,” said Chiudinelli. “We never felt attracted to parties and smoking or drinking didn’t interest us. We preferred to hang out on the courts or at the Playstation.”

Roger was still the same playful, fancy-free hot head whose temper some­times exploded. “You often heard a yodeling, a liberating primal scream from the dressing room or the players’ lounge,” Annemarie Rüegg recalled. “You knew it was Roger. He needed to do this as a release. He was pretty loud but it wasn’t unpleasant.”