By Luís Santos
Over on the men’s tournament, it was quarterfinals day.
Out on Court Central, Del Potro edged out a tight first set, claiming it 6-4 with some strong serving, which included two aces on his last game. Soderling retreated to his chair arguing a ball from Del Potro had been out during the rally.
In the second set, Soderling started the strongest, firing winners from both wings while Del Potro played sluggish. The Swede jumped to a 4-1 lead after which play was suspended due to heavy rain and thunders.
After almost three hours of rain delay, play finally got underway. Del Potro came refreshed and went on to win six of the last seven games, eventually prevailing 6-4 7-5, minutes shy of the two hour mark.
Next up for the Argentinian powerhouse is Uruguyan Pablo Cuevas, who was the first to book a place in the semifinals as he powered past number six seed Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci 6-4 6-2. Cuevas had already sent packing third seed Tsonga on Wednesday.
Bellucci said of his loss: “I didn’t play my best today, but I’m starting to feel more confident on court and for the upcoming tournaments.”
Two other matches got underway on outer courts after the rain delay. Fernando Verdasco and Kevin Anderson headed for Centralito while Gilles Simon and Milos Raonic took to court 1.
Verdasco fell behind in the set count just before darkness interrupted play. The South African Anderson claimed the first set 7-6(2).
Out on court 1 Gilles Simon was leading 6-5 with Raonic on serve before play was also interrupted.
At the time of writing of this article the order of play was still unknown, but the women’s singles’ finals should be played tomorrow alongside the end of the men’s quarterfinals and the two semifinals.
By Thomas Swick
My last day at the Sony Ericsson I walked onto the grounds with a feeling of familiarity, not just because I’d been there the previous three days but because for years as a spectator I always came on the first Saturday. All the courts are busy, with matches and practices, the up-and-coming are hitting it out with the quickly fading, and the hard core fans and the fresh air fiends are joined by people who still have 9-5 jobs.
Wandering the outside courts I passed two young women in red-white-and-blue caps with the words “Dominican Republic” written on the front and small feathers and ribbons in orange and red attached to the side. “For Nadal,” Carlota said when I asked about the attachments. Evening things up a bit on Court 9, Zvonareva’s hitting partner wore a T-shirt with a big RF on the front.
“Good morning,” a large man pushing a garbage container greeted the contingent watching the practice. “Gonna be pretty hot. Make sure you have something to drink.”
I went for something to eat – a beef burrito – and sat at a round table in the food court with a lanky man in T-shirt and shorts. Looking closer, I saw that his shirt read: “Land of the Free: AMERICA,” and that he wore a lanyard and that his name was Pavel.
“I am in charge of all the tents,” he said. They had started putting them up on Feb. 2, he told me; it would take them three weeks to get them all down. He worked golf tournaments as well as tennis, but didn’t like the former, as the tents were too spread out. He told me he got to the center at 8 every morning and stayed till the last match was over. “One tent we had to change the carpet,” he said. “We were here all night. We didn’t sleep.”
I wished him the best, and told him I was off to see Federer.
“He’s playing one of my countrymen,” Pavel said. “Radek Stepanek.”
Sitting in the press area I was joined by Harvey Fialkov, a former colleague from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. I told him that the most noteworthy aspect of the match so far was the fact that Federer’s shirt – an almost military green – had no collar.
Soon, Bud Collins and his wife Anita sat down next to us.
“I don’t like Federer’s shirt,” Anita said. “It’s not elegant. It’s a really drab outfit.”
Her husband was dressed in a peach shirt and checkerboard pants, some of the squares in solid colors and some patterned with dots.
Federer’s game borrowed nothing from his clothing.
“He’s so beautiful to watch,” said Anita.
“You don’t hear him running,” said Harvey. “He’s like a stealth tennis player.”
I wanted him to lose a set, so I could watch him longer. But he finished with Stepanek in an hour and fifteen minutes.
At what I figured would be my last press conference, I asked my first question.
“Your outfit today was a bit different,” I said, watching with a feeling of unreality those famous eyes suddenly focus on me. “Your shirt didn’t have a collar. Is that a new look?”
Federer said he liked to mix things up, and hoped that the fans would like it. I didn’t tell him the consensus in the press box.
To another question, he expressed a little frustration with the system of press conferences, saying that a different format might be more satisfying for both players and journalists. One reporter asked him for an example, and he suggested “roundtables perhaps.”
It was one of the more intriguing ideas I heard at the tournament. Federer was different in the press conferences than in his on-court, post-match interviews. In those he has an endearing, boyish quality – smiling easily, making jokes, enjoying the attention. Even his voice takes on a softer, more playful tone. In press conferences he appears older, guarded, a bit weary of it all. But then most of the players do. Celebrities show their good sides to fans more readily than to critics.
After Andy Roddick’s loss to Pablo Cuevas – a small pocket of Uruguayans erupting in the upper deck – I headed over to Court 2 wondering why Roddick doesn’t wear a wrist band. Since all the men ask for the towel now after nearly every point, wearing a wrist band seems the least they can do.
On the Two Court Andrea Petkovic won in straight sets, did her little dance, and then charmed everyone by cheerfully signing and posing, posing and signing, until finally saying, with amused insistence: “Now I HAVE to go!” You got the feeling she’d be superb at roundtables.
The first evening match – Nadal vs. Nishikori – was played to a packed house. Tennis must be the only sport in which the stadium goes from a boisterous roar to a reverent hush in a matter of seconds. And, when someone like Nadal is playing, it does this every few minutes. It is like a Russian folk song, rising and falling between elation and melancholy. Perhaps this is why so many of the people who play it have names ending in “ova.”
I left the Wozniacki-Hantuchova match early, but before departing the grounds I took a sentimental stroll around the outside courts. The lanes that, a few hours earlier, had been bright and crowded were now dark and empty. All the sneaker-scuffed surfaces were silent. The day’s vast number of smacked balls had dwindled down to a few, inside the stadium, where a handful of stalwarts waited till the last of them rolled unnoticed to a stop.
While the WTA has almost wrapped up its season, the ATP World Tour still has a few more events to go before we have reached the elusive “off season.”
As November is now upon us, the men’s tour will turn this week to two 500 level events in Valencia, Spain and Basel, Switzerland. Let’s have a closer look at what is around the corner at both locations.
Andy Murray returns as defending champion and is also the number on seed this year. Murray has claimed two tournament victories this season, both over Roger Federer, but would no-doubt call 2010 an off year. Still waiting for his first Grand Slam victory, there is really no way for Murray to salvage his year at this point. Anything less than a Slam at this point of his career is a let-down.
Murray opens against lefty Feliciano Lopez and could face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarter-finals and then Fernando Verdasco in the semis. Nikolay Davydenko is also in the top-half of the draw as the 6th seed but has been miserable during the second half of the season.
In the bottom half, Mikhail Youzhny is the player to beat the way he has played of late. The Russian played great at the U.S. Open and has followed that up with a victory in Malaysia and a loss in the finals of St. Petersburg just this past week.
Gael Monfils and Robin Soderling will try to emerge from the bottom quarter of the draw.
For any Canadian tennis fans out there, youngster Milos Raonic fell in the first round of qualifying to Pablo Cuevas by a score of 1-6, 6-4, 7-5. Hopes of cracking the top one hundred in the world rankings will have to wait for next year for Raonic.
Former tournament ball boy Roger Federer will be trying for his fourth career title in his hometown. Seeded first, Federer will try to avenge his loss from a year ago to Novak Djokovic. Prior to that result, Federer had won the event three years in a row.
The Swiss great will open against a tricky opponent in Alexandr Dolgopolov. This is the first career meeting between the two and I feel it has upset potential written all over it. Dolgopolov is a talented youngster who has yet to have his break-out moment or victory. He plays a game with a ton of variety, has a deadly serve that is hard to read and displays great touch with his frequent drop-shots. If Roger is not on his game he could find himself in a real battle here.
Beyond Dolgopolov, Federer could face Janko Tipsarevic and Jurgen Melzer in successive matches.
In the second quarter American Andy Roddick will face compatriot Sam Querrey in an entertaining first round. I put this one at 50/50 given Roddick’s questionable health of late. David Nalbandian and Marin Cilic are also lurking in this difficult section of the draw.
In the bottom half, look for number two seed Djokovic to emerge to the finals. It would be great to see him and Fed go at it again. The Djoker will have to navigate around big serving John Isner in his quarter, and then potentially Ivan Ljubicic or Tomas Berdych in order to make it back to the finals.
After this week the Paris Masters is on the horizon, followed by a brief hiatus prior to the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals. Enjoy the tennis while it is still here and talk to you again next week.
From the Austrian Postal Service launching a commemorative Roger Federer stamp to the Andre Agassi Foundation raising $8 million during the Grand Slam for Children event in Las Vegas to former top-ranked doubles player Ai Sugiyama retiring from professional tennis to Li Na signing with IMG to tennis icon Jack Kramer being remembered at a memorial service at Starus Stadium at UCLA to John Isner and Melanie Oudin agreeing to team up in January to represent the United States in Hopman Cup, these stories caught the attention of tennis fans and insiders this week.
According to a report by AFP, the Austrian Postal Service will launch a commemorative stamp honoring Roger Federer and his record 15 Grand Slam singles titles. About 400,000 Federer stamps will be issued.
The Andre Agassi Foundation’s Grand Slam for Children event raised $8 million over the weekend in Las Vegas. The Engelstad Family Foundation also pledged another $7.5 million to Agassi’s Foundation over a five year period.
Ai Sugiyama of Japan has retired from the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour following a first round defeat to Nadia Petrova at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo. Sugiyama was honored on court during a special ceremony put on by WTA Tour officials and players to honor her remarkable career, which included speeches by her regular doubles partners Daniela Hantuchova and Katarina Srebotnik. Throughout her career, Sugiyama won six singles titles, 38 doubles titles and earned more than $8 million in tournament prize money.
Li Na, the highest ranked Chinese player ever on the WTA Tour, has signed a representation deal with IMG. “We are very pleased to have Li Na as an IMG client,” said Max Eisenbud, the Senior Vice President of IMG.
Tennis legend and the first executive of the ATP Tour Jack Kramer was remembered on Saturday during a memorial service at the Los Angeles Tennis Center on the campus on UCLA. Hundreds of people were in attendance during the service, as former WTA Tour star Pam Shriver and Los Angeles Times reporter Bill Dwyre acted as hosts of the ceremony. Barry MacKay, Tracy Austin, Donald Dell, US Open tournament director Jim Curley and former player Charlie Pasarell were among the speakers during the service.
John Isner and Melanie Oudin will represent the United States at the Hopman Cup from January 2-9, 2010 in Perth, Australia.
The inaugural Maria Sharapova South American Tour will take place from November 29 to December 4 and will feature the former Grand Slam singles champion and Argentine Gisela Dulko. The tour will feature exhibition matches between the players in San Paulo, Brazil on November 29, Santiago, Chile on December 2 and Buenos Aires, Argentina on December 4. Fashion shows, charity appearances and tennis clinics for the local children will also be a part of the three-city exhibition series.
The USTA and Levy Restaurants, the official restaurateur of the US Open, combined to donate more than 21,000 pounds of unused food from the US Open to City Harvest. City Harvest, which is based in New York City, is a food rescue organization that feeds people in need of food. “We are very thankful to the USTA and Levy Restaurants and for this generous donation,” said Jilly Stephens, the Executive Director at City Harvest. “Our long-standing partnership with the US Open demonstrates their commitment to helping us feed hungry New Yorkers.”
AEGON signed a five-year deal until 2013 to become the title sponsor of the prestigious Masters Tennis at Royal Albert Hall in London and will now be called the AEGON Masters Tennis. The tournament has featured former Wimbledon champions such as Pete Sampras, John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg. “We are delighted to welcome AEGON as our new title sponsor,” said Peter Worth, the Senior Vice President of IMG.
Defending US Open champion Kim Clijsters has announced her 2010 tournament schedule. Clijsters will play at Brisbane, Australian Open, Fed Cup, Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid, French Open, Eastbourne/Rosmalen, Wimbledon, Cincinnati, Montreal, US Open, Beijing and possibly the year-end championships in Doha.
The 2010 Davis Cup World Group opening round ties have been announced:
Spain vs. Switzerland
France vs. Germany
Russia vs. India
Sweden vs. Argentina
Croatia vs. Ecuador
Serbia vs. United States
Chile vs. Israel
Belgium vs. Czech Republic
Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu has signed a sponsorship deal with Lagardere.
Romanian Andrei Pavel officially retired from the ATP World Tour following a straight sets loss to Pablo Cuevas in his hometown tournament last week in Bucharest. Pavel, who lives in the United States, will continue to be the captain for the Romanian Davis Cup team and has plans to open a tennis academy in Arizona.
Argentine tennis player Sergio Roitman has announced that he will retire from the ATP World Tour at the conclusion of the Copa Petrobas Challenger tournament in Buenos Aires. Roitman reached a career high ranking of No. 62 in October 2007 and has won more than $1.2 million in tournament prize money. “It is a strange moment for me, but the time has come for me to leave professional tennis,” said Roitman.
A lawsuit filed against Frenchman Richard Gasquet has been dismissed in Parisian courts stating no finding whether he took cocaine or if somebody else was responsible.
A Serbian court has confirmed that Jelena Dokic’s father has been sentenced to 15-months in prison for threatening to kill the Australian Ambassador to Serbia.
The Tennis Industry Association (TIA) is set to launch the website, www.playtennis.com. The website is designed to allow people to join the sport, learn more about tennis and get on a system to become a frequent player. “PlayTennis.com will be the first step,” said TIA President Jon Muir. “We’ll get key messaging out there through this site. It’s a wonderful opportunity for all stakeholders to get behind.”
Nine tennis professionals earned the distinction of Master Professional by the USPTA. The nine honorees were honored during the recent USPTA World Conference on Tennis at the Marriott Resort, Golf Club and Spa in Marco Island, Fla. Only about one percent of the 15,000 USPTA members have achieved the Master Professional merit.
Cory Ross of Littleton, Colo., won the men’s open division $30,000 USPTA International Championships on Thursday in Marco Island, while Marina McCollom of West Des Moines, Iowa won the women’s open division title.
Robert Greene Jr., of Rangeley, Maine, who is the Director of Tennis at the Balsams Grand Resort Hotel in Dixville Notch, N.H., earned the USPTA’s Alex Gordon Award for the Professional of the Year.
Roger Federer beat Novak Djokovic 6-1 7-5 to win the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Elena Dementieva beat Maria Sharapova 6-4 6-3 to win the Rogers Cup in Toronto, Canada
Pat Cash successfully defended his International Tennis Hall of Fame Champions Cup singles title, defeating Jim Courier 6-3 6-4 in Newport, Rhode Island, USA
“It’s been a wonderful summer.” – Roger Federer, winning his first tournament title after the birth of his twin daughters.
“The closest I was going to get to the first-place trophy is now.” – Novak Djokovic, while standing five feet (1.5m) from the crystal bowl that Roger Federer collected by winning the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters.
“I returned poorly and served poorly. Against Roger, if you do both of those things, it’s going to be very difficult.” – Andy Murray, after his semifinal loss to Roger Federer in Cincinnati.
“It’s only a number. I hope to be ready in the future to come back to number two or to be in the top position. Number three is a very good number, too.” – Rafael Nadal, who is now ranked number three in the world.
“When you have so many important points and every point is so tough, you have to give 100 percent. It really kills your brain more than physical.” – Alisa Kleybanova, after outlasting Jelena Jankovic 6-7 (6) 7-6 (7) 6-2 in Toronto.
“It’s tough to think about the winner’s circle because you have to take it one match at a time.” – Maria Sharapova, who has returned to the WTA Tour following a nine-month layoff.
“It’s big because it was against Venus.” – Kateryna Bondarenko, after upsetting Venus Williams in an opening round match at Toronto.
“It’s my brain. I know exactly what I have to do, but if I’m not using my brain, I’m not doing the things my coach is telling me.” – Dinara Safina, after losing her second-round match at Toronto.
“It’s difficult to push yourself to play relaxed, even though you know this is the end. But still, you are a player deep inside, so it comes out in important moments, and you want to win no matter what.” – Marat Safin, after winning his first-round match in Cincinnati.
“I’m actually having a competition with myself to see how many errors and double-faults I can make and still win the match in two sets.” – Maria Sharapova, after winning her second-round match in Toronto.
“I’ve already missed a Masters’ event this year when I got married, so I guess that wasn’t an option here unless I wanted to pay everyone off.” – Andy Roddick, on why he played in Cincinnati despite playing the two weeks prior.
“You just try to first get the ball back.” – Roger Federer, when asked the secret of playing winning tennis.
“Depending on the draw, my pick at this point is (Andy) Murray or (Andy) Roddick.” – John McEnroe, forecasting the winner of this year’s US Open men’s singles.
“I think there could be a battle for the number one in the world. That’s what everybody hopes for. This year the tour is very tough and it’s tight at the top. Hopefully that’s what we’ll get to see.” – Andy Murray, on the battle looming at the season-ending ATP World Tour Championships.
“My overhead cost has gone down considerably.” – Brian Wood, a promoter for a tennis exhibition in Asheville, North Carolina, after replacing Andre Agassi and Marat Safin with Rajeev Ram and Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo.
SETTING THE TABLE?
Elena Dementieva put herself in good company by beating Maria Sharapova and winning the Rogers Cup in Toronto, Canada. The fourth-seeded Dementieva captured her third title of the year and during the week won her 50th match of the season, something only Dinara Safina and Caroline Wozniacki had done in 2009. The Russian hopes to follow in the footsteps of the last three Toronto winners – Justine Henin in 2003, Kim Clijsters in 2005 and Henin again in 2007. They went on to win the US Open. The gold-medalist at the Beijing Olympics, Dementieva has never won a Grand Slam tournament.
SET FOR US OPEN
Despite not winning a tournament, Rafael Nadal says he’s ready for the US Open. Nadal had not played since suffering an injury at Roland Garros this spring until the past two weeks, in Montreal and Cincinnati. “These two weeks, winning three matches here and two matches (in Montreal), winning five matches and playing seven matches in total, it’s enough matches I think,” said the Spaniard, who has seen his ranking drop from number one in the world to number three during his absence from the court. “We will see how I am physically to play the five-set matches,” he said. “I know when I am playing well I can play at this level. But you only can win against these top players when you are playing your best tennis.”
Serena Williams is the second player to qualify for the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships, which will be played October 27-November 1 in Doha, Qatar. The reigning Australian Open and Wimbledon champion joins Dinara Safina to have clinched spots in the eight-player field. By winning both the singles and doubles titles at the Australian Open, Serena became the first professional female athlete to surpass USD $23 million in career earnings. She moved past Lindsay Davenport as the all-time prize money leader on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. Davenport has earned USD $22,144,735. And because she and her sister Venus Williams have won three doubles titles this year – the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, California, USA – the sisters currently rank second in the Race to the Sony Ericsson Championships Doubles Standings.
Andy Murray has qualified for the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, which will be held November 22-29 in London. The Scot joins Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal as the first three singles players to qualify for the elite eight-man event. By winning the Rogers Cup in Montreal, Canada, Murray moved up to a career-high number two in the world behind Federer. That snapped the four-year domination of Federer and Nadal at the top of the men’s game. The 22-year-old Murray is the first ATP player to record 50 match wins this year and has won five titles in 2009: Montreal, Doha, Rotterdam, Miami and Queen’s Club in London, where he became the first British champion since Henry “Bunny” Austin in 1938.
Pat Cash loves grass court tennis. The 1987 Wimbledon champion successfully defended his singles title on the grass courts of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, beating Jim Courier 6-3 6-4 in Newport, Rhode Island, USA. It was Cash’s second career victory in the Outback Champions Series, the global tennis circuit for players age 30 and over. Courier, once ranked number one in the world, is still seeking his first professional title on grass.
SHARING A TEAM
If only the Miami Dolphins were as well-known on the football field as their owners. Sisters Serena and Venus Williams are believed to be acquiring a stake in the National Football League team. Musicians Gloria and Emilio Estefan and Marc Anthony recently bought small shared of the team, while owner Stephen Ross forged a partnership with singer Jimmy Buffett.
Juan Martin del Potro is paying the price for his success. The sixth-ranked Argentine pulled out of the Cincinnati Masters because of fatigue. Del Potro reached the final of the Montreal Masters one week after winning the tournament in Washington, DC. He played 24 sets in two weeks. Winning seven matches at the US Open would take between 21 and 35 sets over a two-week period.
Gilles Muller of Luxembourg and Ivo Minar of the Czech Republic won’t be around when the year’s final Grand Slam tournament gets underway in New York’s Flushing Meadow at the end of this month. Muller withdrew from the US Open because of a knee injury. He is best known for upsetting Andy Roddick in the opening round of the US Open in 2005 when he went on to reach the quarterfinals. Muller’s spot in this year’s tournament will be taken by Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay. An injury also has sidelined Minar. With his withdrawal, Rajeev Ram moves into the main draw.
SQUANDERING MATCH POINTS
Brothers Bob and Mike Bryan led 9-4 in the match tiebreak before Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic rallied to win the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters doubles in Cincinnati. In all, Nestor and Zimonjic saved eight match points before prevailing over the top-seeded and defending champions 3-6 7-6 (2) 15-13. Nestor and Zimonjic won six straight points but failed to convert their first match at 10-9. They were successful on their second match point, improving their record to 44-10 as a team this year and collecting their eighth title of 2009. Both teams have already clinched spots in the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, which will be held in London in November.
Instead of Andre Agassi and Marat Safin, spectators at a tennis exhibition in Asheville, North Carolina, will instead be watching Rajeev Ram and Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo. When only 1,100 tickets had been sold for the 6,000-seat Asheville Civic Center, promoter Brian Wood decided to replace Agassi and Safin. He also dropped the ticket price from a high of USD $200 to a top price of USD $25. The promoter said tickets purchased for the Agassi-Safin match will be refunded. This wasn’t the first change in the program. Originally Safin was to play Novak Djokovic on August 6. When the date was changed to August 28, Djokovic was replaced by Agassi. “We could have canceled altogether or moved forward on a much lower scale, and that’s what we did,” Woods said. “The guys coming are still world class players who play at an extremely high level.”
John McEnroe is covering the airwaves as tightly as he did the court in his playing days. This year Johnny Mac will join the ESPN broadcasting team for its coverage of the US Open. The broadcast will have its own brand of family ties. John will work with his younger brother Patrick, who has been a mainstay at ESPN since 1995. He also will team with ESPN’s Mary Carillo. The two won the French Open mixed doubles in 1977.
Taylor Dent leads a group of five Americans who have been given wild cards into the main draw of the US Open men’s singles. The United States Tennis Association (USTA) said they have also issued wild cards to Devon Britton, Chase Buchanan, Jesse Levine and Ryan Sweeting, along with Australian Chris Guccione and a player to be named by the French Tennis Association. Dent had climbed as high as 21 in the world before undergoing three back surgeries and missing two years on the tour.
Nine men have been awarded wild card entries into the US Open qualifying tournament, which will be held August 25-28 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Receiving wild card berths into the qualifying are Americans Lester Cook, Alexander Domijan, Ryan Harrison, Scoville Jenkins, Ryan Lipman, Tim Smyczek, Blake Strode and Michael Venus, along with Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria.
Australian Alicia Molik is returning to the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. Once ranked as high as number eight in the world, Molik hasn’t played since losing in the opening round in both singles and doubles at the Beijing Olympics. Molik has asked for a wild card into the US Open where she plans on playing only doubles with American Meghann Shaughnessy. Her future plans call for her playing singles in a low-level International Tennis Federation (ITF) tournament in Darwin, Australia, in September. Molik won four of her five WTA titles in a six-month period in 2004-05 before a middle-ear condition affected her vision and balance, forcing her off the tour in April 2005. An elbow injury followed, leading to her announcing her retirement earlier this year.
Although he hasn’t played on the ATP Tour since March 2007, Thailand’s Paradorn Srichaphan says he has not retired from tennis. “I’m not going to quit,” he said. “I just want to be back when I’m really ready.” Srichaphan underwent operations on his wrist in Los Angeles in 2007 and in Bangkok, Thailand, this year. He originally had planned to return to play last year, and then postponed it until the Thailand Open this September. But now he says he may not play in a tournament until 2010.
SITE TO SEE
Tennis Canada is considering combining both ATP and WTA events into one tournament the same week and playing it in both Toronto and Montreal at the same time. Under that plan, each city would stage one-half of the men’s main draw and one half of the women’s main draw. Montreal and Toronto would each stage a final, meaning one of the men’s and one of the women’s finalists would switch cities, making the one-hour trip by private jet. Currently the tournaments are run on consecutive weeks with the men’s and women’s events alternating annually between Montreal and Toronto. This year the ATP tournament was held in Montreal a week ago and won by Andy Murray. Elena Dementieva captured the women’s title in Toronto on Sunday. But the ATP and WTA are pushing for more combined tournaments, a trend that resulted in the creative suggestion by Tennis Canada.
David Shoemaker is the new president of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. The 36-year-old Shoemaker previously was the Tour’s chief operating officer, general counsel and head of the Asia-Pacific region. The native of Ottawa, Canada, succeeds Stacey Allaster, who was recently appointed the tour’s chairman and CEO. In his new job, Shoemaker will be responsible for the day-to-day operations and business affairs of the tour, tournament and player relations, strategic expansion of the sport in key growth markets; international television and digital media rights distribution, and the tour’s year-end Championships.
The ATP also has a new executive. Laurent Delanney has been promoted to Chief Executive Officer, Europe, and will be based in the tour’s European headquarters in Monte Carlo, Monaco. A former agent who managed a number of top players, including Yannick Noah, Delanney joined the ATP’s European office in 1994, serving most recently as senior vice president, ATP Properties, the business arm of the ATP. The 49-year-old Delanney began his career with ProServ, a sports management and marketing agency, and at one time was marketing and publication operations manager for Club Med in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
SHOW AND TELL
The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum’s gallery exhibition at this year’s US Open will be titled “The Grand Slam: Tennis’ Ultimate Achievement.” The exhibit chronicles the accomplishment of the calendar-year Grand Slam as 2009 marks the 40th anniversary of Rod Laver’s 1969 singles Grand Slam and the 25th anniversary of Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver’s 1984 doubles Grand Slam. Among the many stars featured in the exhibit are Don Budge, Maureen Connolly, Margaret Smith Court, Steffi Graf, Maria Bueno, Martina Hingis and Stefan Edberg. The exhibition will be on view from August 29 through September 13 in the US Open Gallery.
The telling of the 2008 epic Wimbledon final between eventual winner Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer earned New York Daily News columnist Filip Bondy a first-place award from the United States Tennis Writers’ Association. The three-judge panel called Bondy’s story “a masterful, compelling account of the greatest match, told with vivid quotes and observations, a deft touch, and a grand sense of tennis history.” Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle, Tim Joyce of RealClearSports.com and Paul Fein, whose work was published by TennisOne.com and Sportstar, each were double winners. The awards will be presented during the USTWA’s annual meeting at the US Open.
Cincinnati: Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic beat Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan 3-6 7-6 (2) 15-13 (match tiebreak)
Toronto: Nuria Llagostera Vives and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez beat Samantha Stosur and Rennae Stubbs 2-6 7-5 11-9 (match tiebreak)
SITES TO SURF
New Haven: www.pilotpentennis.com/
New York: www.usopen.org
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
(All money in USD)
$750,000 Pilot Pen Tennis, New Haven, Connecticut, USA, hard
$600,000 Pilot Pen Tennis Presented by Schick, New Haven, Connecticut, USA, hard
$100,000 EmblemHealth Bronx Open, Bronx, New York, USA, hard
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
ATP and WTA
US Open (first week), New York, New York, USA, hard
Tommy Haas beat Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-7 (4) 6-1 to win the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany
Andy Murray won the AEGON Championships in London, Great Britain, defeating James Blake 7-5 6-4
Magdalena Rybarikova beat Li Na 6-0 7-6 (2) to win the AEGON Classic in Birmingham, Great Britain
Stanislas Wawrinka beat Potito Starace 7-5 6-3 to win the BSI Lugano Challenger in Lugano, Switzerland
Iona-Raluca Olaru beat Masa Zec-Peskiric 6-7 (4) 7-5 6-4 to win the Open GDF Suez de Marseille in Marseille, France
“I’m a long way from winning Wimbledon, but I feel confident. I’ll try and not get too far ahead of myself and focus on my first match there, but if I play my best like I did this week, I’ve got a chance.” – Andy Murray, after winning at Queen’s Club.
“It’s incredible, I can hardly believe it myself when I think of the highs and lows I’ve been through in the last year and a half.” – Tommy Haas, after winning his first grass-court title.
“I was so excited last night after I beat Sharapova I forgot I had a match today.” Li Na, who lost in the final after upsetting Maria Sharapova in the semifinals of the AEGON Classic in Birmingham, Great Britain.
“I still felt like I had many chances in this match, but I have played five matches in the last six days and after that you just hope you wake up with that intensity you need. Against her you need that.” – Maria Sharapova, after losing to Li Na.
“Winning today is the best feeling of my career so far. It’s unbelievable. Just like a dream.” – Magdalena Rybarikova, after winning her first WTA title, the AEGON Classic in Birmingham, Great Britain.
“I had a good week. Playing on the grass, I always have a lot of fun playing here. I feel great. I’ve been working with my coach and trainer, and I know I’m doing the best preparation possible for Wimbledon. I’ll be ready to play and feel great about my chances.” – James Blake, after reaching the final at Queen’s Club.
“A problem a lot of people in this country have is expecting huge things, thinking that it’s just going to happen.” – Andy Murray, concerning the British public hoping he can win Wimbledon.
“I think he’s over the biggest hurdle in his tennis with the French under his belt. Pete Sampras, Boris Becker, John McEnroe, great players, never did. The monkey is off Roger’s back and he’ll play, not with abandon, but with excitement, enjoyment and freedom. He’ll be Wimbledon champion again next month unless someone catches fire like Robin Soderling did against Nadal.” – Rod Laver, on Roger Federer winning the French Open.
“I’ve had good times and bad times. That’s me. That’s how I am. I’m really lucky and I’m happy that the ATP has allowed me to do what I want to do on the court. They’ve been nice to me throughout the years and that’s made it much easier for me to play this way.” – Marat Safin, talking about his career.
“I have now, after a lot of thinking, decided to put an end to my professional tennis career.” – Thomas Johansson, announcing his retirement from competitive tennis.
“There comes a time in every man’s life when he needs to settle down. In my case, again.” – Boris Becker, after marrying Dutch model Sharlely “Lilly” Kerssenberg, his second marriage.
When Andy Murray beat James Blake in the AEGON Championships final, he became the first British player to win at Queen’s Club since Bunny Austin in 1938. “I was quite nervous,” Murray admitted. “People were telling me that no (Briton) had won here for 70-odd years, so that got the nerves going, especially when I was serving for the match.” The fact he won on grass will only increase the belief – and the pressure – that Murray, ranked third in the world, will win Wimbledon. A Brit hasn’t won on the grass courts of the All England Club since Fred Perry did it in 1936.
Magdalena Rybarikova could be called the women’s champion of China. The little-known Slovakian won her first WTA title at the AEGON Classic in Birmingham, Great Britain, stopping China’s Li Na 6-0 7-6 (2) in the final. In the quarterfinals, the 20-year-old Rybarikova upset top-seeded Zheng Jie of China 7-6 (10) 6-4. “I was very nervous in the tiebreak, but she looked more nervous than me, so that helped me concentrate even harder,” Rybarikova said of Li. In the semifinals, Li upset Maria Sharapova, her first victory over the Russian in six career meetings.
Japan’s Kimiko Date Krumm will play at Wimbledon for the first time in 13 years. The 38-year-old Date Krumm was given a wild card into the main draw. Once ranked as high as number four in the world, Date Krumm reached the semifinals in 1996, the last time she played on the grass of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. She retired from her first-round qualifying match at the French Open last month because of a calf injury.
Can Laura Robson match the exploits of Martina Hingis? Thanks to a wild card, Britain’s 15-year-old junior Wimbledon champion will be the youngest player in the women’s main draw since Hingis in 1995. Hingis went on to become number one in the world. Robson is ranked 482nd in the world, but was given a wild card via a clause that allows juniors to be included under “exceptional circumstances.” Others receiving wild cards into the women’s main draw include Elena Baltacha, Alexa Glatch, Michelle Larcher de Brito, Katie O’Brien, Georgie Stoop and Melanie South.
Juan Carlos Ferrero, the 2003 French Open champion from Spain who has been ranked as high as number one in the world, has been given a wild card entry into this year’s Wimbledon men’s draw, along with 2008 Wimbledon and US Open junior champion Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria. Also given wild cards into the men’s singles were Britons Alex Bogdanovic, Daniel Evans, Joshua Goodall and James Ward.
Although he ended up winning the tournament, it didn’t appear in the semifinals that Tommy Haas had a chance of advancing in the Gerry Weber Open. In an all-German semifinal in Halle, Germany, Haas trailed 5-2 in the third set before edging Philipp Kohlschreiber 2-6 7-6 (5) 7-6 (3). A year ago, Kohlschreiber beat Haas in the second round en route to the final at Halle. This year, Kohlschreiber served for the match while leading 5-3 but played a sloppy game. Haas made him pay for it, serving his 15th ace of the day on his third match point. It was the first tournament Haas has won since Memphis, Tennessee, USA, in 2007.
Sweden’s Thomas Johansson, who won the Australian Open in 2002, retired from competitive tennis at the age of 34. Besides his surprising win in Melbourne, where he beat Marat Safin in the title match, Johansson won eight other ATP titles and reached the semifinals at Wimbledon in 2005, where he lost to Andy Roddick. Last year, Johansson teamed with Simon Aspelin to win the silver medal in doubles at the Beijing Olympics, losing the gold-medal match to Switzerland’s Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka.
A 24-year-old man was sentenced to nine months in prison and fined USD $17,200 for rioting outside the Davis Cup match between Israel and Sweden. The Swede was one of 10 people arrested after protesting Israel’s offensive in Gaza. Earlier, an 18-year-old was sentenced to 15 months in prison for rioting. A third man has been acquitted because of lack of evidence.
ST. MORITZ WEDDING
Boris Becker has married for the second time. The German tennis great and Dutch model Sharlely “Lilly” Kerssenberg tied the knot in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Attending the wedding were Becker’s two sons, 15-year-old Noah and 9-year-old Elias. along with Prince Albert of Monaco, supermodel Claudia Schiffer, cyclist Jan Ulrich and his wife Sara, and soccer stars Franz Beckenbaur and Oliver Kahn, among others. The newly-weds had announced their plan to get married when they appeared on a German television show in February.
SITTING IT OUT
Saying he was “overwhelmed” and “exhausted” after winning his first French Open title, Roger Federer pulled out of the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany, his usual grass-court warm-up for Wimbledon. “I sincerely apologize to the tournament organizers, my competitors, and my fans in Germany. I only hope they will understand that I still feel emotionally overwhelmed and exhausted by the incredible events of the past few days,” Federer said on his Web site.
Before he began his victorious run at the Gerry Weber Open, Tommy Haas withdrew from Germany’s Davis Cup quarterfinal against Spain, saying the clay court matches would put too much strain on his body. Haas, once ranked as high as number two in the world, did not play in the last Davis Cup World Group against Austria after being sidelined with a shoulder injury for much of 2008.
No longer will the Swiss Indoors tournament be held at St. Jakobshalle in Basel, Switzerland. Oh, it will be held at the same venue, but the name of the hall is being changed to Roger Federer Arena. Basel sports director Peter Howald said the city had discussed ways of honoring the new French Open champion, who completed a career Grand Slam and tied Pete Sampras’ record of 14 major singles title with his clay court victory at Roland Garros. Federer is a three-time defending champion of the Swiss Indoors.
The team didn’t last long at all. Ana Ivanovic has broken up with coach Craig Kardon. Ivanovic had hired Kardon, once a coach for Martina Navratilova, in February as a replacement on a temporary basis for Sven Groeneveld. But the Serb, who won Roland Garros last year, continued her fall in the WTA rankings. Once ranked number one in the world, she dropped out of the top ten following her fourth-round French Open loss this year. Ivanovic said she will use a temporary coach when she plays at Wimbledon.
Damir Dokic has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for making death threats against the Australian ambassador to Serbia. “The sentence is inappropriate and we are going to appeal,” said Dokic’s lawyer, Bosiljka Djukic. “We hope that the higher court will annul this sentence.” The father of tennis player Jelena Dokic, Damir Dokic was arrested in early May after he reportedly said he would “attack the ambassador and her husband with a stinger missile.” Police found two hand grenades and 20 bullets in his house for which Dokic had no permit, in addition to seven hunting rifles and a handgun which he owned legally. The alleged threats came after Jelena, once ranked fourth in the world, was quoted in Australia’s Sports & Style magazine describing the torment she endured under her father.
The start of the third-round match at Queen’s Club between Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt was delayed by a bomb threat. Both players stayed on court while officials searched the entire site but found nothing. Roddick and Hewitt were seen laughing and talking with each other during the break in play. Roddick ended up winning the match.
The late Arthur Ashe and his widow, Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, will be recognized with the Eugene L. Scott Award by the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum (ITHFM). Presented annually since 2006, the award honors an individual who embodies Scott’s commitment to communicating honestly and critically about the game and who has had a significant impact on the tennis world. “Arthur and Jeanne have used their voices, which have been amplified through the game of tennis, to change the world in so many ways that it’s fitting to present them as one with the Eugene L. Scott Award,” said Christopher E. Clouser, chairman of the ITHFM. “Humanitarians like Arthur and Jeanne are few and far between and we should recognize them for the contributions they have made to help enact change.” The award will be presented at the 29th annual “Legends Ball” on September 11 in New York City. Also being honored will be Rod Laver and the four newest members of the Hall of Fame: Donald L. Dell, Andres Gimeno, the late Dr. Robert Johnson and Monica Seles.
SELLING LIKE HOTCAKES
The 2009 US Open is a hot ticket. The first day of ticket sales to the general public for this year’s final Grand Slam tournament was the second-best opening day in US Open history. With nearly 35,000 tickets sold, it is only the second time that opening day ticket sales topped 30,000 tickets. This year’s total trails only last year’s event. In the six days leading up to the public sale, the US Open pre-sale for American Express members set an all-time sales mark of more than 31,000 tickets.
The Australian Open is continuing to lose sponsors. The latest is Qantas, which is ending its 21-year agreement with the year’s first Grand Slam tournament. In the past few months, the Australian Open has lost several other major sponsors, including Master Card, Garnier and GE Money. Three major sponsors say they will continue, including Kia Motors, Rolex and Lacoste.
The Swedish Tennis Association (STA) has had its fine reduced by the International Federation of Tennis (ITF) Board of Directors. The board agreed to reduce the fine from USD $25,000 to USD $5,000, but upheld the original decision by the Davis Cup Committee not to waive the gross receipts payment of $15,000. The Committee took the action following Sweden’s first-round Davis Cup tie against Israel, which was played behind closed doors in Malmo, Sweden.
Birmingham: Cara Black and Liezel Huber beat Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears 6-1 6-4
London: Wesley Moodie and Mikhail Youzhny beat Marcelo Melo and Andrew Sa 6-4 4-6 10-6 (match tiebreak)
Halle: Christopher Kas and Philipp Kohlschreiber beat Andreas Beck and Marco Chiudinelli 6-3 6-4
Marseille: Tathiana Garbin and Maria-Emilia Salerni beat Timea Bacsinszky and Elena Bovina 6-7 (4) 6-3 10-7 (match tiebreak)
Lugano: Johan Brunstrom and Jean-Julien Rojer beat Pablo Cuevas and Sergio Roitman walkover
SITES TO SURF
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
(All money in USD)
$600,000 Ordina Open, s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, grass
$600,000 AEGON International, Eastbourne, Great Britain, grass
$600,000 AEGON International, Eastbourne, Great Britain, grass
$220,000 Ordina Open, s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, grass
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
ATP and WTA
The Championships (first week), Wimbledon, Great Britain, grass
Roger Federer beat Rafael Nadal 6-4 6-4 to win the Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open men’s singles in Madrid, Spain
Dinara Safina beat Caroline Wozniacki 6-2 6-4 in Madrid, Spain, to win the women’s singles at the Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open.
Marc Gicquel beat Mathieu Montcourt 3-6 6-1 6-4 to win the BNP Paribas Primrose Bordeaux in Bordeaux, France
“I thought I took all the right decisions today. In the end it was a perfect game for me. (You) stay positive and I did. I got the win I needed badly.” – Roger Federer, after beating Rafael Nadal.
“There are no positives, there is little to analyze. He broke and broke and I went home.” – Rafael Nadal, after losing to Roger Federer.
“I’m very disappointed I can play this well and still not win a match.” – Novak Djokovic, after losing to Rafael Nadal in the semifinals.
“Since I became No. 1 I’m playing better and better.” – Dinara Safina, after winning the Madrid Open women’s title.
“I don’t want anybody telling me all the time what to do. I want to do my own thing. I’m more relaxed, easy going. I’m not worried too much. If it goes my way, fine. If not, I’ll keep trying.” – Svetlana Kuznetsova, who hired Larisa Savchenko as her new coach.
“After a few weeks of training I got the hunger back. I felt really good and wanted the challenge to see if I can still be up there (competing on the tour).” – Kim Clijsters, a former top-ranked player who will return to the WTA Tour in August.
“It’s going to be a challenge but she seems really determined. She has the talent and the tennis. I really think she can do it.” – Steffi Graf, on Kim Clijsters rejoining the WTA Tour.
“It is truly a page that has been turned. It was 20 years of my life. Now life is something different.” – Justine Henin, saying she will not follow Kim Clijsters in returning to the WTA Tour.
“Sometimes it’s hard to fully accept change in some respects. It’s an exciting change, it’s an asset for fans and for players.” – Andre Agassi, about the roof over Wimbledon’s famed Centre Court.
“That’s saying something when this is already the best and most famous court in the world, but I’m intrigued to see what level the atmosphere might go to. Given the right scenarios with the right match and players, it could be really something.” – Tim Henman, on the new roof covering Wimbledon’s famed Centre Court.
“The small amounts gambled (and) the absence of influence of the bets on the matches in question.” – The Court of Arbitration for Sport, announcing the reason that the suspension of Mathieu Montcourt for betting on matches has been reduced from eight to five weeks.
SUCCESS AT LAST
Roger Federer ended his five-match losing streak to his top rival when he shocked Rafael Nadal in the final of the Madrid Open. That stretch included the finals at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the Australian Open. Calling his first win over Nadal since the 2007 Masters Tennis Cup “very satisfying,” Federer now trails in their head-to-head meetings 7-13. It was the 16th time the two have played for a title, with Nadal winning 11 times. Only Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe have met in more finals among the men: 20. And it was only the second time that Federer has beaten Nadal on clay. The Swiss star is the only player ranked in the top 10 to have ever beaten Nadal on the surface.
Organizers of the Dubai Tennis Championships have agreed to pay a USD $300,000 fine assessed against the tournament when Israel’s Shahar Peer was not allowed to enter the country. The WTA Tour board rejected Dubai’s appeal of the record fine, which was more than twice as much as the previous highest. The United Arab Emirates refused to grant Peer a visa just before she was due to arrive at the Dubai tournament in February. The WTA Tour also demanded that any Israeli players who qualify for the 2010 tournament must receive visas at least eight weeks before the tournament. “I just say that it’s a shame that Shahar could not compete in the tournament because she has nothing to do with the politics – she’s a tennis player,” said top-ranked Dinara Safina.
Emilie Loit and five other Frenchwomen have been awarded wild cards for direct entry into the main draw at this year’s Roland Garros. The French Open begins on May 24 in Paris. Claire Feuerstein, Kinnie Laisne, Kristina Mladenovic, Irena Pavlovic and Olivia Sanchez will be joined by American Lauren Embree and Australian Olivia Rogowska in receiving wild cards from the French Tennis Federation. Given wild cards into the women’s qualifying draw were Chloe Babet, Simona Halep, Florence Haring, Violette Huck, Karla Mraz, Laura Thorpe, Aurelie Vedy and Stephanie Vongsouthi.
Kim Clijsters made a splash when she helped inaugurate the new roof over Wimbledon’s Centre Court. After Clijsters and Tim Henman teamed up to win a mixed doubles challenge against Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi, Clijsters beat Graf 6-4 and earned a standing ovation from the crowd for the quality of tennis. “I had started practicing again, but I was really out of shape and I didn’t want to embarrass myself,” said Clijsters, who has married and had a child since she retired from the sport. “About four weeks into training I felt I would like to compete again on tour. Since then I have been training really hard.”
SEX AND TENNIS
Anna Kournikova wants to get away from her sexy tennis star image – at least somewhat. The Russian, who works for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and the Cartoon Network, says she is driven to get kids more involved in sports and exercise. Kournikova began her professional tennis career at the age of 14. And while many think of her as the sexy tennis player, she was ranked as high as eighth in the world in singles and won two Grand Slam tournament doubles titles, partnering with Martina Hingis. While she has not played on the WTA Tour since 2003, Kournikova participates in World Team Tennis and occasionally plays exhibitions. And she hasn’t abandoned modeling. “You’ve got to have some kind of income,” Kournikova said.
SPOT FOR GAUDIO
Gaston Gaudio of Argentina will be playing at Roland Garros again. Gaudio, who won the French Open in 2004, was granted a wild card for this year’s tournament. The 30-year-old right-hander last won a tournament at Kitzbuhel, Austria, in 2005. Once ranked fifth in the world, Gaudio has dropped to 395th in the world rankings.
It was a doubleheader at the Madrid Open when both Philipp Kohlschreiber and Nikolay Davydenko pulled out of the tournament. Both players said they had injured their left leg and had to withdraw. Kohlschreiber was facing Rafael Nadal in his next match, while Davydenko was scheduled to face Andy Roddick. Both Nadal and Roddick moved into the quarterfinals with walkovers.
SEE, ME TOO
Roland Garros is playing follow the leader, with officials saying the French Open will have a new center court with a retractable roof in place by 2013 or 2014. Wimbledon will have a retractable roof on its Centre Court for the first time at this year’s tournament. The retractable roof-covered stadium in Paris was supposed to be ready for the 2012 Olympics, but it was delayed when France failed to get the Games. Jean Gachassin, president of the French Tennis Federation (FFT), said the future of Roland Garros depends on it getting the roof. “The goal is to have an outdoor stadium that can be covered, instead of an indoor stadium that can be uncovered,” said Marc Mimram, the head architect for the project. The Australian Open has two courts with roofs, while organizers of the US Open are considering building a roof over its main court, Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf say their names and trademarks are being used on Web sites without their permission. The two, who are married, have filed separate cyber squatting claims in federal court. Agassi claims that the domain names andre-agassi.com, andre-agassi.net and andre-agassi.info have been registered. Graf says steffigraf.com, steffigraf.net and steffigraf.info have been registered without her consent. Both Agassi and Graf are seeking ownership of the domain names.
When he finally serves his suspension for betting on matches, Mathieu Montcourt will only miss five weeks on the ATP tour instead of eight weeks. And he will be able to compete at both Wimbledon and the US Open this summer. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) noted the 24-year-old Montcourt bet a total of USD $192 on 36 different tennis events, but none on his own matches or at tournaments where he was playing. Citing “the small amounts gambled (and) the absence of influence of the bets on the matches in question,” the CAS reduced Montcourt ban to five weeks, starting July 6. The Frenchman was a finalist this past week at the BNP Paribas Primrose Bordeaux where he lost to Marc Gicquel 3-6 6-1 6-4 in Bordeaux, France.
Just because she has picked up a racquet and hit with longtime coach Carlos Rodriguez, Justine Henin says she has no plans to un-retire like fellow Belgian Kim Clijsters. “I hasten to add, just to improve my condition and stay healthy,” Henin said of the practice. A year after she surprised the world by retiring while ranked number one in the world, Henin says she still feels the pain of competitive tennis every day. “If it is not the knee, it is the shoulder,” she said. The seven-time Grand Slam tournament champion is now a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, earlier this year visiting eastern Congo, and is appearing on Belgian television in a show titled “12 works of Justine Henin.”
SCRAPPING TENNIS PROGRAMS
In cost-cutting moves, two American colleges have dropped their tennis programs. Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana, suspended indefinitely its tennis programs affected 12 student-athletes, seven men and five women, as well as coach Malik Tabet and assistant coach Martha Montoya. Athletic director Ron Prettyman said he had to cut USD $350,000 from his budget. The university says it will honor all scholarships for the 2009-2010 school year for tennis players who want to stay at ISU, while those who want to transfer will be able to play at other schools.
At Southeastern Louisiana in Hammond, Louisiana, the men’s tennis team was cut because of the budget. Officials said the move to drop the 10-player squad was because next year’s proposed state budget calls for chopping millions of dollars from public universities. Southeastern plans to retain men’s tennis coach Jason Hayes, who also oversees the women’s team, which for now will be spared.
The University of La Verne in Southern California won’t drop its women’s tennis team after all. Two weeks after announcing it was dropping the sport temporarily, the women’s program has been reinstated. The biggest problem at the La Verne, California, school – located 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles – was the lack of a facility since the school turned the courts into a parking lot in 2007. But the school worked out a deal to use the facilities at The Claremont Club during the spring, making it possible for the school to keep its program. The men’s tennis program, however, remains on hiatus with no definitive timetable for its return.
Madrid (men): Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic beat Simon Aspelin and Wesley Moodie 6-4 6-4
Madrid (women): Cara Black and Liezel Huber beat Kveta Peschke and Lisa Raymond 4-6 6-3 10-6 (match tiebreak)
Bordeaux: Pablo Cuevas and Horacio Zeballos beat Xavier Pujo and Stephane Robert 4-6 6-4 10-4 (match tiebreak)
SITES TO SURF
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
(All money in USD)
$490,000 Interwetten Austrian Open, Kitzbuhel, Austria, clay
$1,800,000 ARAG ATP World Team Championships, Dusseldorf, Germany, clay
$600,000 Warsaw Open, Warsaw, Poland, clay
$220,000 Internationaux de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France, clay
Grand Champions Brazil, Sao Paulo, Brazil, hard
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
ATP and WTA
Roland Garros, Paris, France, clay (first week)
Sony Ericsson Open
Andy Murray won the Sony Ericsson Open men’s singles, defeating Novak Djokovic 6-2 7-5 in Miami, Florida, USA
Victoria Azarenka beat Serena Williams 6-3 6-1 to win the women’s singles at the Sony Ericsson Open
Pablo Cuevas defeated Victor Crivoi 6-1 6-3 to win the Tennis Napoli Cup in Napoli, Italy
“The majority of players now play so well from the baseline and both sides, that if you can use some slice and drop shots, some high balls and stuff, it just takes them out of their comfort zone. It’s my way of dictating how the match is getting played. A lot of people might not necessarily think my game looks the most aggressive or offensive, but very few times will I not have the points played how I like them to be played.” – Andy Murray, who beat Novak Djokovic to win the Sony Ericsson Open men’s singles.
“You have to say, ‘Well done.'” – Novak Djokovic.
“That’s the goal. That’s the whole reason I’m playing. I think everybody’s goal is to try to be number one. I’m not going to say, ‘I’m going to be there,’ but I’ll try to do my best.” – Victoria Azarenka, after winning the Sony Ericsson Open.
“It was a little difficult moving to the left and a little bit to the right. A little forward was also difficult.” – Serena Williams, whose movement was hampered in her loss to Victoria Azarenka in the final.
“It’s so important to any country, but particularly to such a small country like Belarus, because it’s certainly going to make the headline of general news tomorrow. It makes me proud. It makes me want to give back to the country that gave me so much. It’s just great. I think Victoria is an incredible story. It’s been a while since we had a female player that’s played at such a high level.” – Max Mirnyi, who won the men’s doubles, helping give Belarus two champions at the Sony Ericsson Open.
“Thank God the hard court season is over. It’s the end of the hard court season. I don’t care anymore. I’m moving over to clay, a new chapter.” – Roger Federer, who is turning his back on his favorite surface after he failed to win a hard court tournament this year.
“Wonderful for the crowd. Terrible for me.” – Rafael Nadal, after losing to Juan Martin del Potro in the Sony Ericsson Open.
“I beat him with my mind and with my game. When we played long points, I was dominating every time.” – Juan Martin del Potro, after upsetting Rafael Nadal.
“I believe we are the best in the world. I enjoy playing Serena because we challenge each other the most.” – Venus Williams, talking about her sister Serena.
“Playing her, it’s like I have to automatically be on a different level, because she’s already playing on a different level. Her balls are harder and her serve is way bigger. And it’s super fun to hit these serves that are like 120 mph. It’s frustrating but at the same time fun.” – Serena Williams, talking about her sister Venus.
“It’s easier if I would have just played terrible the whole time.” – Andy Roddick, after losing to Roger Federer in a tough three-set match.
”I don’t care whether I’m under the radar or on top of the radar. Whatever. I’m just living my life and I enjoy it.” – Svetlana Kuznetsova.
“When you are more behind (the baseline), the courts look smaller and the opponent has more time to think. When you play more inside, you have more chances to have the winner, the court is bigger. So, the sport is really easy. You don’t need to study a lot to know about the tennis.” – Rafael Nadal.
SIXTH TEENAGE CHAMPION
Victoria Azarenka joined a select group when she beat defending champion and top-ranked Serena Williams to win the Sony Ericsson Open women’s singles title. At the age of 19 years, eight months, Azarenka is only the sixth teenager to win the title in the tournament’s history. Other winners were Monica Seles (16 years, four months in 1990), Martina Hingis (16 years, six months in 1997), Steffi Graf (17 years, eight months in 1987), Venus Williams (17 years, nine months in 1998) and Gabriela Sabatini (18 years, 10 months in 1989). By winning, the Belarusian moved to a career-high number eight in the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Rankings. Azarenka lost just one set in her six matches. Williams was seeking a record sixth women’s singles title at the Sony Ericsson Open; she currently shares the record of five titles with Steffi Graf. By reaching the final, Serena Williams remained in the top spot in the WTA Tour rankings.
Rafael Nadal has a way of running away with matches once he gets ahead. That wasn’t true at the Sony Ericsson Open. The top-ranked Spaniard was up two breaks in the final set at 3-0 before Juan Martin del Potro won 12 of the next 14 points. “I played really bad all the time,” Nadal said. “When I have it 3-love in the third, I played worse. It was amazing disaster.” In the tiebreak, Nadal hit a ball that skipped along the net cord before landing in the court for a winner, giving the Spaniard a 3-2 lead. Nadal never won another point.
STOIC NO MORE
Normally Roger Federer has been the stoic Swiss. These days, nothing is normal for the superstar from Switzerland. He has yet to win a tournament in 2009, and in a three-set loss to Novak Djokovic at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, Federer lost his cool. Playing in blustery conditions, Federer had what appeared to be an easy midcourt forehand. He slammed the ball into the net, followed by slamming his racquet onto the court. The shocked audience at first jeered Federer, but soon turned to cheers. “It must’ve been here against Rafa,” Nadal said of the last time he broke a racquet in anger. He was referring to the 2005 Sony Ericsson final when he trailed Nadal two sets to none before coming back to win. “There’s so much wind today, and once you start feeling bad it’s tough to regroup,” Federer said, then added: “But it’s the same for both players.”
Because city officials decided to play a Davis Cup competition behind closed doors, the Swedish tennis federation has been fined USD $25,000 and the city of Malmo has been handed a five-year ban from hosting another Davis Cup tie. The International Tennis Federation’s Davis Cup committee also said Sweden would have to pay an additional $15,000, which it would have received in gate receipts had the March 6-8 match been open to spectators. Malmo officials said they decided to keep the public from the first-round competition to ensure the safety of the Israeli team. Malmo has a large Muslim community. Sweden is planning to appeal the decision because of the security threat that existed around the tie, which Israel won 3-2 to reach the quarterfinals. “The fact that over 1,000 police officers from the entire country had been commanded to Malmo and that equipment and cars had been borrowed from Denmark speaks for itself,” said Henrik Kallen, general secretary of the Swedish federation. “The Swedish federation still considers it irresponsible and unacceptable that individual local politicians have used Malmo’s situation for their own causes.” Other conditions were also placed on Sweden by the committee, including a written guarantee that future ties would be open to the public. The ITF said Sweden would also lose the right to choose the venue if a similar situation occurs in the future.
SEATS FOR SALE
If you want Centre Court seats at Wimbledon for the next five years, you’ll just have to cough up USD $40,700. For one seat, of course. The All England Club is selling up to 2,500 Centre Court seats in five-year blocks. Wimbledon officials say the right to one reserved seat on Centre Court for every day of the tournament between the years 2011 and 2015 will raise about USD $87.3 million. This year’s Wimbledon, which will feature the new sliding roof on the Centre Court, will be held June 22 to July 5.
SWISS-BASED COURT RULES
The Court of Arbitration for Sport has ended Filippo Volandri’s three-month ban for using an asthma drug. The Switzerland-based court also ruled that Volandri should be restored the ATP points and earnings that he lost. The only punishment remaining will be the loss of Volandri’s points and earnings at a tournament a year ago in Indian Wells, California, where he failed a doping test after suffering a first-round loss. Volandri claimed he had a severe asthma attack the night before his match in Indian Wells and was forced to take more of the drug, salbutamol, than the allowed amount. Volandri was suspended by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) on the eve of the Australian Open in January. The ban was due to expire on April 14. “The nightmare is over … Finally I can start playing again,” he said. “I didn’t skip one day of training.”
John McEnroe will be an analyst when ESPN makes its debut televising the US Open beginning in late August. The Hall of Famer will sometimes be paired with his younger brother Patrick, a former player who has been an ESPN analyst since 1995. John will be a busy man at this year’s final Grand Slam tournament. He also will appear on Sports Center, ESPNEWS and ESPN Radio. Plus he will also continue working as an analyst for CBS during the US Open. During his playing career, McEnroe won 77 singles titles, highlighted by seven Grand Slam tournament singles titles, including four US Open championships. He also won 10 more major championships in doubles or mixed doubles. An avid Davis Cup participant, he led the United States to five championships. He also won the NCAA title while attending Stanford.
SPEAKING TO THE STATE
Andre Agassi wants Nevada to take advantage of what he called “a ripe opportunity” to make education system changes in a state that ranks near the bottom nationally in kindergarten-to-12th grade per-pupil spending and graduation rates. Speaking to the Senate and Assembly education committees, Agassi said he understands there is a difficult combination of a revenue shortfall coupled with the challenge of meeting student learning needs. But, he said, the state must help children to succeed. Agassi gave lawmakers a progress report on his Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, a public charter school the former tennis star opened in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2001 to serve at-risk students. The school will graduate its first senior class in June.
SIGNING FOR $$$$
With her surprising run to the Australian Open quarterfinals in January, Jelena Dokic is now reaping the financial awards. Dokic recently signed an endorsement contract with French sportswear company Lacoste believed to be potentially worth close to USD $4.4 million over three years. Represented by IMG, Dokic has also entered into a lucrative agreement with Australian budget airline Jetstar. Her racquet deal with Wilson is soon due for renegotiation. Before this year, Dokic had not won a Grand Slam tournament match since 2003.
Upset with a magazine article, Lleyton Hewitt and his wife Bec say their marriage is stronger than ever. New Idea magazine in Australia claimed there was a “new man” in Bec’s life, and they published a picture of Hewitt’s wife with a man identified as “Minder Mark” and the Hewitts’s two young children. Lleyton and Bec identified “Minder Mark” as Bec’s brother, Shaun Cartwright. “Our marriage has never been stronger,” the Hewitts said. Bec Hewitt is demanding the magazine issue an apology and print a correction. The couple reportedly have started legal proceedings against the magazine. Describing the article as a “calculated deception” of the Australian public, the Hewitts said the magazine set out to increase sales by creating a non-existent love interest for Bec Hewitt. “This is not the first time that New Idea has fabricated articles concerning the Hewitt family,” they said.
Although she has played only one doubles match since last summer, Maria Sharapova is riding a way of commercial explosion unprecedented in women’s sports. Perhaps surprisingly, none of her sponsors are seemingly worried about her lack of playing time because of a shoulder injury. She just signed a USD $2.5 million-a-year deal with a shampoo maker and reportedly earns up to USD $30 million annually, most of it coming from endorsements. Since turning pro in 2002, Sharapova’s on-court winnings have totaled USD $10.2 million. Four of her sponsors are Tag Heuer, Cole Haan, Sony Ericsson and Canon cameras.
Sixteen-year-old Aaron Marion collapsed and died while practicing for his high school tennis team in Brooklyn, New York. “This was his first lesson, first practice,” said Clarice Sylvester, the youngster’s stepmother. After Marion collapsed, the tennis coach began CPR until medics arrived six minutes later. But neither they nor the doctors could save the teenager, who was known to have had seizures for the past year. The stepmother told reporters that Marion had been given clearance to play tennis by both the family doctor and a neurologist.
Miami (men): Max Mirnyi and Andy Ram beat Ashley Fisher and Stephen Huss 6-7 (4) 6-2 10-7 (match tiebreak)
Miami (women): Svetlana Kuznetsova and Amelie Mauresmo beat Kveta Peschke and Lisa Raymond 4-6 6-3 10-3 (match tiebreak)
Napoli: Pablo Cuevas and David Marrero beat Frank Moser and Lukas Rosol 6-4 6-3
SITES TO SURF
Ponte Vedra Beach: http://mpsgroupchamps.net
Marbella, Spain: www.andaluciatennis.com
Davis Cup: www.daviscup.com
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
(All money in USD)
$550,000 Grand Prix Hassan II, Casablanca, Morocco, clay
$500,000 US Men’s Clay Court Championships, Houston, Texas, USA, clay
$114,000 Status Athens Open, Athens, Greece, clay
$220,000 MPS Group Championships, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, USA,. Clay
$220,000 Andalucia Tennis Experience, Marbella, Spain, clay
$100,000 Koddaert Ladies Open, Torhout, Belgium, hard
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
$600,000 Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, Monte Carlo, Monaco, clay
$100,000 Soweto Men’s Open, Johannesburg, South Africa, hard
$1,000,000 Family Circle Cup, Charleston, South Carolina, USA, clay
$220,000 Barcelona Ladies Open, Barcelona, Spain, clay
WASHINGTON, D.C. – New Chapter Press has announced the publication of its latest book – On This Day In Tennis History -a calendar-like compilation of historical and unique anniversaries, events and happenings from the world of tennis through the years – written by Randy Walker, the sports marketing and media specialist, tennis historian and former U.S. Tennis Association press officer.
On This Day In Tennis History ($19.95, 528 pages), is a fun and fact-filled, this compilation offers anniversaries, summaries, and anecdotes of events from the world of tennis for every day in the calendar year. Presented in a day-by-day format, the entries into this mini-encyclopedia include major tournament victory dates, summaries of the greatest matches ever played, trivia, and statistics as well as little-known and quirky happenings. Easy-to-use and packed with fascinating details, the book is the perfect companion for tennis and general sports fans alike and is an excellent gift idea for the holiday season. The book features fascinating and unique stories of players such as John McEnroe, Don Budge, Bill Tilden, Chris Evert, Billie Jean King, Jimmy Connors, Martina Navratilova, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Anna Kournikova among many others. On This Day In Tennis History is available for purchase via on-line book retailers and in bookstores in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. More information on the book can be found at www.tennishistorybook.com
Said Hall of Famer Jim Courier of the book, “On This Day In Tennis History is a fun read that chronicles some of the most important-and unusual-moments in the annals of tennis. Randy Walker is an excellent narrator of tennis history and has done an incredible job of researching and compiling this entertaining volume.” Said tennis historian Joel Drucker, author of Jimmy Connors Saved My Life, “An addictive feast that you can enjoy every possible way-dipping in for various morsels, devouring it day-by-day, or selectively finding essential ingredients. As a tennis writer, I will always keep this book at the head of my table.” Said Bill Mountford, former Director of Tennis of the USTA National Tennis Center, “On This Day In Tennis History is an easy and unique way to absorb the greatest-and most quirky-moments in tennis history. It’s best read a page a day!”
Walker is a writer, tennis historian and freelance publicist and sports marketer. A 12-year veteran of the U.S. Tennis Association’s Marketing and Communications Division, he served as the press officer for the U.S. Davis Cup team from 1997 to 2005 and for the U.S. Olympic tennis teams in 1996, 2000 and 2004. He also served as the long-time editor of the U.S. Open Record Book during his tenure at the USTA from 1993 to 2005.
More information on the book can be found at www.tennistomes.com as well as on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1627089030&ref=name and on myspace at http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=428100548
People mentioned in the book include, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt, Goran Ivanisevic, Andre Agassi, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Lindsay Davenport, Monica Seles, Jelena Jankovic, Ana Ivanovic, Maria Sharapova, Justine Henin, Kim Clijsters, Amelie Mauresmo, Anna Kounikova, Jennifer Capriati, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Martina Hingis, Gustavo Kuerten, Svetlana Kuznetsova, James Blake, Wilmer Allison, Mal Anderson, Arthur Ashe, Juliette Atkinson, Henry “Bunny” Austin, Tracy Austin, Boris Becker, Kark Behr, Pauline Betz, Bjorn Borg, Jean Borotra, John Bromwich, Norman Brookes, Louise Brough, Jacques Brugnon, Butch Buchholz, Don Budge, Maria Bueno, Rosie Casals, Michael Chang, Philippe Chatrier, Dodo Cheney, Henri Cochet, Maureen Connolly, Jimmy Connors, Jim Courier, Ashley Cooper, Margaret Court, Jack Crawford, Allison Danzig, Dwight Davis, Lottie Dod, John Doeg, Laurence Doherty, Reggie Doherty, Dorothea Douglass Lambert Chambers, Jaroslav Drobny, Margaret duPont, Francoise Durr, James Dwight, Stefan Edberg, Roy Emerson, Chis Evert, Bob Falkenburg, Neale Fraser, Shirley Fry, Althea Gibson, Pancho Gonzalez, Evonne Goolagong, Arthur Gore, Steffi Graf, Bitsy Grant, Darlene Hard, Doris Hart, Anne Jones, Gladys Heldman, Slew Hester, Bob Hewitt, Lew Hoad, Harry Hopman, Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman, Joe Hunt, Frank Hunter, Helen Jacobs, Bill Johnston, Perry Jones, Bob Kelleher, Billie Jean King, Jan Kodes, Karel Kozeluh, Jack Kramer, Rene Lacoste, Bill Larned, Art Larsen, Rod Laver, Ivan Lendl, Suzanne Lenglen, George Lott, Gene Mako, Molla Mallory, Hana Mandlikova, Alice Marble, Dan Maskell, Simone Mathieu, Mark McCormack, John McEnroe, Ken McGregor, Kitty Godfree, Chuck McKinley, Maurice McLoughlin, Frew McMillian, Don McNeill, Elisabeth Moore, Angela Mortimer, Gardnar Mulloy, Ilie Nastase, Martina Navratilova, John Newcombe, Yannick Noah, Jana Novotna, Betty Nuthall, Alex Olmedo, Rafael Osuna, Frank Parker, Gerald Patterson, Budge Patty, Fred Perry, Nicola Pietrangeli, Adrian Quist, Patrick Rafter, Dennis Ralson, Vinnie Richards, Nancy Richey, Cliff Richey, Bobby Riggs, Tony Roche, Mervyn Rose, Ken Rosewall, Elizbeth Ryan, Gabriela Sabatini, Pete Sampras, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Manuel Santana, Dick Savitt, Ted Schroeder, Gene Scott, Richard Sears, Frank Sedgman, Pancho Segura, Vic Seixas, Frank Shields, Pam Shriver, Stan Smith, Fred Stolle, Bill Talbert, Bill Tilden, Tony Trabert, Lesley Turner, Jimmy Van Alen, John Van Ryn, Guillermo Vilas, Ellsworth Vines, Brian Gottfried, Virginia Wade, Holcombe Ward, Watson Washburn, Mal Whitman, Mats Wilander, Tony Wilding, Helen Wills Moody, Sidney Wood, Robert Wrenn, Bob Bryan, Mike Bryan, Todd Woodbridge, Marat Safin, Leslie Allen, Sue Barker, Jonas Bjorkman, Mahesh Bhupathi, Donald Dell, Albert Costa, Mark Cox, Owen Davidson, Pat Cash, Mary Carillo, John Isner, Roscoe Tanner, Vijay Amritraj, Mark Woodforde, Tim Henman, Richard Krajicek, Conchita Martinez, Mary Joe Fernandez, Cliff Drysdale, Mark Edmondson, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Zina Garrson, Roland Garros, Wojtek Fibak, Tom Gullikson, Andres Gimeno, Vitas Gerulaitis, Fernando Gonzalez, Tim Henman, Goran Ivanisevic, Andrea Jaeger, Ivo Karlovic, Richard Krajicek, Petr Korda, Luke Jensen, Murphy Jensen, Rick Leach, Iva Majoil, Barry MacKay, Ivan Ljubicic, Cecil Mamiit, David Caldwell, Alex Metreveli, Nicolas Massu, Todd Martin, Gene Mayer, Thomas Muster, Tom Okker, Charlie Pasarell, Mary Pierce, Whitney Reed, Leander Paes, Renee Richards, Helen Sukova, Michael Stich, Betty Stove, Ion Tiriac, Brian Teacher, Wendy Turnbull, Richards, Fabrice Santoro, Ai Sugiyama, Patrick McEnroe, Camille Pin, Phil Dent, Jelena Dokic, Mark Edmondson, Gael Monfils, Xavier Malisse, Dinara Safina, Barry Lorge, Stefano Pescosolido, Fabrice Santoro, Roscoe Tanner, Philipp Kohlschreiber, Roger Smith, Erik van Dillen, Gene Mayer, Tamara Pasek, Stefan Koubek, Jie Zheng, Gisela Dulko, Kristian Pless, Chuck McKinley, Marty Riessen, Brad Gilbert, Tim Mayotte, Andrea Petkovic, Klara Koukalova, Bobby Reynolds, Dominik Hrbaty, Andreas Seppi, Christopher Clarey, Casey Dellacqua, Anders Jarryd, Janko Tipsarevic, Nadia Petrova, Christian Bergstrom, Ramesh Krishnan, Emily Sanchez, Marcos Baghdatis, Mark Philippousssis, Wally Masur, Paul McNamee, Daniela Hantuchova, Gerry Armstrong, Younes El Aynaoui, Thomas Johansson, Pat Cash, Lisa Raymond, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Chanda Rubin, Tony Roche, Alex O’Brien, Petr Korda, Karol Kucera, Amelie Mauresmo, Juan Gisbert, Pablo Cuevas, Jim Pugh, Rick Leach, Julien Boutter, Larry Stefanki, Chris Woodruff, Jill Craybas, Sania Mirza, Mike Leach, Maggie Maleeva, Guillermo Canas, Guillermo Coria, Donald Young, Dick Stockton, Johan Kriek, Milan Srejber, Zina Garrison, Slyvia Hanika, Karin Knapp, Laura Granville, Kei Nishikori, Scott Davis, Paul Goldstein, Alberto Martin, Nicolas Kiefer, Joachim Johansson, Jonathan Stark, Jakob Hlasek, Jeff Tarango, Amanda Coetzer, Andres Gomez, Richey Reneberg, Francisco Clavet, Radek Stepanek, Miloslav Mecir, Jose-Luis Clerc, Colin Dibley, Mikael Pernfors, Martin Mulligan, Robbie Weiss, Hugo Chapacu, Victor Pecci, Charlie Bricker, Greg Rusedski, Robin Finn, Kimiko Date, David Nalbandian, Goran Ivanisevic, Mikhail Youzhny, Nicole Pratt, Bryanne Stewart, Novak Djokovic, Rennae Stubbs, Corina Morariu, Marc Rosset, Kenneth Carlsen, Kimiko Date, Ryan Harrison, Richard Gasquet, Jimmy Arias, Jim Leohr, Felix Mantilla, Cedric Pioline, Annabel Croft, Brooke Shields, Jaime Yzaga, Slobodan Zivojinovic, Alberto Mancini, Peter McNamara, Andrei Chesnokov, Fabrice Santoro, Bud Collins, Mardy Fish, Sebastien Grosjean, Donald Dell, Petr Kuczak, Magnus Norman, Hicham Arazi, Nduka Odizor, Lori McNeil, Horst Skoff, Karolina Sprem, Ros Fairbank, Linda Siegel, Chris Lewis, Kevin Curren, Thierry Tulasne, Guy Forget, Fred Tupper, Jaime Fillol, Belus Prajoux, Ricardo Cano, Georges Goven, Ray Moore, Charlie Pasarell, Paul Annacone, Tomas Smid, Dmitry Tursunov, Elena Dementieva, Arnaud DiPasquale, Carl Uwe Steeb, Bill Scanlon, Jose Higueras, Jay Berger, Jana Novotna, Bill Dwyre, Lisa Dillman, Sean Sorensen, Paul McNamee, Jiri Novak, Benjamin Becker, Ion Tiriac, Neil Amdur, Tim Gullikson, Jan-Michael Gambill, Taylor Dent, Bryan Shelton, Vijay Amritraj, Martin Verkerk, Brian Gottfried, Carlos Moya, Jacco Eltingh, Adriano Panatta, John Feinstein, Aaron Krickstein, Wilhelm Bungert, Derrick Rostagno, Torben Ulrich, Daniel Nestor, Ray Ruffels, Cliff Drysdale, James Reilly, Andy Murray, Leander Paes, Alicia Molik, Barry MacKay among others.
New Chapter Press is also the publisher of The Bud Colins History of Tennis by Bud Collins, The Roger Federer Story, Quest for Perfection by Rene Stauffer and Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli and the soon to be released title The Lennon Prophecy by Joe Niezgoda. Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press is an independent publisher of books and part of the Independent Publishers Group. More information can be found at www.newchapterpressmedia.com
Andy Murray beat Gilles Simon 6-4 7-6 (6) to win the Mutua Madrilena Masters Madrid in Madrid, Spain
Venus William won the Zurich Open, beating Flavia Pennetta 7-6 (1) 6-2 in Zurich, Switzerland
Lu Yen-Hsun won the Tashkent Challenger by beating Mathieu Montcourt 6-3 6-2 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Mara Santiago won the Internazionali Tennis Val Gardena in Ortisei, Italy, when Kristina Barrois lost the first set 6-3, then retired.
“The serve is the reason I won the tournament because today Gilles was hitting the ball better than me from the back of the court. He was obviously more tired than me. I didn’t play my best, but I’m really happy I won.” – Andy Murray, after beating Gilles Simon to win the Madrid Masters.
“I was really tired today. I didn’t move like I usually do and Andy knew it. He just wanted to kill me, just wanted to make me run.” – Gilles Simon, after losing to Andy Murray.
“I love the pressure. I need it in my life.” – Venus Williams, after winning the Zurich Open.
“It is tough to play against someone who serves like she did today.” – Flavia Pennetta, after losing to Venus Williams, who won one game with four straight aces.
“I was a little unlucky today. I had some mistakes with the backhand, which didn’t help. But I’m not surprised. He’s playing very well and with great confidence.” – Rafael Nadal, after losing to Gilles Simon in the semifinals at Madrid.
“Roger generates pressure just by being in front of you.” – Juan Martin del Potro, who lost to Roger Federer at Madrid.
“I didn’t play tennis because of money, that was never my drive, but I have been very successful. I’ve had an incredible run in slams lately that racks up the money and also the Masters Cup. There is a lot of money involved there.” – Roger Federer, after becoming the ATP career leader in earnings.
“I had no gas left in the tank. I am not a robot and after winning three titles in different time zones and climates I felt mentally and physically tired.” – Jelena Jankovic, after her second-round loss to Flavia Pennetta 5-7 6-3 6-3 at the Zurich Open.
“I think maybe mentally she might have been tired from all the tennis she played recently, but I also served better in the second and third sets than she did.” – Flavia Pennetta, after upsetting top-seeded Jelena Jankovic.
“The mental ability that I have at the moment is one of my advantages. What divides top players from the rest is mental calmness and an ability to cope with pressure in certain moments. … If you are mentally able to play the right shots at the right time, then your place is at the top. That’s the key of this game.” – Novak Djokovic.
“I have to do my things, but in Davis Cup he is the leader and he is the one that counts above everyone else. We don’t compete to see who is the best from Argentina.” – Juan Martin del Potro, after beating compatriot and seventh-seeded David Nalbandian 6-4 6-2 at the Mutua Madrilena Madrid Masters.
“For the last two months, I’ve been very serious. It’s all changing for me.” – Gael Monfils, saying his new approach to his career is paying off with victories on the court.
“We are going to deliver on our contract at Melbourne. We’ve had a great run, massive growth in Melbourne. Australia is really behind the event as a Grand Slam. It’s a good event in Melbourne.” – Steve Wood, Tennis Australia chief executive, explaining that the Australian Open will not move from Melbourne to Sydney.
“In my career I’ve stood here on the final day like this nine times now. Not a lot of weeks go by where everything goes right like this.” – Vince Spadea, after winning a Challenger tournament in Calabasas, California, his ninth tournament title in his 15-year professional career, eight of them coming on the Challenger tour.
STOPPING AT THE TOP
Rafael Nadal will finish the year as the number one player in the ATP rankings, ending Roger Federer’s four-year reign. The Spaniard was guaranteed to claim the top spot at the end of the year when Federer lost in the semifinals of the Mutua Madrilena Masters Madrid. Nadal becomes the first left-hander to finish the year at number one since John McEnroe in 1984 and only the third lefty in the 36-year history of the ATP Rankings. McEnroe was number one from 1981-84 and Jimmy Connors finished number one from 1974-78. The first Spaniard to finish the year as number one, Nadal has won an ATP-leading eight titles in 2008, including Roland Garros and Wimbledon.
Svetlana Kuznetsova has clinched a spot in the season-ending WTA Championships in Doha. The Russian is the sixth player to qualify for the eight-woman field, joining Jelena Jankovic, Serena Williams, Dinara Safina, Ana Ivanovic and Elena Dementieva. The tournament will be held November 4-9.[ad#adify-300×250]
SO IS NIKOLAY
Nikolay Davydenko is the fifth player to qualify for the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai, China. The Russian joins Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray in the elite eight-player field for the November 9-16 tournament. Also qualifying for the doubles competition at the Tennis Masters were Mahesh Bhupathi of India and Mark Knowles of the Bahamas, along with Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay and Luis Horna of Peru. Cuevas and Horna qualified by winning the title at Roland Garros.
When Andy Murray beat Gilles Simon 6-4 7-6 (6) to win the Madrid Masters, he gained a spot into a pretty select group. Murray is the first Briton to win four ATP titles in a season and will be the first from Great Britain since Fred Perry in 1936 to finish the year as the fourth-ranked man. Both Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski reached number four in the rankings, but neither finished the year there nor won four titles and played in a Grand Slam final in one season.
For the first time in ATP ranking history there are four Frenchmen in the top 20 in the world: Richard Gasquet, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gilles Simon and Gael Monfils.
If Novak Djokovic has his way, an ATP tournament will be held in his home country of Serbia. The reigning Australian Open champion said his family has bought the license to the ABM Amro Open, which has been held in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Djokovic hopes to move the tournament to Belgrade next May.
Roger Federer has another title in his trophy case. The Swiss superstar has become the all-time leader in career prize money earnings in men’s tennis, surpassing Pete Sampras. Federer, who has won the U.S. Open five times, has earned more than USD $43.3 million. Sampras has won 14 Grand Slam tournament titles, one more than Federer. Andre Agassi is third in career earnings with USD $31.1 million, with Boris Becker in fourth place on the career money list.
The United States Davis Cup team is losing its main sponsor. The Associated Press reported that insurance giant American International Group Inc. (AIG) will not renew its contract when it expires at year’s end. One of the world’s largest insurance companies, AIG was on the brink of failure last month when the U.S. government offered it a USD $85 billion loan. On October 8, the Federal Reserve agreed to provide AIG with another loan of up to USD $37.8 billion.
A former player will be Svetlana Kuznetsova’s new coach. The Russian star, who has been ranked as high as number two in the world, has hired world-renowned coach Olga Morozova. Kuznetsova had been working with Stefan Ortega from the Sánchez-Casal Academy in Spain. As a player, Morozova was runner-up at both the French Open and Wimbledon in 1974. She has coached the Russian Fed Cup squad and a number of other Russian players, including Elena Dementieva.
The Australian Open is staying in Melbourne. Organizers of the year’s first Grand Slam tournament said they will spurn an offer to move the event to Sydney when the current contract with Melbourne expires in 2016. New South Wales recently announced it was building a world-class tennis facility in Sydney and would attempt to get the Australian Open moved there. Although the tournament has been played in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth and even New Zealand since it’s inception in 1905, it has been played continually at Melbourne Park since 1988.
The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour is the recipient of the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Billie Jean King Contribution Award for its 35-year history of supporting equal opportunity for women on the courts. The award honors an individual or organization that has made significant contributions to the development and advancement of women’s sports. When the WTA Tour secured equal prize money for players at Roland Garros and Wimbledon in 2007, it fulfilled a 30-year goal of parity.
SPADEA A WINNER
When veteran Vince Spadea won a USD $50,000 USTA Challenger tournament in Calabasas, California, he moon walked to the net following the final point. Spadea’s 7-6 (5) 6-4 win over Sam Warburg was his eighth career singles Challenger title. Spadea has won once on the ATP tour in his 15-year pro career.
Madrid: Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski beat Mahesh Bupathi and Mark Knowles 6-4 6-2
Zurich: Cara Black and Liezel Huber beat Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Patty Schnyder 6-1 7-6 (3)
Tashkent: Flavio Cipolla and Pavel Snobel beat Michail Elgin and Alexandre Kudryavtsev 6-3 6-4
Ortisei: Mariya Koryttseva and Yaroslava Shvedova beat Maret Ani and Galina Voskoboeva 6-2 6-1
SITES TO SURF
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
(All money in USD)
$1,000,000 Davidoff Swiss Indoors, Basel, Switzerland, carpet
$1,000,000 St. Petersburg Open, St. Petersburg, Russia, hard
$800,000 Grand Prix de Tennis De Lyon, Lyon, France, carpet
$125,000 Samsung Securities Cup Challenger, Seoul, Korea, hard
$600,000 Generali Ladies Linz, Linz, Austria, hard
$225,000 FORTIS Championships Luxembourg
$100,000 Internationaux Feminins de la Vienne, Poitiers, France, hard
$100,000 2008 OEC Taipei Ladies Open, Taipei, Taiwan, carpet
Stanford Championships, Outback Champions, Dallas, Texas
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
$2,450,000 BNP Paribas Masters, Paris, France, carpet
$125,000 Seguros Bolivar Open, Cali, Colombia, clay
$100,000 Busan Open Challenger, Busan, South Korea, hard
$175,000 Bell Challenge, Quebec City, Quebec, hard
$100,000 Ritro Slovak Open, Bratislava, Slovak Republic, hard