Richard Krajicek

Rafael Nadal comments on decision to resign from ATP Players Council citing “not enough energy”


KEY BISCAYNE, FL. — After his close win over world #16 Kei Nishikori at the Sony Ericsson Open, Rafael Nadal addressed the media answering questions on why he has stepped down as the Vice President from the ATP Player’s Council.

As reported yesterday by Simon Briggs of The Telegraph, Nadal had stepped down due to business differences citing that his “pet project” of switching to a two-year ranking system for ATP players was unsuccessful. The Spaniard has reasoned that the change would prolong the careers of players and encourage them to withdraw from a tournament if physical injury heeded it.

Likewise, Nadal encouraged the introduction of former player and current Rotterdam tournament director Richard Krajicek as the new CEO of the ATP Tour. But the job eventually went to Brad Drewett, former director of the ATP’s operations in the Pacific and Asia region.

On both points, Federer was one of Nadal’s biggest objectors citing firstly that a two-year ranking system would inhibit lower-ranked players to break through, and secondly, that Krajicek was too inexperienced in business to make any marketable contribution.

Today, Nadal elaborated on his decision to resign from the ATP Players Council stating that he had exerted himself into making changes but that not everything was a success, in his eyes.

“Well, I have been there for a couple of years.  You know, I really don’t know how to do things without [putting] my 100%. I put all my energy there.

I believe that we did [a] few things well for the sport; I believe it’s not enough.  So today I believe that I am not the right one to keep working there.  So I think another people can do better than me today.”

When asked if frustration forced him to resign, Nadal was quick to reject the notion, but his voice still carried some speculation.

“I never said that I have been frustrated, no.  I just said that I am not the right one.  You know, I don’t have enough energy to [do it]. I cannot still put in my 100% there in the player council.

I can be there just listening, but that’s not my style.  I understand my [time in the Council has] finished, and that’s it.”

Alluding to the fact that he still was not able to put 100% of his energy into his projects, Nadal is leaving dissatisfied.

“There is always troubles there.  I understand sometimes the trouble from the other part, from tournaments, but I don’t understand sometimes the trouble from our part, from our [players].”

The top 50 ATP Tour players now have the opportunity to vote for a replacement representative for Nadal, and a vote will be put in during this year’s Wimbledon.

ATP Champions Tour Barcelona – Mantilla Completes Emotional Comeback After Cancer Recovery

Felix Mantilla completed an emotional comeback just two years after recovering from skin cancer as he became the first player in history to win an ATP Champions Tour and an ATP World Tour title in Barcelona. In the final of the Champions Cup on Sunday, Mantilla beat Albert Costa 6-4, 6-1.

The Spaniard, who won the ATP title in 1999, was diagnosed with skin cancer in 2006 after undergoing tests on a mole on his back. The former top ten player made a brief comeback before retiring from the game, but went on to win his battle against the disease. Despite being given a clean bill of health, he did not expect to be back playing title-winning tennis in Barcelona.

“To be honest, I didn’t think I’d be playing tennis like this again,” said Mantilla, after completing victory at his maiden ATP Champions Tour event. “When I got my illness, I felt like I was retired and that it was finished. But then they gave me the possibility to come here and to play on the ATP Champions Tour and I thought ‘Why not?’ It’s always nice to play your sport whilst having fun.”

For Mantilla, today’s win was the perfect end to an enjoyable week spent in his home city.

“I have really good memories of this Centre Court here in Barcelona,” said Mantilla, who jumps to No.1 in the South African Airways Champions Tour Rankings. “Today it was a good match and both of us did our best. It’s always special to be here and hopefully I can come back next year to defend my title.”

Although his battle with cancer put a premature end to his career on the ATP Tour, since retiring Mantilla has remained involved in the tennis world. For the past year he has been working for Tennis Australia as a talent-spotter, and he now spends half of the year living Down Under working with young Australian Tennis players.

“I’m really happy that Tennis Australia gave me the opportunity to try and help them,” he said. “I’m working to try and develop clay court tennis in Australia. We’re hoping that the young kids can grow up playing on slower surfaces, because that will help their play on all surfaces.”

In the third/fourth place play-off, Magnus Gustafsson defeated fellow Swede Anders Jarryd 6-7(3), 6-2, 11-9 (Champions’ Tie Break) in a thrilling three-set encounter. Jarryd looked to be dominating his countryman early on, but Gustafsson pulled off a dramatic comeback, eventually saving two match points in the Champions’ Tie Break before clinching the match.

The ATP Champions Tour will now move on to Sao Paulo for the Nossa Caixa Grand Champions, May 21-24 - http://www.atpchampionstour.com/saopaulo.html

To view the week’s results in Barcelona, click here: http://www.atpchampionstour.com/results

For the latest gossip and chat from behind the scenes, click here: http://www.atpchampionstour.com/twitter

ATP Champions Tour Launches New Website

On the eve of the Barcelona tournament, the ATP Champions Tour launched its new, official website, http://www.atpchampionstour.com

The site features a fresh design, more player and tournament information than ever before, and a new interactive FanZone where fans can send questions to their favourite champions, access exclusive video and audio, and test their knowledge of the Champions in a special Quiz.

For the first time, you can also read exclusive Blogs and follow us on Twitter, with tweets from the players during tournaments as well as regular gossip, opinions and tennis chat throughout the year. Everything you could want to know about the Champions Cup ’09 in Barcelona (16-19 April) can be found in Events, such as player field (when available), the Roll of Honour and a guide to the city where the tournament is hosted.

About South African Airways

South Africa’s international flagship airline and the continent’s most awarded carrier, South African Airways is the official airline of the ATP Champions Tour and sponsor of the official rankings. Its modern fleet features a comfortable Economy Class cabin recently reconfigured for extra legroom and a Premium Business Class cabin featuring the airline’s award-winning, lie-flat seat. Complimentary South African wines, inspired cuisine and personal on-demand entertainment for all travellers make the trip to Africa fly by. Built on a venerable 75-year history of bringing the world to Africa and taking Africa to the world, the airline’s network is unsurpassed on the continent – connecting travellers to more than 20 destinations within South Africa and more than 20 cities across Africa. As a recent member to the worldwide Star Alliance, South African Airways is now able to offer its customers 852 destinations in 152 countries and more than 15,500 flights daily.

ATP Champions Tour Barcelona: Pioline Rolls On In The Rain

Cedric Pioline continued where he left off at The Masters Tennis in London last December by ignoring the storm clouds to thrash Michael Stich 6-1, 6-2 at the first ATP Champions event of the year in Barcelona on Thursday.

The weather was the story of the first day’s play. Dark storm clouds hovered over the Real Club de Tenis throughout, causing the start of play to be delayed by nearly three hours. When the rain eventually relented enough for the players to take to the court, it was Pioline, the man who beat Pete Sampras to win the event at the Royal Albert Hall last year, who once again stole the show.

The Frenchman was in imperious form to defeat Stich for the loss of just three games.

“I surprised myself today,” he said. “I didn’t expect to play that good as it was my first match on clay this year. I think I served pretty good and I returned pretty good. I kept the ball in play and he couldn’t stay in the rallies. I didn’t miss too much today and everything worked well.”

Pioline is now unbeaten in five straight matches on the ATP Champions Tour, and the Frenchman admits that he is setting his sights high for the 2009 season.

“I have to finish Number One!” said Pioline, of his intention to top the South African Airways Champions Tour Rankings. “It’s so important for me, it’s my goal.”

Up first on the Centre Court, Albert Costa wasted no time in beating Pat Cash 6-4 6-4 in a match that was played to a soundtrack of rolling thunder and crackling lightening.

Clay court specialist Costa looked in fine form against Cash, striking the ball with the heavy topspin shots that helped win him the French Open title in 2002.

Costa, a native of Barcelona, explained after the match that he always feels at home playing at the beautiful Real Club de Tenis.

“For me this tournament is always very special,” he said “It means a lot so I am so happy to play here. Even though it was tough today with the rain I think it was a good match we had.”

In the two matches played on the Number One Court, Anders Jarryd defeated 1996 Wimbledon Champion Richard Krajicek 6-4, 6-1, and Felix Mantilla beat Sweden’s Magnus Gustafsson 6-1, 6-4.

Matches are played over the best of three sets, with a Champions’ Tie-break (first to 10 points with a clear advantage of two) to decide the winner. After all round-robin matches are complete, the top two players in each group will meet in Sunday’s final.

After Barcelona, the ATP Champions Tour will move on to Sao Paulo for the Nosas Caixa Grand Champions (May 21-24), and after that will arrive in Istanbul for the Legends Cup (June 17-21).

To view the order of play and the round-robin groups, click here.

ATP CHAMPIONS TOUR LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE

With the first event of the year set to start in Barcelona on Thursday, the ATP Champions Tour has launched its new, official website.

The site features a fresh design, more player and tournament information than ever before, and a new interactive FanZone where fans can send questions to their favourite champions, access exclusive video and audio, and test their knowledge of the Champions in a special Quiz.

For the first time, you can also read exclusive Blogs and follow us on Twitter, with tweets from the players during tournaments as well as regular gossip, opinions and tennis chat throughout the year. Everything you could want to know about the Champions Cup ’09 in Barcelona (16-19 April) can be found in Events

, such as player field (when available), the Roll of Honour and a guide to the city where the tournament is hosted.

OTHER INFO

About South African Airways

South Africa’s international flagship airline and the continent’s most awarded carrier, South African Airways is the official airline of the ATP Champions Tour and sponsor of the official rankings. Its modern fleet features a comfortable Economy Class cabin recently reconfigured for extra legroom and a Premium Business Class cabin featuring the airline’s award-winning, lie-flat seat. Complimentary South African wines, inspired cuisine and personal on-demand entertainment for all travellers make the trip to Africa fly by. Built on a venerable 72-year history of bringing the world to Africa and taking Africa to the world, the airline’s network is unsurpassed on the continent – connecting travellers to more than 20 destinations within South Africa and more than 20 cities across Africa. As a recent member to the worldwide Star Alliance, South African Airways is now able to offer its customers 852 destinations in 152 countries and more than 15,500 flights daily.

McEnroe’s St. Patty’s Day Happenings

Happy St. Patrick’s Day – a day where a salient moment happened to John McEnroe, whose grandparents on his father’s side were from Ireland. As excerpted from my book ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY ($19.95, New Chapter Press, www.tennishistorybook.com), McEnroe made his Davis Cup doubles debut and when he received no luck of the Irish in Key Biscayne in his swan song appearance in the modern day Sony Ericsson Open.

March 17

1927 – U.S. President Calvin Coolidge conducts the draw for the 1927 Davis Cup competition on the front lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C. Coolidge picks the card with Czechoslovakia on it, which is drawn against Greece in the first round of the European Zone. Writes the New York Times of the event, “Surrounded by diplomats from the twenty-five nations entered into the tournament, he drew the card bearing the name of Czechoslovakia from the bowl of the trophy. Joseph C. Grew, Under Secretary of State, then picked Greece, which was paired with the nation of the President’s choice. The various diplomats then formed in line and each withdrew the name of one nation from the cup.” An ironic event occurs when the representative from Belgium selects his own nation from the cup. Twenty one nations are placed in the European Zone and four in the American Zone. The winner of each zone would meet each other and the winner taking on the United States, the holder of the Davis Cup, in the Challenge Round.

1979 – John McEnroe and Peter Fleming make their Davis Cup debut as a doubles team, defeating Ivan Molina and Orlando Agudelo 6-4, 6-0, 6-4 giving the United States a match-clinching 3-0 lead over Colombia in the Davis Cup first round at the Cleveland Skating Club in Cleveland, Ohio. McEnroe and Fleming become arguably the greatest doubles combination the United States has ever fielded in Davis Cup play, ending their patriotic partnership in 1984 with a 14-1 record. They win 14 straight Davis Cup doubles matches – a record among U.S. Davis Cup doubles teams – and represent the U.S. on Davis Cup final-winning teams in 1981 and 1982. Their final Davis Cup doubles match is their only defeat – a 7-5, 5-7, 6-2, 7-5 loss to Stefan Edberg and Anders Jarryd in the title-clinching win for Sweden over the United States in the 1984 Davis Cup final in Goteborg, Sweden.

1992 – John McEnroe, whose grandparents on his father’s side were born in Ireland, receives no luck of the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day in what becomes his final match ever at the Lipton Championships in Key Biscayne, Fla., losing to Richard Krajicek 7-6 (3), 6-4 in the third round.

1996 – In a final played with on-court temperatures surpassing 110 degrees, Michael Chang defeats No. 68th-ranked Paul Haarhuis of the Netherlands 7-5, 6-1, 6-1 to win the Newsweek Champions Cup in Indian Wells, Calif. “Today I could actually feel the heat coming through the soles of my shoes,” says Chang following the match. “They announced 110 degrees, but I was told it was 130 degrees. They just didn’t want to scare anybody.”

2001- Booed as she enters the court for her final round match against Kim Clijsters at the Tennis Masters Series -Indian Wells, Serena Williams withstands the harsh fan and media allegations of match-fixing, by defeating Clijsters 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. Fans react severely to the Williams family after Venus Williams abruptly withdraws from her semifinal match with Serena Williams the day before. “In the beginning, I was a little shocked,” Serena says. “Then I was like, ‘Wow, this is getting old. Move on to something new…I prayed to God just to help me be strong, not even to win, but to be strong, not listen to the crowd.” The withdrawal and aftermath came on the heels of tabloid story in the National Enquirer stating that Williams father Richard fixed the 2000 Wimbledon semifinal between the two sisters.

2007 – Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia wins her second Pacific Life Open championship in Indian Wells, Calif. – and her second career title – defeating Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia 6-3, 6-4 in the women’s singles final. “I think all the best things in life are worth waiting for, moments like this,” says Hantuchova, who wins her first title in Indian Wells five years earlier. “I guess all the hard work and everything I had to go through makes the victory that much sweeter.”

On This Day In Tennis History Is Latest Book Release From New Chapter Press

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 yearswritten 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

Borg scares Goran in first ever match; Cash eclipses McEnroe in thriller

BORG SCARES GORAN IN FIRST EVER MATCH; CASH ECLIPSES MCENROE IN THRILLER

Bjorn Borg gave away 15 years to Goran Ivanisevic, but the great Swede had the Croatian worried throughout their first ever clash at the BlackRock Tour of Champions event in Budapest.

Ivanisevic eventually prevailed 7-6(5), 6-3, but not before Borg raced to a 4-1 first set lead. It was all that the Croatian could do to concentrate on the ball with such a legend on the opposite side of the net for the first time.

“First and foremost it was an honour to be able to play Bjorn because we have never played before,” said Ivanisevic, who currently tops the South African Airways Rankings.

“It was a tough match, very serious. I want to win every match badly and especially playing Bjorn. You don’t play Bjorn every day. I’ve watched him so many times on tv so to play him for the first time officially is a great honour. It’s great that I can say that I played him during my career.”

Borg was happy with his performance, and not hugely surprised to lose his early lead.

“Goran started to play really well,” said Borg, who will face John McEnroe on Friday.

Borg vs. McEnroe -

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“We had a long game when he broke me and he started to play better. In the beginning he started a bit slow and then he picked up his game and we had a really good first set. I had a few chances but in general it was a good match.”

Pat Cash was another man to stage an impressive comeback on day one. The Australian lost the first set 6-3 against McEnroe, who continued the form of two weeks earlier when he won the Luxembourg title. But Cash hung in, serving-and-volleying throughout the two-hour match, and ultimately edged the second set on a tie-break. In the Champions’ Tie-Break, the match was still there for McEnroe to win. He forced a 7-5 lead before losing the final five points of the match to an inspired Cash.

“I’m really pleased to have won that but really the difference was just a few points here and there,” said Cash.

“In the first set John was just serving too well and there was no way I could beat him. But then he dropped his level a bit and I picked mine up. It was a real struggle but I’m glad to have come through.”

McEnroe was predictably crestfallen.

“I gave my best but unfortunately I didn’t win the last point. He just played the big points better, but it was a good contest,” he said.

Elsewhere, Sergi Bruguera overcame Guillermo Vilas 6-3, 6-4 and Henri Leconte defeated Thomas Muster, also 6-3, 6-4.

Matches are played over the best of three sets, with a Champions’ Tie-break (first to 10 points with a clear advantage of two) to decide the winner.  After all round-robin matches are complete, the top two players in each group will meet in Sunday’s final.

Last week, Richard Krajicek beat Goran Ivanisevic in a thrilling final to win his first ever BlackRock Tour of Champions Title at the AFAS Classics in Eindhoven.

In the final event of the year, Pete Sampras and Stefan Edberg will take on McEnroe and Ivanisevic in an eight-man field at the BlackRock Masters Tennis in London, December 2-7.

RESULTS – THURSDAY OCTOBER 9

Sergi Bruguera d. Guillermo Vilas 6-3, 6-4

Henri Leconte d. Thomas Muster 6-3, 6-4

Goran Ivanisevic d. Bjorn Borg 7-6(5), 6-3

Pat Cash d. John McEnroe 3-6, 7-6(6), 10-7 (Champions’ Tie-Break)

LATEST STANDINGS

GROUP A

Matches won/lost (sets)

Goran Ivanisevic                                                                  1-0 (2-0)

Pat Cash                                                                               1-0 (2-1)

John McEnroe                                                      0-1 (1-2)

Bjorn Borg                                                                             0-1 (0-2).

GROUP B

Sergi Bruguera                                                                    1-0 (2-0)

Henri Leconte                                                                      1-0 (2-0)

Thomas Muster                                                            0-1 (0-2)

Guillermo Vilas                                                                    0-1 (0-2)

SCHEDULE

Friday, 10th October, 2008

At 14:30

Henri Leconte vs. Guillermo Vilas

Thomas Muster vs. Sergi Bruguera

At 17:30

John McEnroe vs. Bjorn Borg

Goran Ivanisevic vs. Pat Cash

BLACKROCK TOUR OF CHAMPIONS POINTS ALLOCATION

Winner -                400 points

Finalist -                250 points

3rd place -            200 points

4th place -            125 points

5/6th place -  80 points

7/8th place -          60 points

SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS 2008 TOUR OF CHAMPIONS RANKINGS (after eleven events)

POS.       PLAYER                                                PTS

1              Goran Ivanisevic             1220

2              Marcelo Rios                                        1130

3              Michael Stich                   980

4              Henri Leconte                      890

5              Sergi Bruguera                    810

6        Cedric Pioline                            740

7              Thomas Muster                    655

8              Anders Jarryd                        525

9        John McEnroe                     480

10=         Marc-Kevin Goellner (WC)                455

10=         Fernando Meligeni (WC)   455

12           Pat Cash                                                420

13=    Richard Krajicek                        400

13=         Patrick Rafter                         400

13=         Pete Sampras                       400

13=   Stefan Edberg                      400

17           Mikael Pernfors                    330

18           Chris Wilkinson (WC)          325

19=         Jaime Oncins (WC)                              200

19=    Johny Goudenbour             200

21           Bjorn Borg                                              185

22=   Guy Forget                           125

22=         Jeremy Bates (WC)                             125

22=         Albert Costa                                          125

22=         Michael Chang                    125

26=  Carl Uwe Steeb                           120

26= Guillermo Vilas                                            120

28=  Mats Wilander                        80

28=  Joao Cunha e Silva (WC)          80

28=         Magnus Larsson                   80

28=         Andrei Cherkasov                                80

28= Mansour Bahrami                  80

28= Paul Haarhuis                              80

34 Yevgeny Kafelnikov                      60

34=         Jaime Yzaga                                         60

34=         Alladin Karagoz (WC)          60

34=         Andrei Chesnokov                               60

WC denotes Wild Card.

The BlackRock Tour of Champions Calendar 2008

Belfast, Northern Ireland – February 21-24 (Tennis Legends)

Champion: Anders Jarryd; Runner-up: Mikael Pernfors

Barcelona, Spain – April 24-27 (Champions Cup ’08)

Champion: Marcelo Rios; Runner-up: Michael Stich

Rome, Italy – May 10-11

Champion: Thomas Muster; Runner-up: Goran Ivanisevic

Hamburg, Germany – May 14-17 (BlackRock Tennis Classic)

Champion: Michael Stich; Runner-up: Marc-Kevin Goellner

Sao Paulo, Brazil – June 19-22 (Nossa Caixa Grand Champions Brasil)

Champion: Pete Sampras; Runner-up: Marcelo Rios

Istanbul, Turkey – July 17-20

Champion: Goran Ivanisevic; Runner-up: Fernando Meligeni

Graz, Austria – July 29-August 2 (s Tennis Masters)

Champion: Patrick Rafter; Runner-up: Michael Stich

Algarve, Portugal – August 5-8 (Vale do Lobo Grand Champions CGD)

Champion: Marcelo Rios ; Runner-up : Goran Ivanisevic

Paris, France – September 18-21 (5e Trophée Jean-Luc Lagardère)

Champion: Stefan Edberg; Runner-up: Sergi Bruguera

Luxembourg, Luxembourg - September 25-28

Champion: John McEnroe; Runner-up: Henri Leconte

Eindhoven, Netherlands – October 2-5 (AFAS Tennis Classics)

Champion: Richard Krajicek; Runner-up: Goran Ivanisevic

Budapest, Hungary - October 9-12

Macao, China – November 20 (Special Event)

London, UK – December 2-7 (BlackRock Masters Tennis)

OTHER INFO

About BlackRock

BlackRock is one of the world’s largest publicly traded investment management firms. At June 30, 2008, BlackRock’s AUM was $1.428 trillion. The firm manages assets on behalf of institutions and individuals worldwide through a variety of equity, fixed income, cash management and alternative investment products. In addition, a growing number of institutional investors use BlackRock Solutions investment system, risk management and financial advisory services. Headquartered in New York City, as of June 30, 2008, the firm has approximately 5,700 employees in 19 countries and a major presence in key global markets, including the U.S., Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East. For additional information, please visit the Company’s website at www.blackrock.com.

South Africa’s international flagship airline and the continent’s most awarded carrier, South African Airways is the official airline of the BlackRock Tour of Champions. Its modern fleet features a comfortable Economy Class cabin recently reconfigured for extra legroom and a Premium Business Class cabin featuring the airline’s award-winning, lie-flat seat. Complimentary South African wines, inspired cuisine and personal on-demand entertainment for all travellers make the trip to Africa fly by. Built on a venerable 72-year history of bringing the world to Africa and taking Africa to the world, the airline’s network is unsurpassed on the continent – connecting travellers to more than 20 destinations within South Africa and more than 20 cities across Africa. As a recent member to the worldwide Star Alliance, South African Airways is now able to offer its customers 852 destinations in 152 countries and more than 15,500 flights daily.

For the Latest News, Features and Updates from the BlackRock Tour of Champions: www.blackrocktourofchampions.com

and for further information:

www.blackrockinternational.com/tourofchampions

Fever-pitch in Budapest as Borg/McEnroe arrive

As the BlackRock Tour of Champions rolls into Budapest this week for the city’s first ever Tennis Classics event, Bjorn Borg will get the chance to avenge his  defeat to long-time rival John McEnroe, who stole victory from under his nose when the pair met in Luxembourg only two weeks ago.

When the pair attended a press conference with Group A rivals Goran Ivanisevic, Pat Cash and the rest of the eight-man field in Budapest on Wednesday, 130 journalists and 30 photographers greeted them.

Borg/McEnroe rivalry -

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Staged in a lavish banquet hall with meals served from a silver platter, it was quite a spectacle. Anticipation ahead of the country’s first ever sight of McEnroe and Borg is at fever-pitch. The tournament has been organised by promoter and former Wimbledon and French Open doubles champion Balazs Taroczy, and no stone has been left unturned. Taroczy and his team have promoted the event throughout the year and everywhere you go around the city of Budapest the Tennis Classics event is being talked about.

McEnroe and Borg have again been drawn into the same Group this week in Budapest so  on Friday evening the duo are scheduled to meet for the latest installment of the most famous rivalry in tennis history. At the first Vivium Victory Challenge in Luxembourg two weeks ago, Borg led by a set and 3-0 before a fired-up McEnroe came back to clinch the match in a Champions’ Tie-Break.

McEnroe and Borg are joined in Group A by former Wimbledon Champions Cash and Ivanisevic. On Sunday, Ivanisevic leap-frogged Marcelo Rios to take over the top spot in the South African Airways Rankings after collecting 250 points for finishing runner-up  in the AFAS Classics in Eindhoven last week. The Croatian will play Borg in his first match on Thursday, while Cash is due to meet McEnroe with whom he has enjoyed a fierce rivalry on the BlackRock Tour of Champions. The last time the two men met was at the 2007 BlackRock Masters Tennis in London where the American turned around a break deficit to edge an extremely closely fought encounter 7-5, 6-2.

Group B is comprised of former French Open champions Thomas Muster, Sergi Bruguera,  Guillermo Vilas and finalist Henri Leconte. Vilas will play his first match of the tournament on Thursday against Bruguera, while Muster and Leconte will also clash at the 4500 capacity Budapest Sportarena.

Matches are played over the best of three sets, with a Champions’ Tie-break (first to 10 points with a clear advantage of two) to decide the winner.  After all round-robin matches are complete, the top two players in each group will meet in Sunday’s final.

Last week, Richard Krajicek beat Goran Ivanisevic in a thrilling final to win his first ever BlackRock Tour of Champions Title at the AFAS Classics in Eindhoven.

In the final event of the year, Pete Sampras and Stefan Edberg will take on McEnroe and Ivanisevic in an eight-man field at the BlackRock Masters Tennis in London, December 2-7.

Mondays With Bob Greene: Doubles is like Marriage

STARS

Jelena Jankovic beat Nadia Petrova 6-4 6-3 to win the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany

Tomas Berdych won the AIG Japan Open Tennis Championships men’s singles, defeating Juan Martin del Potro 6-1 6-4 in Tokyo, Japan

Caroline Wozniacki beat Kala Kanepi 6-2 3-6 6-1 to win the women’s singles at the AIG Japan Open Tennis Championships in Tokyo, Japan

Sorana Cirstea defeated Sabine Lisicki 2-6 6-4 7-6 (4) to capture the Tashkent Open in Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Dmitry Tursunov beat Paul-Henri Mathieu 7-6 (6) 1-6 6-4 to win the Open de Moselle in Metz, France

Teimuraz Gabashvili won the Ethias Trophy by beating Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-4 6-4 in Mons, Belgium

Richard Krajicek beat Goran Ivanisevic 7-6 7-5 to win the AFAS Tennis Classics in Eindhoven, Netherlands

SAYINGS

“There are some days you wake up and you know it’s not going to be your day.” – Nadia Petrova, after losing to Jelena Jankovic in the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix final.

“Doubles is like marriage. It has to be good from the first day.” – Mischa Zverev, who teamed with Mikhail Youzhny to win the doubles at the AIG Japan Open Tennis Championships in Tokyo.

“She is having a great year and I knew it would be hard to beat her. But the game went according to plan.” – Venus Williams, after beating Dinara Safina 6-4 6-2.

“It feels great to be back at number one, but my goal is to finish the year as number one. I’m playing better and better, I am improving. I don’t feel any extra pressure.” – Jelena Jankovic, on her return to the top spot in the WTA Tour rankings.

“I feel fortunate to be healthy again, but I want to remain at the top of the game for many more years to come and go after the number one ranking again.” – Roger Federer, after pulling out of the Stockholm Open.

“I need to take a break now to get it back to 100 percent, which is why I have to regretfully take this decision and withdraw. I have played a lot this year and my body needs to recover.” – Serena Williams, after withdrawing from the Kremlin Cup with an ankle injury.

“After I lost the first set I checked the clock and saw it was only 20 minutes, so I told myself I had to make it at least an hour. Of course I’m very happy about my win today, and for both of my wins over the Williams sisters this year.” – Li Na, after beating Serena William 0-6 6-1 6-4 and knocking the US Open champion out of the number one ranking.

“I think I have to come to Germany more often.” – Victoria Azarenka, who has reached the semifinals in both tournaments she has played in Germany this year.

“People want to see me because I was once the number one in the world and won Grand Slam titles. People want to see the guys who they idolized. Now, as we get older, we’re really thankful that people want to see us. It’s really wonderful, and we’re going to try to give our best back.” – Yevgeny Kafelnikov, playing his first competitive tennis match in five years, the BlackRock Tour of Champions event in Eindhoven, Netherlands.

“I have played one match with her here and I have won. Not bad.” – Goran Ivanisevic, saying his 5-year-old daughter Amber, who was watching her father play for the first time, is his lucky charm.

“I still cannot fully realize that I’ve won. In the middle of the match I thought my chances of winning were about 40 percent.” – Ksenia Palkina, a teenager from Kyrgystan ranked 203rd in the world, after she upset second-seeded Olga Govortsova in the first round of the Tashkent Open.

“Our success in these junior team events against the world’s best competition is a good indication of where our players stand amongst their peers at this state. Of course there is a lot of work to be done for these kids to become world-class professionals. But, if these results are any indication, the future is very promising.” – Patrick McEnroe, on the United States sweep of the Junior Fed Cup and Junior Davis Cup competitions.

STEPPING UP

In the game of musical chairs that is called the WTA Tour rankings, Jelena Jankovic is once again in the top spot. The Serb moved up to number one when Serena Williams was upset by China’s Li Na. Jankovic held the top ranking for one week in August. Since Justine Henin retired in May, four players have been number one: Williams, Jankovic, Ana Ivanovic and Maria Sharapova. Williams held the top spot for four weeks after defeating Jankovic in the US Open final. Overall, Jankovic has won more matches than any other player on tour this year.

SURPRISE SEMIFINALIST

Adrian Mannarino had a ball in Metz, France. Ranked 181st in the world, the French qualifier didn’t lose a set in his run to the semifinals at the Open de Moselle. Then he ran into Paul-Henri Matheu, who barely escaped Mannarino 7-6 (8) 7-6 (1). The 20-year-old Mannarino had not won an ATP-level match before he upset sixth-seeded Andreas Seppi in the opening round at Metz.

STUMBLING BLOCKS

China’s top two players are making a lot of noise on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour this year. At Wimbledon, Zheng Jie became the first Chinese player to beat a reigning world number one when she shocked Ana Ivanovic on her way to the semifinals. At the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany, last week, Li Na matched that feat, knocking Serena Williams out of the tournament and the number one ranking, 0-6 6-1 6-4. It was Li’s 11th career win over a top 10 player but first over a number one.

SELA GROUNDED

An El Al plane carrying Israeli tennis star Dudi Sela had to make an emergency landing in Beijing when a bird flew into one of its engines. Sela was returning to Israel after losing in a tournament in Tokyo. While the plane was heading back to Beijing, Sela called his brother Ofer in Israel to let him know what was happening. El Al sent a replacement jet to fly the 150 passengers to Israel.

SERENA HURT

An ankle injury has forced Serena Williams to withdraw from the Kremlin Cup in Moscow. The American withdrew two days after being upset by China’s Li Na in Stuttgart, Germany. The winner of four tournaments this year, Williams said her left ankle has been bothering her since the US Open last month, which she won.

SO DELIGHTED

Yevgeny Kafelnikov admits he is delighted to be back playing competitively after a five-year layoff. “It was quite exciting,” the Russian said after losing to Michael Chang in a BlackRock Tour of Champions match at Eindhoven, Netherlands. “I haven’t had this feeling in a long time.” Once he decided to play again, Kafelnikov worked hard to lose the weight he had gained after retiring. Then he asked to play in the AFAS Classics tournament in Eindhoven. He came away winless in his return, losing also to Paul Haarhuis and Goran Ivanisevic.

SUPER WIN

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga became only the eighth player in the last 20 yeas to win his first ATP title by defeating a top-five opponent in the final, knocking off third-ranked Novak Djokovic to capture the Thailand Open in Bangkok. Greg Sharko, senior editor of ATPTennis.com, says Tsonga is the first to accomplish the feat since fellow Frenchman Michael Llorda did it four years ago when he beat Guillermo Coria, who was number three in the world at the time. In 1988, Mikael Pernfors won his first title in Los Angeles, beating fourth-ranked Andre Agassi. Jim Courier’s first title, in 1989 in Basel, Switzerland, came when he beat third-ranked Stefan Edberg. Others who beat top five players to capture their first tournament titles were Omar Camporese in 1991, Alberta Costa and Filip Dewulf in 1995, and Hyung-Taik Lee in 2003.

SET FOR KOOYONG

Two Swiss players – US Open champion Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka – will warm up for the 2009 Australian Open by playing at the invitational Kooyong Classic. Weakened by mononucleosis, Federer missed the tournament in 2008. Also scheduled to play in the event are Marat Safin, Fernando Gonzalez, Marcos Baghdatis, James Blake and Ernests Gulbis. The eighth spot for the tournament, which guarantees each player three matches on the same surface as that used at the Australian Open, will be named later.

SKIPPING STOCKHOLM

Saying he needs a break, Roger Federer will not play in the upcoming Stockholm Open. Federer has not played since winning his fifth consecutive US Open last month. “(This) has been a tough year for me as I was always playing catch-up after being diagnosed with mononucleosis at the beginning of the year,” said Federer, who lost his number one ranking to Rafael Nadal in August after holding it for a record 237 consecutive weeks.

SWITCHING SPORTS?

Paradorn Srichaphan is thinking about switching sports, perhaps becoming a race car driver. Beset by injury for almost two years, Thailand’s best player has been busy promoting motorsports in his country. “I’ve been really bored and it would be huge challenge to move from one sport to the next,” Srichaphan said. “I’m involved in a racing team and my sponsors are interested in having me racing for them, but only when I retire from tennis. I still plan to return to the tour.”

SLIPPERY COURT

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has penalized Croatia for playing Davis Cup matches against Brazil on a court that was considered too fast. As part of the Davis Cup Committee’s ruling, Croatia will lose 2,000 points and pay an undisclosed fine. Marina Mihelic, head of the Croatian Tennis Federation, said she was “surprised and annoyed” by the decision. The ITF said Croatia violated the federation’s “court pace rating rule,” which assesses the speed of surfaces other than grass and clay. It’s the first such case involving the rule, which was implemented this year. The ITF rejected Brazil’s appeal to have Croatia disqualified, the victory awarded to Brazil and financial compensation paid to Brazil.

SWEEP

The United States Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup teams captured the 2008 World Finals without dropping a single match. The international team competition for players age 16 and under held in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, continued the American domination of junior events. The American boys’ and girls’ squads won the World Junior Tennis Championships for 14-and-under in August in Prostejoy, Czech Republic. It is the first time the same country has won all four titles in the same year. The American Junior Fed Cup team beat Colombia, Chinese Taipei, Serbia, Hungary and Great Britain. The American Junior Davis Cup squad beat Latvia, Chinese Taipei, Sweden, India and Argentina.

STENNING LAUDED

Mark L. Stenning has been awarded the prestigious Chairman’s Award by the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island. The Chairman’s Award recognizes outstanding service by a Hall of Fame board member. Stenning joined the ITHOF in 1980 and currently holds the position of chief executive officer. He also currently serves on the Davis Cup and Fed Cup Committees of the United States Tennis Association.

SPONSOR

TENNIS.com is the new title sponsor of the Zurich Open, a stop on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. The Tennis Company, headquartered in Santa Monica, California, calls itself the world’s leading website for tennis fans. Aside from TENNIS.com, the company publishes Tennis Magazine and Smash Magazine. The Tennis Company is also a managing partner in the Indian Springs, California, tournament. Among others, The Tennis Company’s partners include Chris Evert, Billie Jean King and Pete Sampras.

SHARED PERFORMANCES

Stuttgart: Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Patty Schnyder beat Kveta Peschke and Rennae Stubbs 6-2 6-4

Tokyo (men): Mikhail Youzhny and Mischa Zverev beat Lukas Dlouhy and Leander Paes 6-3 6-4

Tokyo (women): Jill Craybus and Marina Erakovic beat Ayumi Morita and Aiko Nakamura 4-6 7-5 10-6 (match tiebreak)

Tashkent: Ioana Raluca Olaru and Olga Savchuk beat Nina Bratchikova and Kathrin Woerle 5-7 7-5 10-7 (match tiebreak)

Metz: Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra beat Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski 5-7 6-3 10-8 (match tiebreak)

Mons: Michal Mertinak and Lovro Zovko beat Yves Allegro and Horia Tecau 7-5 6-3

SITES TO SURF

Vienna: www.ba-ca-tennistrophy.at

Stockholm: www.stockholmopen.se

Moscow: www.kremlincup.ru

Madrid: www.mutuamad-mastersmadrid.com

Zurich: www.zurichopen.net

Ortisei: www.itfvalgardena.com

Budapest: www.tennisclassics.hu/

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

(All money in USD)

ATP

$1,000,000 ATP Kremlin Cup, Moscow, Russia, carpet

$800,000 IF Stockholm Open, Stockholm, Sweden, hard

$755,000 Bank Austria TennisTrophy, Vienna, Austria, hard

WTA TOUR

$1,340,000 Kremlin Cup, Moscow, Russia, carpet

SENIORS

BlackRock Tour of Champions, Budapest, Hungary, carpet

TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK

ATP

$2,450,000 Mutua Madrilena Masters Madrid, Madrid, Spain, hard

$125,000 Tashkent, Uzbekistan

WTA TOUR

$600,000 Zurich Open, Zurich, Switzerland

$100,000 Internazionali Tennis Val Gardena, Ortisei, Italy, carpet

Krajicek wins maiden BlackRock title at home

KRAJICEK WINS MAIDEN BLACKROCK TITLE AT HOME

Richard Krajicek finally won a title on the BlackRock Tour of Champions when he beat Goran Ivanisevic 7-6, 7-5 in front of his home fans at the AFAS Classics in Eindhoven, Holland.

The Dutchman was pushed all the way by Ivanisevic, but finally broke through in the tenth game of the second set to register the only service break of the match.

It was nice to finally win a title on the BlackRock Tour of Champions after five years on the circuit, especially here in Holland, said Krajicek. Goran beat me in the final here once before so it was really nice to win one.

Ivanisevic was stunned by the quality of his opponents backhand.

Normally when I played Richard he makes about three backhand passing shots in the whole match, but he killed me with that shot today. He was just too good, said Ivanisevic.

Earlier, Sergi Bruguera saved five match points to win a pulsating marathon with Michael Chang 6-7, 7-6, 14-12 (Champions Tie-Break) and take third place in the tournament.

Matches on the BlackRock Tour of Champions are played over the best of three sets, with a Champions Tie-break (first to 10 points with a clear advantage of two) to decide the winner.

Last week in Luxembourg, John McEnroe won his first BlackRock Tour of Champions title in three years by defeating Leconte to take the Vivium Victory Challenge.

Next, the Tour moves on to the Tennis Classics in Budapest. It will be the first time that the BlackRock Tour of Champions has visited Hungary. McEnroe and Bjorn Borg will both be in action, as will Ivanisevic.

In the final event of the year, Pete Sampras and Stefan Edberg will take on McEnroe and Ivanisevic in an eight-man field at the BlackRock Masters Tennis in London, December 2-7.

GORAN IVANISEVIC INTERVIEW – PART ONE

Goran Ivanisevic took time out from winning the AFAS Classics in Eindhoven to answer fans questions on the BlackRock Tour of Champions and BBC Sport websites.

In part one of the interview, which appeared on the official tour website:  www.blackrocktourofchampionscom , Ivanisevic told readers about his greatest career regret, the most talented opponent he ever faced and why Ivo Karlovic and Marin Cilic will both be Top Ten players.

The second part of the interview will appear on the BBC Sport website soon.

RESULTS FOR SUNDAY 5TH OCTOBER

Final

Richard Krajicek d. Goran Ivanisevc 7-6, 7-5

3rd/4th place play-off

Sergi Bruguera d. Michael Chang 6-7, 7-6, 14-12 (Champions Tie-Break – Bruguera saved five match points)

FINAL STANDINGS

GROUP A (The Miracle)

Matches won/lost (sets)

Richard Krajicek                         2-1 (5-2)

Sergi Bruguera            2-1 (4-2)

Michael Stich            2-1 (4-3)

Henri Leconte     0-3 (0-4)

GROUP B (Ndlovu)

Goran Ivanisevic 3-0 (6-1)

Michael Chang 2-1 (4-3)

Paul Haarhuis 1-2 (4-5)

Yevgeny Kafelnikov            0-3 (1-6)

BLACKROCK TOUR OF CHAMPIONS POINTS ALLOCATION

Winner   400 points

Finalist   250 points

3rd place   200 points

4th place   125 points

5/6th place   80 points

7/8th place  60 points

SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS 2008 TOUR OF CHAMPIONS RANKINGS (after ten events)

POS. PLAYER PTS

1 Goran Ivanisevic            1220

2 Marcelo Rios 1130

3 Michael Stich            980

4 Henri Leconte 890

5 Sergi Bruguera 810

6        Cedric Pioline 740

7 Thomas Muster 655

8 Anders Jarryd  525

9        John McEnroe                     480

10= Marc-Kevin Goellner (WC) 455

10= Fernando Meligeni (WC) 455

12 Pat Cash  420

13=    Richard Krajicek  400

13= Patrick Rafter  400

13= Pete Sampras  400

13=   Stefan Edberg                      400

17 Mikael Pernfors  330

18 Chris Wilkinson (WC)  325

19= Jaime Oncins (WC)  200

19=    Johny Goudenbour             200

21 Bjorn Borg  185

22=   Guy Forget                           125

22= Jeremy Bates (WC) 125

22= Albert Costa 125

22=  Michael Chang 125

26=  Carl Uwe Steeb  120

26= Guillermo Vilas 120

28=  Mats Wilander                        80

28=  Joao Cunha e Silva (WC)  80

28= Magnus Larsson  80

28= Andrei Cherkasov  80

28= Mansour Bahrami                  80

28= Paul Haarhuis 80

34 Yevgeny Kafelnikov 60

34= Jaime Yzaga  60

34= Alladin Karagoz (WC)  60

34= Andrei Chesnokov  60

WC denotes Wild Card.

The BlackRock Tour of Champions Calendar 2008

Belfast, Northern Ireland – February 21-24 (Tennis Legends)

Champion: Anders Jarryd; Runner-up: Mikael Pernfors

Barcelona, Spain – April 24-27 (Champions Cup ’08)

Champion: Marcelo Rios; Runner-up: Michael Stich

Rome, Italy – May 10-11

Champion: Thomas Muster; Runner-up: Goran Ivanisevic

Hamburg, Germany – May 14-17 (BlackRock Tennis Classic)

Champion: Michael Stich; Runner-up: Marc-Kevin Goellner

Sao Paulo, Brazil – June 19-22 (Nossa Caixa Grand Champions Brasil)

Champion: Pete Sampras; Runner-up: Marcelo Rios

Istanbul, Turkey – July 17-20

Champion: Goran Ivanisevic; Runner-up: Fernando Meligeni

Graz, Austria – July 29-August 2 (s Tennis Masters)

Champion: Patrick Rafter; Runner-up: Michael Stich

Algarve, Portugal – August 5-8 (Vale do Lobo Grand Champions CGD)

Champion: Marcelo Rios ; Runner-up : Goran Ivanisevic

Paris, France – September 18-21 (5e Trophe Jean-Luc Lagardre)

Champion: Stefan Edberg; Runner-up: Sergi Bruguera

Luxembourg, Luxembourg - September 25-28

Champion: John McEnroe; Runner-up: Henri Leconte

Eindhoven, Netherlands – October 2-5 (AFAS Tennis Classics)

Budapest, Hungary – October 9-12

Macao, China – November 20 (Special Event)

London, UK – December 2-7 (BlackRock Masters Tennis)

OTHER INFO

About BlackRock

BlackRock is one of the world’s largest publicly traded investment management firms. At June 30, 2008, BlackRock’s AUM was $1.428 trillion. The firm manages assets on behalf of institutions and individuals worldwide through a variety of equity, fixed income, cash management and alternative investment products. In addition, a growing number of institutional investors use BlackRock Solutions investment system, risk management and financial advisory services. Headquartered in New York City, as of June 30, 2008, the firm has approximately 5,700 employees in 19 countries and a major presence in key global markets, including the U.S., Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East. For additional information, please visit the Company’s website at www.blackrock.com.

South Africa’s international flagship airline and the continent’s most awarded carrier, South African Airways is the official airline of the BlackRock Tour of Champions. Its modern fleet features a comfortable Economy Class cabin recently reconfigured for extra legroom and a Premium Business Class cabin featuring the airline’s award-winning, lie-flat seat. Complimentary South African wines, inspired cuisine and personal on-demand entertainment for all travellers make the trip to Africa fly by. Built on a venerable 72-year history of bringing the world to Africa and taking Africa to the world, the airline’s network is unsurpassed on the continent – connecting travellers to more than 20 destinations within South Africa and more than 20 cities across Africa. As a recent member to the worldwide Star Alliance, South African Airways is now able to offer its customers 852 destinations in 152 countries and more than 15,500 flights daily.

For the Latest News, Features and Updates from the BlackRock Tour of Champions: www.blackrocktourofchampions.com

and for further information:

www.blackrockinternational.com/tourofchampions

Yevgeny Kafelnikov interview – ‘I put two photographs of myself together. It was like looking at two different people’

INSPIRED KRAJICEK SEEKS FIRST EINDHOVEN TITLE
Richard Krajicek knew that he needed to beat Sergi Bruguera in straight sets to reach the final, and thats exactly what he did. The Dutchman produced a barrage of bullet serves and huge forehands to win 6-4, 6-4 and set up a Sunday showdown with Goran Ivanisevic at the AFAS Classics in Eindhoven. Ivanisevic won nine of their 12 meetings, but Krajicek is a man on a mission this week.
Earlier, Ivanisevic fired his way past Yevgeny Kafelnikov 6-4, 7-5. The 3rd/4th place play-off will be contested by Bruguera and Michael Chang. Chang defeated Paul Haarhuis 6-7, 6-4, 10-6 (Champions Tie-break). In the other match of the day, Michael Stich overcame Henri Leconte 6-2, 7-5.
YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV INTERVIEW – I put two photographs of myself together. It was like looking at two different people.
It is a familiar story. A former World No.1 tennis player burns out after a decade of training and playing himself into the ground. He retires, breathes a sigh of relief and isnt seen or heard for five years.  He relaxes, goes on holiday and does all the things he wasnt allowed to do when he was a tennis player. One day he wakes up and doesnt like, or even recognise, the person that he sees in the mirror. He is unfit and overweight, and he wants to do something about it. He hears about the BlackRock Tour of Champions and asks his old rivals what they think of it. They tell him that it is a chance to experience the competition, camaraderie and limelight that they used to enjoy, but without the stress. Perfect.
It happened to Pete Sampras, it happened to Thomas Muster and now it has happened to Yevgeny Kafelnikov.
The Russian won French and Australian Open titles, topped the world rankings and won the Olympic gold medal in Sydney 2000. Renowned for his work ethic, he played 915 singles matches and 571 doubles matches in an 11-year career.  Then, after a 6-2, 6-2 loss to Mikhail Youzhny in St Petersburg in 2003, he was not seen on a competitive tennis court again.  He played poker, golf and devoted his time to bringing up his now 10-year-old daughter, Alesja. He didnt work out at all, and began to tip the scales at 120 kg (264 lbs) – 36 kg (79 lbs) more than in his prime. It was time to act.
I put two photos together, one when I was playing and a recent one, and it was like looking at two different people, said Kafelnikov at the AFAS Classics in Eindhoven, where he is making his debut on the BlackRock Tour of Champions.
I said to myself, no, you cant do that to your body, its not going to last long if you do. So I needed to gather myself. Sometimes you need those moments in your life when you draw the line and see what its like to be at your best – at your highest level, and also at your lowest level. Fortunately, my lows were not too deep so I got out of it and I want to say thanks so much to everyone for giving me the opportunity to come back and play.
Kafelnikov talks with pride about his record as a tennis player, but he knew when it was time to call it a day.
Basically I burned out, he said.
I got to the stage where I couldnt take it any longer. The fact that you need to travel, the media attention, and the saddest thing – the losses. Deep down inside I felt like I belonged to the really elite group of players, which is the top five or top ten at worst. But it got to the stage where I was out of the top ten, and then 2003 was a really difficult time and I started to lose to players who would hardly win a game against me when I was at my best. I just said look, I cant take it anymore and that was when I really decided to quit.
Kafelnikov was never the most media-friendly of tennis players, but he learned a few lessons while out of the limelight, and admits that he began to miss the attention.
I wanted to get away from all the pressure that I had during the years when I was playing, and I really did that. But then, after one or two years of being away in the shadows where nobody sees you, you dont talk to people or to the media, it becomes boring.  As you get older and wiser you see life from a different angle and your perspective changes, definitely. When I was playing on the tour on a regular basis I had quite an ego and thats understandable. I was there to win and it comes with the territory. Thats why Im here – people want to see me because I was once the Number One in the world and won Grand Slam titles. People want to see the guys who they idolised. Now, as we get older, were really thankful that people want to see us. Its really wonderful, and were going to try to give our best back.
He has been good to his word. Over the first two days of the AFAS Tennis Classics in Eindhoven, Kafelnikov could not have been more hospitable. He spent an hour laughing and joking with the media on the first day, offered to visit the Tour and Tournament sponsors whenever they needed him and hasnt stopped smiling since he arrived. Accompanied by daughter Alesja wherever he goes, his demeanor could not be more different to the man that reached No.1 in the world in 1999.
My daughter told me that if I go to this tournament, she goes too, so thats part of the deal, said Kafelnikov.
I had to talk to the teacher and shes allowed three days off school so shell be back to school on Monday, but shes enjoying it very much. The first day she was shy and she didnt know any of the guys but I told her look, this guy I played doubles with and this one gave me a hard time when we played, so now she knows everyone. Its a very nice feeling to see the guys that I used to share a locker room with. We had good chats before when we were on the tour together and now after those years that I have been away its pretty much the same, it never changed. They are all good guys. The BlackRock Tour is doing a good job of giving these guys another opportunity to be with each other. Were definitely now at a stage where we need to give back as much as we can to fans who really love the game of tennis. Were doing the pro-ams, talking to the sponsors and thats what we need to do.
On the court he has been less successful, losing all three of his round-robin matches against Michael Chang, Paul Haarhuis and Goran Ivanisevic. But he has already lost 15 kilos over the past six months as he bids to regain his fitness, and he isnt about to stop now.
Slowly, slowly, slowly I am getting into better shape and hopefully if I get more opportunities to play next year, I will definitely perform better, he said.
Matches on the BlackRock Tour of Champions are played over the best of three sets, with a Champions Tie-break (first to 10 points with a clear advantage of two) to decide the winner.
Last week in Luxembourg, John McEnroe won his first BlackRock Tour of Champions title in three years by defeating Leconte to take the Vivium Victory Challenge.
After Eindhoven, the Tour moves on to the Tennis Classics in Budapest. It will be the first time that the BlackRock Tour of Champions has visited Hungary. McEnroe and Bjorn Borg will both be in action

In the final event of the year, Pete Sampras and Stefan Edberg will take on McEnroe and Ivanisevic in an eight-man field at the BlackRock Masters Tennis in London, December 2-7.

Kafelnikov quotes supplied by the BlackRock Tour of Champions. If used, please credit accordingly.

RESULTS FOR SATURDAY 4TH OCTOBER

M. Stich  d. H. Leconte 6-2, 7-5
M. Chang d. P. Haarhuis 6-7, 6-4, 10-6
G. Ivanisevic d. Y. Kafelnikov 6-4, 7-5
R. Krajicek d. S. Bruguera 6-4, 6-4
FINAL STANDINGS
GROUP A (The Miracle)
Matches won/lost (sets)
Richard Krajicek                         2-1 (5-2)
Sergi Bruguera            2-1 (4-2)
Michael Stich            2-1 (4-3)
Henri Leconte     0-3 (0-4)
GROUP B (Ndlovu)
Goran Ivanisevic 3-0 (6-1)
Michael Chang 2-1 (4-3)
Paul Haarhuis 1-2 (4-5)
Yevgeny Kafelnikov            0-3 (1-6)
SCHEDULE
Sunday 5th October
1.45pm
3rd/4th place play-off
Michael Chang vs. Sergi Bruguera
Final
Richard Krajicek vs. Goran Ivanisevc
BLACKROCK TOUR OF CHAMPIONS POINTS ALLOCATION
Winner   400 points
Finalist   250 points
3rd place   200 points
4th place   125 points
5/6th place   80 points
7/8th place  60 points
SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS 2008 TOUR OF CHAMPIONS RANKINGS (after ten events)
POS. PLAYER PTS
1 Marcelo Rios 1130
2 Goran Ivanisevic            970
3 Michael Stich            900
4 Henri Leconte 830
5        Cedric Pioline 740
6 Thomas Muster 655
7 Sergi Bruguera 610
8 Anders Jarryd  525
9        John McEnroe                     480
10= Marc-Kevin Goellner (WC) 455
10= Fernando Meligeni (WC) 455
12 Pat Cash  420
13= Patrick Rafter  400
13= Pete Sampras  400
13=   Stefan Edberg                      400
16 Mikael Pernfors  330
17 Chris Wilkinson (WC)  325
18= Jaime Oncins (WC)  200
18=    Johny Goudenbour             200
20 Bjorn Borg  185
21=   Guy Forget                           125
21= Jeremy Bates (WC) 125
21= Albert Costa 125
21=  Carl Uwe Steeb  120
21= Guillermo Vilas 120
26=  Mats Wilander                        80
26=  Joao Cunha e Silva (WC)  80
26= Magnus Larsson  80
26= Andrei Cherkasov  80
26= Mansour Bahrami                  80
31= Jaime Yzaga  60
31= Alladin Karagoz (WC)  60
31= Andrei Chesnokov  60
WC denotes Wild Card.
The BlackRock Tour of Champions Calendar 2008
Belfast, Northern Ireland – February 21-24 (Tennis Legends)
Champion: Anders Jarryd; Runner-up: Mikael Pernfors
Barcelona, Spain – April 24-27 (Champions Cup ’08)
Champion: Marcelo Rios; Runner-up: Michael Stich
Rome, Italy - May 10-11
Champion: Thomas Muster; Runner-up: Goran Ivanisevic
Hamburg, Germany – May 14-17 (BlackRock Tennis Classic)
Champion: Michael Stich; Runner-up: Marc-Kevin Goellner
Sao Paulo, Brazil - June 19-22 (Nossa Caixa Grand Champions Brasil)
Champion: Pete Sampras; Runner-up: Marcelo Rios
Istanbul, Turkey – July 17-20
Champion: Goran Ivanisevic; Runner-up: Fernando Meligeni
Graz, Austria – July 29-August 2 (s Tennis Masters)
Champion: Patrick Rafter; Runner-up: Michael Stich
Algarve, Portugal - August 5-8 (Vale do Lobo Grand Champions CGD)
Champion: Marcelo Rios ; Runner-up : Goran Ivanisevic
Paris, France - September 18-21 (5e Trophe Jean-Luc Lagardre)
Champion: Stefan Edberg; Runner-up: Sergi Bruguera
Luxembourg, Luxembourg - September 25-28
Champion: John McEnroe; Runner-up: Henri Leconte
Eindhoven, Netherlands – October 2-5 (AFAS Tennis Classics)
Budapest, Hungary - October 9-12
Macao, China – November 20 (Special Event)
London, UK - December 2-7 (BlackRock Masters Tennis)
OTHER INFO
About BlackRock
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South Africa’s international flagship airline and the continent’s most awarded carrier, South African Airways is the official airline of the BlackRock Tour of Champions. Its modern fleet features a comfortable Economy Class cabin recently reconfigured for extra legroom and a Premium Business Class cabin featuring the airline’s award-winning, lie-flat seat. Complimentary South African wines, inspired cuisine and personal on-demand entertainment for all travellers make the trip to Africa fly by. Built on a venerable 72-year history of bringing the world to Africa and taking Africa to the world, the airline’s network is unsurpassed on the continent – connecting travellers to more than 20 destinations within South Africa and more than 20 cities across Africa. As a recent member to the worldwide Star Alliance, South African Airways is now able to offer its customers 852 destinations in 152 countries and more than 15,500 flights daily.
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