sears

Andy Murray and Kim Sears at the Burberry s/s ’11 Show in London

Andy Murray, with gf Kim Sears, at the Burberry Prorsum show today at London Fashion week. (Serena was there, too.) Trench coats in python, studded, etc. Dee-lish! We’ll link to the pics from the show as soon as they’re up.

(image via Daily Mail)

Pride Over Points; Ana Ivanovic Turns Down Wildcard For Montreal – The Friday Five

By Maud Watson

First Time for Everything – One of the big news items this week was the fact that for the first time since the ATP rankings began, no American man is in the Top 10. The United States has always had one of the richest tennis traditions, producing some of the game’s greatest, from Sears, Tilden and Trabert, to McEnroe, Sampras, and Agassi. So, the absence of a rep for the Stars and Stripes in the Top 10 is certainly worth noting, but it’s not the big crisis that some of the national sports pundits make of it. Tennis has become a much more global sport over the last few decades, and there’s no doubt that the depth has greatly increased. The other aspect that needs to be considered is that the United States is still producing world class players…they just don’t always represent the United States. The same Nick Bollettieri Academy that produced tennis greats Andre Agassi and Jim Courier and has also produced other top players like Tommy Haas (Germany) and Maria Sharapova (Russia). Besides, at the end of the day, assuming he’s healthy, the odds are still in favor of Roddick finishing the year in the Top 10, and other guys by the names of John Isner, Sam Querrey and Mardy Fish aren’t doing too shabby either.

The Ailing American – It was Andy Roddick’s departure from the Top 10 that sparked the bit of panic about the status of American men’s tennis, but the worries for Roddick are far from being about the ranking. After suffering an early exit in Washington, the American admitted to feeling lethargic and stated he would be undergoing some testing to try and discover the possible problem. He has since pulled out of the Toronto Masters citing his being too ill to play, though no word yet on the health issue that may possibly be plaguing him. It’s hard not to feel a little sympathy for Roddick. After one of his better spring seasons that seemed to hint at a possible resurgence, the American has suffered a steady decline that now sees him at one of his worst lows in recent memory. The fingers are crossed that he can reverse this trend at what has historically been one of the most successful junctures of the season for him and give the people back home something to cheer about.

Nalbandian on the Rise – A man on the flip side of what Roddick is experiencing is David Nalbandian. Though just really starting to fully come back from his long injury layoff, it hasn’t taken the Argentine long to polish the rust off his game. He looked in devastating form as he stormed his way to the title in Washington, and he’s continued his ruthless play this week in Toronto. He’s spent a lot of time out of the game, and for sure playing best-of-three vs. best-of-five makes a big difference. But if Nalbandian continues is form of late, and you factor in his records against both Nadal and Federer, it’s hard to not label him one of the outside dark horses to make a deep run at the US Open.

Pride over Points – The offer of a wildcard, one initially denied to the struggling Ana Ivanovic, was put on the table earlier this week, but the young Serb refused it. Her reason? She didn’t like what tournament director Eugene Lapierre had to say in The Montreal Gazette regarding his initial reasons for denying the wildcard to her earlier this summer. There’s right and wrong on both sides of the equation in this one. Lapierre raised many valid points in his reasons for initially denying the wildcard, but Ivanovic was right to think that he certainly could have been more diplomatic in presenting those points, and definitely a little more discreet as far as stating the number of reasons he initially denied her the wildcard other than that she’s “not Canadian.” With Ivanovic playing Cincinnati and also scheduled to play New Haven (through a wildcard), skipping Montreal most likely works in her favor anyway. But I have to applaud Ivanovic for having the guts to stick to her own personal principles instead of taking the tempting wildcard and the potential to earn some needed points at one of the most prestigious events on the WTA calendar.

Sponsorship Terminated – In order to comply with the laws in several countries which put heavy restrictions on tobacco advertising, the Davidoff Swiss Indoors tournament will be enjoying its swan song in 2010 as the tobacco company will be forced to end its 17-year sponsorship of the popular indoor stop. This is out of the ATP’s hands, and the current global trend to reduce the amount of tobacco and tobacco-related products advertising is understandable for obvious reasons. But this was still a bit of a head shaker given how hard it can be for tournaments to find title sponsors, and in this specific case, we are talking about a sponsor who didn’t just step in for a few years, but had been faithfully sponsoring the tournament for nearly two decades. Unfortunately, those are the breaks that come with being at the 500-level. Hopefully given the quality of the field that tends to show up in Basel year after year, the Swiss Indoors won’t find it too much of a struggle to find a replacement sponsor.

BRITISH WEATHER INDECISIVE BUT MURRAY AND RODDICK SHINE AT QUEEN’S CLUB

The indecisive British weather threatened for most of the day causing play to be held back until 1.30pm on Centre Court and the players to be pulled off for a break at 3.30pm during a heavy shower. However, the sunshine prevailed towards the latter stages, but unfortunately did not shine kindly on British No. 2, Alex Bogdanovic who lost the final set to talented Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 6-4 after a missed challenge and two double faults ended his campaign on Centre Court. Bogdanovic revealed his “disappointment” over having his funding cut by the Lawn Tennis Association after the match, but remained positive that he could still be “a top 100 player”.

Next up on centre was the talented Frenchman, No. 6 seed Gael Monfils against German, Rainer Schuettler, ranked No. 82 in the ATP world rankings. During the first game, Monfils appeared to twist his knee and looked extremely uncomfortable moving on the grass for the rest of the match losing in three 6-3, 6-7, 6-2, meaning the former Wimbledon semifinalist, Shuettler had pulled off his biggest win since beating Sam Querrey in the first round of this year’s Australian Open.

Performance of day two at Queen’s had to go to Andy Murray, who was next up on centre, playing Ivan Navarro. Surprisingly for a Spaniard, Navarro took his serve volley game to Murray who did well to get the first set to his first tiebreak at Queen’s since 2008. Murray managed to pull off some spectacular shots to take the first set, which must have thrilled his girlfriend, Kim Sears back watching on the side lines since rekindling their romance earlier this year. Murray started to see the ball a lot better in the second set, winning it convincingly 6-3. He came back at the end of the day’s play to partner his brother Jamie against Sam Querrey and Scott Lipsky of the USA. The pair looked impressive as they won in two in front of a more vocal home crowd after several glasses of Pimms. Murray was suitably grumpy in the post match press conference and I can see why he hasn’t always won many popularity points with the press.

Andy Roddick made easy work of Russian Igor Kunitsyn, thrashing him 6-2, 6-1 in a flash. Roddick revealed an interesting theory after the match, saying that he would “love three months of 1000 tournaments in the lead up to Wimbledon. We have a couple of 250s before Wimbledon. So for me that’s just a glaring issue, you know.” More Pimms and strawberries for three months before Wimbledon? I second that Andy, but what about the weather?

Melina Harris is a freelance sports writer, book editor, English tutor and PTR qualified tennis coach. For more information and contact details please visit and subscribe to her website and blog at http://www.thetenniswriter.wordpress.com and follow her twitter updates via http://www.twitter.com/thetenniswriter.   She is available for freelance writing, editing and one to one private teaching and coaching.

IS ANDY MURRAY BACK WITH HIS GIRLFRIEND?

British fans can all breathe a collective sigh of relief if reports are to be believed, that British No. 1, Andy Murray, is back with his ex-girlfriend of four years, Kim Sears.

The couple, who split last November after four years, are understood to have met up a number of times in recent weeks. This includes a sighting of the loved-up pair smooching over a couple of sausage sandwiches in Wimbledon Common, a stone’s throw from the hallowed grounds of the world’s greatest grass tournament where Sears had become as much a part of the furniture as Sir Cliff Richard, as she cheered on Murray year after year sat next to his animated mother Judy.

In the last few weeks, there have been other unconfirmed sightings of the couple, including a woman closely resembling Sears going into Murray’s mansion holding on to the other love of his life – his precious pooch, Maggie. The couple have also been seen together in Murray’s Mini Cooper, but when asked if he wished to discuss the rekindled romance, Murray smiled and said ‘No, no, but thank you’ while Kim’s mother refused to comment. Friends of the couple are reported to have been a little more revealing, with one admitting it was ‘early days,’ while a neighbor went so far as to confirm, ‘Yes, they are back together.’

Since Roger Federer’s comprehensive lecture on how to win a Grand Slam way back in January in the Australian Open final, Murray’s form has dipped considerably with a string of disappointing results. Although the months in the run up to the first Grand Slam of the year where Murray’s ‘alone time’ as a bachelor allowed him the time to focus solely on his career and the results followed, since his loss to Federer, the lack of a significant other seems to have affected him mentally. Perhaps old Muzza had to learn the hard way that the computer game ‘Call of Duty’ (which was apparently one of the factors in the break up to begin with) cannot provide anywhere near the sort of emotional support a girlfriend can – especially a beautiful, stylish, intelligent one (she is studying for a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English at Brighton University). It cannot go unnoticed that Andy Roddick seems to be doing a little better with stunner Brooklyn Decker on his arm, while the Fed’s career seems to have been enhanced by the emotional stability his wife provides. And really, let’s be honest, where would Barack be without Michelle?

Interestingly, Murray admitted after his recent loss to Mardy Fish in Miami that ‘I’ve been very happy off the court, just not on it’, perhaps a reference to time spent with Kim and has previously admitted he played better when in a relationship. We can only hope that with her support and encouragement he will fall as much back in love with the beautiful game as with her,  a game which is so often described as a love affair of sorts by players throughout history. For the moment their relationship appears to be pivoting at 40-love and I reckon all it needs is one more grand romantic gesture, and it’ll be game, set and match for our main man and hopefully British tennis, which needs a positive boost in the run up to Wimbledon. Here’s a little hint Andy, diamonds are a girl’s best friend!

Melina Harris is a freelance sports writer, book editor, English tutor and PTR qualified tennis coach. For more information and contact details please visit and subscribe to her website and blog at http://www.thetenniswriter.wordpress.com and follow her twitter updates via http://www.twitter.com/thetenniswriter.   She is available for freelance writing, editing and one to one private teaching and coaching.

Murray Dumped Over Playstation?

While Tiger Woods is having relationship problems due to spending intimate time with other women, British tennis ace Andy Murray problem’s lie with too much time playing video games.

The Telegraph in the United Kingdom is reporting that Murray’s split with girlfriend Kim Sears was partially due to too much time playing Playstation. Writes the Telegraph, “Sources close to Sears said one of the causes [of the breakup] was the world number four’s long hours playing video tennis and PlayStation 3 games such as the best selling Call of Duty sequel. Brad Gilbert, Murray’s former coach, has said in the past that Murray spends “seven hours a day” playing video games.”

The U.K’s tabloid newspaper The Sun quoted another source saying, “He would spend all his time glued to them (video games). In the end she just got fed up with it. She wanted more out of the relationship.”

Murray Breaks Up With Girlfriend Sears

Andy Murray has broken up with his long-time girlfriend Kim Sears, British media are reporting.

Sears, 21, was absent from Murray’s box at the Barclay’s ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London. Media reports suggest that Sears has moved back with her parents after living with the 2008 US Open singles finalist at a house in Surrey. The couple were an item for four years. Murray, 22, is currently ranked No. 4 in the world.

According to the Times of London, a spokesman for 19 Entertainment, Murray’s management company, said: “Andy and Kim have mutually agreed to separate. They remain friends and ask for privacy at this time.”

Sears became familiar to millions of tennis fans worldwide, especially at Wimbledon, where TV cameras picked up the emotion written on her face as she cheered him from the stands.

Sears’ father, Nigel Sears, is an employee with the British Lawn Tennis Association where he is the head of British women’s tennis and the captain of the British Fed Cup team.

More information can be found here – http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/tennis/article6936719.ece