Sergio Roitman

Mondays With Bob Greene: I’ve had good times and bad times

STARS

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

SAYING

“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.

SUCCESS, FINALLY

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.

SLOVAKIAN SURPRISE

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.

SPECIAL ENTRY

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.

STRAIGHT IN

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.

SQUEAKER

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.

SWAN SONG

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.

SWEDISH PRISON

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.

SIGNAGE

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.

SPLITSVILLE

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.

SENTENCED

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.

START DELAYED

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.

SCOTT AWARD

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.

SPONSOR LOSS

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.

SLICING FINE

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.

SHARED PERFORMANCES

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

Eastbourne: www.lta.org.uk/Watch/

s-Hertogenbosch: www.ordina-open.nl/

Wimbledon: www.wimbledon.org

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

(All money in USD)

ATP

$600,000 Ordina Open, s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, grass

$600,000 AEGON International, Eastbourne, Great Britain, grass

WTA

$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

Mondays With Bob Greene: I am like a machine, fit for every match

STARS

Ayumi Morita beat Ksenia Lykina 6-1 6-3 to win the 2008 Dunlop World Challenge women’s event in Toyota City, Japan

Martin Vassallo Arguello won the Lima Challenger 2008, beating Sergio Roitman 6-2 4-6 6-4 in Lima, Peru

Go Soeda beat Hyung-Taik Lee 6-2 7-6 (7) to win the Dunlop World Challenge men’s singles in Toyota City, Japan

Grega Zemlja beat Martin Alund 6-2 6-1 to win the Abierto Internacional Varonil Ciudad de Cancun in Cancun, Mexico

SAYING

“This was our worst defeat. We had a sinister weekend.” – David Nalbandian, who earned Argentina’s lone point in Spain’s 3-1 Davis Cup victory.

“I think he’s my natural successor. He’s very close to this group of players who are integrated into the nucleus of the team and he’s demonstrated his qualities as a coach by leading Feliciano (Lopez), who has shown notable progression in the last while.” – Emilio Sanchez, on Albert Costa’s prospects for becoming Spain’s Davis Cup captain.

“I am like a machine, fit for every match, and I give my best for all my matches. I have a consistent style of play, which is my major strength and keeps me going. I am fine with the current ATP schedule and love playing tennis, which keeps me going.” – Nikolay Davydenko.

“It goes back to what my dad said: I peaked at 12 years old.” – Jimmy Arias, who in 1980 at the age of 16 became the youngest player to make the main draw of the US Open.

“She will have an opportunity but she will have to earn it.” – Craig Tiley, Australian Open tournament director on Jelena Dokic playing in a wild card playoff for a direct entry into the first Grand Slam tournament of 2009.

SUFFERIN’ SUCCOTASH

His business manager says Jimmy Connors is “extremely disappointed and embarrassed” about an incident that led to the tennis legend being charged with a misdemeanor. Karen Scott says a man tried to pick a fight with Connors and his son before a basketball game between the University of California Santa Barbara and the University of North Carolina. Police asked Connors to leave, but the eight-time Grand Slam tournament champion was arrested after he said he wanted to wait for his son to finish watching the game. Connors was charged with disrupting campus activities and refusing to leave a university facility.

STEPS DOWN

The day after leading Spain to its third Davis Cup championship, Emilio Sanchez Vicario retired as captain of the victorious team. “I will not be there for the tie against Serbia,” said Sanchez, referring to Spain’s first-round tie in 2009. “I started something three years ago and the cycle is now complete with this reward for all the players, and I hope that whoever replaces me can share all the magical moments I have experienced.” The next Spanish captain is rumored to be Albert Costa, the 2002 Roland Garros champion.

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SAME IN ARGENTINA

Alberto Mancini apparently is through as coach of Argentina’s Davis Cup squad. He announced his resignation just hours after Spain clinched its third Davis Cup title, defeating Argentina 3-1 in the best-of-five-matches tie. The fifth match was not played. According to reports, Mancini had planned to resign after the final regardless of the outcome.

SCORING MORE

As an incentive to play better, Chinese tennis players will be able to keep more of their winnings. China’s players will keep 70 percent of the money they win, twice the amount they have been able to put into the bank. But the country’s top players, including Li Na and Wimbledon semifinalist Zheng Jie, are eligible to keep even more if they do well at Grand Slams and other big tournaments. In China, the sports associations have paid for coaches, travel and other expenses for the players. In making the announcement, Sun Jinfang, head of the Chinese Tennis Association (CTA), didn’t say if the players would now have to pay for some of their own expenses.

SQUARING OFF

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer could resume their rivalry in their opening 2009 tournament. The world’s top two players are scheduled to play the Qatar Open in Doha, Qatar, which begins January 5. According to Nasser al-Kholiafi, Qatar tennis federation president, the star-filled field will also include Andy Murray and Andy Roddick. The Qatar Open is one of three tournaments that will begin the 2009 ATP season, the others being the Brisbane International in Australia and the Chennai Open in India.

STOPPED

Kimiko Date-Krumm’s latest tournament ended quickly in the singles. Once ranked number five in the world, Date-Krumm lost her second-round match in the 2008 Dunlop World Challenge Tennis Tournament in Toyota, Japan, to Russian wild-card Ksenia Lykina 5-7 7-5 6-3. She did much better in the doubles, teaming with China’s Han Xinyun to reach the final, where they lost to Finland’s Emma Laine and Britain’s Melanie South 6-1 7-5.

SLUITER RETURNS

Dutch tennis player Raemon Sluiter is returning to the ATP tour after a 10-month retirement. He reached his highest world ranking of number 46 in 2003. The right-hander from Rotterdam turned pro in 1996 and earned a little more than USD $1.6 million in his career. Sluiter began his Davis Cup career in 2001 by upsetting Juan Carlos Ferrero as the Netherlands beat Spain and Germany to reach the World Group semifinals before losing to France. He also has a Davis Cup victory over Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen.

SET TO EXPLODE

A live bomb from World War II was discovered when a court at a British tennis club underwent renovation. The bomb was thought to be a piece of old farm machinery and handed to Steve McLean, chairman of the Greenlaw Tennis Club in Berwickshire, who put it in a bin. Six weeks later, he realized it was a bomb and called police. Army bomb disposal experts took the bomb away so it could be detonated safely.

STUMBLE

The first event in a closed tour for Asian players was canceled because of the lack of top players. The Asian Tennis Federation said it was planning a closed Asian Tennis Tour to help Asian players make more money. The first two events were to be held in India in December, a men’s tournament in Pune, followed by a women’s event in Indore. But some of the eight countries who had pledged their participation in the tour ended up nominated their third- or fourth-string players for the tournaments.

SENDS WARNING

John McEnroe hasn’t been quiet about his chances at the BlackRock Masters Tennis championships at London’s Royal Albert Hall. The lefthander, who at the age of 49 is by far the oldest in the eight-man draw, sent a video message to his rivals warning them not to underestimate him. McEnroe’s recent victory in Luxembourg has convinced the American that he can still compete. McEnroe is in a group with American Pete Sampras, Frenchman Cedric Pioline and Britain’s Jeremy Bates. The other group consists of Sweden’s Stefan Edberg, Australian Pat Cash, Britain’s Greg Rusedski and France’s Guy Forget. Jamie Murray, Wimbledon mixed doubles champion in 2007 and the brother of Andy Murray, will play doubles, joining, among others, Peter Fleming, Henri Leconte, Mansour Bahrami, Mark Woodforde and Anders Jarryd. Goran Ivanisevic withdrew from the singles field because he will undergo knee surgery.

SITTING ON TOP

For the third consecutive year, France has more players in the year-ending ATP Top 100 than any other nation. This year, however, Spain has tied France with 14 players in the Top 100. With Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at number six and Gilles Simon at number seven, it is the first time since 1986 that two Frenchmen have been in the year-end Top Ten. Yannick Noah and Henri Leconte did it then. Twenty-nine countries are represented in the Top 100. After France and Spain, Argentina has nine players in the Top 100, followed by the United States with eight, Germany and Russia with seven each, Croatia with five, the Czech Republic and Italy with four each, and Serbia and Belgium with three apiece.

STARS FOR SALE

The Heineken Open has reportedly been forced to shell out record appearance fees in order to land a couple of top players for the tournament in Auckland, New Zealand, beginning January 12. The headliners will be world number eight Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina and former champion David Ferrer of Spain. Tournament director Richard Palmer would not reveal the exact amount of appearance fees he had to pay to get the two, but said it was considerably less than the sums some top 10 players were demanding.

SO HAPPY

Organizers of the US Men’s Clay Court Championships in Houston, Texas, are smiling these days. Because of the changes in the ATP calendar for 2009, Lleyton Hewitt and the Bryan brothers, Bob and Mike, have committed to the US Clay Court. The Houston event now doesn’t bump up against Davis Cup competition or a popular clay-court tournament in Europe. And it directly follows the Masters 100 tournament in Miami, Florida. “This is a perfect example of how we’ve improved our prospects of getting some players we probably wouldn’t have had a shot at before,” said Van Barry, tennis director of River Oaks Country Club, site of the tournament.

SERBIAN DREAMS

The decrepit courts of the Milan Gale Muskatirovic Sports Centre in Belgrade, Serbia, will be restored in time to hold an ATP tournament in May. Tennis Masters Cup champion Novak Djokovic and his family are behind the changes, having acquired the ATP event only a few weeks ago. The Serbian government, city of Belgrade and municipality of Stari Grad will jointly pay more than USD $1 million for the venture. The courts also will be used by the Serbian Tennis Federation for Fed Cup and Davis Cup practice as well as university competition. When completed, the complex will have seven courts with seating for 5,000 at the Central Court. The restoration is scheduled to be completed by mid-April, two weeks before the tournament will begin.

SYDNEY CALLING

The Medibank International Sydney 2009 tournament will feature a number of top players, including Serena Williams, Jelena Jankovic, David Nalbandian and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Officials say the competition will be Sydney’s international sporting event of the Australian summer. Also in the field will be Russian Elena Dementieva and Frenchman Richard Gasquet, while Australia’s Lleyton Hewitt will be gunning for his fifth title in the tournament.

STICKING WITH IT

Argentina’s David Nalbandian refuted rumors that he is considering quitting his country’s Davis Cup team because of its loss to Spain. “For me it’s really an honor to represent my country. I’m going to continue defending these colors in the best way possible. For me, playing Davis Cup is the best and I’m upset that people have doubted me.” Nalbandian won the opening singles in the three-day competition, beating David Ferrer. But he and Agustin Calleri lost their doubles match and his “reverse singles” match was never played because Spain had already wrapped up its victory. “We’ve played in two Davis Cup finals in the last three years and I still think we can win it,” Nalbandian said.

SET FOR CHENNAI

India’s two top-ranked singles players, Somdev Devvarman and Prakash Amritraj, have been given wild cards into the Chennai Open tournament scheduled to begin January 5. The third wild card into the main singles draw has been offered to Lukas Dlouhy of the Czech Republic, who will partner India’s Leander Paes in the doubles. India’s Mahesh Bhupathi and his partner, Mark Knowles of the Bahamas, have also entered the tournament. While Paes and Bhupathi are India’s best-known players, neither play singles that much any more.

SAD NEWS

Anne Pittman, who coached Arizona State’s women’s tennis program for 30 years, died in Tempe, Arizona, after suffering a stroke. She was 90 years old. Pittman guided ASU to a 338-71 record from 1954 through 1984 and led the Sun Devils to national championships in 1971, 1972 and 1974. In 1995, she was selected as one of the charter members and only coach into the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Women’s Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame. During her tenure, the women’s tennis coach was considered a volunteer position. Pittman refused to retire until funding was approved during the 1983-84 season to make the coach a paid, full-time position.

SHARED PERFORMANCES

Toyota (women): Emma Laine and Melanie South beat Kimiko Date-Krumm and Han Xinyun 6-1 7-5

Lima: Luis Horna and Sebastian Prieto beat Ramon Delgado and Julio Silva 6-3 6-3

Toyota (men): Frederik Nielsen and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi beat Chen Ti and Gazegorz Panfil 7-5 6-3

Cancun: Lukasz Kubot and Oliver Marach beat Lee Hsin-Han and Yang Tsung-Hua 7-5 6-2

SITES TO SURF

London: www.theblackrockmasters.com/

Australian Open: www.australianopen.com/

ATP: www.atptennis.com

WTA Tour: www.sonyericssonwtatour.com

ITF: www.itftennis.com

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

SENIORS

BlackRock Masters Tennis, London, England, carpet

Mondays With Bob Greene: Federer Starts Quest For Sixth Straight Wimbledon

STARS

David Ferrer beat Marc Gicquel 6-4 6-2 to win the Ordina Open men’s crown in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands

Ivo Karlovic beat Fernando Verdasco 6-2 7-6 (5) to win The Slazenger Open in Nottingham, England

Agnieszka Radwanska won the International Women’s Open in Eastbourne, England, beating Nadia Petrova 6-4 6-7 (11) 6-4

Tamarine Tanasugarn upset Dinara Safina 7-5 6-3 to win the Ordina Open women’s title in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands

Nicolas Devilder won the Nord LB Open in Braunschweig, Germany, beating Sergio Roitman 6-4 6-4

Pete Sampras beat Marcelo Rios 6-2 7-6 (5) to win the Nossa Caixa Grand Champions Brazil title in Sao Paulo, Brazil

SAYINGS

“Maybe it was more difficult for Dinara, as she was seeded and playing really well lately and I was coming out of the qualies.” – Qualifier Tamarine Tanasugarn, who upset third-seeded Dinara Safina to win the Ordina Open.

“I want to forget this match as soon as I can.” – Dinara Safina.

“I never would have imagined winning a title on grass, but I played really good this week.” – Spain’s David Ferrer who is better known for his clay court game.

“There’s no easy points against him. He’s always there and he fights so much.” – Marc Gicquel about David Ferrer.

“I think this year there are about four or five players who you could pick to win it. Of course you can never discount the Williams sisters.” – Martina Hingis, on who will win Wimbledon.

“The way the grass plays these days, I put Rafa as the slight favorite for Wimbledon this year. Rafa got so close last year to beating Federer in the final, and I reckon his reaction was to lift his own standards.” – Six-time Wimbledon doubles champion Mark Woodforde.

“I pick (Rafael) Nadal to win this year, as long as he can get through the first couple of rounds.” – Five-time Wimbledon champion Bjorn Borg.

“I will go to Wimbledon with a lot of hope.” – Roger Federer, who is seeking his sixth consecutive Wimbledon title.

“There is a burning desire in Roger to break my record, and when he does it I would like to be there.” – Pete Sampras, who holds the men’s record with 14 career Grand Slam titles.

“I hate myself. I just can’t stand myself.” – Andy Roddick, after throwing his racket at a garbage can while practicing at Wimbledon.

“She just rips that forehand withouth thinking now. Sometimes I think she has no idea where it’s going to go, but compared to other players it’s by far the best forehand out there.” – Nadia Petrova, about fellow player Ana Ivanovic.

“Women’s tennis has become much stronger and much taller, but I don’t necessarily think the players have become better athletes. There is a lot of hard hitting, but they lack the variety and the talent. It’s not that they don’t have the talent, but they play the same kind of tennis.” – Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna on today’s women players.

“Wow! It has been a quick 12 months since I was here last year. Let’s see, I graduated from fashion design school, launched my own clothing line, bought a new dog, went to India for the first time and so much more.” – Defending women’s champion Venus Williams.

“We’re changing the face, changing the picture of everything in general. We decided together that this is the best thing for sport – to join the Player Council and to try to be united in the future to make good decisions for us, for everybody.” – Novak Djokovic, on he, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal all being elected to the ATP Player Council.

“I think when people retire, they just know it’s time. For me, I wasn’t really enjoying the tour as a whole.” – Alun Jones, who reitred following a first-round loss in the Wimbldeon qualifying.

“Pete is playing v ery good tennis and it was hard to beat him as his serve is so big. On this surface it is obvious that he has a big advantage.” – Marcelo Rios, who lost the final to Pete Sampras on a hard court in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

“Straight after Wimbledon I’ll take a few weeks off because this special time with the family is time you’ll never get back.” – Mark Knowles, whose wife just gave birth to their second child.

“‘I do continue to worry about the health and well-being of the players. A person like Justine Henin retires at 25 and almost every one of our players suffers with an injury of some kind. It’s something not in your direct control, but it’s one of the reasons I’ve been so laser-focused on the need to change the calendar and reduce the commitment of players.” – Larry Scott, CEO of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour.

SIXTH STRAIGHT

Roger Federer is seeking his sixth consecutive Wimbledon title, a feat that hasn’t been done since William Renshaw did it in 1886. Renshaw, of course, had an advantage. In those days the defending champion didn’t play until the final. Federer, on the other hand, must win seven matches to hold the trophy again. And he has never beaten his first-round opponent, Dominik Hrbaty, in their previous two meetings.

SLAZENGER NO-NO

Dmitry Tursunov was disqualified at the Slazenger Open when he walked off the court during a doubles match. Tursunov and his partner, Chris Haggard, were trailing 6-4 3-1 in their first-round match against Simone Bolelli and Andreas Seppi when Tursunov argued over a line call, then left the court. The ATP supervisor then disqualified Tursunov from the singles, giving Thomas Johansson a second-round walkover.

SERVING TALL

Ivo Karlovic pounded out 29 aces in his 7-5 6-7 (4) 7-6 (8) victory over Fernando Verdasco as he successfully defended his title at the Slazenger Open. Karlovic, at 6-foot-10 (2.08m), is the tallest player on the tour. He finished the tournament with 101 aces in five matches and raised his tour-leading total to 548. Due to wet weather, both the singles and doubles finals were played indoors at the City of Nottingham Tennis Centre, making Karlovic the second player to win the title indoors. Greg Rusedski did the same in 1997.

SECOND FOR BOTH

Thailand’s Tamarine Tanasugarn won her second and biggest Sony Ericsson WTA Tour singles title of her career, coming through qualifying to capture the Ordina Open in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, by upsetting third-seeded Dinara Safina in the final. Tanasugarn also won in Hyderabad, India, in 2003. For Safina, it was her second straight loss in a grass-court final, having fallen to Michaella Krajicek in the Ordina Open title match two years ago.

SEEKING MORE SAY

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic – the world’s top three-ranked players – have been elected to two-year terms on the ATP Player Council. The three are among the players who have opening complained about decisions made by ATP chairman Etienne de Villiers, whose contract expires this year. One of the biggest bones of contention has been the restructuring of the spring clay-court schedule, which has led to the downgrading of the Hamburg, Germany, tournament and a subsequent antitrust lawsuit filed against the ATP.

SHARING CONTROL

Three new players’ representatives have been elected the ATP Board of Directors. Justin Gimelstob will represent the Americas, Ivan Ljubicic will serve the vacant position as the European representative until the U.S. Open, and David Edges, vice president of the Tennis Channel, will serve in the International position. Gimblestob, a former player, is currently a commentator on Tennis Channel and replaces Andre Agassi’s agent, Perry Rogers, who was voted out of his job by the Players’ Council in March.

SAYONARA

Australian Alun Jones has called it quits. The 28-year-old played eight years on the tour but is probably best known for a small role as fictional tennis player Tom Cavendish in the film “Wimbledon.” His last match was a first-round loss in qualifying for Wimbledon. Born in South Africa, Jones reached a career-high ranking of 123 earlier this year when he won his first Grand Slam match, a first-rounder at the Australian Open. He made his Davis Cup debut in February. Jones plans to marry in Belgium later this month before returning to Canberra, Australia, where he will begin a coaching career.

SENIOR PETE

Pete Sampras won his first BlackRock Tour of Champions title by riding his big serve to a 6-2 7-6 (5) victory over Marcelo Rios in the Nossa Caixa Grand Champions Brazil. The American broke Rios in the fifth and seventh games of the opening set, then closed out the hard court senior tour tournament by winning the tiebreaker.

SECOND SON

Mark Knowles is a daddy again. Dawn Knowles gave birth to the couple’s second son, Brody Mark Knowles, in Dallas, Texas, on June 20. Brody made his debut three weeks early and Dawn gave her blessing for Mark to head to Wimbledon where he will partner Mahesh Bhupathi in the men’s doubles. Knowles has not played since the French Open, where he and Bhupathi were upset in the opening round. He reached the second round of the mixed doubles before withdrawing so that he could attend the birth of his second son. Their first son, Graham, will turn three in September.

STREAKING

After 36 years without a title on the surface, Spanish players have now won grass-court tournaments for two straight weeks. This time it was David Ferrer who captured his first grass-court title, the Ordina Open, with a 6-4 6-2 win over Frenchman Marc Gicquel. A week earlier, Ferrer’s fellow Spanish countryman Rafael Nadal won on grass at Queens’ Club in London. Before that you would have to go back to Andres Gimeno winning in Eastbourne, England, in 1972. It was Ferrer’s second ATP title of the season and seventh of his career.

SITE SELECTED

Spain will be at home in Madrid when they take on the defending champion Russia for the 2008 Fed Cup title. The competition will be held at Club de Campo de Madrid, where the United States won the title in 1979. It will be Spain’s 11th final and first since 2002. They have won the Cup five times. Three-time champion Russia has reached the final seven times.

SWITCHING PARTNERS

Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes reached the final in the first tournament since pairing up again. Seeded second, Bhupathi and Paes were surprised in the Ordina Open title match by unseeded Mario Ancic and Jurgen Melzer 7-6 (5) 6-3. Bhupathi and Paes were attempting to win their 24th title together, but first since capturing Toronto in 2004. The two are preparing to represent India in the Beijing Olympics. At Wimbledon, both will return to their regular partners, Bhupathi with Mark Knowles and Paes with Lukas Dlouhy.

SOUTH AFRICA

South African Airways (SAA) has extended its role as official airline of the ATP through 2012 in a deal worth USD 20 million dollars. SAA also will continue its sponsorship of several international tournaments. In making the announcement, the ATP also revealed that South Africa will regain a spot on the men’s tour next year. Several South African cities are in the running to stage the World Tour-level tournament. The country held tournaments previously, including the doubles world championships in Johannesburg from 1991 through 1993. In recent years a Challenger event has been staged in South Africa.

STUNNING

No one dazzled more at the annual Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Pre-Wimbledon Party than Serena Williams, who wore diamonds in her hair that were valued at USD two million dollars. The look was masterminded by hairdresser Stuart Phillips and jeweler Neil Duttson, who is known as the Rock Doctor. Among others at the party, hosted by Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson, were Ana Ivanovic, Venus Williams, Jelena Jankovic and Maria Sharapova.

STARRING TRIO

Three WTA stars are ranked in the Forbes Celebrity 100, with Maria Sharapova being the highest-placed female athlete on the list. Sharapova is ranked number 61, with Serena Williams ranked number 69 and Justine Henin ranked number 81. The Forbes list ranks 100 of the world’s best-known and powerful celebrities in the period from June 2007 to June 2008. Sharapova, Williams and Henin also have something else in common: they all have been ranked number one in the world at one time in their career.

SPONSORING FINALS

Barclays will be the title sponsor of the year-ending men’s tennis tournament, beginning in 2009. As part of the restructuring of men’s tennis the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals will replace the Tennis Masters Cup, which will be held in Shanghai, China, this November. Barclays signed a five-year deal worth around USD 7 million dollars.

SISTERS SHARING

Sisters Venus and Serena Williams will play doubles at Wimbledon this year. The two have combined for doubles in only three tournaments since Wimbledon in 2003. The last title they won as a team was the Australian Open in 2003, the sixth Grand Slam title for the partnership. The sisters hope to play doubles at the Beijing Olympics and repeat their gold-medal form of the Sydney Games in 2000.

SONY AD CAMPAIGN

The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour has unveiled a USD 15 million dollar ad campaign that will be seen in more than 75 countries over the next 18 months and feature 30 players. The players took part in the film and photographic shoot for the campaign at various locations in Rome, Italy, last month. This is the single largest commitment to promote the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour players in the history of women’s tennis. The advertisements ask the question “Looking for a Hero?” and bills the tour’s players as superheroes both on and off the court.

SHARED PERFORMANCES

s’-Hertogenbosch: Mario Ancic and Jurgen Melzer beat Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes 7-6 (5) 6-3

Nottingham: Bruno Soares and Kevin Ullyett beat Jeff Coetzee and Jamie Murray 6-2 7-6 (5)

Eastbourne: Cara Black and Liezel Huber beat Kveta Peschke and Rennae Stubbs 2-6 6-0 10-8 (match tiebreak)

s’-Hertogenbosch: Marina Erakovic and Michaella Krajicek beat Liga Dekmeijere and Angelique Kerber 6-3 6-2

Braunschweig: Marco Crugnola and Oscar Hernandez beat Werner Eschauer and Philipp Oswald 7-6 (4) 6-2

SITES TO SURF

Wimbledon: www.Wimbledon.com

Roger Federer: www. rogerfederer.com

Ana Ivanovic: www.anaivanovic.com/

The Lawn Tennis Association: www.lta.org.uk/

Italian Tennis Federation: www.federtennis.it

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

(All money in USD)

ATP and WTA TOUR

The Championships, Wimbledon, Great Britain, grass

TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK

ATP

The Championships, Wimbledon, Great Britain, grass

$125,000 Cordoba Challenger, Pozoblanco, Spain, hard

$100,000 Turin Challenger, Turin, Italy, clay

WTA TOUR

The Championships, Wimbledon, Great Britain, grass

$100,000 ITF Cuneo, Cuneo, Italy, clay

Date-Krumm Makes Inspirational Comeback in Gifu

Last week on the challenger circuit, a former top 5 player and the only college graduate mother on tour recorded impressive results, while two players on the men’s side broke into the top 100 for the first time this week with their tournament wins.

Twelve years after competing in her last professional singles event, Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan returned to the tour this week at the $50,000 challenger event in Gifu, Japan. The 37-year-old, who reached a career high ranking of No. 4 in the world, accepted wild cards into the qualifying draw of the singles event and main draw of the doubles event. Date surprised everybody by coming through qualifying and storming through to the finals of the singles draw. In Sunday’s championship match against Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand, she was up a set and 4-2 before Tanasugarn prevailed 4-6, 7-5, 6-2. However, Date won the doubles event with fellow Japanese player Kurumi Nara. Date will also play in the singles and doubles draws of the $50,000 event in Fukuoka, Japan next week.

At the $100,000 challenger in Cagnes Sur Mer France, Viktoria Kutuzova of Ukraine finally lived up the expectations placed on her as a can’t miss junior prodigy, winning the biggest event of her career with a 6-1, 7-5 victory over Maret Ani of Estonia. The win also places Kutuzova back in the top 150.of the rankings. Despite the loss, Ani has been riding a hot streak as of late, having reached the semifinals of the WTA event in Estoril, Portugal last week.

At the $50,000 event in Charlottesville, Virginia, Alexis Gordon of the United States won the first title of her career with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Olga Puchkova of Russia. The 25-year-old Gordon is currently in her debut year on the tour, having finished college at the Univ. of Florida in May of last year. She also took time off in college to give birth to her daughter, Imani, who’s now three years old. Gordon moves up to No. 374 in the rankings this week and she says that her goal is to make the cut-off for the qualifying at the Australian Open next year.

In other challenger results on the women’s side, Stephanie Vogt of Liechtenstein won the $50,000 event in Makarska, Croatia and Noppawan Lertcheewakarn of Thailand won the $25,000 event in Balikpapan, Indonesia. Jarmila Gajdosova of Slovakia won the $25,000 event in Gimcheon, Korea, and Augustina Lepore of Argentina won the $25,000 tournament in Coatzacoalcos, Mexico.

On the men’s side, Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil won the biggest title of her career at the $125,000 challenger in Tunis, Tunisia, beating Dusan Vemic of Serbia 6-4, 6-4 in the final. This is Bellucci’s third challenger title of the year and propelled him into the world’s top 100 for the first time in his career.

At the $75,000 event in Prague, Czech Republic, Jan Hernych of the Czech Republic beat fellow countryman Lukas Dlouhy 4-6 6-2 6-4 in the final. This was the first all-Czech final in the tournament’s history.

Stephane Bohli of Switzerland won the title at the $50,000 event in Lanzarote, Spain with a 6-3, 6-4 over Yen-Hsun Lu of Taipei. This is the first challenger title for Bohli, having lost in all four of his previous finals. Lu has been a strong competitor on the challenger circuit this year, reaching the finals of a challenger in Busan, Korea last month and winning the title in Waikoloa, Hawaii last January.

At the $35,000 event in Rome, Italy, Eduardo Schwank of Argentina won his second challenger title in the tow with a 6-3, 6-7, 7-6 win over Eric Prodon of France. The win also moves Schwank into the top 100 for the first time in his career.

Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden leads the way next week as the top seed at the $75,000 event in Zagreb, Croatia. Lourdes Dominguez-Lino is the top seed at the $50,000 challenger in Jounieh, Lebanon, and Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium takes top billing at the $50,000 event in Indian Harbour Beach, Florida. Challenger events will also be contested next week in Bucharest, Romania, Fukuoka, Japan, Antalya, Turkey, Florence, Italy, Changwon, Korea and Irapuato, Mexico.

On the men’s side, Donald Young is the top seed at the $50,000 challenger in Tunica, Mississippi. Michael Berrer of Germany is the top seed at the $42,500 event in Dresden, Germany, Sergio Roitman of Argentina takes top billing at the $42,500 challenger in Ostrava, Czech Republic, and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez leads the way at the $42,500 challenger in Rabat, Morocco. Challenger events will also be contested next week in Rijeka, Croatia and Telde, Spain.