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BAR RAFAELI WATCHES ROGER FEDERER AT MADRID OPEN

Brooklyn Decker isn’t the only SI Swimsuit model who likes tennis….

None other than Supermodel Bar Rafaeli was spotted at the Madrid Open watching the Roger Federer match. Bar Rafaeli has posed in several magazines in the past but I think she’s most known for her cover on Sports Illustrated 2009. The biggest honor a model can earn.

Anyway I don’t think you are waiting for my ramblings and you just want to see the pics!

A SIGHT TO BE SEEN: IVETA BENESOVA

Ok well I have no idea where these Iveta Benesova pictures come from but she looks smokin’ hot. Benesova in a bikini. Now that’s a sight to be seen. And seeing we will!

I wonder why she isn’t in the issue of Sports Illustrated. She would have made a wonderful addition. That’s actually an understatement.  Anyway enjoy the photos of Iveta Benesova.

Mondays With Bob Greene: The Summary Of The First Week Of The US Open

Kim Clijsters

STARS

(US Open First Week)

Petra Kvitova beat top-seeded Dinara Safina 6-4 2-6 7-06 (5)

Kim Clijsters beat third-seeded Venus Williams 6-0 0-6 6-4

Melanie Oudin beat fourth-seeded Elena Dementieva 5-7 6-4 6-3

John Isner beat fifth-seeded Andy Roddick 7-6 (3) 6-3 3-6 5-7 7-6 (5)

Yaroslava Shvedova beat fifth-seeded Jelena Jankovic 6-3 6-7 (4) 7-6 (6)

Francesca Schiavone beat eighth-seeded Victoria Azarenko 4-6 6-2 6-2

SAYING

“I learned, once again, proved to myself that I can compete with these top girls. And if I believe in myself and my game, then I can beat them.” – Melanie Oudin, after upsetting Maria Sharapova to advance to the fourth round.

“She was playing very aggressively, really enjoying this atmosphere, the crowd support and really going for the winners. So it’s just the beginning, but it looks like she has a good future.” – Elena Dementieva, on American Melanie Oudin, who upset the fourth-seeded Russian in a second-round match.

“I like to do aces on the match points. I did it (at) the French Open. I did it twice. Yeah, close my match with an ace. So it was nice.” – Yaroslava Shvedova, who finished her upset of Jelena Jankovic with an ace.

“She pretty much takes my advice if I offer good advice. I don’t traditionally offer good advice, so she doesn’t normally take it.” – Serena Williams, asked if she gives advice to her sister Venus.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come here a little bit tired, a little bit sore, a little bit injured, a little bit distracted. There’s nowhere to hide out there, so I’ve lived and died on this court many times and taken a lot of people with me.” – Andre Agassi, talking about playing at the US Open.

“What Andre did in his career is incredibly impressive. But to have someone who can be more impressive after their career is so rare. It’s why someone like Arthur Ashe is my idol. I’m sure a lot of kids have grown up in this era after mine. I hope they have someone like Andre Agassi as their idol.” – James Blake.

“I was jealous. I was happy for everybody that was doing well. I’m friends with them all, but I was jealous. I wanted to be here competing and playing well and playing matches. So to be back here accomplishing that is pretty remarkable. I still have a long way to go. I still feel like my game is still pretty rough around the edges, but it’s extremely exciting.” – Taylor Dent, making his first US Open appearance since 2005 and after three back surgeries.

“My goal (was) to not get crushed and make it interesting for a little while at least. I got up a break a couple of times and that was fun while it lasted.” – Devin Britton, a wild card entry who lost a first-round match to top-seeded Roger Federer.

“I don’t want to make the decision to stop and then after two, six, eight months thinking, it was not quite the time yet. Because then it’s too hard, I would say, probably to make a comeback as Kim (Clijsters) is making now, given the age.” – Amelie Mauresmo, now 30 years old, saying she will wait until the end of the year before making a decision on whether to retire.

“I love winning tennis matches. If I get more money for more matches I win, that’s why we play. … It’s nice to get money for what you love to do.” – Jesse Witten, a qualifier who reached the third round before losing to Novak Djokovic.

I hated to lose more than I liked to win. – Jimmy Connors, explaining his mindset when he played.

SONY ERICSSON WTA TOUR

In 2010, the women’s tennis tour returns to San Diego, California, and will stage new events in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Copenhagen, Denmark. The 2010 calendar features 53 tournaments, in addition to the four Grand Slam events, with total prize money of more than USD $83 million. The international breadth of tournaments includes 24 events in Europe, 15 events in the Americas and 18 events in the Asia-Pacific region. “With three new tournaments investing in our sport in each of the United States, Europe and Asia-Pacific regions, the Tour’s 2010 calendar continues to showcase the global commercial strength of women’s tennis,” said Stacey Allaster, chairman and CEO of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. “I am proud of the fact that despite a worldwide recession we have been able to achieve modest growth.”

SAFINA SWITCH

When John Isner’s upset victory over fifth-seeded Andy Roddick went so late in the evening, tournament schedulers moved Dinara Safina’s match against the Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova from Arthur Ashe Stadium to Louis Armstrong. Safina wasn’t happy with the switch. “I’m number one player in the world, why did they move me?” Safina asked. “This is not an excuse, but I don’t think it’s a fair decision they made.” To make matters worse, the Russian lost to Kvitova 6-4 2-6 7-6 (5).

SUDDEN END

Sabine Lisicki left the court in a wheelchair after she severely sprained her ankle on the final point of her second-round match. Qualifier Anastasia Rodionova of Australia, ranked 139th in the world, upset the German 6-3 3-6 7-5. On match point, Lisicki, seeded 23rd in the year’s final Grand Slam tournament, raced to her left. But as she slid for the ball, she rolled her left ankle and stayed on the court for several minutes. The ankle was heavily wrapped and a wheelchair was brought to the court. Lisicki was taken to a hospital where x-rays showed there was no break.

STATISTICS AND OTHER LIES

Numbers don’t lie. Sometimes they just don’t tell the truth. Philipp Petzschner of Germany out-aced his foe 17-1 and had 52 winners – 24 more than his opponent. Yet when the 3-hour, second-round match was over, the winner was 24th-seeded Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain 1-6 3-6 6-4 6-2 6-4. The reason: Petzschner had 20 more unforced errors than Ferrero, 68-48, and the Spaniard won 147 points, nine more than the German.

Marat Safin had 15 aces to eight for Jurgen Melzer in their first-round battle. The two each had 40 winners, and Melzer had one fewer unforced errors, 28 to 29. The Austrian won three more points than his Russian opponent, 107-104, and when the contest was over, Melzer was the winner 1-6 6-4 6-3 6-4.

Andy Roddick won everything but the score in his third-round match against fellow American John Isner. Roddick won 162 points to Isner’s 155 and had his serve broken only once. Isner lost his serve twice, but he boomed 38 aces in the 3-hour, 51-minute battle and advanced to the fourth round at a Grand Slam event for the first time. It also was Isner’s first victory over a top five player.

STILL RELEVANT

The story of Rod Laver’s second Grand Slam season, capped by winning the US Open, is the subject of a book, “The Education of a Tennis Player.” Written with Hall of Fame journalist and historian Bud Collins, the book is Laver’s first-hand account of his 1969 Grand Slam season. Laver also writes about his childhood and early days in tennis, his 1962 Grand Slam and offers tips on how players of all levels can improve their games. Originally published in 1971, “The Education of a Tennis Player” was updated by Laver and Collins in 2009 with new content including Laver’s recovery from a near-fatal stroke in 1998. Laver won 11 major singles titles during his career, including Wimbledon in 1961, 1962, 1968 and 1969.

STARTING LATE

The US Open had its latest night session start in history during the first week. On Saturday, James Blake and Tommy Robredo took to the court at 10:35 p.m. following a special ceremony honoring Pancho Gonzalez. The night session normally starts at 7 p.m., but the last day match in Arthur Ashe Stadium, an all-American affair between fifth-seeded Andy Roddick and John Isner, lasted until 9:26 p.m. Officials moved the scheduled first night match between Dinara Safina and Petra Kvitova to Louis Armstrong Stadium and began the Blake-Robredo match in Ashe. Kvitova upset the top-seeded Safina, while Robredo beat Blake in a match that ended just shy of 1 o’clock in the morning.

SERIOUS THEY ARE

The US Open battles between Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe are legendary. The two left-handers, who defined a generation and won 15 Grand Slam tournament titles between them, still excite the crowds at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Now tennis commentators, Connors and McEnroe returned to the courts to face other during the first week of the US Open. The practice courts, that is. “Definitely brings back a few good memories,” McEnroe said.

SWOOP NOT

When James Blake walked onto the court to play his first-round match, the umpire made the American change his headband. “I didn’t know the rule,” Blake admitted. “I didn’t know you couldn’t have any writing on the headband or wristband.” A player can wear a logo on their headband, as in the Nike swoop. But Blake’s clothing sponsor, Fila, had the name “Fila” written on the headband. That’s a no-no. “I didn’t know we couldn’t do that,” Blake said.

SENOR PANCHO

The US Open honored two-time winner Richard A. “Pancho” Gonzalez on the 60th anniversary of his second consecutive victory in America’s premier tennis tournament. Gonzalez won the US Championships in 1948 and 1949, then turned pro at a time when only amateurs were allowed to play the Grand Slam tournaments. He went on to become the top draw on the professional circuit, then, when he was 40 years old, reached the semifinals of the French Open and the quarterfinals of the inaugural US Open. That same year he was elected into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. In 1972, three months shy of his 44th birthday, Gonzalez became the oldest man to win a tournament title, capturing the championship at an event in Des Moines, Iowa. Among those participating in the on-court ceremony were members of the Gonzalez family as well as several Hispanic dignitaries.

STEPPING

You can’t find former US Open champion Martina Hingis on the tennis courts these days, thanks to a two-year ban after testing positive for cocaine. But the 28-year-old Swiss star has signed up to take part in the seventh season of BBC’s reality talent show “Strictly Come Dancing,” which starts September 18. Other former athletes participating in the show include boxer Joe Calzaghe, Olympic long jumper Jade Johnson, cricketer Phil Tufnell and jockey Richard Dunwoody.

SO FINE

The town of Midland, Michigan, has been named winner of the USTA’s “Best Tennis Town” search. The initiative by the United States Tennis Association (USTA) was designed to identify and reward American communities that “best exemplify the passion, excitement, spirit and impact that tennis brings to the local level.” Midland, which received the most votes during the nationwide, online balloting, will receive a USD $100,000 grant from the USTA to be used for community-wide tennis programming or facility enhancements. Finishing second was Ojai, California, which received a USD $50,000 community tennis grant from the USTA, while Independence, Kansas, was third in the balloting and received a USD $25,000 USTA grant.

SITES TO SURF

US Open: www.usopen.org
Davis Cup: www.DavisCup.com
Kim Clijsters: www.kimclijsters.be/
Roger Federer: www.rogerfederer.com/en/index.cfm
Rafael Nadal: www.rafaelnadal.com/nada/en/home
Serena Williams: www.serenawilliams.com/
Quebec: www.challengebell.com
Guangzhou: http://sports.21cn.com

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

(All money in USD)

ATP and WTA

US Open (second week), New York, New York, USA, hard

ATP

$120,000 Genoa Open Challenger, Genoa, Italy, clay

TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK

ATP

$150,000 Pekao Open, Szczecin, Poland, clay

WTA

$220,000 Bell Challenge, Quebec City, Canada, hard
$220,000 Guangzhou International Women’s Open, Guangzhou, China, hard

DAVIS CUP

World Group Semifinals

Croatia vs. Czech Republic at Porec, Croatia
Spain vs. Israel at Murcia, Spain

World Group Playoffs

Chile vs. Austria at Rancagua, Chile; Belgium vs. Ukraine at Charleroi, Belgium; Brazil vs. Ecuador at Porto Alegre, Brazil; Netherlands vs. France at Maastricht, Netherlands; South Africa vs. India at Johannesburg, South Africa; Serbia vs. Uzbekistan at Belgrade, Serbia; Sweden vs. Romania at Helsingborg, Sweden; Italy vs. Switzerland at Genova, Italy

Americas Zone

Group I Playoff: Peru vs. Uruguay at Lima, Peru
Group II Final: Dominican Republic vs. Venezuela at Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Asia-Oceania Zone

Group I Playoff: China vs. Thailand at Jiaxing, China
Group II 3rd Round: Philippines vs. New Zealand at Manila, Philippines

Europe/Africa Zone

Group I Playoffs: Slovak Republic vs. FYR Macedonia at Bratislava, Slovak Republic; Great Britain vs. Poland at Liverpool, Great Britain

Group II 3rd Round: Latvia vs. Slovenia at Jurmala, Latvia; Finland vs. Cyprus at Salo, Finland

Wishful, Sinful , Maria Kirilenko looks good in wicked colors

As I was surfing the internet for the usual places where I can find photos of goodlooking tennis players I stumbled upon these photos of Maria Kirilenko.

Ofcourse I found a whole bunch of other stuff first before I got there. Like photos of a certain Vanessa Hudgens. I don’t know who she is or what’s so controversial about her “private” photos finding the internet but everyone on Twitter and Googlenews is ranting and raving about it.

Anyway as I continued my search for new photos of any tennisbabe for the column I am writing right now I also came accross an interesting article written by Joe Favorito called the Twitter Distraction.  An interesting read, especially if you are in Sports Marketing.

Ofcourse we are not falling behind either on TennisGrandstand and I hereby invite you to be distracted a little more and follow us on Twitter!

Enjoy the photos of a very colorful Maria Kirilenko! (photocredits by the official Maria Kirilenko website)

Kirilenko, out!

caroline-wozniacki-adidas09a

caroline-wozniacki-adidas09a

Unlike the No. 1 ranking… Thanks to Chris for tipping us off about Caro Wozniacki being the new face of the adidas by Stella McCartney line. I guess the folks in Portland finally realized that while Maria Kirilenko has the best face/bod combo to show off the British designer’s amazing pieces, the Russian’s game (and thus the fashion show that should come with it) has relegated Stella’s designs to the outer courts (and early rounds) of most tournaments.

And all that will change now that the Woz has exclusive opportunities to wear the collection, starting with the fall/winter 2009 tennis range — including apparel and shoes — at this year’s U.S. Open.

“I feel like I have everything any fashionable female tennis player always dreams about: cutting-edge adidas technologies combined with Stella’s unique designs that actually perform,” said the current world No. 9 via a press release.

And with this partnership, McCartney finally gets to design for someone who wins. “It’s very rare for a fashion designer to dress one of the top 10 players in the world. I couldn’t be more thrilled and happy to be given that opportunity.”

Along with key styles from the tennis collection (Performance Dress, Hot Pant, Bra, etc. in pinks and purples), Caroline will also wear the Skynde, whose Barricade V base is redesigned in a seed pearl/dark grape/white colorway.

She’s been with adidas for a while, of course, joining the company’s Player Development Program back in 2007. The PDP helps nurture young tennis talent through a unique mix of advice and support, giving an extra helping hand towards building a successful career. And FYI, Wozniacki has two titles this year: the MPS Group Championship (on clay, in Florida) and the AEGON International (grass, Eastbourne).

More later: We’re in the process of getting a lookbook for the collection. When it shows up, we’ll post!

What about Maria? Wozniacki will be the only player wearing adidas by Stella McCartney. From the folks at adidas: “Maria Kirilenko continues to be an excellent tennis ambassador for the adidas brand and remains part of the adidas tennis family. From the U.S Open onwards Maria will move out of the range and start wearing the adidas Competition tennis products.”

(image courtesy of adidas)

Wimbledon in New York City

Wii
Anyone in Manhattan this week could have attended Wimbledon – from
Rockefeller Center’s big screen. Food, Wii, talking…and oh yeah,
tennis. If you went to watch that. It was a great event for families
to see.
The crowd thinned out from an earlier match when I went a few days ago,
with people interested in eating the free snacks, getting up every few
minutes. And eating. Eating. I felt like saying, “There’s a game on!
Sit down!” If they wanted to do this a week, it might have made a
better idea to run it during the quarter and semi-finals to peak more
interest. The place would have been packed for a grand Nadal-Federer
showoff!
People were talking among themselves, some about tennis, some about
visiting Rockefeller Center.
Recently, I’ve been fascinated by playing surfaces. I took back
everything I said about court preferences against grass that day. You
could walk around the grass court set up for an exhibition match, and
seeing how the grass ripped up, smelled, looked, etc. I understood why
the surface is unplayable for some on a wet day. I asked someone about
playing on clay the past weekend. It’s supposed to create lots of dust
that makes you cough as you play, make a horrible mess for a few wash
machine cycles, and is generally “gross. Grass is better.” I’m curious
now about the benefits of a grass court experience.
I, of course, grabbed a complimentary strawberries and cream the HSBC
Bank employees insisted was “the same they eat at Wimbledon.” It was
really frozen Cool Whip, not anything I would ask for a load of like the
others, but good fresh strawberries all the same. I guess free food
does that to people.
Over in a corner, the bank had set up about six televisions hooked up to
Wiis. The Wii tennis matches were really interesting for me, having
never played anything on Wii. The last time I remember playing a sports
Nintendo game was on an already old back then Nintendo Entertainment
System in eighth grade. I must have been the single person over 18
trying the Wiis.
The row of TVs had kids with full Lacoste sets I am sure will be
tomorrow’s commentators and tennis fanatics. Not our other row. My
“opponents” were an elementary girl and a high school guy who didn’t
follow tennis much but had probably won Wimbledon in the Wiis they had
at home. The guy was winning at the beginning from having set mine on
right-handed! I made sure to correct that to left – I’m right-handed
and forgot I am left-handed in tennis. I played as Roger Federer. I
felt like being someone who has hair left. The high school guy wanted
to be Ana Ivanovic, and we joked about the reasons for that.
The sport? Oh, right. The person I wanted to win lost that day.
Everything is elevated watching it on a bigger screen. The ties, set
losses, the wanting to egg on your player, is more intense than watching
it in your living room. I really wish people would continue this for
another week to watch the bigger matches.

Anyone in Manhattan this week could have attended Wimbledon – from Rockefeller Center’s big screen. Food, Wii, talking…and oh yeah, tennis. If you went to watch that. It was a great event for families to see.

The crowd thinned out from an earlier match when I went a few days ago, with people interested in eating the free snacks, getting up every few minutes. And eating. Eating. I felt like saying, “There’s a game on!

Sit down!” If they wanted to do this a week, it might have made a better idea to run it during the quarter and semi-finals to peak more interest. The place would have been packed for a grand Nadal-Federer showoff!

People were talking among themselves, some about tennis, some about visiting Rockefeller Center.

Recently, I’ve been fascinated by playing surfaces. I took back everything I said about court preferences against grass that day. You could walk around the grass court set up for an exhibition match, and seeing how the grass ripped up, smelled, looked, etc. I understood why the surface is unplayable for some on a wet day. I asked someone about playing on clay the past weekend. It’s supposed to create lots of dust that makes you cough as you play, make a horrible mess for a few wash machine cycles, and is generally “gross. Grass is better.” I’m curious now about the benefits of a grass court experience.

I, of course, grabbed a complimentary strawberries and cream the HSBC Bank employees insisted was “the same they eat at Wimbledon.” It was really frozen Cool Whip, not anything I would ask for a load of like the others, but good fresh strawberries all the same. I guess free food does that to people.

Over in a corner, the bank had set up about six televisions hooked up to Wiis. The Wii tennis matches were really interesting for me, having never played anything on Wii. The last time I remember playing a sports Nintendo game was on an already old back then Nintendo Entertainment System in eighth grade. I must have been the single person over 18 trying the Wiis.

The row of TVs had kids with full Lacoste sets I am sure will be tomorrow’s commentators and tennis fanatics. Not our other row. My ”opponents” were an elementary girl and a high school guy who didn’t follow tennis much but had probably won Wimbledon in the Wiis they had at home. The guy was winning at the beginning from having set mine on right-handed! I made sure to correct that to left – I’m right-handed and forgot I am left-handed in tennis. I played as Roger Federer. I felt like being someone who has hair left. The high school guy wanted to be Ana Ivanovic, and we joked about the reasons for that.

The sport? Oh, right. The person I wanted to win lost that day. Everything is elevated watching it on a bigger screen. The ties, set losses, the wanting to egg on your player, is more intense than watching it in your living room. I really wish people would continue this for another week to watch the bigger matches.

Let’s Go Exploring

andy-roddick-wimbledon09a

andy-roddick-wimbledon09a

Andy Roddick’s lunging reminds me of Calvin & Hobbes.

He’s through to the third round of Wimbledon.

andy-roddick-wimbledon09b

andy-roddick-wimbledon09c

andy-roddick-wimbledon09d

Definitely possibly: Andy Murray’s Wimbledon run begins

robert-kendrick-wimbledon09a

robert-kendrick-wimbledon09a

Hometown hope Andy Murray shook off the British curse that plagued Day 1 of this year’s Wimbledon — no local survived to Round 2 — and gave American Robert Kendrick a little window of chance before taking their first round match 7-5, 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-4.

A different strain of clothing: Kendrick’s wearing a clean kit from his sponsor, Athletic DNA. The brand is taking a non-conventional approach to its branding, eschewing the traditional (no lookbook, no product samples) and focusing instead on the juniors (Facebook, college tennis websites); Nike, for instance, won’t give a kid the time of day until they smell like a pro.

So what does this mean for us consumers? The only means to procure their goods is via the company website (the store should be up and running in less than a week). And for those of you wondering: yes, they will sell Kendrick’s awesome animal print crew tank — the one he wore at this year’s French Open.

(image via Getty Images)

Finally, another Ana dress we love!

ana-ivanovic-wimbledon09a

ana-ivanovic-wimbledon09a

We’d be happy, too: Oh, a smile and a sigh of relief for Serbian Ana Ivanovic, who’s languished in (top) tennis purgatory since that French Open title win in 2008. The 13th seed saved two match points to beat Lucie Hradecka 5-7, 6-2, 8-6 and looked faaaaaaabulous in her adidas whites. TSF’s relieved that she’s finally gotten rid of her boob mash dress, instead giving way to some tiered tulle (ala Masha’s French Open outfit — but with much better results).

Scoreline: Next up for Ana is Sara Errani of Italy.

Buy: adidas adilibria Wimbledon Dress, white/red, $75, adidas.com.

(image via Getty Images)

Kei Nishikori visits EA SPORTS to play Grand Slam Tennis

This week EA SPORTS was pleased to welcome Japanese tennis phenom Kei Nishikori to its Tiburon studio in Orlando, Florida.  Nishikori visited EA SPORTS to try out its new tennis game Grand Slam Tennis.  He first took a few practice swings on a Roland Garros practice court and once he got a feel for the motions, Nishikori jumped right into a match.  His first choice?  Centre Court at Wimbledon versus Pete Sampras.

“He was one of my heroes and I just wanted to play against him,” said Nishikori, who currently resides in Bradenton, Florida.

He said it was “a weird feeling” to see himself in the video game.  But added, “I like it.  I was thinking about it the past couple months that I’m in the game.  It was one of my dreams so I’m pretty happy.”

While this was his first time playing the Wii, Nishikori is no stranger to video games, having played Playstation 3 numerous times.

“This is the first time I’ve ever played the Wii and the first time I’ve played this game but it felt so real.  It was fun because you swing with your arm, it was good exercise to play the game.”

Grand Slam Tennis was designed and developed by EA Canada to be the deepest tennis gaming experience and Nishikori said it felt like a realistic experience on the court.  He would hold the Wii remote with two hands when hitting his backhand.

“I didn’t think anything of it; I just played tennis because it feels like real tennis,” said Nishikori.  “I didn’t know you can hit spins, slice, drop shots and all the shots so it felt real.  And the guy looks just like me.”

As one of the cover athletes for the Japanese version of the game, Nishikori joins an illustrious group of superstars who have graced the cover of an EA SPORTS Game.  On the Japanese cover, he’s flanked by Rafael Nadal and John McEnroe, an honour that wasn’t lost on him.

“Honestly I felt a little bad because I’m in the middle between Nadal and McEnroe and those two guys are legends and unbelievable players.  But I’m still happy to be on the cover.”

After playing Sampras, Nishikori selected Nadal, perhaps a rematch from their 3-setter at Queen’s Club last summer, a match he remembers well.

“I was so nervous to play against Nadal because he was number two at that time.  I practiced with him about 4 years ago and I felt like there was no way I could beat him and a couple years later I played him.  I was so happy to play against him and I played awesome.  I lost in three sets but I remember that was a good match.  Maybe I can get revenge in this game and hopefully I can win next time.”

After enjoying the game, recording some promo spots, doing a photo shoot and a radio interview for EA SPORTS, it was back to business for the Japanese star.

“I have to practice this afternoon but hopefully later I can go to the beach and go shopping.”

That’s something he’s able to do a bit more easily in the U.S. because in Japan, Nishikori is like a rock star, having to be accompanied by security at all times.

“I cannot walk in the streets or even outside during a tennis tournament.  I don’t feel it here in the U.S. but when I got back to Japan it’s crazy.”

Nishikori finished 2008 ranked #63 in the world after starting the year #289.  Last year he received the “Newcomer of the Year” award, which was voted on by all the players on the ATP Tour.

Other Kei Nishikori quotes:

On seeing himself in the game for the first time:

“It was a little embarrassing but it was fun.  Weird feeling because I’m in the game and I never thought I was going to be in a video game so it was fun.”

On the prospect of playing on the most famous tennis courts in the world:

“I’ve never played on Centre Court before so it’s good to play and imagine.  It looks just like the real Centre Court.”

On whether the game offered a realistic introduction to tennis:

“It’s fun to play and everybody can play even if you don’t know tennis so it’s good to start with this game.”

On how it feels to be in the game with some of the greatest tennis legends:

“I’m not a top player yet but I’m happy to be with these guys, the top players and maybe soon I can play them on the real court.”

On the legends in the game that he follows:

“My dad loves Bjorn Borg so I think he’s going to love playing this game.”

“I want to play against Roger Federer because I haven’t played him yet and he’s the greatest player.”

“For sure it’s fun to play against the legends and with me in the game, my family loves it.”

On who he tries to emulate on the real tennis court:

“I’m not like him but I try to play like Roger Federer because he can play on any surface and it’s just fun to watch him play.”

Photo Credit: Carlos Navarro/EA SPORTS

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