world tennis

Around The Corner: Life After The Davis Cup

With the opening round of the Davis Cup wrapping up on Sunday, the ATP World Tour will now shift back into form with three tournaments in Rotterdam, San Jose and Sao Paulo. Here’s a closer look at the draws from all three events and some analysis on who stands the best chance of making it to the final weekend.

ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament

The largest of the three being played this week, the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament is a level 500 event. An indoor hard-court event, Roger Federer will be looking for the surface to bring him some much needed success. A disastrous Davis Cup showing at home on clay has left Federer clearly confused about the status of his game. Rather than admit he played poorly, Federer instead shifted the blame onto country-man Stan Wawrinka. It was a rare moment of bad judgement from Federer. He opens with Nicolas Mahut from France and then could potentially face a dangerous opponent in Mikhail Youzhny who won the title recently in Zagreb.

The always tricky Alexandr Dolgopolov is also in the same quarter as Federer. The two have only played once, with Federer winning in Basel two years ago. Dolgopolov has come a long way since then and with the way Roger played this past week, you’d have to think this could be a great QF match.

Richard Gasquet, Feliciano Lopez and former top-ten presence Nikolay Davydenko are in the following quarter of the draw. I’d give a well-rested Gasquet (he did not travel to Canada for Davis Cup) the best shot of emerging here.

Juan Martin Del Potro is the third seed and should be able to navigate his way through the third quarter of the draw. He opens against Michael Llodra of France who has to get all the way from Vancouver, Canada to Rotterdam in the next twenty-four hours.

At the bottom of the draw is second seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic who has had some success lately with a big win in Montpellier over Gael Monfils. Berdych had a very solid 2011 where he won one event and reached eight tournament semi-finals and seven tournament quarter-finals. He is really starting to find that consistency that will make him a mainstay in the top-ten. A meeting in the second round with Marcos Baghdatis looms, but otherwise Berdych should be able to set-up a semi-final encounter with Del Potro that would be highly entertaining.

Regardless of the results, the tournament is guaranteed a new winner this year as Robin Soderling is not yet healthy enough to defend the title which he has held for the past two years. I’m gonna give the nod to Berdych in this one and I have a feeling that Federer’s recent troubles might continue with an early exit this week.

Brasil Open 2012

Played on clay, the Brasil Open attracts some of the usual dirt-ballers one might expect to see. Nicolas Almagro is the defending champion and also won this event in 2008. He has played some pretty decent ball on hard-courts so far this year so we’ll see if that continues on his favourite surface. Almagro is seeded first and gets a bye into the second round. His quarter is pretty sparse which should help him get his clay-court wheels going.

Fernando Verdasco is the third seed and has a nice section in his quarter as well. Take a look at veteran Fernando Gonzalez from Chile if possible as he has already announced his retirement to take place in Miami this coming March. Injuries have really taken away Gonzo’s physical and mental endurance but hopefully he has a little magic left in him before he says goodbye.

In the bottom-half of the draw, aging Juan Carlos Ferrero the eighth seed and Thomaz Bellucci the fourth seed will likely fight it out for a spot in the quarter, while the bottom quarter is the most interesting with David Nalbandian who is unseeded, Albert Montanes and second seeded Gilles Simon.

Almagro gets my vote of confidence to take this one based on his clay-court prowess and success at this venue in previous years.

SAP Open

A year ago the ATP World Tour took notice of fast-rising Canadian sensation Milos Raonic when he won his first-ever event here in San Jose. Unfortunately for Canadian tennis fans, a repeat will be very difficult to achieve for several reasons.

Firstly, Raonic was forced to pull-out of the Davis Cup tie against France on Sunday with pain in his knee that had been already taped throughout the event. Will he even be healthy enough to play in San Jose?

Beyond the injury debate, Milos has a tough draw that sets him up with first-seeded Gael Monfils in a possible semi-final match-up. He will also have to contend with having the entire draw gunning for him as the defending champ. Coming into an event as the title-holder is quite different from what he experienced a year ago.

In the bottom-half things will be pretty wide-open with Andy Roddick returning from an injury he suffered at the Australian Open and occupying the second seed. Who knows what kind of game the former American No. 1 will bring with him but his lack of match play will hinder his changes.

Underachieving Sam Querrey, aging Radek Stepanek and vet Julien Benneteau round-out the bottom half in terms of potential contenders. I’d look for one of them rather than Roddick to make their way to the finals against Monfils who appears to be over the knee problems that he was dealing with upon his arrival to Canada for the Davis Cup.

Lisicki fairy tale ends, Ivanovic finds new coach and Virtua Tennis 4 goodies for the win!

Sabine Lisicki’s amazing run at Wimbledon

I have to say that I was amazed by Sabine Lisicki’s performance at the 2011 edition of Wimbledon. Her serve is one of the most powerful ones on the women’s tour and she has one of the cutest smiles too. But Lisicki has been pretty impressive so far this season with the AEGON Classic win and reaching the quarters at the Porsche Grand Prix Open in Stuttgart after overcoming a longterm injury.

Ofcourse her wildcard caused some controversy after reading that you can only get four of them per calendar year. For more on the controversy read Charlie Bricker’s full article on World Tennis Magazine.

Find some great photos of Lisicki and her memorable semi finale match versus Maria Sharapova after the jump.

Ana Ivanovic finds herself a new coach

I am not at all disappointed by Ana Ivanovic’ performance at Wimbledon this year. She reached the third round and that is a lot better than I, and I am sure a lot of you readers, expected from former champion Ivanovic.  I was very happy to read the announcement that  her quest to find a fulltime coach has been completed.  Nigel Sears, former head coach of British women’s tennis, has signed on to coach the Belgrade great.

“I couldn’t be happier,” said Ivanovic, who was runner-up at Roland Garros in 2007 and at the 2008 Australian Open. “I’ve admired Nigel for some time now and I can’t wait to start working with him on court.

“It was important that I waited for the right coach, and we are both excited about the challenges ahead.”

Ana is currently taking a well deserved break but I can’t wait to see what Nigel Sears and her will come up with in the coming months.

The past month or so has been pretty intense and now I’m going to enjoy a week off. It’s important to recharge before my training for the hard courts begins. When I return from my holiday I hope to be a lot closer to appointing a new coaching team and I’ll let you know about that soon!

Caroline Wozniacki is on the buss

And again Caroline Wozniacki didn’t win a Grand Slam tournament. Despite the absence of Kim Clijsters, the lack of match rythm of the Williams sisters, Wozniacki was ousted in the fourth round by Dominika Cibulkova 6-1, 6-7 (5-7), 5-7. I am beginning to think that Wozniacki is letting things get to her. The pressure of having to win a Grand Slam is, I think and I am just speculating here, having a bigger effect on her than she realizes. She is only 20 years old but we have seen younger girls winning Grand Slam tournaments.  Maria Sharapova (17) and Martina Hingis for instance (16).  Some day I am sure she will win it. Just hoping for sooner rather than later.

And obviously she was disappointed as well.

Hi everyone, just wanted to say thank you for your support at Wimbledon. Dominika played really well yesterday. Saw this ad on a London bus which cheered me up! Now back to the practice courts!

Victoria Azarenka, so close yet so far

And that’s pretty much my analysis of Victoria Azarenka. She just needs that little push to make it to a Grand Slam finale and win it. At the moment I don’t think anyone on the tour deserves it more than she does. Ofcourse , she will have to keep working on improving and she already vowed to bounce back stronger. So that is good to read, especially when you survive a scare after reading that Azarenka pondered on retirement earlier this year. I sure hope we will get to see Azarenka for many years to come and then some.

I have to say that Azarenka looking like Blake Lively isn’t exaggareted at all.

And look at this amazing shot from. You can’t retire when you make shots like these!

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Maria Sharapova in 3D

With the Wimbledon green and strawberry red I am sure you can imagine Avatar 2 just a little. Or is that too much of a stretch? Congratz to Sharapova for making it to her second Wimbledon final in her already impressive career.

Sony however contacted us today to let us know about the following:

From the 1st July 2011, for the first time in 125 Championships of this prestigious tournament… the best tennis action will be aired live – in 3D – at cinemas across the globe.  The men’s and women’s final plus the men’s semi-final, all screened in glorious 3D.  Never before has it been possible to have such an immersive tennis experience. It’s time to feel every serve, every net-cord and every near miss. It’s time to really feel part of the action.

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Virtua Tennis 4 contest

And together with Sega, we at TennisGrandstand, have created a little quiz with some serious goodies.  The goodies are a bag, a sweatband, an awesome Virtua Tennis 4 shirt, a cap and a bidon AND….a copy of Virtua Tennis 4 for the PS3 (not on photo).  So how do you like DEM apples?

If you want to win then just answer this question:

Who did Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat to reach his first ever Wimbledon semifinals? And what was the score?

First come = first serve!

As promised!!

And now for the Sabine Lisicki photos as promised!

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Caroline Wozniacki is a little Buddha

First of all a Happy New Year from all of us at TennisGrandstand.com and we hope that everyone is in good health and ofcourse are looking forward to an exciting season of tennis, tennis and more tennis. And ofcourse with the tennis come the tennis babes.

To start off 2011 I am posting pics of Caroline Wozniacki and Kim Clijsters in Thailand.

On Facebook Caro had the following to say about her visits:

This is from this morning in Hua Hin Thailand. We fed the monks in the early morning on the beach at the Intercontinental Resort.

Kim and I visited the hospital in Bangkok where the King of Thailand is staying. He has been in the hospital for almost a year. While we did not see the King, Kim and I presented gifts and wish him best of health at a ceremony outside the hospital.
Happy New Years to everyone, I hope you all have a great and healthy 2011!

Kim Clijsters beat Caroline Wozniacki 6-3 4-6 12-10 (champions tiebreak) to win the 84 World Tennis Invitation exhibition at Hua Hin, Thailand. But that’s just for reference…the real stuff you are waiting for is ofcourse here:

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A Joyful Tennis Summer With Hingis And Kournikova

If you were a tennis fan in the late 90s then you surely must have heard of Anna Kournikova and Martina Hingis. Those two were my favorite players back then. Anna , who is underrated by most tennis fans, never won a singles title but did  win two Grandslam Doubles titles. Martina Hingis has won many titles including three Grandslam titles (the US Open 1x, Wimbledon 1x,  Australian Open 3x) and nine Grandslam Doubles titles. And she was the number one of the world for 209 consective weeks.

So when I read that the two of them were returning to play the WTT tournaments this summer I was more than happy. Why? Because it meant I’d get to see photos of them playing.  Things were even better when they entered the Wimbledon Legends doubles tournament.  It was the return of the Spice Girls all over.

Fans and pundits from all over the world were elated to see Hingis and Kournikova team up again for doubles and play singles.  Ofcourse this also ignited rumors that Hingis may make a return to the WTA Tour. She told the press that she may play a few doubles games with Lindsay Davenport.  But we haven’t heard much of that ever since.  As a fan I keep hoping that Hingis will return for at least more doubles tournaments.

I even dug up some videos of the two of them interviewed by Harry Cicma for World Tennis Magazine.

Enjoy the photos and videos.  The photos are Anna Kournikova at the St. Louis Aces Vs Newport Beach Breakers match and Martina Hingis at the World Team Tennis tournament at Villanova University. Check the guy Martina Hingis is talking to. Rumor has it that he is her new beau.

I have also added extra bonus pics of Anna Kournikova At The Laureus Charity Gala At The MBB In Stuttgart.

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RODDICK TALKS WORLD TEAM TENNIS

Andy Roddick will play World Team Tennis for a sixth season this summer when he represents the Philadelphia Freedoms. Roddick, a Wimbledon finalist in 2009, talks to Harry Cicma, host of the New England Sports Network (NESN) television show “World Tennis with Harry Cicma” about his history of playing for the U.S.-based co-ed tennis league founded by Hall of Famer Billie Jean King in this video.

“World Tennis With Harry Cicma” is airing for a second season on the New England Sports Network (NESN) this year with five new shows that air on the third Saturday of each month from May through September. The thirty-minute television show with television personality Harry Cicma, features interviews and stories from the world of tennis, including one-on-one interviews with such stars as Venus and Serena Williams, Andy Roddick, Kim Clijsters, John McEnroe, Ana Ivanovic and others.  In addition, the show will be available globally on the internet at www.WorldTennisMagazine.com and on the WorldTennisMagazine YouTube channel following its airing on NESN.

The New England Sports Network (NESN) is the flagship station for both the Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins and is available on New England cable systems and nationally (in both standard definition and high definition through satellite TV providers DirectTV (Channel 628) and Dish Network (Channel 434). The Red Sox are a co-founder and majority owner (80 percent) of NESN with the Bruins owning the remaining 20 percent. NESN is delivered to over four million homes throughout New England and consistently receives higher ratings of any other national or regional sports channels in the region combined.

FEDERER’S ABU DHABI TENNIS MATCH

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Roger Federer posted this photo on the Facebook fan page of him hitting tennis balls the Yas Race Track in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.  The Yas track is the site of Abu Dhabi’s Formula 1 race. Federer competed in the Capitala World Tennis Championships exhibition last week, losing to Robin Soderling in his first match, but defeating David Ferrer in a third-place match.

Federer, Nadal Set To Play In Abu Dhabi

Flash Entertainment, in partnership with Capitala, has announced six of the most prominent players currently competing in the world of professional tennis are set for a thrilling return to the Capitala World Tennis Championship.

Following last year’s successful tournament, the event has attracted a star-studded field with world number one Roger Federer and Spanish superstar Rafael Nadal, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Nikolay Davydenko, Fernando Verdasco and Robin Soderling completing a spectacular line-up of the world’s top tennis players.

The Capitala World Tennis Championship will see the players in action across three spectacular days at the Abu Dhabi International Tennis Complex at Zayed Sports City from 31 December 2009 – 2 January 2010.

Tickets for the event are on sale online at www.boxofficeme.com. Fans who buy their tickets before 31st October 2009 will have a chance to win a signed Roger Federer Wilson racket! Visit www.capitalawtc.com for more information.

As well as three days of spectacular tennis, the Capitala World Tennis Championship will also boast its very own Tennis Village which will include a range of fun and exciting activities including player signings and practice sessions, competitions and a Nintendo Wii wall. The Tennis Village is absolutely free and open to the public and for those who don’t get their hands on a ticket there will still be the opportunity to soak up all the atmosphere in the village and catch the live action on the big screens.