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Nikolay Davydenko: The Resilient Russian....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on October 16, 2014 at 10:10 PM Comments comments (0)


In Eduard Davydenko’s two-room Volgograd apartment, Nikolay Davydenko became tennis mad. It was not an overnight transformation, for he had not considered a pro career upon arriving at his older brother’s doorstep aged 11. But the sport, ultimately, became his escape during the hard years preceding the fall of the Soviet Union. In 1992, he dedicated himself to the sport, often spending four hours per day training during school time in a bid to hone his all-court game. In the winter, his timing was tested on the wooden floor of a local police athletic club; then, in the summer months, he perfected his strokes, fine balance and athleticism on a rubbery surface. On Sundays, he put down his racquet and worked on his fitness.


Although Davydenko became the only Russian to place in the year-end Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings for five straight years [2005-2009], he was happy to ply his trade in the shadows of the sport’s biggest names. Quiet and unassuming by nature, his 15-season pro career was characterised by his capacity for work and for his powers of concentration. It earned him the nickname “Ironman”, among his contemporaries. “You saw the will and desire to be one of the best,” recalls Yevgeny Kafelnikov, who played him twice. “He was never a big server, but he was a work horse.”


Davydenko never forgot how lucky he was. For it had been Eckhard Oehms, a German businessman and later his agent, who realised his potential as a 14-year-old on a trip through Russia and offered to move the Davydenkos to Salmtal, Germany, where unlimited tennis courts beckoned. It was a massive change in fortunes. But Davydenko didn’t let up on his strict regimen. “He played like a robot, like a wall,” admits his compatriot Teymuraz Gabashvili. “He practised really hard, he worked liked a machine. He played inside the baseline and never retreated. When he was at his best, the stronger you hit the ball the faster it came back. His backhand was unbelievable. His speed and the way he took the ball early were two of his greatest strengths.”


Incredibly the indefatigable retriever, who was renowned as one of the fastest players on the ATP World Tour and was a tricky opponent to play against on any surface, added no more than 10lbs to his lithe 5’10” frame throughout his pro career. He regularly played more matches in a season than any other player and between 2008 and 2010 he recorded 22 victories over Top 10 opponents. He picked up the 2008 Miami Open, one of three ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crowns, using just one racquet. He got it strung after each of his victories, including Andy Roddick and Rafael Nadal. “Once he was in the Top 10, he believed he could be a Top 10 player,” says Kafelnikov, who became the first Russian to rank World No. 1 in May 1999. “People tried to avoid his name in the draw.” He also helped Russia to the 2006 Davis Cup.


Arguably, though, some of his finest performances came in late 2009 and early 2010, which catapulted him into the spotlight he had tried so hard to avoid. “At his top level, he was an unbelievable player,” remembers Verdasco. “He didn’t give you time to think, he was a very fast player and a hard worker. It was very difficult to play against him.” Jarkko Nieminen, who is 33 like Davydenko, adds, “His movement, baseline and return game were his strengths. He didn’t give you anything for free. He could take the ball very early and he played with a great pace and tempo. You always had to run and defend a lot.”


By improving his service technique and by fine-tuning his volleying skills, to back up his accomplished knack of seamlessly transitioning from the baseline to the net, Davydenko got hot during the 2009 Asian swing. Having finished runner-up at the prestigious season finale, Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai, one year earlier, Davydenko arrived in London for the first Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at The O2 in a confident mood. In a ‘group of death’, that included defending champion Novak Djokovic, the Russian defeated Nadal and Robin Soderling, prior to beating Roger Federer in the semi-finals and the reigning US Open champion, Juan Martin del Potro, 6-3, 6-4 in the final. He earned the biggest cheque of his career, a cool $1.51 million.


When he dispatched Federer and Nadal again, en route to the Qatar ExxonMobil Open, in the first week of the 2010 ATP World Tour season, he arrived in Melbourne for the Australian Open as a major contender for the title. With the experience of four Grand Slam championship semi-final appearances on his resume — 2005, 2007 Roland Garros and 2006-07 US Open — he started to believe. Forty five minutes into his quarter-final against Federer, a player he had lost to 12 times in a row prior to his recent change in fortunes, Davydenko led 6-2, 3-0. But, in the fifth game of the second set, Federer found his serve. Davydenko went into a tailspin and 13 straight games went the Swiss’ way. Federer eventually won 2-6, 6-3, 6-0, 7-5 in three hours and 36 minutes.


Sadly, at his next tournament, the 2010 ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, he landed on his wrist in a straight sets semi-final loss to Robin Soderling. Although he won the 21st — and final — title of his career at Munich in May 2011, Davydenko’s days of consistent peak performance were numbered. Towards the end of the 2010 season, Davydenko dropped out of the Top 10 — the elite club he had been a member of for more than five-and-a-half years. Stan Wawrinka admits, “I always admired the level of his game. He was so fast and was a big fighter. There was so much speed in his game. I felt that he was one of the fastest players I’ve ever faced.”


Davydenko always sought a simple life. With his wife, Irina, whom he married after a three-year courtship in November 2006, their two-year-old daughter, Ekaterina, and his coach brother — 10 years his senior — he was able to play tennis and enjoy his life, largely free of widespread attention. Today, after a farewell ceremony at the Kremlin Cup by Bank of Moscow, where he won three titles, he can enjoy his retirement safe in the knowledge that he will be long remembered alongside the greats of Russian tennis. “It is bad news from Russian tennis,” says Gabashvili. “He was one of the greatest in the world.” Says Kafelnikov, “People in Russia love him.”





By : James Buddell


Federer Wins Elusive Shanghai Crown & 23rd Masters 1000...

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on October 12, 2014 at 3:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Roger Federer clinched his first title in Shanghai with victory over Gilles Simon...


Roger Federer claimed the elusive Shanghai Rolex Masters crown on Sunday as he won his 23rd ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title with a 7-6(6), 7-6(2) victory over Gilles Simon.


 

The Swiss will return to World No. 2 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on Monday and victory in Shanghai sees him close the gap on Novak Djokovic in the battle to finish year-end World No. 1.


 

The 33-year-old Federer captured his fourth title of the season and his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown, having also triumphed at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati (d. Ferrer). Rafael Nadal is the all-time titles leader with 27 Masters 1000 trophies, but Federer leads the way with a 309-89 win-loss record in this category.


 

Federer had nearly been beaten at the first hurdle in Shanghai. Returning after a three-week break, the Swiss was forced to save five match points against Leonardo Mayer in a dramatic second-round contest at the Qi Zhong Tennis Center.


"It makes me very happy winning here because this tournament means a lot to me," said Federer. "I've always enjoyed coming here. I've come close a couple of times, but I've always wanted to win it as a Masters 1000.

 

"I feel unbelievable prestige to win this event. Especially putting my hands on the trophy for the first time is a good feeling, I must say. I'm very happy with the way I'm playing. Overall I'm just extremely happy right now."


 

After a stellar performance to beat Djokovic in Saturday’s semi-finals, Federer vowed he would not suffer a letdown against Simon, but struggled early on. The Swiss contributed three unforced errors as Simon broke his serve in the first game of the final, but rallied from 3-5 down to draw level in the opener. Federer was denied two set points as Simon trailed 5-6, 15/40, as the Frenchman dug deep to force a tie-break.


 

Federer then relinquished a 5-3 lead in the tie-break as Simon fought back to earn a set point at 6-5. Federer quickly dispelled the danger with two unreturned serves, and clinched his third set point chance with a backhand pass up the line.


 

Simon left the court for a medical timeout on his injured groin at the end of the first set, but returned to frustrate Federer once more in the second set. The Frenchman denied Federer on chance after chance, saving two break points in the third game and another in the seventh game.


 

The right-hander then had the chance to force a decider as he drew a backhand error from Federer to lead 40/15 on the Swiss’ serve at 5-6. Two forehand errors from Simon granted Federer a reprieve on the set points, though, and the Basel native made sure he capitalised on his momentum. He opened up a 6-2 lead in the tie-break and converted his first match point as Simon netted his shot after one hour and 53 minutes. The match was played under a closed roof due to high winds in Shanghai.


 

Federer earned 1000 Emirates ATP Rankings points and $798,540 in prize money as he improved to a 5-2 lead over Simon in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.


 

The 29-year-old Simon was bidding to win his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown, having finished runner-up to Andy Murray in his first final six years ago in Madrid, when the event was held on indoor hard. After returning to the Top 30 in the Emirates ATP Rankings this week after a semi-final showing in Tokyo (l. to Raonic), former World No. 6 Simon is now projected to climb back into the Top 20 at No. 19 on Monday.


 

"He was just more opportunistic," said Simon. "We had a close match. I had a set point in the first, two in the second. It's just a few points deciding it, and he was always really good on these points. He played some great shots.


 

"He's putting a lot of pressure. He's always showing you that he is ready to be really aggressive on every shot. So he keeps you under pressure."

 




Eugenie Bouchard : Be Ready, My Selfie Is Coming...

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on October 12, 2014 at 7:00 AM Comments comments (0)


Canadian sensation Eugenie Bouchard, 20, is one of eight female tennis stars heading to Singapore for the season-ending BNP Paribas WTA Finals presented by SC Global.


 

From 17 to 26 October at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, the world No.6 will vie with the likes of Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams for a record prize purse of S$8.3 million.


 

Get to know Bouchard better from this Q&A session held in Austria earlier this week:-


 

Congratulations on qualifying for your first WTA Finals in Singapore. How are you feeling about achieving such a major milestone?


I’m very excited. When I found out I’d qualified, I jumped up and down, it was really an exciting moment.


I see the tournament as the fifth Grand Slam; it’s such a special event with only the top players of the game, so I’m really happy to be a part of that.


You visited Singapore with Chris Evert for the Road to Singapore launch earlier this year. What were your thoughts and impressions?


It was an unbelievable experience – first of all to be with Chrissie, and hang out with a legend for a whole day. I tried to absorb every word she said and listen to all her advice. She was really, really nice.


The city of Singapore was truly unbelievable. We got to visit some fans, some young tennis players in Singapore, and also see the city a little bit, so we got to see kind of everything.


It motivated me to try and reach the top 8, and I didn’t know if I would do it or not, but I’m so happy to be able to go back.


 

If you could do one thing in Singapore in your free time, what would it be?


It would definitely be to go in the infinity pool in the top of the hotel and take a selfie from there. So, be ready, my selfie is coming!


You’ve had a wonderful season, capped of course by your Wimbledon performance, so what are your realistic ambitions for next season?


I want to have a better season next year than this year. I feel like I’ve progressed a lot this past year, and I don’t want to rest on some good results I’ve had in the past. I want to keep moving forward and keep trying to become a better tennis player.


I’m not really worried about trying to do better at specific tournaments than the year before – of course I want to do better overall – but I’m just going to take it week by week and play some good tennis. I know I can do really well next year.


What is your favourite surface to play on?


 

My favourite surface I think I’d say is grass. I’ve always had some great memories and good results from Wimbledon. It’s sad that it’s such a short season. It suits my game really well, I like to take the ball early and be aggressive. The low, quick bounce suits my game.


At number six, you have achieved the highest WTA ranking of any Canadian female, do you take much notice of the rankings or is tournament success more important to you?


I do, of course, notice the rankings, it’s not something I can completely ignore, but I just try not to focus too much on it and I know it’s just a result of the hard work I put in on the court. To make Canadian history, again, I do it a lot, but it’s great to be so highly ranked.


It’s something I’ve worked so hard for in my career, but I don’t want to stop at No.6, I want to keep going up.


At only 20 years old, you have already enjoyed some good successes in your short career, what advice would you give to young girls who want to make tennis their career?


My advice is to dream big, and then work your butt off to try to get there. I think it’s important to be able to actually think about what you want to accomplish and really dream about your dreams and really have that vision.


Because if you can’t even dream it, I don’t think there’s a chance you’re going to achieve it. So you have to dream it first and do everything in your power to work hard to try and achieve that goal.


With regards to the WTA Rising Stars, there is already some serious competition at this level, what do you make of the strength of the game amongst the younger generation of players?


I think there’s a lot of great players coming up and I think it’s quite interesting right now that we still have the great champions, who are maybe a bit older but still playing amazing.


To see them competing against the younger generation, I think it’s really interesting for the game to see that new and old. But as for the ones coming up, I think there’s a lot of depth and it makes the game so much more interesting to have so many good players.



Source:- Fit To Post Sports



Clijsters To Be Tournament Director....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on October 10, 2014 at 8:45 AM Comments comments (0)


Amélie Mauresmo with the diamond racquet


ANTWERP, Belgium - Kim Clijsters has been keeping very busy since retiring from professional tennis two years ago, but she's about to get even busier - the four-time Grand Slam champion and former World No.1 will be the Tournament Director for the BNP Paribas Fortis Diamond Games in Antwerp, a Premier-level indoor event that is returning to the WTA calendar in 2015 the week of February 9.


 

"After seven years, world class tennis is coming back to Antwerp," she said. "The new BNP Paribas Fortis Diamond Games will not only become a high-level tennis event, but much more than that."


 

One of the traditions unique to the tournament in its first incarnation, and which will return for this reboot, is the coveted diamond racquet - anyone who wins the tournament twice in three years wins a special racquet made with 4.5 kilograms of gold and 2008 diamonds. It's worth $1.5 million.


 

"Believe me, that makes this tournament particularly attractive for the female tennis players!" Clijsters said about the coveted diamond racquet. "Our first goal is to set up the strongest possible competition, including some of the biggest stars in tennis and several players from the Top 20.


 

"A trophy like this is a serious boost to achieve these ambitions."


 

In its original run between 2002 and 2009, the tournament awarded the racquet to any player who won the title three times in five years - the only player who achieved the feat was Amélie Mauresmo, who actually won the tournament three straight years from 2005 to 2007 (check out the pic below).


 

And the players aren't the only ones playing for a girl's best friend - every 100th person who buys tickets receives a 10 carat diamond. For more information on tickets visit www.diamondgames.be.


Source:- WTA Tennis

Li Na's Press Conference In Wuhan...

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on September 23, 2014 at 7:10 PM Comments comments (0)


WUHAN, China - On Sunday, Li Na met the media for the first time since announcing her retirement over in Beijing, and on Tuesday she met them again in her hometown of Wuhan, where the new Premier-level Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open is taking place. Here's the WTA legend in her own words..


On there being a WTA event in her hometown now...


"First of all, I am very proud that there's a WTA event of such a high level here in Wuhan, which isn't just a good thing for tennis fans in Wuhan, but also for tennis fans in China, because they have the chance to come face to face with these players too, and they can watch these high-level matches.


"More importantly, they can learn more about the life of these players. Normally they just get to know them on TV, but now they have a chance to come and see them and learn more about them."


On the future of Chinese tennis...


"I believe Chinese tennis will enjoy a bright future. I don't want to compare myself with other tennis players, because everyone comes from a different background and we've all grown up in different circumstances, but I definitely believe Chinese tennis will get better in the future."


On whether she feels proud of her accomplishments...


"I'm very proud of myself. After writing my letter and thanking so many people, I realized I've never taken even just a little time to thank myself. Now, at the age of 32, I want to thank the Li Na at the age of 15. It's because of the perseverance in my youth that I was able to achieve my goals."


On her next steps...


"After retirement, I want to set up a tennis institute and engage in children's charities to help more kids. Also, after so many years of competition on the courts, I really want to make it up to my friends and family members, because on holidays and weekends we really had little time to get together with each other. And of course, I believe there will be a day that I will become a mother. We will see."


On her husband, Jiang Shan...


"We've gone everywhere together. I really want to thank him for his company over the years. No matter what kind of decision I made, he was - and is - always close to me and supporting me.



Source:- WTA Tennis

Li Na Announces Retirement....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on September 21, 2014 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (0)


Li Na, a trailblazer in tennis in China, Asia and around the world, has announced her retirement from the sport through an open letter....


My dear friends,


 

For close to fifteen years, we've been a part of each other's lives. As a tennis player representing China on the global stage, I've trekked around the world playing hundreds of matches on the WTA tour, for China's Fed Cup team, at the National Games and at several Olympic Games. You've always been there for me, supporting me, cheering me on, and encouraging me to reach my potential.


 

Representing China on the tennis court was an extraordinary privilege and a true honour. Having the unique opportunity to effectively bring more attention to the sport of tennis in China and all over Asia is something I will cherish forever. But in sport, just like in life, all great things must come to an end.


 

2014 has become one of the most significant years in my career and my life. This year was full of amazing highlights, which included winning my second Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open and sharing the extraordinary experience with my country, my team, my husband and my fans. It was also a year filled with difficult moments, such as having to deal with the inevitable - making the decision to end my professional tennis career.

 

The amazing moment in Australia was filled with joy, happiness and extraordinary sense of accomplishment. The task of finally making a decision to hang up my racquet felt a lot more difficult than winning seven matches in a row in the Australian heat. It took me several agonizing months to finally come to the decision that my chronic injuries will never again let me be the tennis player that I can be. Walking away from the sport, effective immediately, is the right decision for me and my family.


 

Most people in the tennis world know that my career has been marked by my troubled right knee. The black brace I wear over it when I step on the court has become my tennis birth mark. And while the brace completes my tennis look, the knee problems have at times overtaken my life.


 

After four knee surgeries and hundreds of shots injected into my knee weekly to alleviate swelling and pain, my body is begging me to stop the pounding. My previous three surgeries were on my right knee. My most recent knee surgery took place this July and was on my left knee. After a few weeks of post-surgery recovery, I tried to go through all the necessary steps to get back on the court. While I've come back from surgery in the past, this time it felt different. One of my goals was to recover as fast as I could in order to be ready for the first WTA tournament in my hometown of Wuhan. As hard as I tried to get back to being 100%, my body kept telling me that, at 32, I will not be able to compete at the top level ever again. The sport is just too competitive, too good, to not be 100%.


 

Winning a Grand Slam title this year and achieving a ranking of World No.2 is the way I would like to leave competitive tennis. As hard as it's been to come to this decision, I am at peace with it. I have no regrets. I wasn't supposed to be here in the first place, remember? Not many people believed in my talent and my abilities, yet I found a way to persevere, to prove them (and sometimes myself!) wrong.


 

I've succeeded on the global stage in a sport that a few years ago was in its infancy in China. What I've accomplished for myself is beyond my wildest dreams. What I accomplished for my country is one of my most proud achievements.


 

In 2008, there were two professional women's tennis tournaments in China. Today, there are 10, one of them in Wuhan, my hometown. That to me is extraordinary! Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams - with thirty Grand Slam singles titles among them - are coming to my hometown to play tennis for the fans of China! Just as I didn't think I could ever be a Grand Slam champion, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that some of the best female athletes in the world could play tennis in Wuhan, in my backyard.


 

My contributions to the growth of the sport in China are very special to me. But I don't want to stop here. Together with IMG, my management company, we are putting together various plans on how we will continue to grow the sport of tennis in China. These plans include opening the Li Na Tennis Academy, which will provide scholarships for the future generation of Chinese tennis stars. I will also stay involved in the Right to Play, an organization dedicated to helping underprivileged children overcome challenges through sport. My philanthropic work will expand in scope as I continue to dedicate myself to helping those in need. What was once just a dream in China today is a reality.


 

On a personal side, I look forward to starting a new chapter of my life, hopefully having a family and reconnecting with those I did not have the luxury of spending a lot of time with while playing. I can't wait to revisit all the amazing places I played tennis in and see the world through a new set of eyes. I look forward to slowing down and living my life at a new, slower, relaxed pace.


 

Tennis is an individual sport and as players, our job is to spend a lot of time focusing on ourselves. But no player can ever become a champion alone and nobody knows this better than me. There isn't enough space here to thank everyone who has travelled on my journey with me and contributed to my success. But I must thank those that have stuck with me through the highs and the lows and have helped me become the person that I am today.


 

Thank you to:


• My mother - for your never-ending support. Through the laughs and the tears, you've always been there for me.


• My father - you were taken away from me way too early and I haven't been the same since. You've remained the sunshine in my life and I am who I am because of you.


• Jiang Shan - you've been by my side for 20 years. You are my everything and I am grateful to have shared my life with you.


• My first coaches Ms. Xia Xiyao and Ms. Yu Liqiao - for putting me on the tennis path.


• Madame Sun and the Chinese Tennis Association - thank you for being trailblazers for tennis in China.


• Mr. Hu Dechun and the Hubei Sports Bureau - for understanding me and supporting me through the years.


• Women's Tennis Association - for your passion for women's tennis and hard work growing it around the world.


• Mr. Chan Hongchang - for supporting me when I first decided to become a professional tennis player in 2008. You helped me make up my mind.


• Thomas Hogstedt - for introducing me to professional tennis.


• Michael Mortenson - for helping me win my first Grand Slam.


• Carlos Rodriguez - for pushing me beyond the limits I thought I could reach.


• Alex Stober - for taking care of me all of these years and pulling me together when I was falling apart.


• Erich Rembeck and Johannes Wieber - for finding a way to make me pain free, over and over again.


• Fred Zhang and the Nike team - you've been my guiding light, my support system and my biggest cheerleader. I will never forget it.


• To Max Eisenbud and the entire IMG Team - for being the best management company in the world and for taking care of me every day.


• To all the sponsors that have supported me through every stage of my career.


• To my relatives, friends, and everyone who has helped me throughout my career - for always being there for me and for your never-ending support.


• To my fellow tennis players - for being a part of my journey all of these years. I have so much respect for all of you.


• To everyone in the media who's covered my career and helped the growth of tennis in China and around the world.


• To the amazing tennis fans around the world - for your unyielding support of our sport and for playing every tennis match along with me.


• And lastly, to tennis fans in China - for getting on the bandwagon and staying on it! I am grateful to each and every one of you for pushing me to be my best, embracing me and loving me unconditionally. There is no limit to how far we can take the sport of tennis in China, together.


 

When I started playing tennis, I was just a neighbourhood kid with an afterschool hobby, not realizing what magical journey lay ahead of me. If I only knew what a vehicle the sport of tennis, along with my success, would become for my beloved China. While my journey hasn't been easy, it has been rewarding. I've seen change happening in front of my eyes, young girls picking up tennis racquets, setting goals, following their hearts and believing in themselves. I hope that I've had the opportunity to inspire young women all over China to believe in themselves, to set their goals high and pursue them with vengeance and self-belief.


 

Whether you want to be a tennis player, a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher or a business leader, I urge you to believe in yourself and follow your dream. If I could do it, you can too! Be the bird that sticks out. With hard work, your dreams will come true.


- LI NA

Getting To Know : Aleksandra Krunic

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on August 31, 2014 at 5:35 PM Comments comments (0)



NEW YORK, NY, USA - Sokolniki Park in Moscow is much like any other in the sprawling metropolis. However, tucked away in a corner is its jewel: Spartak Tennis Club. The club's list of alumni is a veritable who's who of Russian tennis and includes Anna Kournikova, Elena Dementieva, Anastasia Myskina and Dinara Safina among its number.


 

Aleksandra Krunic is the latest talent to have started out on the club's solitary indoor court, and after working her way up the ranks she is now ready to make her mark. On Tuesday, the 21-year-old defeated Katarzyna Piter on her Grand Slam debut, and then backed this up by holding her nerve to see off No.27 seed Madison Keys.


 

The third round pits her against Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, but before then Krunic has the small matter of a Getting To Know…


Can you tell us about where you grew up?


AK:  I was born in Moscow, where my parents moved to as my father was finishing university there. I have a younger sister, Anastasia, who is 17 years old. She's just been accepted to the British Design School in Moscow, which is very exciting. My parents, Ivana and Bratislav, both work at a big electrical appliances company in Moscow called Gorenje. I finished high school in Moscow, then I moved to Slovakia to train for a year and a half. And last year I moved to Serbia. My whole team is Serbian, and I have extended family there, so it made sense to base myself in Serbia. I still consider Moscow to be my 'home city', but I currently live with my grandparents in Serbia.

 


When did you start playing tennis?


AK:  When I was three my grandparents brought me a plastic racquet and sponge ball. I was a pretty active kid, so I used to run around hitting the ball everywhere and destroyed all my mother's plants and flowers. There was a local tennis school, with one older guy who used to do all the coaching, and so I went along there.


 

Can you talk about your coaching history?


AK:  At seven, I went to train at the Spartak Club. I was coached by Eduard Safonov for 10 years and all my technique, my strokes, I owe to him. At 17, I moved to Slovakia and trained with Mojmir Mihal (who was also the coach of Rybarikova and Hrbaty). Last year, I settled in Serbia. I've pretty much always had my own coach. A professional tennis player requires a lot of attention and a lot of time spent focused on developing their game. I'm lucky that I've had a sponsor since I was 14 - a friend of my father's - who has helped fund my tennis. This is the first tournament I've played with my current coach - Branislav Jevremovic.


 

Does anyone travel with you on tour?


AK:  My parents are still working in Moscow, so Branislav is here at the US Open, along with my physio, Miroslav Cuckic, who has been with me for three years. I'm not the type of player who gets injured much, but I'd prefer to prevent it, rather than heal it.


 

What are your strengths?


AK:  Well, since I'm not the tallest player, I'm a good mover and try to get to every ball. I'm not a hitter, obviously, because I'm quite small, but I feel like I have quite good hands, I do a lot of running, and I try to break the rhythm of the opponent.


 

Who was your tennis idol when you were younger?


AK:  Growing up I loved to watch Mary Pierce and Kim Clijsters. From the current players, I would say JJ, my countrywoman. I admire her spirit. She's always been very supportive of me, and I can learn from her never-give-up attitude. I also like to watch Aga Radwanska play - I like her smart game.


 

What's the best memory of your tennis career?


AK:  My best tennis memory is playing Fed Cup for Serbia against Slovakia in 2010. It was the last match to get into the World Group. I was playing doubles with JJ and we were down 6-1, 5-1 down to Hantuchova and Rybarikova and ended up fighting back to win the match 9-7 in the third. That was the strongest emotions I've ever felt on a tennis court.


 

Do you have a favorite surface or tournament?


AK:  Clay is my favorite surface. Baku is my favorite for the WTA events, and at Grand Slam level, I like the Australian Open.


What are your short and long-term goals?


AK:  Short-term goal is main draw Australian Open. Long-term - by the end of next year - it would be great to be Top 50.


How far did you go in your studies?


AK:  I'm currently in my fourth year of an economics degree at Singidunum University, a private university in Serbia. They are very flexible with me as I am doing distance learning. I hope to graduate at the end of this year.


 

What do you like to do to relax away from the court?


AK:  Off the court, perhaps I'm a bit boring for my age, I'm not really a party girl! But I do enjoy having dinner with some of the other players on tour. It's nice to spend time with girls who are doing the same thing, talking to them, and sharing experiences. I also enjoy spending some time on my own, or doing some shopping. I like watching documentaries on YouTube to keep learning. I really like airplanes and learning all about them, but I actually hate flying, it's my biggest fear! But that's a passion of mine, learning a lot about what I fear. I'm really interested in psychology and criminology.



Source:- WTATennis



PRESSURE...

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on August 29, 2014 at 6:35 AM Comments comments (0)

“When you are in it, it is hard to see. You’re emotional. Your views are blurred. But it is important to be aware that worrying doesn’t solve anything. You have to take action.”


“Pressure is a Privilege” is a Billie-Jean King saying many of today’s women’s players have picked up on and re-quoted. But a significant number of them haven’t been able to use it to their advantage.


Being thrust into the world spotlight as a result of your own ability and achievements has proved too much for a surprising range of champions from Ana Ivanovic, Dinara Safina, Li Na, Petra Kvitova and, in a slightly different context, Amelie Mauresmo and Eugenie Bouchard.


The fact that there are not so many examples of male players reeling under the weight of success may have something to do with the fact that the Top 4 have had such a lock down on Grand Slam titles over the past ten years that very few men have been able to sneak in and do something stunning and unexpected.


No so with the women. Serena Williams’ fluctuations in form, fitness and health have enabled many rivals to grab opportunities in spectacular fashion and then struggle with ways to handle what happens next.


Jim Loehr, a top performance psychologist who has treated hundreds of players over the past few decades, is well acquainted with the syndrome. “They think, ‘What have I done? Am I really this good? Is this real?’” Loehr has watched time and again as a minor incident or a small injury has sown the seed of unnecessary doubt.


“It just opens the door to doubt,” says Loerh. “And at the same time they are being bombarded by fans and the media. They find they don’t have the freedom they had before; there’s not so much time for practice, sleep and rest. Someone needs to be telling them ‘Don’t panic, this is normal’. Coaches, especially, need to understand and help them through this business of being a new-born star.”


Ivanovic, whose career went into a tail-spin after winning the French Open in 2008, is a prime example. Li Na, with the expectations of hundreds of millions of Chinese on her back, took a long time to get over winning in Paris in 2011. It was the same for Kvitova after she won Wimbledon for the first time three years ago. Both Li Na, who won the Australian Open this year and Kvitova who re-claimed her Wimbledon crown in July, have bounced back as more confident competitors better equipped to handle the pressures of success.


Safina, who lost in successive Roland Garros finals in 2008 and ’09, never quite fulfilled her potential or the totally unfair criticism that came with being No 1 in the world without having won a Slam. In the end, it ruined her career and she retired early.


Ivanovic, who was playing so well this year before crashing out of the US Open in straight sets to the 42nd ranked Karolina Pliskova in the second round, is still struggling with the emotional issues that go with being a glamorous star, idolized by millions.


Ana talked at length about the problem at her press conference at Eastbourne the week before Wimbledon this year. On being asked about the impact of winning the French title at such a young age, Ivanovic replied, “When you are in it, it is hard to see. You’re emotional. Your views are blurred. But it is important to be aware that worrying doesn’t solve anything. You have to take action.”


Ivanovic, at 26, insists she is happier now even though she is not as highly ranked as she was at 20 but admits that she still carries the baggage of that Roland Garros triumph with her. “I always feel I have to match that,” she says. “But I know I have to get rid of the past to embrace the future.”


After her loss to Pliskova in New York, Ivanovic said, “I do put a lot of expectations on myself. I tried to over-analyze and over-think instead of just playing the game. It’s a work in progress.”


Ivanovic also admitted that her form at the Slams has disappointed her. “I really want to re-assess how to approach the Grand Slams maybe differently and see what I did wrong in my preparation.”


Loehr says it is no good ignoring the differences between men and women in their emotional make up. “Women have a more intricate network of emotional connections than men and it helps them in many ways,” he says. “But it also makes the journey more challenging. Their chemistry is more complex; they have monthly cycles – it’s just the way the body works.


And the pressure these players feel is not just about performing on a big stage in an important match. Mauresmo could handle that and proved it by winning the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2006. But she never got past the quarter finals in front of her own French crowds at Roland Garros.


No need to explain that ‘home country’ problem to Bouchard. Her record of two semi-finals and a final in three Grand Slams this year is remarkable for a 20-year-old but when she had to play in Montreal amidst all that Canadian hoopla and expectation she found the whole thing far too much. Before the end of the first set of her first round match against the American qualifier Shelby Rogers, she was telling coach Nick Saviano, “I just want to get off court.” She lost 6-0, 2-6, 6-0. The situation was exacerbated by an undisclosed injury which Eugenie had been dealing with since Wimbledon.


It is no surprise to Martina Navratilova that women have more difficulty coping with sudden success than men. “Women want to be perfect,” says one of the game’s great champions. “They are much more concerned about what they look like and how they perform than men. The guys can fake it. They seem to have shorter term memories that enable them not to linger on the bad stuff. Women have more issues to deal with.”


The good news is that many seem well capable of learning how, over the long haul, to handle the pressure and so make sure that eventually they can, indeed, look upon it as a privilege.



By : Richard Evans

*(He has covered tennis since the 1960s, reporting on more than 160 Grand Slams)*




Torino striker cher formally submitted a transfer request

Posted by John Jack on August 29, 2014 at 4:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Torino President in an interview to confirm, neymar hypervenom world cup the team striker cher, has put forward the transfer request to the club, he is currently considering multiple transfer option. The news that Arsenal is one of them. It is understood that the club would like to sell 20 million euros (16 million pounds), milliopodtunds the Italian international team President carol said: "Chelsea's transfer is still there may be, he has been asked to leave. At present, we still have 4 days in the transfer window closes, so we'll see what happens." "Of course I will is keep cher, but we will try to find solutions act for everyone. I have already told him that I, as long as the receiving enough quotation, the team will sell him." After it emerged that AC milan are also very want to sign a incised, strange, this carol said: hypervenom world cup 2014 "milan was out of Arsenal? He has a lot of choice."

Martina Navratilova : The Pioneer...

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on August 26, 2014 at 8:15 AM Comments comments (0)

 


Earlier this year, longstanding tennis historian Joel Drucker commenced a three-part series on a trio of WTA icons - Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King. The first piece, published this spring just prior to the French Open, focused on Evert. Now, on the eve of the US Open, he zooms in on Navratilova - who 30 years ago defeated Evert in a thrilling three-set final to earn the second of her four US Open singles titles ('83-'84, '86-'87). Disclosure: Drucker and Navratilova have worked together in television for many networks, including HBO, TNT and, since 2007, Tennis Channel.

 


 

For some tennis champions, the path to greatness is rapid, these players coming out of the box with the batteries included. Less than three years after making her Grand Slam debut, Chris Evert was ranked number one in the world. Ditto for Tracy Austin and Martina Hingis. Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon the second time she played it.


 

Others take longer to assemble their various components. In many cases, the careers of these players follow a "B.C." and "A.D." pattern, their path to success clearly marked by a significant event. Though Kim Clijsters had reached the number one ranking in 2003, her 2005 US Open victory - following four losses in Grand Slam finals - boosted her to new heights. Billie Jean King had been a top player for five years before a loss in the 1965 US Championships showed her what it meant to truly have a killer instinct. The next summer she'd win the first of her 12 Grand Slam singles titles.


 

BC: The Passion to Play


For Martina Navratilova, the line separating past and future came in the spring of 1981. What's amazing in Navratilova's case was that by that that point she'd not only held the number one ranking but had also won two Wimbledon singles titles, beating Evert in both the '78 and '79 finals. According to Evert, "I couldn't play my game against her. Her serve, her volleys, the way she moved - I had to be on my toes with her all the time."


 

Since the time Navratilova had picked up a racket at age four, she'd always been a student of the game. As a child she'd literally felt the tennis in her hands, rolling the dirt and chalking the lines on the clay courts where she'd learned to play. Navratilova's maternal grandmother, Agnes Semanska, had been a world-class player, beating Vera Sukova (the '62 Wimbledon runner-up and mother of future WTA player Helena Sukova). At age nine, Navratilova worked with another Czech champion, George Parma.


 

Navratilova's role models were an iconic threesome: King's high octane, netrushing energy; Margaret Court's smothering qualities; and most of all, Navratilova's fellow lefthander, Rod Laver - a player she'd seen in person at age eight. Said Navratilova, "He could do everything. He was so effortless, so smooth."


 

Even as a child on clay, Navratilova couldn't help but move forward. "I liked being hitting volleys and not being on the baseline," she said. "I wanted to make things happen, to create."


 

In 1973, at the age of 16, Navratilova began to play pro events. A tournament in Akron, Ohio in March marked her first match versus Evert, won by the Floridian, 7-6, 6-3. More significant for Navratilova was a victory a month later in St. Petersburg versus a crafty veteran, Helga Masthoff, 1-6, 7-5, 7-5. At her next tournament, the French Open, Navratilova made an impressive Grand Slam debut with a win over an exceptionally gritty, Evert-like baseliner, 1968 Roland Garros champ Nancy Richey. As Richey recalled, "She was unbelievable. She was quick, she was good on her feet, she was strong, had good touch. And being a lefty didn't hurt her either."


 

Julie Heldman, another veteran who Navratilova played in this early part of her career, echoed Richey. "There was nothing like Martina," said Heldman. "She played pretty, sort of like Laver. Everything worked, there was such obvious talent. Her backhand was weak then but she could slice it and get to the net. Her forehand was darn good. Her serve even at that young age was exceptional."


 

Journalist Grace Lichtenstein's book, A Long Way, Baby, covered the 1973 women's tennis season in depth. As Lichtenstein recently recalled, "Martina was a revelation to a lot of people who didn't watch women's tennis because they thought it was slow and boring. She was an athlete through and through."


 

Such was the Navratilova of the '70s. By 1975 - the year she defected from Czechoslovakia at the age of 18 - Navratilova commenced a 20-year-run ranked inside the top four. Amazingly, though, Navratilova admits that even when she first won Wimbledon and concurrently rose to number one in the world, "I just went completely on instinct. I didn't know that my grip on my forehand meant I couldn't hit it down the line, so it would go crosscourt all the time to Chris or Billie's backhand - their stronger side."


 

"She didn't know what it meant to be number one," said King of those years. "I would tell her how physical she was, that you need to work out properly and get in unbelievable shape."


 

In 1980, Navratilova lost in the semis of Wimbledon to Evert and in that same stage of the US Open to the streaky Hana Mandlikova. The year-end rankings for that year placed her behind Evert and Austin.


 

And then she launched a revolution.


AD: Putting the Pieces Together


"Martina's genius," said King, "was that she was always able to find the right people at the right time and place to help her become better." In the spring of '81, Navratilova met Nancy Lieberman. A superb basketball player, Lieberman told Navratilova that she had a great opportunity: the chance to become a supreme tennis champion. The best way to do this was to dramatically improve her fitness, not just by playing practice sets and drilling but by working out off the court in a variety of ways.



 

"She was bigger, she was stronger," said a top tenners from the '70s, Rosie Casals. "She could play basketball, golf and had exceptional hand-eye coordination."


 

In tandem with Lieberman, Navratilova rapidly commenced weight training, basketball, movement drills, nutrition; in short, the comprehensive cross-training regimen that by now is standard fare for all athletes. Keep in mind that in 1981 all of this was new. Only a few years earlier, weight training had been considered suspect and tennis players had been discouraged from drinking too much water.


 

Throughout 1981, Navratilova's strength, fitness and stamina improved dramatically. But the physical gains were secondary. What mattered most was that Navratilova had gained mental fortitude, created an armor that in turn boosted her confidence. "When you're fit, you don't feel the need to bail out of points early," said Navratilova. "You know you can last, and over long matches, long points and day after day of competition that means a lot. Most of all it meant I didn't have to conserve myself. It meant being able to play the point the right way."


 

In the course of that watershed 1981, Navratilova added another piece: the technical and tactical insights of Renee Richards. "I couldn't hit a topspin backhand," said Navratilova. "My forehand volley technique wasn't as good as it could be." Grips, strokes, footwork, movement were all addressed in painstaking detail. Hour after hour with Richards, Navratilova improved her weaknesses and honed her strengths. Said Austin, "You take all that raw talent and skill and then you had more of that knowledge and you could just see her taking the whole game to a new level."


 

A major turning point came in the semifinals of the 1981 US Open. Naturally, the opponent was Evert. At this point Evert led the rivalry 28-13. Their previous match had come earlier that spring in the finals of a claycourt tournament at Amelia Island. Evert had won handily 6-0, 6-0. At the US Open, trailing 2-4 in the third, Navratilova made an excellent comeback to reach her first US Open singles final. Said Evert, "The difference between Amelia Island and the US Open was amazing. She'd become fitter, leaner, quicker, hungrier."


 

Up against Austin in the finals, Navratilova raced through the first set, dropping but a single game. Said Austin, "Two words described my state of mind versus Martina: full alert." At this point it appeared that all the hard work Navratilova had put in with Lieberman and Richards was about to pay off.


 

Not quite.


 

Austin won each of the next two sets in tiebreakers. The California struck bold forehands in the decider and adapted well to the excessively windy conditions. Austin also benefitted from Navratilova's technical shortcomings, particularly on the forehand volley. "I still had work to do," said Navratilova. "Everything wasn't all in place yet."


 

By the end of 1981, the picture looked quite different. In the finals of the Australian Open (played then at the end of the calendar year) versus Evert, Navratilova sprinted to a 5-1 lead in the third. As at the US Open, it was a blustery day. Evert, tenacious as ever, won the next four games. But this time, Navratilova hung tough, breaking Evert at 5-5 and serving out the match.


 

Thus began a rich period. The Australian Open was one of 15 Grand Slam singles titles Navratilova would win between 1981 and '87. Her record versus Evert during this time: 25-6.


 

Cumulative Pressure


The cornerstone of Navratilova's was her incredible quickness. While she might well have been born with raw speed, even more, there was a way she read the court, was able to dart effectively into the right parts of the court so she could inflict the most possible damage. As longstanding coach Steve Stefanki noted, "She so understood balance and posture. It helped that she'd skated and could ski."


 

From that base, Navratilova was able to apply persistent and consistent aggression. In longer rallies, aided by Lieberman's fitness push and Richards' technical advice, she'd become far more patient, forceful and versatile. The slice backhand would force opponents to dig out the ball and hit short. The new topspin backhand could create new angles and also blunt netrushers. Navratilova's revamped forehand struck the ball more effectively crosscourt and down-the-line.


 

But it wasn't just her improved weaknesses that made Navratilova dominant. Having at last mastered her forehand volley - the backhand volley had been naturally superb for years - Navratilova became even more of a forcing presence at the net.


 

There had been a brief period during the Richards years when Navratilova had proven she could play in all parts of the court, to show that at times she could even beat the mighty Evert from the baseline. But then, beginning around the time of the 1983 Wimbledon, Navratilova found another wise mind to aid her ambition. Former pro Mike Estep told her there was no reason she should try and beat anyone from the baseline. Estep also explained that in coming to net, the idea wasn't so much to hit volley winners as force opponents to attempt difficult passing shots. For as any tennis player knows, it is far more frustrating to miss than to have an opponent strike a winner.


 

More than any of Navratilova's prior coaches, Estep helped her grasp and execute the concept of cumulative pressure. Said Shriver, "She would just smother you, with the serve, with the return, constantly coming at me. There were times it was difficult for me to win points. That lefty serve would pull you out of the court all the time." According to Evert, "She was probably the most complete player in tennis history." As Navratilova's training approach and improved playing style demonstrated, instinct is hardly genetic. Instinct is better defined as trained knowledge.


 

Starting with her win at Wimbledon in 1983, Navratilova won six straight Grand Slam singles events - '83 Wimbledon, '83 US Open, '83 Australian, '84 French Open, '84 Wimbledon, '84 US Open. Her quest for a calendar year Slam was ended by Helena Sukova in the semis of the '84 Australian Open.


 

Navratilova's new approach to training had raised the bar. Others - most notably, Evert - took notice and began to devote time to off-court work. Said Evert, "In the '70s I had to be heads up to fend her off. In the '80s I had to be heads up to be in the match with her."


 

But by the late '80s, Stefanie Graf had taken over the number one ranking. Though Navratilova had beaten Graf in the '87 Wimbledon and US Open finals, a year later Graf swept all four majors, including a 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 win at the All England Club that snapped Navratilova's six-year stranglehold on the title.


One Last Push


In the spring of '89, at age 32, Navratilova felt burnt out, increasingly tired and disengaged by tennis.


 

At which point she yet again found new counsel. Fittingly enough, it was one of her original idols, Billie Jean King. One of King's first words of advice: You have a choice. You can stop playing any time you want. King also told Navratilova to remember her past, to summon up the memory of the little girl who'd passionately hit on the backboard for hours on end. And King also told her to think long-term - that another Slam triumph would likely not occur for at least a year. Skipping the '89 French Open, a refreshed Navratilova lost in the finals of Wimbledon and the US Open, both times to Graf in three sets.


 

By the 1990 Wimbledon, though, Navratilova far more content than she had been in years. In the finals for the ninth straight year, she earned a convincing win over Zina Garrison for a record ninth Wimbledon singles title. Four years later, at the age of 37, she again made it to the final, only this time to lose to Conchita Martinez. That fall she announced her retirement.


 

In 2000, by now 43 years old, Navratilova returned to the WTA as a doubles player. During that time she won three Grand Slam mixed doubles titles, including a career-capping victory at the 2006 US Open with Bob Bryan - a win she earned one month short of turning 50.


 

Legacy


The signs of Navratilova's legacy are at once invisible and visible. On the court, Navratilova's versatile playing style is scarcely present. She had become the pinnacle of an attacking, net-based game that was started in the '30s by American Alice Marble and continued with such greats as Althea Gibson, Maria Bueno, Margaret Court and King.


 

But the groundwork for a contemporary playing style had been laid more by Evert's groundstrokes than Navratilova's volleys. As Navratilova's career continued, netrushers became less and less a part of the WTA, the game giving way to such powerful baseliners as Graf, Monica Seles, Jennifer Capriati, Lindsay Davenport, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Navratilova's fellow Czech lefthander, Petra Kvitova.


 

Many factors contributed to this, from the rapid ease and effectiveness of the two-handed backhand (Exhibit A: Evert) to enhancements in racquet technology that aided baseliners to a gradual slowing of surfaces. Later, after Navratilova's career ended, new strings such as Luxilon also aided baseliners.


 

Added to this was the matter of learning curve. A young player can swiftly mimic the baseline play of an Evert and soon enough attain results. But becoming a netrusher - particularly in contemporary tennis - takes patience, a willingness to concede that in the short term the baseliners might hold the edge but that over time, coming forward can pay dividends. This holds true both in the course of a single match and in the longer development of a playing styles.


 

But then comes a more visible Navratilova-inspired revolution. All the pioneer steps she took off-the-court are now part of any pro's life - from stretching and work with weights to interval training, diet, psychology, equipment and every possible aspect of managing the composition of a player's body. "Certainly she inspired me to do that kind of work," said Evert. In her quest to excel, Navratilova left no stone unturned. Even these days, whether studying contemporary players for Tennis Channel or her own game, Navratilova constantly reassesses everything, from grips to strings to footwork to practice habits, tactical patterns, emotions - the whole gamut. She started as an athlete but endures as a student.


By : Joel Drucker

He has been covering tennis for more than 30 years. His work has appeared in a variety of print and broadcast media, including Tennis Channel, Tennis Magazine, USTA Magazine, CBS and HBO. He is also author of the book, Jimmy Connors Saved My Life.




 

A U.S. Open to Remember: Navratilova and Evert Look Back....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on August 26, 2014 at 7:55 AM Comments comments (0)


Within the bounds of a singles tennis court, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova knew each other very well. Between 1973 and 1988, the two 18-time Grand Slam champs faced each other 80 times, with Navratilova holding a slight advantage, 43 to 37. Yet remarkably, despite their monumental rivalry, they were close friends off the court. Having so frequently found themselves alone together at the end of a tournament, Evert and Navratilova formed a bond that is difficult to imagine today between champions: They practiced together, helped tune each other’s strokes and hung out regularly. They even won Wimbledon and the French Open as doubles partners.


But by the time they stepped onto the green DecoTurf of Louis Armstrong Stadium for the 1984 U.S. Open final, the relationship had gone through some changes. Evert, who dominated in the early days of the rivalry, had terminated the doubles partnership. “My goal was to be No. 1 in singles, and I felt we were becoming too familiar with each other’s games,” she told me. Later, Navratilova’s coach and life partner, the professional basketball player Nancy Lieberman, agreed. “She said, ‘She’s got something you want, and you need to go get it,’ ” Navratilova recalled. " ‘You need to get mean.’ ” After adopting Lieberman’s grueling fitness regime, Navratilova went on a 254-6 tear from 1982 to 1984.


Entering that September afternoon, however, Evert had started to close the gap between them. The epic three-set match, their 61st meeting, quickly entered the annals of U.S. Open history. Thirty years later, it’s clear that Navratilova’s overwhelming play that day looked ahead to the advent of the power game in women’s tennis, which has come to define the sport. Here, the players remember the agony and exhilaration of that afternoon in Queens.


 

JAMES KAPLAN: Coming into the ’84 U.S. Open final, Martina, you had beaten Chris 12 times in a row. It must have been a tense afternoon — especially since the match couldn’t even start until the conclusion of Ivan Lendl and Pat Cash’s semifinal, which turned out to be a five-set marathon.


 

CHRIS EVERT: Very often at tournaments, Martina and I were in the locker room together on the last day. Early on I noticed that we had different ways of preparing. Martina always seemed to have a little restless energy; she was a little more hyper than I was. I had to empty my mind; I kind of went into a state of nothingness — maybe it was a form of meditation. That afternoon, we were ready to play about three or four different times when we thought the Lendl-Cash match was going to be over. I was almost afraid to watch that semifinal; meanwhile Martina was eating all the time and saying, “Oh, Lendl won the set; we’re not going to be on for another hour.”


 

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I am much more oblivious to the emotional ebbs and flows. Chris is much more attuned to that stuff — before the match she knew what she needed to do. I was kind of in my own world. After Chris retired, she told me, “I always knew before the match whether you were going to play well or not, because if you were nervous and peppy and talkative, you were confident, and if you were quiet, you were just nervous.”


 

C.E.: I really had been working on my confidence, to just try to talk myself into not being intimidated and being more confident that I could stay with her. At that point, it’s like mind games when I walk on the court. For those 12 losses, there were many times when I’d already lost the match before I walked on the court because I just didn’t have the confidence to do what I needed to do. She was just playing unbeatable tennis at that time.


 

J.K.: How did you feel as the match started?


 

C.E.: So I go into this match, and I think I’m really playing well, and I think I’ve got a chance. Compared to those last 12 matches, I was playing my best, and my attitude was the best. I think the crowd was really on my side because of the fact that I was the underdog. I remember winning the first set 6-4, and then in the second set, she was up a break, but I had a break chance — she was serving at 15-40. Then she had a winner on one point, and I made an unforced forehand error on the other one. Playing Martina was like playing Serena Williams now — you didn’t get many opportunities. I had a chance to even the second set, but she won it.


J.K.: Martina, after you won the second set, 6-4, there were boos from the crowd.


 

M.N.: Americans always cheer for the underdog, and I do, too, but it was hard for me because the year before, when I beat Chris in the final, the crowd was pretty 50-50 — maybe even pulling for me a bit more, because that was the last Grand Slam that I hadn’t won yet. Then fast-forward a year, and I’d barely lost any matches, and I felt that they were so much for Chris. I understand people pulling for Chris. I would be pulling for her, too. But I felt that they wanted me to lose rather than for Chris to win. That’s the hard part.


 

J.K.: Martina, you had such a dominating serve then. What was it like receiving Chris’s serve? Was there anything surprising about it?


 

M.N.: Chris’s serve wasn’t powerful, but it was strong enough, the first serve. You still had to be on the lookout. I mean, she didn’t ace me that many times, but you still had to pay attention. She kept it low, and the ball didn’t bounce up, so it wasn’t really attackable. Nor was the second serve that attackable. It wasn’t hard, but it was low, and she placed. . . .


 

J.K.: It was spun.


 

M.N.: Yeah, and she had a slice on it and she placed it well. So it wasn’t predictable, and it was hard to get hold of it, because back then we couldn’t spin the ball [on the return] so much.


 

C.E.: Because it wasn’t a big serve, I felt that if I got my first serve in, like, 80 percent of the time, which I did, it would start the rally and Martina could not attack it. But as soon as I hit a second serve, I knew if I hit to her backhand, she was going to chip and come in. She did that so well. That’s why I tried to at least get a high percentage of first serves in.


 

J.K.: Chris, you double-faulted a few times in the third set. Were you nervous?


 

C.E.: I remember thinking, O.K., I’ve got to stay with her, I’ve got to stay with her. When it was like 3-all or 4-all in the third, I stuck to my game, and that’s a conservative game. To beat Martina, I had to take chances, I had to play out of the box. At that point, I played it safe, played my game, and Martina played her game, but her game was better than my game at that point, and she won the third set.


 

J.K.: Martina, you won the match 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, but the crowd didn’t give you a hugely positive reaction. In fact, you cried afterward.


 

M.N.: Ironically, when I lost in ’81 to Tracy [Austin], I was crying after the match because I felt I was accepted by the crowd, and then three years later, I was crying after I won the match because I felt I was rejected by the crowd. When I hugged Mike Estep [her coach], I remember saying to him: “Why were they so against me? This is so hard, this is so hard.” Not to take anything away from Chris, but it was really disheartening because I thought, It’s not like I got arrested for drunken driving and did something really bad, beat up a dog or something. I was the same human being. Yet, I felt completely rejected. For me, it was so important to be accepted by the crowd, and it was really very difficult. It’s probably the saddest I’ve ever been after winning a Grand Slam title.


J.K.: After your loss to Tracy Austin at the ’81 Open, did you feel that the crowd was applauding more than just a tennis match?


 

M.N.: Well, I thought it was a combination. I became a U.S. citizen that summer, and then I also came out that summer. So they were accepting me as an American despite the fact that I came out as gay, because that certainly was a big no-no back then. That was amazing. I didn’t break down because I lost the match. I would have felt the same whether I won or lost. I was weeping because I was accepted. They kept applauding — that’s when I lost it.


 

J.K.: And then in ’84 you lost them.


 

C.E.: I want to respond to that. I can understand why they were reacting that way. One reason is that I’d lost 12 times in a row. The other thing is, at the U.S. Open, I felt like I always had the crowd on my side. That was my first big splash, breaking in at that tournament at 16. I was their girl. When I used to play [Evonne Goolagong] in Australia, I sometimes was close to tears after the match, because I didn’t have one fan.


 

M.N.: So you know how it feels.


 

C.E.: Exactly. And when I played Virginia Wade in the semis at Wimbledon [in 1977], I almost tanked the last point, because I was so — I mean, I really was annoyed at how biased the fans were. So now the shoe was on the other foot. I think we both felt both sides of the coin.


 

J.K.: Where was your friendship by September ’84? Martina, at a certain point you had a significant other who considered Chris the enemy and told you to hate her.


 

M.N.: Yeah. That was Nancy Lieberman. It’s well documented.


J.K.: Right. But by September ’84, were you and Lieberman still together?


 

M.N.: No. I was with Judy Nelson that year. So things had calmed down on that front.


 

C.E.: And when I was coached by Dennis Ralston, he was trying to get me to be tough with Martina also. The early ‘80s was probably our worst period, where there were some hurt feelings. But Martina, I think Judy helped you with that. She said, “You can still be friends.”


 

M.N.: Absolutely. And then [in 1989] you retired, so that changed everything. Because it had always been such a one-on-one situation. I didn’t realize until I was doing commentary what a gladiator-like competition tennis is — other than no one dies. The crowd is waiting for the players to come, and they walk through the tunnel, and they get on the court, and they get out their rackets, their weapons, and now they start. So it’s a miracle that we were able to be friends.


 

C.E.: In the last three or four years we played each other, I think we felt comfortable with our rivalry and with ourselves and our relationship.


 

J.K.: Do you remember, both of you, when you first started to practice together?


 

M.N.: Maybe the fall of ’74, but mostly ’75, when I started living in the States. We played a lot of doubles together.


 

C.E.: We practiced together before our finals in quite a few tournaments, too. Because in those early years, there were no coaches, and we were often the only ones left in the tournament. I know for sure in the French Open, before our final in ’75, we practiced together, had lunch together —


M.N.: There were a bunch of tournaments where that happened.


 

C.E.: What was great about our practices — Martina would say: “Chrissie, do you need any more serves? Do you want me to serve?” “Could you serve a couple more on the backhand side? I need to get that going.”


 

M.N.: Different times.


 

J.K.: Doesn’t the commercialization of the game just make everybody more insular now? The top players all travel with their coaches, their trainers and their whole team.


 

M.N.: I think that’s been happening for a while. Once we could afford it, we had people traveling with us. So the players hang out less with each other.


 

J.K.: So where are the great rivalries in women’s tennis today? What’s happened? There’s certainly no shortage of strong players.


 

M.N.: Well, nobody has been consistent at the top. On the women’s side, it’s been Serena [Williams] and whoever comes lately. For a while it looked like it was going to be a [Justine] Henin-Williams thing, but then Henin retired twice, and [Kim] Clijsters retired as well — and it just kind of fizzled. Nobody was able to sustain it.


 

C.E.: I’m surprised nobody has stepped up to the plate. Martina, are you?


 

M.N.: I am, too. I think it’s a combination of the age eligibility rule in which they’re not able to play [fully] on the tour until they’re 18. I think they’re losing two or three years of really critical improvement time in their game, which to me comes between 15 and 20. That’s why they are not winning slams at 21; they are waiting until they are 24, 25. That’s given Serena Williams a little breathing room.


 

C.E.: Also, I think getting endorsements and setting players up for life is very important, but we didn’t have as many distractions, and I think we were hungrier. I really do. A lot of it has to do with Serena, too. The combination of the movement and the power — when she’s on, it’s hard to beat her. But this year, with her having more losses, I would think one or two of the players would be hungry enough and sense it, like, “O.K., this could be the year of the changing of the guard” and “this could be my year.” I don’t know. I just don’t see the Radwanskas and Azarenkas doing that. I don’t know. Maybe I am underestimating. Maybe everybody is hungry. But I just don’t see anybody, except for [Eugenie] Bouchard, who seems to have that eye-of-the-tiger intensity, along with Sharapova. I mean, we thought Sloane Stephens would have it, and she hasn’t shown it. Martina, what do you think?


 

M.N.: I agree. I think that the quality of being able to sustain the drive and the focus and the concentration and the hard work — even with Serena, it was kind of in and out, but now she certainly has had it the last three years. Sharapova has always had it, but she had injuries get in the way. I think Azarenka was pretty driven, but she had some injuries get in the way. Now I’m not so sure. I thought she should have played more tournaments after Wimbledon, and she didn’t, and she’s not in the mix right now. And Sloane Stephens doesn’t have that sense of urgency, which certainly Bouchard has. That’s nice to see. You can’t be pushed into it. You have to do it yourself.


 

J.K.: Unlike the two of you during your rivalry, these women are all playing more or less the same game — power tennis. Tell me about the evolution of the power game.


 

C.E.: I noticed it with Monica [Seles] and then Steffi [Graf], but Martina led the way. What she had, at her peak, was a serve like Serena Williams right now — either it was an ace, or it was unreturnable, or it would set up for her to come in and volley. I mean, Steffi and Martina were the two greatest players that I ever played. But with Monica, it’s hard to say, because when she got stabbed, she was No. 1 in the world and had won that last grand slam [the 1993 Australian Open, her eighth slam]. With her out of the game for two and a half years, Steffi really didn’t have anybody that was going to challenge her. So she piled up a few more grand slams. After Monica got back, it wasn’t ever the same.


 

M.N.: I think the power just kind of came gradually. First it was Steffi with the big forehand; then Monica with power off both wings and taking the ball early, really taking time away from you; and then Lindsay [Davenport] with her heavy ball; and then here come the Williams sisters — and then everybody was hitting the ball at Mach-3, and everybody still does now. The equipment makes it possible to do that: it’s not just that you can hit the groundstrokes hard, but you can return hard. With our rackets, you could block or slice the ball on the return of serve; you couldn’t swing — you wouldn’t make it, or you’d make one out of five. The new strings allow you to take a big cut at the ball and put a lot of spin on it, and now everybody can use power, because the harder you swing, the safer the shot. For us, it was the opposite.


 

C.E.: So these days, the players go out and just say, “I’ve got to play my game.” In our day, strategy was a lot more important. We played the weaknesses as much as we played our own game. In this day and age, they just worry about, “I’ve just got to hit out, I’ve just got to be relaxed.”


 

M.N.: Exactly.


C.E.: I think the other misconception is that the game is more athletic now. We had athletes just as great. If you could bring Martina and Steffi in their prime to the present with this day’s equipment, they would still be No. 1, No. 2 in the world. I think that mentally and emotionally. . . . I don’t know, maybe we were tougher. I don’t know.


 

J.K.: You were pretty damn tough, Chris.


 

M.N.: Ha! I remember that!



Interview by : JAMES KAPLAN

( www.nytimes.com )









Dravid : Mid-Tour Changes Tough On Everyone....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on August 23, 2014 at 7:45 AM Comments comments (0)


Former India captain Rahul Dravid said the tough decisions taken by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in the middle of the England tour were "tough on everyone concerned" and if he had his way he would have waited till the end of the series to change the support staff.


 

Dravid was a part of the disastrous 2011 England tour that India lost 0-4. He hoped that another former captain Ravi Shastri, who has been appointed the team director for the ODI series, would handle the situation well.


 

"You don't have problems if people want to make changes, it's part of professional sport. (But) there's still not a lot of clarity on whether this is a long term appointment or the changes we have seen are for this series, so there's a bit of confusion around that," Dravid was quoted as saying by Cricinfo.


 

"Sometimes from a players' perspective that can be quite hard. I hope that's something Ravi (Shastri) will handle quite well. All these players also build relationships with support staff and as players you do recognise that at some level you are actually responsible for your own success and failure," he said.


 

Having worked with under-fire coach Duncan Fletcher, Dravid said it will be up to the Zimbabwean to decide whether he is comfortable in continuing in the role in this "new kind of environment", wherein he will have to report to Shastri.


 

Besides appointing Shastri, the BCCI also roped in Sanjay Bangar, Bharat Arun and R Sridhar as assistant coaches and dropped fielding and bowling coaches Trevor Penney and Joe Dawes, who were handpicked by Fletcher.


 

"If you ask me, I think he's got a lot of knowledge and I know having been around the team that the team does respect him and a lot of them get along very well with him and do ask him for a lot of technical advice. There is a good rapport between him and Dhoni," said Dravid, who recently acted as team mentor ahead of the England series.


 

Dravid believes that both Shastri and Fletcher would work together in the best interests of the team.


 

"Knowing the kind of people that they are, they would not want to ensure that the players see that there is an issue between them. Like Ravi says, Duncan will still be the head coach, he will still be running the team meetings and be involved in the selection of the playing eleven. So I hope there is no issue," he said.


 

Dravid said both Dawes and Penney did their jobs "very professionally and tried to do the best they can. Sometimes things don't work out."


 

"The support staff can't bat, bowl or catch for you. That's why sometimes being in the support staff or being a coach is a no-win situation because you might be giving the guys the best possible advice and the best possible training facilities but things don't work in the field. You can still drop catches, you can still have technical issues with the bat. Coaches can't solve everything and as good players, deep down, you know that," he said.


 

Dravid said he has full faith in Shastri to steer the team out of this rough patch. Both Dravid and Shastri have worked together after India's first round exit from the 2007 World Cup. Dravid was the captain when Shastri was appointed the interim manager for the Bangladesh tour that followed after the World Cup.


 

"I thought Ravi was very good in the time that he was there with the team. He's obviously got a lot of experience that he has to offer as a player. By personality he's a very positive, outgoing, upbeat kind of person, which can really help the team. His personality can help a lot of the younger players because they do respect him and what he's done for the game."


Source:- vcricket

Jayawardene Scores 54 In Last Test Innings....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on August 18, 2014 at 6:25 PM Comments comments (0)


Sri Lankan cricket legend Mahela Jayawardene scored a fine 54 runs in what was his last Test knock at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground here Sunday.


 

Resuming the fourth day of the second and final Test against Pakistan at 49 not out, the 37-year-old added five more runs before being caught off spinner Saeed Ajmal. The former Sri Lanka captain's innings lasted 137 balls and included eight boundaries.


 

The right hander received a standing ovation as he made his way back to the pavilion with the Pakistani fielders applauding. Jayawardene raised his bat to acknowledge the crowd's gesture.


 

Playing his 149th and final Test, Jayawardene finished with 11,814 runs at an average of 49.84 with 34 centuries and 50 half-centuries and a highest score of 374 which he scored here against South Africa in 2006.


 

Jayawardene earlier retired from Twenty20 Internationals after Sri Lanka won the World T20 title defeating India in April in Bangladesh.


Source:- vcricket

Federer Holds Off Ferrer For 80th Title, Sixth In Cincinnati....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on August 18, 2014 at 6:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Roger Federer wins his sixth titleat the Western & Southern Open....


Roger Federer celebrated his 80th singles title on Sunday at the Western & Southern Open, overcoming a second-set charge from David Ferrer to prevail 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 in the first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final to feature two players over the age of 30.


 

Federer, 33, improved to a perfect 6-0 in Cincinnati finals and to a 16-0 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against the 32-year-old Ferrer. He snapped a four-match losing streak in Masters 1000 finals, including a runner-up finish last week at the Rogers Cup in Toronto (l. to Tsonga), to claim his 22nd crown at this level.


 

"I'm very happy about the week," said Federer. "Just overall it went from good to great. Just really pleased that I was able to back up a tough week last week already."


In the fourth 30-over final of the season, Federer broke for a 5-3 lead when Ferrer double-faulted, and then saved four break points in the next game to close the set. Ferrer, in turn, saved four break points to start the second set before seizing control. He raced out to a 5-0 lead and claimed just his fifth set in 16 career meetings against Federer.


 

Federer regained the lead as he broke to go up 3-1 in the decisive set. He wrapped up the victory on serve after one hour and 42 minutes, prevailing at an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament for the first time since his Cincinnati triumph two years ago. He also won here in 2005, '07, '09 and '10.


 

"I really thought I was feeling better again towards the end of the second set, like he felt better at the end of the first," said Federer. "I carried that over into the third and served great and was able to come up with some really good plays. Just overall I think I played a great match at the end."


 

The Swiss lifted his third trophy from eight finals this season, adding to his victories in Dubai and Halle, and joined Jimmy Connors (109) and Ivan Lendl (94) as players to clinch 80 or more titles in the Open Era.


 

In his opening match against Vasek Pospisil earlier this week in Cincinnati, Federer made history as the first player to win 300 matches at the Masters 1000 level. His 22 Masters 1000 titles is second to Rafael Nadal’s 27 in the leaders list.


 

With his final showings in both Toronto and Cincinnati, Federer strengthened his place at No. 2 in the Emirates Airline Bonus Challenge standings, behind Canadian Milos Raonic. He will next head to New York for the US Open, where he will compete for an Open Era-record sixth title.


"Especially now I come in with great confidence," he said. "I can really rest now, rather than having to work on stuff, so it's just about maintaining. That's also really good for the mind... I know my game is where I want it to be. It's about just keeping that level up right now."


Ferrer was attempting to win his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title and 22nd overall. He had recorded his 150th match win in Masters 1000 action after saving two match points in his second-round match against Philipp Kohlschreiber on Wednesday.


 

"He was better, but I was close," said Ferrer, who also lost to Federer last week in Toronto. "I am happy with my game these two weeks. I [reached the] quarter-final in Toronto and final here playing well every day."



 

"Especially now I come in with great confidence," he said. "I can really rest now, rather than having to work on stuff, so it's just about maintaining. That's also really good for the mind... I know my game is where I want it to be. It's about just keeping that level up right now."


Source:- ATPTennis



Serena Wins First Cincy Title....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on August 18, 2014 at 5:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Serena Williams beat Ana Ivanovic to win her first Western & Southern Open title and take a step closer to the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global....

CINCINNATI, OH, USA - Serena Williams finally captured her first Western & Southern Open title on Sunday, beating Ana Ivanovic in straight sets to win the tournament for the first time in six tries.


 

The Plot


Both finalists were coming off marathon semifinal wins the day before, Williams rallying from a first set blowout to beat Caroline Wozniacki, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4, and Ivanovic battling almost three hours and fighting off two match points to overcome Maria Sharapova in a Saturday night thriller, 6-2, 5-7, 7-5.


 

And the two players had gone to three sets in all three of their previous meetings this year, with Ivanovic winning at the Australian Open and Williams prevailing at Rome and Stanford. This was their first time playing in a final, though - would that change things, and who would that favor?


 

The Turning Point


The No.9-seeded Ivanovic came out firing, breaking in the first game of the match en route to a 3-1 lead, and even holding three more break points to go up a double break - but that's when the match turned on a dime, the No.1-seeded Williams reeling off 10 points in a row and taking complete control of it, eventually winning 11 of the next 13 games to run away with it in straight sets, 6-4, 6-1.


 

The match numbers weighed heavily in Williams' favor, as she put together a +13 differential of winners to unforced errors, 26 to 13. Ivanovic, meanwhile, put together a -8 differential, 13 to 21.


Quotes


Neither player hesitated to give props to the other during the on-court trophy ceremony.


 

"It's been a great week for me in Cincinnati," Ivanovic said. "I really want to congratulate Serena. I think I got a lesson on how to serve today. Maybe after you retire you can give me some tips!"


 

"Congratulations to Ana - she's such a great champion and such a wonderful, wonderful young lady," Williams commented. "It's so good to see wonderful women like her leading our tour right now.


 

"It's just amazing to finally win here. The fans were amazing and it's so wonderful to be here."


By The Numbers


Williams won her fifth WTA title of the year - no one else has more than three - and 62nd WTA title of her career. She's still No.7 on the all-time list, but only five short of No.6, Billie Jean King, who has 67.


 

She will also take a step - a big step, mind you - up the Road To Singapore leaderboard, the year-long journey to the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, going from No.4 to No.3, passing Agnieszka Radwanska and trailing just Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep as of now.


 

Additionally, Cincinnati was becoming one of the most elusive WTA events to Williams' trophy cabinet - she had never won here in five previous tries, second-most to Sydney, where she has never won in six previous tries. But it turned out to be sixth time lucky for the World No.1 at the Premier-level event.


Source:- WTATennis

Gavaskar : Time To Take Tough Decisions....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on August 18, 2014 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (0)


An infuriated Sunil Gavaskar has blasted the Indian team and said it was high time to for the management to take some tough decisions following the embarrassing 1-3 Test series loss to England.


 

Gavaskar was upset that the young Indian team was refusing to learn from past mistakes.


 

"Even till two days, I was defending the team. But you see them today, they have made the same mistakes over and over again. It means the team is not learning. Do they care about it? I don't know," Gavaskar was quoted as saying by NDTV after India suffered a 1-3 Test series loss to England Sunday at The Oval in London.


 

Gavaskar wondered how much rope could be given to young players before taking a tough decision.


 

"Most of these players have played in South Africa, New Zealand and England. How much of a rope do you give a young player? I think somewhere down the line some firm decisions have to be taken. I don't know if they will be taken," he said.


 

Citing the example of Australia, Gavaskar said successful teams have the ability to take tough decisions when they are down in the dumps.


 

"One of the reasons why Australia have clawed back to the top spot is that they take tough calls and that is the need of the hour for India," he said.


 

The former India captain was tongue-and-cheek in suggesting that India should stop playing Test cricket for while. He believes that nothing is going to change despite a string embarrassing defeats overseas.


 

"Nothing is going to change. Certainly nothing is going to change till the end of the World Cup. So there really is no point talking about it," said Gavaskar.


 

Gavaskar feared that the humiliation in the Tests would soon be forgotten if India did well in the ODIs. India will now take on England in an ODI series and a one-off T20. Test routing could soon be emotions of the past.


 

"If we do well in the one-dayers which follow in a week's time, the Test series will be forgotten and that is the tragedy of Indian cricket. The tragedy of Indian cricket is that a lot of the Test defeats are swept under the carpet.


 

At the end of the day, however well you do in limited overs cricket, it is Test cricket that defines you as a cricketer, defines your place in the history of the game. If you are going to have all the Test wins and all the Test losses swept under the carpet, then you are not going to make any progress," Gavaskar said.


Source:- vcricket

What Can Bowlers Do If Batsmen Don't Deliver...?

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on August 17, 2014 at 6:25 AM Comments comments (0)

India's campaign in the current series can, without fear of contradiction, be summarised as the tourists losing their way after the second Test, especially after the third.


 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) need to seriously ponder: why? Was a five-test series beyond the mental and physical faculties of today's Indian cricketers, who are unaccustomed to such an extended contest and could be overburdened in any case by 10 months of engagement in a year?


 

Are the comparative lack of a financial incentives when turning out for one's country, the unfavourable income-effort ratio in Tests, factors impeding display?


 

It would be harsh to criticise the bowlers. But there are some stark facts the BCCI have got to consider. Bluntly put, a bowler is generally not of international standard unless he averages below 30 runs a wicket and his strike is less than 60 balls per scalp.


 

Such an exponent can be adjudged as world class or an all-time great if he averages below 25 and has a strike rate of less than 50. Anything short of 20 test appearances should be regarded as insufficient data; for a conclusive view, it could even be argued that 50 caps is preferable.


 

Going by such a yardstick, only Ravichandran Ashwin falls into the category of "international standard" in the Indian side. He has an average of 28.78 and a strike rate of 59.6 for his 104 wickets in 20 Tests prior to the present one. No other Indian among the current lot is anywhere near being "world class."


 

On the second day of the fifth and final India-England Test, Ashwin's track record shone through, as he troubled the English batsmen on a good second day batting wicket. He was unfortunate in that as Ajinkya Rahane turfed a sharp but catchable chance at slip off the left-handed Alastair Cook; but he was thereafter rewarded when Gary Ballance was surprised by a bit of extra bounce and turn to hole out at silly mid-off.


 

Ishant Sharma had captured 174 wickets in 57 Tests up to Lord's, but at an unacceptable average of 37.04 and a strike rate of 66.2; while Bhuvneshwar Kumar, although averaging 28.18 and having a strike rate of 56.1 up to Old Trafford, is playing only his 11th Test.


 

Perhaps, the pick of the Indian bowlers in the last two Tests has been Varun Aaron, who is wearing the India cap in only his third Test. He has operated five mph slower than what he is capable of. This has lent him greater accuracy and enabled him to bowl much needed longer spells.


 

Nevertheless, at between 87-89 mph he's made the English batsmen hurry; and if he's leaked runs, a chunk of these have been off the outside edge. Indeed, he gave Cook a thorough working over after lunch, when Murali Vijay dropped a sitter at first slip before clutching a more difficult chance in the same spot to remove the England captain.


 

The Indian selectors may have missed a trick by leaving Umesh Yadav at home. The combined velocity of Aaron and Yadav would have had the English batsmen hopping at the crease.


 

Sunshine hardened the pitch and rendered it faster on the second day than the first. This not only helped the quicker bowlers Aaron and Sharma, who had Ian Bell caught behind, but also the off-spinner Ashwin.


 

The Indian batting has,obviously, assisted England's cause in the last three tests. At the same time, James Anderson averages 29.86 and has a strike rate of 58.4; and Stuart Broad can also be labelled as "international class", possessing as he does an average of 30.05 and a strike rate of 58.8. Significantly, they have performed over a sustained period in their careers and in harness. Between them they have played 173 tests and taken 641 wickets.


Source:- vcricket

Telecom cup: lai wan li berry, bayern 7-6 door

Posted by [email protected] on August 16, 2014 at 3:15 AM Comments comments (0)

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The western media: cristiano ronaldo has become favourites uefa best player

Posted by [email protected] on August 15, 2014 at 3:15 AM Comments comments (0)

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A Lot At stake For Captain, Dhoni, And Coach, Fletcher....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on August 15, 2014 at 1:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Mahendra Dhoni's continuance as captain in Tests after next year's World Cup and the retention of Duncan Fletcher as coach after the same event are at stake as India, trailing 1-2 in the series, lock horns with England in the fifth and final cricket Test starting here Friday.


 

The good news is that Ishant Sharma, who bowled India to victory in the second Test, but was unavailable for selection due to a recurrence of an ankle injury in the two reverses thereafter, may be fit to do battle in the crucial encounter. He has bowled at the nets for the past two days without any visible setback.


 

The bad news is that the Indian tour selectors still hadn't apparently taken a final call on the non-performing spin bowling all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, although there were signs that Stuart Binny, who played a match-saving innings in the 1st Test and provides a fourth seamer option, may have re-entered the frame.


 

It may be sensible to consider Stewart Binny or even a more attacking move of recalling the fast-medium bowler Mohammed Shami, who may be motivated to prove himself after being sidelined following his below par performance in the first three Tests.


 

Varun Aaron's extra pace fractured England fast bowler Stuart Broad's nose in the fourth Test, which is a worry for England. With Ishant's experience and hit-the-deck variety inter-twined with the swing of Bhuvneshwar Kumar (who needs two more wickets for a tally of 20 in the series) should give the English batsmen more food for thought.


 

The added threat of Shami, if he can rejuvenate himself, could, in fact, tilt the balance in India's favour. But this would, admittedly, be a gamble, for it would theoretically weaken the batting. But then India need to go all out for a win in order to square the series.


 

Dhoni has taken a few blows on his shoulders and ribs, not to mention his fingers, in the series. However, it would be surprising if he rested himself for such a make or break contest. At The Oval's easier batting conditions as compared to Old Trafford, there is no reason why he shouldn't stick to batting at No.6.


 

But the top five in the order before him need to redeem themselves. A stable opening gambit between Gautam Gambhir and Murali Vijay, who showed such excellent form in the first two Tests, would go a long way towards making life easier for the middle order batsmen.


 

At the same time, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli, whose reputations have taken a knock, especially the latter's, need to step up, if India are to have any chance of saving the series.


Source:- vcricket