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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)*




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 )









Bartoli's Charity Challenge....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on August 19, 2014 at 11:40 PM Comments comments (0)


Former WTA star Marion Bartoli is engaging in various physical activities for charity as part of Virgin's Strive Challenge 2014....


Former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli is participating in Virgin's Strive Challenge 2014.


 

Bartoli's "Core" team consists of celebrities and members of the public who run, row, cycle, hike and climb from London to the top of the Matterhorn in Switzerland to benefit the Big Change charity.


 

Big Change gives young people in the UK an opportunity to learn and develop 'soft skills' they need to become healthy, happy and productive adults.


 

"The experience is absolutely amazing," Bartoli said. "The human adventure behind this crazy physical challenge will leave me with memories that will last forever. The bond we have been able to create in the Core team through stress and difficulties is extremely strong and we, as a team, are really helping each other to cross the line every day."


 Source:- WTATennis


PLEASE NOTE : Fans can track Bartoli's progress here : http://livetracking.strivechallenge.com/

And can make an online donation to her fund here : http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=MarionBartoli



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

Djokovic Returns To No. 1 With Wimbledon Victory....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on July 7, 2014 at 7:25 AM Comments comments (0)


Novak Djokovic captured his Seventh Grand Slam Championship


Novak Djokovic will return to No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on Monday after winning his seventh Grand Slam championship at Wimbledon. The Serb denied Roger Federer an unprecedented eighth title at The Championships, winning Sunday’s final 6-7(7), 6-4, 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-4.


 

Djokovic will return to the top spot for the first time since being usurped by Rafael Nadal on 7 October 2013. He will begin his 102nd week at World No. 1 on Monday.


 

The 27-year-old Djokovic turned the tide in Grand Slam finals, having lost five of his past six coming into the Wimbledon final. He lifted the trophy at the All England Club for the second time, having previously triumphed in 2011 with victory over Nadal.


 


 

"I want to congratulate Roger on a great tournament and great fight today," said Djokovic in his on-court speech. "It was a great match to be part of. He's a magnificent champion, a great example of a great athlete and a role model for many kids. I respect his career and everything he's done. Thank you for letting me win today."

 


Djokovic had the chance to seal victory in four sets when he led 5-2 in the fourth set. The right-hander served for the match at 5-3, but could not close it out as Federer fought back. The Serb was then denied on a match point in the following game, as Federer hit an ace, and five straight games for the Swiss forced a deciding set.

 


Djokovic missed three break point chances in the eighth game of the decider, but when presented with two more match points in the 10th game, did not falter. He won the dramatic match in four minutes shy of four hours.

 


"I was hoping Roger was going to miss the first serve [on match point]. It didn't happen. That's why he has 17 Grand Slams and is the most successful player ever. In the important moments, he comes up with his best tennis. I had to regroup and find the energy to win the fifth set."

 



The Belgrade native joins John McEnroe and Mats Wilander in joint-eighth place on the list for most Grand Slam singles titles in the Open Era. It was his first major victory since the 2013 Australian Open (d. Murray). Since then, he had finished runner-up at Wimbledon (l. to Murray) and the US Open (l. to Nadal) last year and last month at Roland Garros (l. to Nadal).

 


"It was a great final," said Federer in his on-court speech. "I can't believe I made it to five. It wasn't looking good there for a while. You know going into a match with Novak it's always going to be tough; we play athletic points. I can only say congratulations today for an amazing match, amazing tournament and well deserved."



Source:- ATP Tennis

Kvitova Re-Conquers Wimbledon....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on July 7, 2014 at 7:10 AM Comments comments (0)

From an early scare against a WTA legend to an impressive championship win over a WTA Rising Star, Petra Kvitova reasserted her dominance at Wimbledon this year...


LONDON, England - It had all the makings of a classic - a former champion playing at the top of her game again, a WTA Rising Star storming through to her first Grand Slam final without losing a set - and at the end of the day it was experience that triumphed over youth, as Petra Kvitova beat Eugenie Bouchard in straight sets, 6-3, 6-0, to lift the Venus Rosewater Dish at Wimbledon, a second time.


 

Kvitova is always a huge threat at Wimbledon - she has been to the quarterfinals or better here the last five years, including winning her first Grand Slam title here in 2011. But she was nearly out in Week 1 this year, just two points from losing to Venus Williams before scraping through, 5-7, 7-6(2), 7-5.


 

But scraping through that seemed to give her a new breath of life - she stormed through her next three rounds without losing a set, and not before long, she was a win away from recapturing her crown.


 

Meanwhile on the other half of the draw, Bouchard - one of the fastest-rising stars on the WTA, and with some of the highest ambitions of all the WTA Rising Stars - was powering past all comers. She didn't drop a set all tournament, including in her career-best wins over No.9 seed Angelique Kerber and No.3 seed Simona Halep in the quarters and semis, and many thought she could go all the way.


 

But on the day it was an absolutely dialed-in Kvitova that showed up. Bouchard played well - she had twice the winners to unforced errors, 8 to 4 - but Kvitova was crushing it, 28 winners to 12 unforced errors, and after 55 minutes the No.6-seeded Czech had the straight set win over the No.13-seeded Canadian, belting one last crosscourt backhand winner just outside of her opponent's reach.


 

From a numbers standpoint, Kvitova was strong on the serve and return alike - she had a 68% first serve percentage and won 82% of those points, and she won 58% of her return points as well. That was a formula for success against a player who'd been so good on the first strike through six rounds.


 

Bouchard may not have won her first Grand Slam title, but she still leaves SW19 with some amazing memories - not only did she become the first Canadian to reach a Grand Slam final, male or female and all-time, but she will now rise from No.13 to No.7 on the WTA Rankings, making her the highest-ranked player in WTA history, passing Carling Bassett-Seguso, who went as high as No.8.


 

The Canadian was the first to be interviewed by WTA legend Sue Barker at the trophy ceremony.


 

"First of all I'd like to congratulate Petra," she said. "She played fantastic these two weeks and it was really tough for me today, but I'm proud of how I've played this whole tournament.


 

"I love coming back to Wimbledon, so thank you guys."


 

Kvitova, a former No.2 who will rise from No.6 to No.4, followed Bouchard to the microphone.


 

"I had great tactics from my coach before the match - he always knows what I have to play," she said. "But Eugenie had such a great tournament these two weeks, and I'm sure she'll be here to stay."


 

The Czech was asked what it felt like to hold the Venus Rosewater Dish again.


 

"I can't say that it's more special than when I won my first Wimbledon title, but after three years, to stand here with the trophy again is so amazing," she said, fighting back tears.


 

"It's my second title, so I hope now it's going to be a little easier for me."



Source:- WTA Tennis





Sharapova Re-Conquers Roland Garros....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on June 8, 2014 at 4:30 PM Comments comments (0)


PARIS, France - When she broke through at Wimbledon in 2004 and seemingly struggled on the slower surfaces, many thought the French Open would be the last one she'd win. But how many thought it would be the first one she'd win twice? Maria Sharapova beat Simona Halep on Saturday to not only win her fifth Grand Slam title, but also make the clay court major the first one she has two of.


It almost didn't happen - a few times, actually. Sharapova had to rally from a set down three matches in a row before the final, something she had never done at any tournament in her career. She was two games from losing to Sam Stosur, a game from losing to Garbiñe Muguruza and again two games from losing to Eugenie Bouchard. Needless to say, she really had to work to even make it into the final.


And she may not have had to rally from a set down this time, but the grind certainly didn't end there. For three hours and two minutes Sharapova and Halep battled it out on Court Philippe Chatrier, with Sharapova building the early lead - 6-4, 2-0 - but Halep working her way right back into it, sneaking out the second set and holding two break points for a 3-1 lead in the third set, even getting to 4-all.


But the No.7-seeded Sharapova brought out her best tennis of the tournament when it mattered most, dropping a pair of love games on the No.4-seeded Halep to capture the title, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-4.


"This was the toughest Grand Slam final I've ever played," Sharapova said in her on-court interview afterwards. "All the respect to Simona. I thought she just played an unbelievable match today.


"I can't believe it. I never thought seven or eight years ago that I'd win more Roland Garroses when I was 27 years old than any other Grand Slam. It's a dream come true. This tournament means so much to me. And to think I've won it two times now - I'm so emotional, I can't even talk right now!"


The two players then took the stage for more post-match comments during the trophy presentation.


"This is my first Grand Slam final speech, but I wish to have many more," Halep said to cheers from the enthusiastic Chatrier crowd. "First I'd like to say congratulations Maria. You're a great champion and you played really well, and you really deserved this title. I wish you all of the best for the future.


"I've had two incredible weeks here. It was an amazing tournament for me. I played my best and I'm happy you guys all came every match to support me. I want to thank all of you - and also to the people back home in Romania, I just want to say thank you to all of you as well for all of your support."


After Halep thanked her team, family and friends, Sharapova continued to praise her fellow finalist.


"To be in your first Grand Slam final is an incredible achievement," the Russian said. "You've had an amazing two weeks, and this is just the first step. I think you'll have an incredible career."


Sharapova now has five Grand Slam titles - Wimbledon in 2004, the US Open in 2006, the Australian Open in 2008, the French Open in 2012 and the French Open - again - in 2014. She is the 12th woman in the Open Era to win five or more Grand Slam titles, after Steffi Graf (22), Chris Evert (18), Martina Navratilova (18), Serena Williams (17), Margaret Court (11), Monica Seles (9), Billie Jean King (8), Evonne Goolagong Cawley (7), Venus Williams (7), Justine Henin (7) and Martina Hingis (5).


Source:- WTATennis

Djokovic Donates Rome Prize Money To Help Flood Relief Efforts....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on May 21, 2014 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Novak Djokovic has donated his entire Rome prize money in support of the Balkans flooding....


Novak Djokovic has donated his entire prize money for winning the Internazionali BNL d'Italia title in Rome to his foundation to help the flood relief efforts in Serbia.


Heavy rainfall in Bosnia and Serbia from 14-16 May has affected more than 1.6 million people, with at least 48 people dying as a result of the flooding.


Source:- ATP Tennis


Please help him raise money for the victims of this terrible natural disaster.  Donate Now

Federer: Portrait Of An Artist ....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on May 16, 2014 at 6:35 AM Comments comments (0)


Roger Federer is auctioning a one-of-a-kind portrait for charity....


Roger Federer has been the subject of countless pictures, but a new portrait captures the Swiss in a rare and different light.


“It helped me a lot, in more ways than one, to portray Roger Federer as a person - an amicable man in his early thirties, instead of the well-documented tennis god,” Zurich-based Dutch artist Pascal Möhlmann told ATPWorldTour.com.


The artwork is currently up for auction, with proceeds to benefit the Roger Federer Foundation, and also graces the cover of Swiss lifestyle magazine, ‘annabelle’. Möhlmann, who does half his portraits through live sittings and half based on photos taken himself, spent time with Federer during his interview session with the magazine and came away with the highest regard for the five-time year-end World No. 1. 


“His relaxed and uncomplicated way left an impression, he said. “Sitting at the table with him, he himself was just very much fun to talk with and listen to. I remember certain teenage memories were talked about and he didn’t seem to be in a hurry at all.


“When I got to take my many photos, he started posing in a way too professional fashion for my taste as a portrait painter. So I suggested to him to make a few stupid faces to loosen up the facial muscles and start fresh and to my surprise he did this without any hesitation or embarrassment.”


Möhlmann crafted the piece from his Zurich studio over the course of a month, and remarked that Federer’s strong features, including his dark eyebrows, deep eye-positioning and masculine chin, made him an interesting subject.


“It was very fulfilling painting Roger Federer,” he said. “His appearance, his face in particular, is so inviting for a portraitist to be made-again in oil on canvas.”


Source:- ATP Tennis


PLEASE NOTE : The pre-bid phase for the portrait runs online through 17 May, when it will be live auctioned at the Auktionshaus Ineichen Zürich.  View Auction



Rafa Wins 27th Masters 1000 Title In Madrid....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on May 11, 2014 at 6:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Rafael Nadal won his fourth Madrid trophy....


World No. 1 Rafael Nadal captured his 27th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title on Sunday as he fought back from a set and a break down against Kei Nishikori to win the Mutua Madrid Open final. The Spaniard had turned the match around to lead 2-6, 6-4, 3-0 when Nishikori was forced to retire with a back injury.



The Spaniard became the first player to win four Madrid titles, adding to his victories in 2005 (d. Ljubicic), 2010 (d. Federer) and 2013 (d. Wawrinka). It is his third ATP World Tour trophy of the season, having triumphed in Doha (d. Monfils) and Rio de Janeiro (d. Dolgopolov). The left-hander leads the ATP World Tour with a 30-5 match record on the season.



"Winning at home is always more special than winning anywhere. Having the chance to play in front of your home crowd... is unforgettable for me. This city gives me a lot," said Nadal. "This is a very important victory for me."



Now with 63 tour-level titles, the 27-year-old Nadal moves to standalone sixth on the Open Era title leaderboard. One more would see him draw level with joint-fifth Bjorn Borg and Pete Sampras. It was his 44th clay-court title, taking him to within two trophies of tying Guillermo Vilas’ all-time record of 46 titles.


Nadal received 1000 Emirates ATP Ranking points, which will ensure he remains at World No. 1 through the end of next week’s Internazionali BNL d’Italia. Next week will mark Nadal’s 32nd week in a row at No. 1 (since 7 Oct. 2013) and the 134th overall.



The Mallorcan was presented with the winner’s trophy by Queen Sofía of Spain. 



"I'm very sorry for Nishikori," Nadal added. "He's an unbelievable player that will fight to be in London [at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals]. I am sure of that. I really hope that the injury is not too bad and he will be able to compete in Roland Garros."



Nishikori was contesting his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final and saw his run of 14 successive wins come to an end. The right-hander’s result in Madrid has ensured he will become the first Japanese player to break into the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings on Monday. 



The 24-year-old Nishikori was coming off his first ATP World Tour clay-court title in Barcelona two weeks ago (l. to Giraldo), but had been troubled by a back injury in his past two matches at the Caja Magica. He had prevailed in the longest match of the tournament against David Ferrer in the semi-finals on Saturday night, lasting two hours and 56 minutes.



"There is a lot of confidence I get from this tournament by beating [Ferrer] in three sets and playing well in the final today," said Nishikori.



"It's going to be very exciting at [Roland Garros] because I've never feel like this on clay. I'm very confident of whatever I hit going for winners. I can hit from either side - forehand or backhand - so it's a very good feeling that I have on clay right now."


Source:- ATP Tennis




Wawrinka Wins First Masters 1000 Crown In Monte-Carlo....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on April 20, 2014 at 6:35 PM Comments comments (0)


In the first all-Swiss final for 14 years on the ATP World Tour, Stanislas Wawrinka defeated Roger Federer 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-2 in the final of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.



The 29-year-old Wawrinka captured his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title, having previously finished runner-up in Rome 2008 (l. to Djokovic) and Madrid last year (l. to Nadal). With his semi-final victory over David Ferrer Saturday, the Swiss became the 11th active player to record 100 ATP Masters 1000 match wins.



Wawrinka is the 59th different winner of an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament, breaking up the domination of the ‘Big Four’. In 34 of the past 36 Masters 1000 tournaments, the trophy had been lifted by one of either Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Federer or Andy Murray. The only exceptions came at the BNP Paribas Masters in 2010 (Robin Soderling) and 2012 (Ferrer).


"It's always special to play Roger," said Wawrinka. "We know it's always a strange match, especially being in the final here. He's my best friend on the tour. We respect each other so much. I'm just trying on the court to win the match. Before and after, we are still very good friends. During the match, we just try everything to win. Today I'm really happy to take that one.



"I can see that when mentally I'm there and I'm fighting, I can play tennis, I can beat all the player. I did an amazing job. I'm really happy after winning my first Grand Slam to win a Masters 1000 so quick. I didn't expect to. When I came here, for me it was more like a test. I knew I was playing good tennis, but I didn't expect to win because the draw was so strong."


It was just Wawrinka’s second win in 15 meetings with Federer (2-13 FedEx ATP Head2Head series). His other victory over Federer also came at the Monte-Carlo Country Club, five years ago.


"Of course, I'm very happy for Stan," said Federer. "It's a huge win for him after winning his first Grand Slam this year, also to win his first Masters 1000. To take the opportunities when they're there, that's key in a tennis player's career. So I'm very happy for him."


As victor, Wawrinka received 1000 Emirates ATP Ranking points and $549,000 in prize money. He was presented with the trophy by His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco and Princess Charlene of Monaco.



Victory for Wawrinka sees the Lausanne native maintain his grip on World No. 3 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. On Monday, he will leapfrog Nadal, Djokovic and Federer to rise to No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Race To London, which is based solely on results this season. 



The top eight in the Emirates ATP Race To London at the end of the regular season will qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Wawrinka qualified for the elite season finale for the first time last year, reaching the semi-finals (l. to Djokovic).



Wawrinka becomes the first player this season to win three tour-level titles, adding to victories in Chennai (d. Roger-Vasselin) and at the Australian Open, where he defeated Nadal to win his first Grand Slam championship.


The 32-year-old Federer was looking to win the elusive Monte-Carlo trophy for the first time after finishing runner-up to Nadal three times from 2006-’08. The Swiss has won 21 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles, with his last triumph coming in August 2012 in Cincinnati.


"I think it's one of the those finals that I could have won," said Federer. "But Stan was tougher at the end. I think he deserved it just a little bit more. Clearly it would have been nice to win that second set tie-break. I didn't necessarily play a bad one, but also at the same time I didn't quite ever get into the lead where things went my way.


"I would have loved to have won a second title [this season] because I've come close a few times. That's my next objective, that I get to the very end more frequently. But clearly I'm happy that the clay court season started so well for me."


Source:- ATP Tennis

Dolgo's Need For Speed....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on March 27, 2014 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (0)

ATPWorldTour.com sat down with the 25-year-old ‘Dolgo’ to talk about his need for speed away from the tennis court and his karaoke ambitions....


If you could have any other job, outside of tennis, what would you like to do?


I would race cars for a living. I like cars. My first car was a Suburu STI, 300 horse power. I started with sports cars, really. I still have it now, but I’m trying to sell it because I have a faster one!


You’ve had fun with rapping at the player party in Umag the past couple of years, is it something you like to do in your free time?


Yeah, when I come back home I go to the karaoke sometimes. It’s a pretty popular place to go and I don’t always want to hang out in some nightclub because it’s too loud and I’m getting older! [Karaoke] is fun. You can go out and sing a few songs with your friends. I don’t have a favourite artist. I’m a guy who doesn’t really have favourites in anything. I like different types of music, but I wouldn’t name one person. It always changes. I listen to pretty much all the music out there.



Have you got any travel pet peeves?


It annoys me when there’s delays, or you don’t get your bags. A lot of things can annoy you when you’re travelling, but you get used to it. You can get mad, but it just happens time after time.



Who would be your dream mixed doubles partner?


I wouldn’t ever want to play mixed doubles actually! Because it’s quite tough for us when you’re playing five sets. If you have doubles, it’s too much I think. Singles is quite enough.



What are three things you couldn’t live without?


Water, food and sun.

What are your worst bad habits?


Speed is one of them. Sometimes I drive too fast! Most of the time not on public roads, so that’s a good thing! I’m getting older, so I’m calming down a bit. Probably also I would say going out (partying). But now I’m also stopping doing that as much. I don’t have a lot of bad habits, I would say. 



What is the last film you saw?


Wolverine, yesterday in my room. It wasn’t bad.



What has been your most embarrassing moment on a tennis court?


I haven’t had many… I fell over the net once in a practice session. I was sliding and I didn’t get my balance right and I fell over the net. But I didn’t get too embarrassed. It was a funny moment.



Source:- ATP Tennis