Murray could go one better in Melbourne
The betting markets seem to suggest that the forthcoming Australian Open in Melbourne from the 13th to the 26th of January will be a straightforward contest between three-time reigning champion Novak Djokovic and the back-to-form Rafael Nadal who beat the Djoker so convincingly in the U.S. Open final at Flushing Meadows in September.
In fact, if you look at the advanced betting market with the biggest online betting exchange in the world, Betfair, the only other player on the men’s side of the draw they give a cat in hell’s chance is Britain’s Andy Murray. Currently, Djokovic is around 6/4, with Nadal a little further out at 2/1, followed by quite a big percentage gap to Murray at a best priced 6/1.
For those who watch the game closely, that 6/1 represents outstandingly good value if you enjoy a wager on the tennis now and again.
Remember that Murray has been on the losing side of the net in three of the last four finals in Melbourne, losing twice to Djokovic and once to Roger Federer back in 2009. This is a tournament in which the Scot really excels. The problem is that the man who excels a little more, Novak Djokovic, keeps getting in the way.
But of course that wasn’t the case at the Flushing Meadows 2012 final, nor in the London Olympics, nor at Wimbledon this summer when Murray well and truly overcame the Djoker’s Grand Slam hoodoo with a 3-0 convincing win. So perhaps Murray has lanced that particular boil?
Also; consider that Murray had to have surgery on his back at the end of the summer and wasn’t really back to his best for the U.S. Open. He will be determined to prove that he is now – and he could very easily go one better in Melbourne, so 6-1 looks mightily generous.
Raonic Rewarded for Fine Year
Runs to the fourth round at the Australian and US Opens in 2013 have helped Milos Raonic to clinch Tennis Canada’s male player of the year award for the third year in a row.
The 22-year-old also won through to the third round of the French Open but was surprisingly knocked out in the second round at Wimbledon by the Dutch player, Igor Sijsling. He reached as high as ten in the world rankings in August before ending the season in 11th spot.
He also won two ATP tournaments, surprising line betting pundits to reach the final of the Rogers Cup for the first time, and helped Canada reach the semi-finals of the Davis Cup.
Raonic beat Tommy Haas in the San Jose Open final, his third successful victory in the tournament, and Tomas Berdych in the final of the Thailand Open.
“It feels great to be honoured with this award from Tennis Canada for another year,” said Raonic. “It was definitely a good season for me, and it’s been incredible to receive so much support from Canadian fans.
“Being able to play at home in the Davis Cup and Rogers Cup, it was amazing to see how passionate Canadians can be about tennis. I’m looking forward to 2014 now, and working hard to achieve everything I can.”
Meanwhile, Vasek Pospisil was named as Canada’s most improved player and Daniel Nestor was handed the accolade for the doubles player of the year.
Pospisil, an increasingly popular figure with fans of live tennis online, improved his ranking by more than 100 places in 2013, ending the year at a career high of 32 after winning his way through to three semi-finals.
Nestor won the doubles award for the 13th consecutive year after winning one tournament and becoming the first player to reach 900 career doubles wins.
Federer Secures 12th Straight World Finals Spot
Roger Federer has ensured he will play his 12th straight ATP World Tour Finals after coming through a tense second round clash against Kevin Anderson in the Paris Masters.
The Swiss star needed to reach the third round in order to book his place at London’s O2 Arena this month and did so courtesy of a hard-fought straight sets victory against the big-hitting South African.
Federer has never had to wait until the last minute to book his place at the season-ending showpiece, but a difficult year meant he needed a strong display in Paris to secure his place among the top eight to play at the O2 in London this month.
The former world number one has not been anywhere near his best this year, with some fans of live tennis online calling on the 17-time grand slam winner to hang up his racket. However, Federer has ignored his critics and merely focused on ensuring he finishes a difficult year on a relative high by reaching the Tour Finals.
"It feels great, I'm so happy, it's been a tough year so this is a highlight because this was one of the big goals I set for myself this year so it's great to have made it," Federer said after his crucial victory in Paris.
"I don't know if I'm doing anything wrong or maybe it's just a time where my opponents play well when they need to. Overall I played solid and it's just such a minor detail that it's hard to say what it is."
The six-time Tour Finals champion will now go into the final tournament of the season looking to bounce back from his defeat in last year’s final at the hands of the favourite in the betting, Novak Djokovic. And it would take a brave punter to completely rule out Federer’s chances of competing for the title in this year’s tournament.
Nalbandian Hangs up his Racquet
Former world number three, David Nalbandian, has announced his retirement from the game after enjoying a successful 13-year career.
The 31-year-old Argentinian won 11 titles and reached the 2002 Wimbledon final, when he was beaten by Lleyton Hewitt, as well as reaching four other Grand Slam semi-finals.
Nalbandian went through to the last four of the French Open in 2004 and 2006 as well as reaching the US Open semi-final in 2003 and the same stage of the Australian Open three years later.
A well-known player among tennis fans on betfair.com, he reached number three in the world in March 2006 and finished in the year-end top ten of the ATP rankings on five occasions.
However, he has been troubled by a shoulder injury recently and said, when confirming his decision to quit the game: "I can play matches, but my shoulder won't let me continue my career. I can't play like that at a professional level.”
"It's tough because I have to announce my retirement from the sport that gave me so much. I'm very grateful."
Nalbandian represented Argentina in three Davis Cup teams that reached the final - in 2004, 2008, 2011 - and he has fond memories of those achievements, adding: "It's the event that I felt was different from the others.
“The pressure and the support of the people, it's something unique. It's a shame Argentina couldn't win it, but that's the way it was."
Nalbandian reached his last final at the 2013 Brasil Open in Sao Paulo, when the perennial favourite on betfair, Rafael Nadal, beat him. However, after helping his country beat France in the quarterfinals of the Davis Cup earlier this year, he was forced to undergo an operation on his right shoulder.
Nalbandian has announced that he will play a series of farewell exhibition matches against Nadal, which are scheduled to start on the 21st of November.
Murray Ready to Dominate in 2014After deciding to end his season early in order to undergo an operation on his long-running back injury, Andy Murray will begin 2014 free from injury and ready to build on another huge year.
The Scotsman underwent minor surgery on the injury in order to avoid aggravating the problem further, ruling him out of the season-ending ATP Tour Finals in London next month.
The back issue that Murray has struggled with is an injury that has plagued the 26-year old for a few years in varying degrees, but flared up badly in May and ruled him out of the French Open.
The problem did not stop Murray from finally winning Wimbledon the following month, but played a role in preventing the 2012 US Open champion from defending his title this year.
But while he played a key role in Great Britain qualifying for the elite World Group of the Davis Cup with a crucial victory in Croatia, it was evident Murray was struggling with the problem and the decision was taken to end his year early and attempt to solve the injury once and for all.
With his season now ended, Murray will be targeting a return to action in good time to get himself back fully fit ahead of the Australian Open in January, in a tournament that will have the three-time losing finalist right up there among the favourites in the tennis betting.
After the opening Grand Slam of the season, Murray will likely line-up for Leon Smith’s GB team for their Davis Cup clash against the United States.
It mustn’t be underestimated how much of a role this back injury has had on the two-time Grand Slam winner this season and those who bet on tennis will know a fully fit Murray could well be next year’s dominant force in the game.
Serena Relieved to end “Disappointing” Year on High Note
Serena Williams admitted she was "honoured" have drawn level with Roger Federer’s 17 Grand Slam titles by winning the US Open against Victoria Azarenka, putting herself just one Grand Slam title behind Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova.
Williams added the US Open title to the French Open crown to end another season at the top of the WTA rankings, but the 31-year old insisted she wasn’t entirely happy with how 2013 had gone. Despite losing only four matches all season, two of those defeats have come in Grand Slams, Williams claims she would have been disappointed if she hadn't won at Flushing Meadows for a sensational fifth time.
While admitting she was delighted to have equalled Federer’s 17 Grand Slam titles, Williams said that 2013 wouldn’t have been a success if she hadn’t been victorious in New York.
"It's an honour to be even with Roger. He's been such a great champion throughout the years, and he's just an unbelievable competitor and he's still playing, and he can probably still win more."
"I felt almost disappointed with my year, to be honest. So I definitely feel a lot better with at least a second Grand Slam under my belt this year,” admitted Williams.
But while the Grand Slams may be over for the season, there is still plenty of intriguing tournaments left to play, most notably the WTA Championships in Istanbul in November. With so much live tennis online still to come before the end of the year, the tennis betting options available offer plenty of opportunities.
In terms of the WTA Championships, as long as Serena can stay free from injury between now and November then she has to be the heavy favourite heading into the tournament in Turkey.
Federer Falls to Robredo at U.S. Open
By Mike McIntyre
A disappointing season of tennis from Roger Federer took another hit on labor day Monday as he was beaten in the fourth round of the U.S. Open by 19th seed Tommy Robredo 7-6(3), 6-3, 6-4 on Louis Armstrong Stadium. That's the same Tommy Robredo that has lost in all previous ten career meetings against the 7th seeded Federer.
Despite a subtle point imbalance of 110 for Robredo to 101 for Federer, the Swiss superstar was only able to convert 2 of 16 break point opportunities in the match. He would lose in straight sets at the Open for the first time since 2002 when he was beaten by Max "The Beast" Mirnyi.
The loss marks the end of a Grand Slam season where Federer failed to advance to a single major final. That is also a first for Federer since 2002. He lost in the semis of Australia (Murray), the quarters at the French (Tsonga), the 2nd round at Wimbledon (Stakhovsky) and now in the 4th here at Flushing Meadows to Robredo.
The loss denies tennis fans the chance to have seen Federer take-on longtime rival Rafael Nadal in what would have been an epic quarter-final Wednesday night. The dynamic duo had never faced each other in New York and perhaps they never will.
Federer made no excuses after the match while talking to the press saying that his loss had nothing to do with either playing in a smaller venue like Armstrong or his back which felt fine throughout the tournament. Instead he said plainly that, "It just ended up being a bad combination of many things today."
For Federer it will be a real test to go back to the drawing board with coach Paul Annacone and the rest of his team. Does he return to testing the larger frame Wilson racquet that he experimented with following his even more shocking loss at Wimbledon? Is it time perhaps for him to find a new coach to help change the recent string of surprise losses? Or does Roger simply need to go out and continue to play more matches this fall in order to re-discover his confidence and top-four form?
Pospisil Amazingly Into Rogers Cup Semifinals
By Mike McIntyre
Vasek Pospisil's career just took a meteoric rise thanks in part to a match he barely even had to play. The twenty-three year old Canadian, who has been working his tail off over the past couple of weeks, moved into the semi-finals of his first Masters 1000 event on the ATP World Tour when his opponent Nikolay Davydenko retired trailing 0-3 in the first set. Davydenko was suffering from a case of bronchitis, not pospisilitis, and was unable to breathe properly enough to continue the match.
Speaking about the retirement after the match, Pospisil admitted that it came at a good time for him as he too was dealing with his share of aches and pains.
"It came at a perfect time to have a bit of a rest," he said. "Even those three games, I was really trying to catch my breath. Felt like I had a bit of sore legs, making me a little bit tired. So it came at a great time."
Pospisil came into the tournament ranked a career-high 71st in the world but will now see some major movement up the rankings. By making the quarter-finals he was guaranteed to be boosted to approximately 57th in the world according to ATP stats guru Greg Sharko. By making the semis he will now move to around 40th and could come awfully close to the top thirty in the world should he continue winning. Talk about a week of tennis that will change your life forever.
While tennis fans in Canada have come to appreciate Pospisil's role on their Davis Cup squad over the past couple of years, those outside of the country likely aren't too familiar with what he brings to the table or has accomplished up to this point in his young career. Here's a quick recap.
Pospisil, who hails from Vernon, British Columbia, first popped up on the ATP rankings in March 2007 at the age of 16. Pospisil was playing futures tournaments that year but would get his first taste of the big leagues in 2008 while going through qualifying at the Rogers Cup. It was more futures in 2009 where Pospisil saw his ranking crack the top 1000 in the world for the first time. At the end of 2009 is when he showed the first signs of consistent accomplishment as a pro when he won four futures tournaments in-a-row and vaulted into the top 400 in the rankings.
In 2010 he would win a couple of more futures events and enter the qualifying of a few ATP tournaments. Canadian tennis fans likely first noticed Pospisil in doubles action at the Rogers Cup that summer where he partnered with Milos Raonic to defeat the mega-star tandem of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal by a score of 10-8 in a champions tiebreak.
A year later in 2011 he would be playing challenger events instead of futures which was a step up and would also win one round of qualifying at a little tournament called Wimbledon that you may have heard of. Pospisil made his Davis Cup debut that year going 1-1 in a tie against Ecuador. He was given his first wildcard into the Rogers Cup and surprisingly defeated veteran ATP player Juan Ignacio Chela in the opening round before falling to his idol Roger Federer in the second round. The 5-7, 3-6 scoreline was respectable however and gave Pospisil the confidence to know that he could handle himself at this level. He used that confidence to win all three qualifying matches at the U.S. Open later that summer and then defeated Lukas Rosol in the first round before falling to Feliciano Lopez. Pospisil's amazing break-out year was not over yet as he would play the hero for Team Canada in their Davis Cup tie against Israel, winning twice in singles and once in doubles to help them advance back into the world group where they remain today.
In 2012, Pospisil would play in his first Masters 1000 event apart from the Rogers Cup which was in Indian Wells. He would break into the top 100 in the world in April and represent Canada in the London Olympics where he lost to David Ferrer in his opening match.
That brings us to this year where Pospisil started ranked just inside the top 130 in the world but struggled out of the gates and let a two set lead slip away in his singles match of the quarter-final Davis Cup tie against Italy's Andreas Seppi. In April he got close to the top hundred again with a tournament win in South Africa and then he qualified for his first French Open where he lost 8-6 in the fifth set against clay court vet Horacio Zeballos. You got the sense however that Pospisil was starting to knock at the door of bigger or at least more consistent success when he won the opening round at Wimbledon as well and then lost another tight five set match to established pro Mikhail Youzhny. Last week at a challenger event in Vancouver Pospisil would win the title bringing as much confidence as he possibly could into the Rogers Cup where we stand today.
Now with impressive wins over big-time players like John Isner, Radek Stepanek, Tomas Berdych and Davydenko today, he amazingly finds himself on the verge of the finals of Canada's biggest event, the Rogers Cup and it couldn't happen to a nicer guy. Pospisil's gigantic smiles after his victories this week reveal a guy who is just loving every unpredictable moment. His comments after his matches display an innocence that is hard not to like as well. For example when asked about the $135,000 he has made thus far in Montreal, Pospisil revealed, "Yeah, I had no idea how much I made until somebody told me in the TV booth. I was like, Oh, really? Wow!"Wow indeed.
Later when asked what he would have said if someone had told him before the event that he'd be in the semi-finals he was honest in replying, "That they're probably crazy, to make the semifinals here (laughter). Winning in Vancouver was something I wanted to do. I knew I had a realistic shot of doing that in front of my friends and family. This is a little bit of a different situation, coming in as a wild card, playing against guys that I don't get to play with too often. Yeah, definitely would think they lost their minds a little."
Pospisil will now face friend and Davis Cup teammate Raonic who earned a tough three set win against Ernests Gulbis today. Canadian tennis fans will get a match-up that could only have been dreamed about coming into the tournament. The vibe in Montreal should be an interesting one tomorrow as fans might be confused as to where they should direct their encouragement.
Asked about the possibility of playing Milos before his match against Gulbis had ended, Pospisil said that it would be an, "Exciting match. Two Canadians in the semifinal, one guaranteed to be in the final. Historic moment for tennis in Canada...I think it would be more special if it was Milos for the crowd, the tournament and everybody."
Pospisil and Raonic have faced each other four times before but not in a regular ATP match. The record stands at 3-1 in favour of Pospisil, although their last meeting was back in 2010 before Milos really became Milos. Both will be dealing with their own respective hindrances, as Raonic felt numbness in his right shoulder two nights ago against Del Potro and Pospisil has been battling fatigue since arriving from Vancouver.
While Raonic will be considered the favourite on paper due to his more noticeable rise into the top twenty of the men's game, Pospisil knows his opponent's game inside and out and both men are playing in their first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final, so nerves could affect either one. While Pospisil's serve isn't at the same level of ferociousness as Raonic's, it is still quite a weapon and better than your average player on tour. Pospisil moves better than Raonic and is just as comfortable at net given all the play he's accumulated alongside Daniel Nestor.
With his win already this week over a huge server like Isner, I must admit I like Pospisil's chances at defying all the odds to advance to the finals. I just re-read the last sentence several times as I still cannot believe that this is in fact the reality we are facing for Sunday. It truly is a special time for Canadian tennis.
Check back with us this weekend for more news and analysis from Montreal and the WTA tournament in Toronto. You can follow us on Twitter as well for regular updates.
Thursday at the Rogers Cup in Pictures
By Mike McIntyre
Eight women made their way into the quarter-finals of the Rogers Cup in Toronto today. Here's a look at some of the highlights as we head into the final three days of action.
3rd seed Agnieszka Radwanska was up against 14th seed Sloane Stephens in the opening match of the day
Check out the intensity in those eyes!
Radwanska was more consistent however and would prevail 6-1, 7-6.
Kristina Mladenovic was on the practice courts with Jamie Hampton despite being knocked out of the event in the first round. Mladenovic won the mixed doubles at Wimbledon this year with Canadian Daniel Nestor.
Cooling off was key for players today as it was the hottest day of the event so far.
The Williams sisters practicing side-by-side. Venus was ousted by Kirsten Flipkens while Serena was set to play the Belgian later today to try and exact some family revenge.
Venus checking her text messages (?) on a break.
Serena working on her serve.
Serena's long time hitting partner Aleksandar "Sascha" Bajin
Stretching is key, especially when you've been off the tour for over two months with a back injury.
Venus' hitting partner wasn't quite as jacked as Serena's, but he got the job done.
Poor Daniel Nestor. Two hours before the end of the auction and still no bids to hit with one of the greatest doubles players of all time.
Looks like Milos Raonic's big win over Juan Martin Del Potro went straight to his head!
5th seed Sara Errani of Italy does whatever she can to win her match against Alize Cornet, which she does 7-5, 7-6.
I hate when this happens!
Errani freaked out on Cornet at 5-5 in the 2nd set asking, "You always say 'allez', but now you say 'vamos'. Why you say 'vamos'?" Cornet replied, "I always say 'vamos'!"
Dominika Cibulkova stretching after her morning hit.
After Vasek Pospisil, the 2nd best smile of the day.
Daniela Hantuchova practicing ahead of her doubles match
Martina Hingis working on her overhead smash
Potentially the professional tennis player with the most amount of fans. Li Na is absolutely huge in China. She took on Ana Ivanovic on Thursday.
Ivanovic would let a 5-2 third set lead slip and fall to her opponent 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(5).
Wimbledon champ Marion Bartoli did not bring enough racquets to her match. Had to actually ask her opponent Magdalena Rybarikova if she could borrow hers for a game! Rybarikova was all class and allowed it. She also won the match when Bartoli withdrew due to an ab injury.
Mladenovic is good friends with Bartoli and this was her reaction courtside after she encouraged Bartoli to challenge one of her opponent's shots that was called in. The replay showed that it was in fact out. Nice to have friends, eh?
Serena Williams destroyed Kirsten Flipkens 6-0, 6-3 avenging her sister Venus' loss to the Belgian from earlier in the week. Williams hit the practice court after the match as she said she was not happy with her own return game.
Jelena Jankovic sarcastically reacts to a fan's comments (in Serbian) after losing a point to Sorana Cirstea of Romania.
Cirstea, who beat Caroline Wozniacki in 2hrs 56 minutes the night before, gets another huge win. This time 6-3, 6-4 over Jankovic.
Serena Williams in press. The black purse at her feet is actually carrying her dog Chip. No joke.
Dominika Cibulkova celebrates defeating higher ranked Roberta Vinci for a spot in the quarter-finals.
Hingis and Hantuchova would lose their second round doubles match for the second tournament in a row of Hingis' comeback. The pair is gearing up for the U.S. Open.
In the final match of the night, vet Samantha Stosur (one of the fittest players on tour) fell to Petra Kvitova 6-3, 6-3.
Keep checking back over the final three days of the Rogers Cup for more images and reports. If you're not already, follow us on Twitter as well for regular updates here in Toronto.
August 8, 2013 in Agnieszka Radwanska, Ana Ivanovic, Daniela Hantuchova, Dominika Cibulkova, Kristina Mladenovic, Martina Hingis, Rogers Cup, Serena Williams, Sloane Stephens, Venus Williams | Permalink | Comments (0)
Rogers Cup Reaches Third Round in Toronto
By Mike McIntyre
The Rogers Cup in Toronto has reached the third round and will see 16 players battle it out for spots in the quarter-finals on Thursday.
Starting the day off at Rexall Centre will be 3rd seeded Agnieszka Radwanska from Poland against 14th seeded Sloane Stephens of the United States. Radwanska has a 2-0 career head-to-head against the young American though both victories took three sets to accomplish. Radwanska easily dispatched the hard hitting but error prone Yanina Wickmayer on Tuesday night while Stephens took out Mona Barthel in a match that went the distance. Radwanska has been looking sharp this week and I'd expect her to get past Stephens today.
Over on the Grandstand court, Alize Cornet of France will see if she can continue to deliver upsets against 5th seeded Sara Errani. Cornet defeated 11th seeded Russian Maria Kirilenko in the second round in straight sets while Errani took out Klara Zakopalova 6-2, 7-6 yesterday. Errani has won two of the three meetings against Cornet and should be favored to move on today.
Beginning no earlier than 1pm on Centre Court, the 4th seeded Li Na from China will face 16th seeded Ana Ivanovic of Serbia. The two have only met once before, on clay back in 2006 in a match that Ivanovic was forced to retire after trailing 1-6. Neither player has dropped a set yet this week here in Toronto. Coin toss in this one, although don't forget that Li Na did make the finals a year ago in Montreal.
The second match on the Grandstand is between Wimbledon winner and 7th seed Marion Bartoli against the unheralded Magadalena Rybarikova of Slovakia. This is their seventh career meeting with Bartoli holding a 4-2 advantage. Look for Bartoli to advance with ease as her confidence is huge at the moment.
World number one Serena Williams will take to the court not before 2:30pm and faces Kirsten Flipkens the 13th seed. Flipkens ruined any chance of an all-Williams match-up when she dropped Venus in the opening round 0-6, 6-4, 6-2. Will she be able to defeat two Williams' in one tournament? Don't count on it. This will be the first career meeting between the two but I wouldn't expect it to last too long.
Jelena Jankovic the 15th seed will be up against Sorana Cirstea who out-lasted Caroline Wozniacki in a match that lasted 2 hours and 56 minutes Wednesday night. Cirstea saved two match points against Wozniacki and we'll see if her good fortune continues today against the talented Jankovic. The pair have split their previous four meetings although Jankovic has won the last two in a row on hard court.
Dominika Cilbulkova and Roberta Vinci have played each other more than any other third round combo here in Toronto. This will be their eighth match against one another with Vinci holding the 5-2 lead. Vinci in fact has won the last five straight and that includes victories on clay, grass and hard court. That being said, Cilbulkova has been striking the ball awfully hard all week and is coming off an excellent performance in Stanford two weeks ago where she won the title by defeating Radwanska in the final. I can see her pulling off the mild upset here today.
At night, Petra Kvitova will play Sam Stosur in the last of the third round matches. Kvitova dashed the hopes of Canadian tennis fans by knocking off Eugenie Bouchard last night in straight sets 6-3, 6-2. She leads Stosur 4-1 in their previous encounters although Stosur won their most recent match on clay in Rome earlier this year. Stosur is coming in hot with a tournament win in Carlsbad and will have a great shot at upsetting her higher ranked opponent today.
Check back with us often here at ProTennisFan for more updates and be sure to follow us on Twitter as well.
Tuesday at the Rogers Cup in Pictures
By Mike McIntyre
First round matches continued today at the Rogers Cup in Toronto, while some second round matches also got underway. Here are some of the photos I was able to take on day two of the tournament.
World number one Serena Williams in practice this morning. Won't see action until Wednesday night.
Qualifier Petra Martic of Croatia has had enough of 11th seed Maria Kirilenko.
Not many fans on the Grandstand court at 11:30am on a Tuesday. Sparse crowds have been contagious through the first two days of the tournament which is unfortunate as the tennis has been terrific.
Kirilenko (who happens to be engaged to Russian hockey player Alex Ovechkin) stayed focused throughout the match. Check out the heavy tape on her left knee!
Big serve considering her slight frame.
Anastasia Rodionova was doing her best impersonation of Bethanie Mattek-Sands with her black knee-high socks.
Umpire Kader Nouni has without a doubt the coolest voice on the WTA Tour. Looks pretty badass too.
Two time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova getting worked on during a medical timeout during the third set of her match against American Lauren Davis. Davis was up 3-0 when this happened. Coincidence...I think not.
Davis didn't look impressed about the interruption. Or maybe it was the quality of the umbrella she had to sit under?
Davis would win the match against her more experienced opponent by a score of 3-6, 7-5, 7-5. Due to some funny scheduling with the qualifiers, it was the second time that Davis had defeated Kuznetsova here in Toronto this week - once in qualies and now again in the main draw.
Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia leaps through the air as she volleys the ball back towards opponent Angelique Kerber, the 8th seed, from Germany.
Cibulkova would earn the tough victory, 6-7, 6-2, 7-5 to advance to the third round. We had her picked for the quarterfinals in our tournament preview based on hard court play in 2013.
Venus Williams made her return to the WTA Tour today, playing in her first match since the French Open.
Williams raced out to take the first set 6-0 in 22 minutes. Why don't I look that good after a two and a half month layoff?
Unfortunately Venus couldn't keep it up and her opponent, world No. 13 Kirsten Flipkens would win 0-6, 6-4, 6-2 to deny tennis fans the possibility of an all-Williams 3rd round match-up.
Martina Hingis in her second tournament appearance since coming out of retirement. She and partner Daniela Hantuchova defeated singles power-houses Angelique Kerber and Petra Kvitova in straight sets to advance.
Hantuchova was lethal at the net.
Both players confirmed they would like this partnership to continue into the 2014 season, though Hingis said a return to singles was not going to happen. "I'm not 17 anymore," she said smiling.
The Polish contingent was out to support Agnieszka Radwanska. Here tennis fan Dariusz Grabka proudly shows off his colours.
Radwanska would not disappoint her fans as she cruised to a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium.
It was a tough day at the office for Wickmayer who has been struggling to find consistency this year.
Closing time at the Rogers Cup. See you tomorrow!
Keep checking back with us for more images of the Rogers Cup this week in Toronto. Follow us on Twitter as well for regular updates from around the grounds.
Monday at the Rogers Cup in Pictures
By Mike McIntyre
The stars of the WTA Tour got into the action on Monday in Toronto as round one of the Rogers Cup began. Here are a few shots from around the grounds of the Rexall Centre.
Four Canadian women are in the draw this year, led by Eugenie Bouchard who at the age of 19 is already ranked 62nd in the world. Stephanie Dubois and Sharon Fichman play each other in the first round on Tuesday guaranteeing at least one Canuck moving on.
Flavia Pennetta takes out the younger Radwanska in the first match completed on Centre Court. Take a look at the first serve percentage by the Italian though...wow. Something tells me the statistician was sleeping on the job!
Check back with us throughout the week for updates on all Rogers Cup action and be sure to follow us on Twitter as well for timely updates.
Rogers Cup WTA Draw Analysis
By Mike McIntyre
The Rogers Cup is ready to begin in Toronto on Monday where Petra Kvitova is the defending champion and Serena Williams is the number one seed. With both Vika Azarenka and Maria Sharapova having to withdraw due to injuries, many will be expecting a Serena victory by the time Sunday comes around.
As one of the top eight seeds in the tournament, Williams received a first round bye and will play the winner between qualifier Chanele Scheepers and Francesca Schiavone. Schiavone won the French Open in 2010 and then lost there in the finals in 2011, the same year she reached her career high ranking of 4th in the world. Clearly stronger on clay, the Italian is now ranked 55th in the world but still represents a quality opponent should she face Serena in round two.
This quarter of the draw has not just one, by two Williams sisters in it. Venus makes her first tournament appearance since the French Open and could face Serena in the third round. The two will play in a doubles exhibition on Monday night against former world number one Monica Seles and Canadian sensation Genie Bouchard. They are not however entered in the office Rogers Cup doubles draw.
Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli will bring her two-handed forehand and backhand to Toronto and is also in this section of the draw as the 7th seed. She will face the winner between qualifier Lauren Davis and former Grand Slam champion and lucky loser Svetlana Kuznetsova. Oddly enough, Davis defeated Kuznetsova on Sunday in the final round of qualifying, but as the Russian was the highest ranked player in the qualifying draw, she takes a spot that was vacated in the main draw by Vika Azarenka's last minute withdrawal. Look for the veteran to make the necessary adjustments to earn the victory over Davis this time.
First Quarter Prediction: Serena Williams d. Bartoli
In the next quadrant of the draw, Agnieszka Radwanska will look to get her confidence going as she aims for her first Grand Slam title at the U.S. Open later this month. The third seed will have a tough opening match as she will face the winner between Yanina Wickmayer and Laura Robson. Wickmayer was once ranked as high as 12th in the world and has three career titles to her name. The 23 year old has still not reached her peak and while currently only ranked 57th in the world I feel that she is due for a breakthrough at some point. Robson for her part represents the future of British tennis on the WTA Tour and at only 19 years of age is the 32nd ranked player in the world. Wickmayer defeated Robson in their only career meeting back in 2010 on grass and should expect a much tougher match this time around. This match-up is one I would recommend to anyone attending on Monday and has three sets written all over it.
Up and coming American Sloan Stephens is the 14th seed and also in the second quarter of the tournament. Lookout as well for the future Mrs. Alexander Ovechkin - Maria Kirilenko that is, along with 5th seeded Sara Errani who will threaten Radwanska for a spot in the semi-finals.
The 26 year old Errani is one spot below her career best ranking in singles and has made the finals of two clay court and two hard court tournaments proving she can play well on either surface. She got to the semi finals of the French Open where she was humbled by Serena Williams 6-0, 6-1. Her record at the Rogers Cup is a mediocre 1-5, so I'm not sure if playing in Canada agrees with her too much. Still, given her 5-1 record against Kirilenko I would expect her to make her way to the quarter-finals to face Radwanska against whom she has struggled with a 2-6 head-to-head.
Second Quarter Prediction: Radwanska d. Errani
In the third quarter of play Li Na of China is the 4th seed and made the finals of the event a year ago while Angelique Kerber of Germany is the 8th seed. Kerber has had a solid but not spectacular season and is 1-6 lifetime vs Na. Former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic is also in this section and the 16th seed could also put together a good run here in Canada where she won the event all the way back in 2006 in Montreal.
I'd look a little bit beyond the top seedings in this part of the draw to 11th ranked Italian Roberta Vinci to have a strong outing here. She has made the quarter-finals the past two years and knocked off some quality players while on Canadian soil. Her last tournament appearance was nearly a month ago but she won that event in Palermo on clay.
Don't overlook Dominika Cibulkova as well who could face Kerber in the second round and is currently ranked 21st in the world. The Slovak just won the event in Stanford last week where she knocked-off Radwanska in the final. The win was particularly meaningful to Cibulkova as she was double "bageled" earlier in the year by Radwanska 6-0, 6-0 in the finals in Sydney. Her confidence levels should be enough to carry her through a few rounds.
Third Quarter Prediction: Vinci d. Ivanovic
In the last part of the draw, Caroline Wozniacki replaced 2nd seed Azarenka late Sunday night and will receive a bye even though she is the 9th seed in the event. Azarenka lost for the first time in nine career meetings on Sunday to Sam Stosur in the finals of Carlsbad, California. Her official reason for withdrawing in Toronto was due to a lower back injury.
The 23 year old Wozniacki is still the youngest player in the top ten in the rankings even though it seems she has been there for quite some time now. She brings a modest 21-16 record on the WTA Tour into this event and has been struggling to find consistency all season long. The Dane was 3-6 during the clay court season and then fell in the second round of Wimbledon. Getting back onto hard courts is probably the best thing for her at this point.
Wozniacki, who won here in 2010, could face Jelena Jankovic in the third round and then either defending champion Kvitova or Sam Stosur in the quarter-finals. Jankovic is 29-12 on the season but has lost in the first round of the Rogers Cup in each of the past three years. Stosur made the finals in Toronto two years ago but has also been inconsistent since her U.S. Open victory that same summer. Kvitova meanwhile has won a hard court event in Dubai earlier this year and made the quarter-finals of Wimbledon.
This section of the draw is extremely tough, with rising Canadian sensation Genie Bouchard also present. Bouchard opens with a tough match against Russian Alisa Kleybanova who was once ranked as high as 20th in the world before Hodgkin's Lymphoma forced her to withdraw from the game. Kleybanova played in only one event in 2012 and has only played in three this year that have all been challenger type events. Currently ranked 602nd in the world, it will be a real test for her to get back up in the rankings but something we'd all love to see given the difficulties she has faced.
Fourth Quarter Prediction: Kvitova d. Jankovic
Serena Williams d. Radwanska
Kvitova d. Vinci
Williams d. Kvitova
Serena will be hungry to reclaim the Rogers Cup title and show that her loss at Wimbledon a month ago was just a small blip on the screen in her otherwise stellar 2013 season.
Check back with us often throughout the week as we will be covering the tournament live from the Rexall Centre in Toronto. Follow us on Twitter as well for timely updates on all of the action both here and in Montreal.
August 4, 2013 in Agnieszka Radwanska, Ana Ivanovic, Caroline Wozniacki, Jelena Jankovic, Laura Robson, Maria Kirilenko, Maria Sharapova, Rogers Cup, Serena Williams, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Venus Williams, Yanina Wickmayer | Permalink | Comments (0)
Rogers Cup ATP Draw Analysis
By Mike McIntyre
World number one Novak Djokovic will be going for three Rogers Cups in-a-row in Canada as he is headlining an impressive field of talent from the ATP World Tour in Montreal this coming week. The defending champion from 2011 and 2012 will be looking to add his fourth tournament victory at the Canadian Masters 1000 event that he also won back in 2007.
Joining Djokovic as a top threat will be number two seed Andy Murray who will be playing in his first tournament since capturing Wimbledon last month in front of an entire nation of fans who had waited 77 years for a Brit to win. As if Murray wasn't dangerous enough before, he will now be able to play a little more freely knowing he has finally won that elusive Grand Slam on home soil.
World number four Rafael Nadal will test his knees on hardcourt for the first time since March. Nadal takes an impressive 43-3 record on tour into the event and has won seven titles in 2013. Despite all those accomplishments he is coming off a shocking first round loss at Wimbledon where his fragile knees could not withstand the punishment as he switched from months of playing on the red clay of Europe. In an interesting twist, Nadal will be playing doubles in Montreal with Pablo Andujar. Will he ever learn?
Roger Federer leads the list of noteable absences in Montreal. For the second consecutive year he will not be making the trip to Canada to play. Federer gave no official explanation for his decision. We don't know if the back troubles he experienced on clay in Hamburg and Gstaad in July are still lingering or if he is just pacing himself before playing in Cincinnati and then the U.S. Open at Flushing Meadows.
Also missing in action are Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (knee), Gael Monfils (ankle) and Mardy Fish (personal). The loss of Tsonga and Monfils in particular is a blow to Montreal tennis fans who always enthusiastically support the French contingent. For Fish it is a calculated decision to gradually ease back into playing again after just recently returning to the ATP Tour in Washington where he lost in his third match of the tournament. Two other players who are not present are Marin Cilic and Viktor Troicki who are ineligible after doping infractions. Still the draw in Montreal is a strong one and here is how each quarter breaks down.
With the top eight seeds receiving first round byes, Djokovic will not see action until round two. He will play the winner between Bernard Tomic and Florian Mayer. Mayer has performed admirably this year especially on clay, and with his experience I would not be surprised if he gave Tomic some trouble. Ultimately though I'd expect Tomic to come through in three sets although the young Australian (like Canada's young Raonic) has not yet proven ready to challenge the top guns. Djokovic could see countryman Janko Tipsarevic in the third round and then either Kei Nishikori or Richard Gasquet in the quarterfinals. A Gasquet vs. Nishikori third round match would be an entertaining prospect between the world's 10th and 15th ranked players respectively. Gasquet will be the fan favorite due to his French heritige and has made the finals twice before at the Rogers Cup, both a year ago and in 2006. Those two results were both in Toronto however and he has yet to enjoy the same success in Montreal.
1st Quarter Prediction: Djokovic d. Gasquet
In the second quarter, Rafael Nadal will be causing the tennis world to collectively hold its breath in hopes that his knees are solid enough to get him through the hard court stretch. Nadal will be looking to win his first match in Canada since 2010 as he lost in his opening match in 2011 against Ivan Dodig and missed the event a year ago. Nadal has won the tournament twice, against Andre Agassi in Montreal in 2005 and in 2008 in Toronto versus surprise finalist Nicolas Kiefer. Nadal will open this year against the winner between veteran Xavier Malisse and Canadian wildcard Jesse Levine. A third round match against Wimbledon semi-finalist Jerzy Jankovic looms unless Canuck Frank Dancevic can bring out some of the tennis he showed in 2007 where he lost to Nadal in a tight three set quarter-final. Tommy Haas and Stan Wawrinka are the best bets to make it to the quarter-finals against Nadal. The 35 year old Haas has been fantastic in 2013 but might be feeling the effects of playing a heavy schedule as he is in the semi-finals of the Citi Open in Washington as this article is being written.
2nd Quarter Prediction: Nadal d. Haas
In the third quarter of the draw let's not forget about third seed David Ferrer and fifth seed Tomas Berdych. I'd take Ferrer to get to the semis as he loves to grind it out on hard courts and is well rested after not playing since Wimbledon. On hard courts this year has has won in Auckland, reached the semis at the Austraian Open and the finals of the Masters event in Miami. He'll open in Montreal against either Michael Llordra or a qualifier before potentially facing Gilles Simon in the third round and Berdych in the quarters.
Berdych will open against either Kevin Anderson, who is on the verge of breaking into the top twenty in the world for the first time in his career, or Alexandr Dolgopolov who is always an egnima at best. Another first round match to watch will is between up and coming Canadian Vasek Pospisil, who is once again ranked inside the top hundred in the world, and John Isner who is flirting with disaster by playing the entire U.S. Open Series of hard court events leading up to the Open. This guy is going to be absolutely spent if he doesn't take a break soon. Isner has just advanced to the finals in Washington and is looking to win back-to-back tournies.
3rd Quarter Prediction: Ferrer d. Berdych
In the final quarter Andy Murray will be facing the winner of Dmitri Grigov and Marcel Granollers - who is fresh off a tournament win in Kitzbuhel on clay. Murray could see any one of Fabio Fognini, Marcos Baghdatis, Ernests Gulbis or Feliciano Lopez in the third round. I'd take Gulbis to put a couple of good matches under his belt here as Fognini has achieved all of his success on clay this year, Baghdatis has been in a funk losing ten straight tour matches in-a-row until this past week in Washington and Lopez is...Lopez.
Juan Martin Del Potro is the sixth seed and also in this section of the draw. Fans will be anticipating a potential third round match between he and Canadian Milos Raonic. Unfortunately the probability of Raonic even making it to the third round is unlikelky at the moment as his tennis has suffered enormously over the past several months. Raonic has not won more than two matches in-a-row since April and most recently lost in his opening match in Washington to unheralded Marinko Matosevic in straight sets. Raonic has been paired with former world number three Ivan Ljubicic since May as his coach but the results have yet to surface.
Del Potro is playing some great hard court tennis in Washington right now and I feel that he is ready to take a step forward as he did four years ago at the U.S. Open which to date is still the only Slam victory he has. With Federer faltering and Nadal dealing once again with injury concerns, the stage is set for Delpo to take advantage.
4th Quarter Prediction: Del Potro d. Murray
Djokovic d. Nadal
Del Potro d. Ferrer
Djokovic d Del Potro
Check back with us soon for our WTA Preview from Toronto and follow us on Twitter throughout the tournament as we will be reporting live on a daily basis.
2013 Rogers Cup Draw's Revealed
By Mike McIntyre
The 2013 edition of the Rogers Cup is ready to begin in both Montreal and Toronto as the tennis world converges on Canada's two premier ATP and WTA tennis events.
The men's draw in Montreal was revealed yesterday and has world number one Novak Djokovic ready to defend his titles from 2011 and 2012 from number two seed and two time winner Andy Murray .
In Toronto, the women's draw came out today at around 2:30pm ET and Serena Williams will be looking to take the trophy out of the hands of last year's winner, Petra Kvitova.
Check back with us shortly to see our in-depth draw analysis. Follow us all week as we will be reporting live each day from the WTA tournament in Toronto while also keeping a close eye on the action in Montreal.
Follow us on Twitter as well for timely updates throughout the next nine days of action.
Here are some of the other draws that are also posted in both cities:
Fed Alert: Federer Loses to Brands in Gstaad
By Mike McIntyre
It was another dissappointing loss for Roger Federer today as he was defeated 6-3, 6-4 in a brief 65 minute match by Daniel Brands at the Credit Agricole Swiss Open in Gstaad.
Playing in only his first match of the event, the 5th ranked Federer could not find the answers to his 55th ranked opponent. Federer was zero for five on break point opportunities and landed only 53% of his first serves, an indicator of the apparent back issues he has been feeling over his last two tournaments.
A week ago in Hamburg, Federer was seen with tape on his lower back. There he was at least able to navigate his way into the semi-finals defeating Brands, Jan Hajek and Florian Mayer before falling to Federico Delbonis (who himself lost today at Gstaad as well.)
Federer was using the clay events in Hamburg and Gstaad as a way to test out a new Wilson racquet and also to gain some much needed ranking points to potentially improve his seeding at the upcoming U.S. Open. Being seeded 5th will likely mean a quarterfinal match against one of Djokovic, Murray or Nadal, something he would clearly like to avoid if possible.
So the clay court experiment did not pan out - is this time to panic as both fans and media alike have done from time to time in recent years of Federer's career? I think not.
Any mention of injury automatically means we can't measure these two results against NFB - normal Federer behaviour. Who knows just how much it was affecting him on the court. Perhaps he would have pulled-out of the event in Gstaad if it had not been in Switzerland in front of his home fans. Instead he decided to give it a go and unfortunately for him wasn't able to get the job done. Federer did have the following to say today after his defeat, "In the last 7-10 days I could hardly practice. This made it difficult to prepare properly. I decided to play so it's no excuse."
Federer also has his new racquet to contend with. Going from a 90 to a 98 square inch head is a sizable adjustment that is going to take some time to work out the kinks. It will be interesting to see if Federer continues with his new stick, but I would be surprised if he didn't at least give it a try on the hard courts in Montreal in a week and a half. It's too soon to cut ties with his latest weapon without seeing what it can do on his strongest surface.
Now suppose that his recent struggles have little to do with injury or equipment choice and instead are the outcome of nothing more than a common slump. All players go through them at some point and Federer has had some, albeit not as noticeable, before. Better to go through a lull at this point of the season rather than a month from now. Federer will leave these results behind him in Europe and likely find the return to hard courts in North America as the perfect tonic. He has Montreal, Cincinnati and then a week of practice time before we head to Flushing Meadows and the U.S. Open. There is still lots of time for him to figure things out.
Some will claim that this is the beginning of the end for Federer. That with his 32nd birthday approaching he is finally starting to show the decline that all great champions (minus Borg) must inevitably go through. I find it hard to believe that this is the case. We are merely a year removed from seeing yet another Wimbledon victory and an Olympic silver medal as well. He won Cincinnati last year without dropping a set, made the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open and the finals of the season ending ATP Championships in London. Even in 2013 his record is 30-8, he has one title, almost made the finals in Australia and is still a guy that people want to avoid if at all possible in any given tournament. This is not a Pete Sampras 2002 type fall-off that we are witnessing. That year Pete went 20-16 heading into his final Grand Slam victory and if it weren't for that wonderful accomplishment in New York at the Open it would have been a catastrophe of monumental proportions for him.
We can all take a deep breath and realize that we are still in for plenty of meaningful tennis from Federer and that very likely we are going to see some much stronger results delivered before this season comes to an end. He might not win the U.S. Open or even make the final, but if healthy and adjusted to his new racquet you can't put those types of results out of his reach.
Check back with us frequently as the Rogers Cup approaches as ProTennisFan will be covering the event live for the entire duration of the tournament. Be sure to follow us on Twitter as well for regular updates from both the ATP and WTA tours.
ATP Hardcourt Swing Ready to Begin
By Mike McIntyre
With Wimbledon now a couple of weeks behind us and the humidity levels rising here in North America it must be time for the ATP World Tour to officially kick-off its summer hard court swing. Five weeks of grinding tennis will build in intensity and eventually lead-up to the final Grand Slam of the year at the U.S. Open. The results we see over the next month will go a long way in terms of indicating who has the best U.S. Open tennis odds for 2013 in New York.
Other than good preparation for America's Slam, the U.S. Open series of tournaments offers players a bonus of $1 million if they finish first in ATP points earned over these five weeks and manage to win the Open as well.
This week we begin with a level 250 tournament in Atlanta, the BB&T Atlanta Open which is guaranteed to have a new champion in 2013 as the now retired Andy Roddick won the event last summer. Roddick is now doing some broadcasting for Fox Sports but will make an appearance at the Rogers Cup WTA event in Toronto in two weeks to play some exhibition tennis with Pete Sampras, John McEnroe and Jim Courier.
The number one seed this year and a two time finalist in Atlanta (2010, 2011) is John Isner who recently made some headlines by appearing nude in the annual ESPN Body Issue. Isner's biggest threat other than the ribbing he is sure to receive from his fellow pros is veteran Lleyton Hewitt who is also in the top half of the draw and is capable of still stringing together a few good matches. Hewitt lacks the physical durability perhaps to hoist another trophy as it has been three years since he last won an ATP event. Hewitt did make the semi-finals a week ago at the Hall of Fame championships in Newport before falling to champion and feel-good story Nicolas Mahut.
Ivan Dodig is the third seed and also found in Hewitt's quarter of the draw, while American tennis vet James Blake is in the top section of the draw as well.
The bottom half of the draw has Kevin Anderson as the second seed and while this might seem surprising it is a testament to the consistent tennis the South African has been playing this year. The 27 year old Anderson just fell to Ivo Karlovic in the semi-finals of a hard court tournament in Bogota and has wins in 2013 over David Ferrer, Milos Raonic, Fernando Verdasco and Marin Cilic. Anderson could face Karlovic again here in Atlanta as they are on course for a second round encounter.
Tennis fans will be happy to welcome Mardy Fish back to the tour at this event. Fish, who won in Atlanta in 2010 and 2011, has only played in two tournaments since last years U.S. Open due to a heart condition. Here's hoping he can compete again at the highest level. Young Americans Jack Sock and Ryan Harrison are also in the bottom half of the draw.
While Atlanta offers a lighter playing field it does show us which players are serious about improving their chances on the hard courts by gaining a head start on some other pros who are either still playing clay court events in Europe or taking this time to rest their bodies or put in more time on the practice courts.
Next week we head to Washington D.C. for the level 500 Citi Open event.
Keep checking back with us at ProTennisFan for all your hardcourt updates and follow us on Twitter as well throughout the summer swing.
Posing in ESPN's Body Issue Causes Controversy for Agnieszka Radwanska
By Mike McIntyre
What was meant to be a celebration of some of the fittest professional athletes on the planet has caused a measure of controversy for WTA player Agnieszka Radwanska this past week.
Along with ATP player John Isner, the world number four player showed off her 5'8'', 123lb physique in two photos in the annual ESPN Body Issue. One photo has the 24 year old sitting on a white lounge chair next to a pool filled with floating tennis balls while in the other she is floating in the pool itself on her stomach.
While news of her appearance in the magazine was appreciated by many of her fans worldwide, the reaction in her native Poland was polarized, specifically enraging a segment of the Catholic population including a youth group that she had apparently been affiliated with. The group, "Youth Crusade" has dropped Radwanska following her appearance in the magazine for what they feel is rather un-Catholic behaviour.
“It’s a shame that someone who has declared their love for Jesus is now promoting the mentality of men looking at a woman as a thing rather than a child of God worthy of respect and love,” Father Marek Dziewiecki, a senior Catholic priest, told The Telegraph. “If she meets a man who she can truly love and establish a happy family and raise Catholic children, then she would probably have to hide these pictures from relatives.”
It should be noted that Radwanska's not the first WTA player to be featured in ESPN's Body Issue, nor is she the highest ranking female tennis player to grace its pages. Current world number one Serena Williams was on the cover in 2009, former world number two Vera Zvonereva was in the 2011 edition, while Daniela Hantuchova was included in last year's issue.
Rather than avoid the issue, Radwanska issued a statement on her Facebook page on Friday where she not only refused to apologize for her decision but also clearly justified her reasoning for participating in the photoshoot:
“For those that are not familiar with the magazine, ESPN The Body Issue is a celebration of the beauty of the bodies of the best athletes in the world. It includes both men and women of all ages and all shapes and sizes. Other athletes photographed include San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, 77-year-old golf legend Gary Player, and Olympic volleyball gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings – during and after her pregnancy. My tennis colleagues Serena Williams, Daniela Hantuchova and Vera Zvonareva have all participated in the past.
The pictures are certainly not meant to cause offense and to brand them as immoral clearly does not take into account the context of the magazine. Moreover, they do not contain any explicit imagery whatsoever. I train extremely hard to keep my body in shape and that’s what the article and the magazine is all about. If you read the interview, it only discusses my job as an athlete and what I have to do physically to be able to participate at the highest level of sport.
It has been suggested by some members of the press (among others) that I was paid for the photo shoot. This is absolutely not the case. Neither I nor any of the other athletes were paid. I agreed to participate to help encourage young people, and especially girls, to exercise, stay in shape and be healthy.”
I don't think that response could have been any more thorough or to the point in explaining her reasons. Will her comments quiet her religious critics? - probably not, but she has taken the high road in simply stating the positive qualities she wished to promote in her photos and accompanying article rather than lashing back at her detractors for themselves displaying less than Catholic values by pointing the finger at her.
On the tennis court Radwanska continues to maintain a threatening presence on the WTA Tour while she chases that elusive first Grand Slam title. After starting the 2013 season by winning back-to-back tournaments in Auckland and Sydney she has failed to reach another final in the past six months, but played admirably at Wimbledon where she lost in the semi-finals to Sabine Lisicki 9-7 in the decisive set.
Keep checking back with us at ProTennisFan as we will be speaking with Radwanska at the Rogers Cup in Toronto in two weeks time. Follow us on Twitter as well for timely updates on both the ATP and WTA Tours.
Martina Hingis Inducted into Tennis Hall of Fame
At the age of 32, Martina Hingis is the fourth youngest player to be inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame at Newport, Rhode Island.
Before the ceremony that took place on Saturday July 13th, Hingis spoke to the crowd about how humbled she was by this honour. She said: “Thanks you tennis. You gave me the world.”
Although Hingis had a relatively short career in tennis, it was a very successful one, which included five grand slam titles – the 1997 Wimbledon and 1997 U.S. Open and the 1997, 1998 and 1999 Australian Opens. Hingis also held the number one ranking for an impressive 209 weeks from 1997-2001 in a battle with Lindsay Davenport.
Announcing her arrival to the world stage at just 12 years old, Hingis wowed the tennis crowds when she won the 1993 French Open junior title. She turned professional just before her 14th birthday and continued to win several youngest-ever awards.
Recurring injuries forced her into early retirement at just 22, having won nine grand slam doubles titles and a mixed doubles title in addition to her single’s success. She made a comeback four years later, but retired again after testing positive for cocaine.
Carrying on her youngest-ever winning streak, Hingis follows Tracy Austin (30), Bjorn Borg (31) and Hana Mandlikova (32), as the fourth youngest player to be enshrined into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Speaking about her inclusion in this prestigious ceremony, she said: "You chose to give me a place here for eternity."
Hingis was born in Czechoslovakia in 1980 and moved to Switzerland when she was seven-years-old, where she was holding a tennis racket before she could walk. Starting so young and working hard as a child provided Hingis the opportunity to reach career highs at a very young age.
It begs the question of whether you are ever too old to start playing tennis, and the implications to starting the sport later than early childhood. What will you need to keep in mind as an older player?
Here are our top five tips for those entering this sport:
Have a goal in mind
If you are keen to learn how to play tennis, and get good at it, you will need to have a clear focus on what you want to achieve. Are you in it to increase your fitness? Looking for something fun to occupy your free time? Or are you invested into becoming a tennis athlete?
Be realistic about the time you can spare and what your first goal will be, so you can have something to work towards as you steadily improve as a player.
Kit yourself out in the correct gear
The old racket you think you might have in the garage will just not do, especially if you want to return serve with any gusto. If you are completely clueless as to which racket to get, then do some research on a few different sites and see if your style of play will require a specific racket.
The next most important item will be your tennis shoes, coming in a range of designs depending on your court usage. Millet Sports offer a wide selection of tennis shoes specifically designed for the range of movement expected in tennis. You will need to tick the three boxes of comfort, support and grip.
Know your limits
Tennis is a very demanding sport, which will highlight any flaws in your fitness. It is high in cardio, especially when playing a match, as well as being hard on your joints. It is vital that you stay as fit as you can be while playing, while still knowing your limitations. If you are prone to back problems then be wary of this while training, giving your body the rest it needs between practices.
View mistakes as part of the learning process
Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you have a few setbacks in training, and you can’t seem to get something right, try to see this as part of your journey to greatness. Setbacks can dull your enthusiasm and stop all progress if you let them, so keep that end goal in sight!
Get your body ready
Warm-ups and cool downs are essential in tennis, as injuries can easily happen if going for a tricky shot, going over on your ankle or trapping a nerve while going for an overhead shot. Your skill and ability in this sport can only be executed if your body is fit and injury free. Try these tennis fitness training exercises from top names such as Rafael Nadal.
Pressure now on Robson after Murray Triumph
Andy Murray’s Wimbledon victory will go down as a red-letter day in British sport. The world number two’s straight sets win over Novak Djokovic brought to an end a nation’s 77-year wait for a home-grown champion.
The 26-year-old has admitted it hasn’t been easy coping with the pressure of winning the All England Club championship and hopes, having matched Fred Perry’s triumph in 1936, life will be easier when he returns to SW19 to defend his title next year.
As is always the way with the British press, the focus is now likely to shift slightly from Murray to another home grown talent who has shown signs of being a future Wimbledon champion. Step forward Laura Robson.
The 2008 junior Wimbledon champion matched her best performance at a Grand Slam event with her showing in London this year, the 19-year-old making it through to the fourth round of the championships.
Along the way, Robson claimed the scalp of tenth seed, Maria Kirilenko, while showing her fighting spirit when coming back from the brink to defeat Marina Erakovic in round three.
While Murray did not make his Wimbledon debut until he was 18, Robson has been in the main draw for the last five years and will no doubt have gained invaluable experience from her time on the grass courts.
Despite still being a teenager, Robson’s monster ground strokes have made her a formidable opponent and one the majority of the top ten would prefer to avoid.
While she can be erratic with her serve and shot selection at times, those kinks are likely to iron themselves out with further grand slam experience. In new coach, Miles Maclagan, Robson has a mentor with plenty of know-how when it comes to developing stars of the future, the 36-year-old having worked with Murray until 2010.
The British number one has all the makings of a future champion and that will not escape the attention of the English press. Virginia Wade was the last British winner of the women’s title at Wimbledon in 1977 and after crossing Murray off their list, the media will be looking for someone to eclipse Wade’s achievement.
As such, you can expect the headlines this time next year to read ‘Can Robson end 37 years of hurt?’ That is a question which is unlikely to be answered next year but very possibly could be in the affirmative in the next decade.
The Importance of Henman Hill
By Mike McIntyre
As the United Kingdom relishes Andy Murray's recent achievement at Wimbledon it is important to note the many contributing factors that helped him become the first British man in 77 years to win at the All England Club. Several key figures including family, friends and his close-knit coaching staff helped propel him towards what many felt was his destiny last Sunday. Murray did not win Wimbledon without a fantastic network surrounding him.
One key element that I feel has been overlooked in the few days since the biggest victory of his career is the path that was paved by fellow Brit Tim Henman and the phenomenon that transpires each year outside of Court One on what has been commonly referred to as Henman Hill. The importance of both Henman and of the iconic grassy area that was named after him cannot be forgotten. Henman Hill represents to British tennis fans the long journey back towards a Wimbledon title for one of their own and how it helped to galvanize an entire nation that has been waiting decades for this moment.
While Murray is the man who has finally ended the drought for a British Wimbledon champion that had existed since Fred Perry won in 1936, it was Tim Henman who first had to endure a career blanketed with intense media scrutiny as he valiantly tried to capture Wimbledon's classic golden trophy.
Henman had what many would consider to be an extremely successful career on the ATP World Tour that lasted from 1993 to 2007 and saw him achieve a career high ranking of number four in the world during the summer of 2002. Not known for his power, Henman relied instead on playing a serve-and-volley style that was an increasing rarity during a time where big serves and heavy groudstrokes were becoming more and more prevalent. Admittedly getting the most out of his talent, Henman would make the semifinals of three of the four Grand Slams and win eleven titles before retiring.
Despite failing to achieve the victory he and his country desired so badly, Henman provided his fans with a very real belief that Fred Perry's accomplishment at Wimbledon could be duplicated by a Brit. Making four quaterfinals (96, 97, 03, 04) and four semifinals (98, 99, 01, 02) is a feat that most would love to emulate at any tournament, let alone the All England Club. The closest he would come to making the finals was in 2001 when he lost a heartbreaker to eventual champion Goran Ivanisevic. If it were not for a rain interruption while he led two sets to one, it is widely believed that he would have advanced to play for the trophy against Pat Rafter.
Henman's stirring play each summer at Wimbledon helped bring his nation together both inside Centre Court where he normally played and also outside on the grassy hill that would come to bear his name. Fans who did not have a ticket would come in the thousands to sit on the lawn and watch on a giant television screen that was nearly as large as the atmosphere that surrounded it. Holding up to approximately 5,000 fans who would line up for upwards of four hours during the second week of play to nab a spot, Henman Hill became a symbol of hope for British tennis enthusiasts who wanted to be as close as they could possibly get to where the action happened.
In recent years as Andy Murray has gradually inched closer to realizing what Henman could not, tennis pundits and fans alike have begun to refer to Henman Hill by a new name - Murray Mound. Many feel that Murray's victory will now elicit a permanent name change as a sign of respect and a tribute to his accomplishment. While one could certainly understand how many would support such a switch, I believe that Henman still deserves to retain this place as an acknowledgement of the way he helped pave the way for Murray to attain his Wimbledon triumph.
While I'm not claiming that Henman's career was responsible for Murray's decision to become a tennis player or that it inspired him to follow in his footsteps, there is clearly somewhat of a guiding role that the former had on the latter. While their games are quite different, Henman bore the brunt of the enormous expectations placed upon him by the British media and gave Murray someone to learn from in that respect. Murray always spoke very highly of Henman and made sure to give credit to him when asked about the influence he had on him while growing up. After defeating Henman in Cincinnati in 2006 Murray said the following:
"He was a guy that I looked up to. I watched him for maybe eight, nine years when I was growing up, playing at Wimbledon...He's one of the - regardless of what people say because he hasn't won a Grand Slam - he's one of the best tennis players of the last ten years, and that's 100% sure. There's no denying that. You can't argue with it, if you look at his statistics. Tim is someone that I've looked up to immensely."
Though not able to win the title himself, Henman must feel some sense of pride that his understudy Murray has been able to get the job done. After commentating for the BBC again this year, Henman was part of Murray's inner circle that enjoyed the post-match celebrations in the locker room - another sign of their continued connection.
Henman Hill is the least we can leave for Tim to claim as his own and to give recognition to someone who always represented his country with pride. It serves as a reminder of tougher times for British tennis and the hard work that Henman put in year after year to get as much out of his career as he possibly could. It is a reminder of the way that the nation's tennis fans united each summer to cheer on their hero with all the energy, enthusiasm and passion that they could muster. Just because he did not win the ultimate prize does not mean that he did not make those fans feel like winners themselves throughout much of the tournament each summer.
Asked if the hill would retain his name at his final Wimbledon in 2007, Henman replied with a smile on his face by saying, "if you keep writing about it, it will." Let's give Murray all the recognition he deserves for rising to the occasion against Novak Djokovic and performing under pressure that none of us will truly ever be able to comprehend. Pile on all the parades, lifelike sculptures, ceremonies with political elite, praise from adoring fans and endorsement opportunities that will keep his family comfortable for generations to come - but leave Henman the tribute of Henman Hill. Something that each year will allow us to remember the part he played in setting the stage for this huge accomplishment to take place and of the importance of succession planning that every nation aspires to provide to the next generation of tennis heroes.
Grass Court Tennis Season Begins
By Mike McIntyre
With Rafael Nadal's epic 8th French Open victory this past Sunday we officially move into the short but always exciting grass court tennis season on the ATP World Tour.
Play began today in Halle, Germany at the Gerry Weber Open where Roger Federer is the number one seed, and 35 year old veteran Tommy Haas is the defending champion. Interestingly enough, the two played doubles as partners for the first time in their illustrious careers on Monday although they lost their opening round to last year's Wimbledon champs Jurgen Melzer and Philipp Petzschner 7-6(3), 6-4.
Despite losing to Haas a year ago and playing beneath his usual levels of brilliance thus far in 2013, Federer must still be considered the favorite here with his vast grass court experience which includes seven Wimbledon's.
Lookout for big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic who is in the top-half of the draw along with Fed and Haas and has the game that you would think is built for grass court success. Raonic is now being coached on a full-time basis by former world number four Ivan Ljubicic who himself won the s'hertogenbosch grass court event in the Netherlands in 2007 and might be able to help his new protege attain greater heights on the slippery surface.
In the bottom half, second seed Richard Gasquet is dangerous on any surface, and grass is no exception. He will be expected to navigate his way towards the finals barring an upset.
At the Aegon Championships at Queen's Club, Andy Murray returns to play and is the number one seed. Forced to skip the French Open with back issues, it will be interesting to see how Murray handles his return as he prepares to take his Wimbledon accomplishments one step further than he did a year ago in his loss to Federer.
Lookout for Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who is in the top-half with Murray and for Juan Martin Del Potro and Tomas Berdych in the bottom half of the draw. All are likely to go deep into the draw as they too prepare for the most prestigious Grand Slam of the year which begins in just two week's time.
French Open 2013 - Why Have We Dismissed the Great Roger Federer?
While all the focus is on a potential Rafael Nadal vs. Novak Djokovic final at Roland Garros, it seems as though Roger Federer has slipped under the radar. Why has everyone been ignoring the threat of the Swiss master? Federer may be at the twilight years of his career, but he still carries a significant threat in any grand slam. Aside from Nadal, no player has shown more consistency at Roland Garros than Roger Federer. He has reached the semi final stage in seven of his past eight French Open visits, with one win and four finals appearances during that time. His four finals losses have been to Nadal, which goes to show how good Federer is on clay.
There are tennis tickets available online, for those who want to see the French Open live. This is a once in a lifetime experience that should not be missed. Watching tennis on television is fun, but it is nothing compared to the joy of seeing your idols in person.
With Nadal and Djokovic being drawn in the same side of the draw, that would set up a potential semi final clash between those two, leaving the other side of the field clear for Federer. There are plenty of other threats heading into this grand slam, but none of them have the class, consistency, and ability that Federer possesses. Without Nadal and Djokovic in his semi final path, Federer is almost certain to make the final. And once he is there, it is possible that he could get the better of his more fancied opponent.
A second factor that will work in Federer's favor is that the potential semi between Nadal and Djokovic will be a titanic affair. That match could last anywhere between 3.5 to 5 hours, leaving the victor exhausted going into the final. Federer is known to finish off his opponents quickly, especially if they are not Nadal, Djokovic, or Murray. A rested Roger Federer could even be the favorite in a final against Nadal or Djokovic. This makes Federer a huge threat at Roland Garros, perhaps even the main threat.
Do not hesitate to purchase French Open 2013 tickets, if you get the chance. This is going to be an incredible tournament. Rafael Nadal has shown near flawless form since returning for injury, while Djokovic is sure to be at his dominant best. If Federer steps up to the occasion we could have two or three real classics on our hands, once the tournament reaches the semi final stages.
People have written off Federer in the past, but are often proved wrong. The period between the 2010 Australian Open and 2012 Wimbledon event was the worst in Federer's post no.1 career. He failed to win a grand slam in between, with retirement rumors even surfacing. He went into last year's Wimbledon without much hope, at least in the eyes of experts and former pros. Yet he came away with victory, dispatching Andy Murray in four sets in the final. Federer would love to prove people wrong yet again, and claim another French Open title. There is no doubt that this will be difficult, as clay is a brutal surface. His body will be tested to its limits, but if one man can overcome all that, it is Roger Federer.
Epic Doubles Win for Canada in Davis Cup
By Mike McIntyre
Doubles took centre stage in the tennis world on Saturday for a pivotal Davis Cup match between Canada and Italy at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre in Vancouver. Tied at one victory apiece heading into the match, the result would give a big boost to the team that emerged with the win today.
It could be argued that Team Canada captain Martin Laurendeau was taking a risk by putting Pospisil back out there after his five set singles loss to Andreas Seppi yesterday. Aside from failing to close it out after leading two sets to none, Pospisil's partnership with Nestor has also been fragile in recent matches. The two have not enjoyed much success in Davis Cup play and have lost their last three matches in a row to France, South Africa and Spain.
Laurendeau explained at the end of the day Friday that he was going to stick with the guy he described as Team Canada's "workhorse" from a key Davis Cup tie against Israel in 2011 that put Canada back into the world group. That Loyalty for Pospisil seemed to be a risky move and one that Laurendeau would certainly be second guessed for should he and Nestor be unable to secure the victory against Italy.
As for Nestor, Laurendeau was quite frank in his press conference on Friday when he was asked if the 40 year old veteran really needed to come through for Canada.
"He sure does. Daniel is a champion, he's won a lot of things. He's won pretty much everything out there and the one thing he's lacking is a semi-final appearance in Davis Cup. He's waited a long time for this opportunity as a champion. He pretty much lost one doubles match or so in the last fifteen years and now he's lost the last three so he's looking forward to the opportunity to turn that around and contribute a point for the team. He's a great team player, he shows up at Davis cup and he's there for the team every time. It's not a good feeling when you only have one match and you don't contribute. He wants to avenge that for sure. I'm expecting a good level of play tomorrow."
Driving to the arena this morning with Italian Davis Cup legend Nicola Pietrangeli (166 Davis Cup matches, 120-44 record) I was asked by the former two time Grand Slam champion why Canada would not play Milos Raonic instead of Pospisil in the doubles. An Italian journalist who was with us mused that it was due to a personality clash between Raonic and Nestor although I've never witnessed anything to support that statement. In the end despite their recent struggles, the Nestor/Pospisil combination was still the best that Canada had to offer.
As was the case yesterday in singles, Canada jumped out to an early lead by taking the first set. With Bracciali serving at 2-3, 30-40, a hard forehand from Nestor forced a backhand error on the volley from Fognini to give the first break to the Canadians. They would hold on to win the opener 6-3.
The second set followed a similar path with Nestor and Pospisil getting a break of Fognini's serve to go ahead 3-2. The Canadians would then continue to hold their own serves to capture the set 6-4.
Being up two sets to none was a familiar position for Team Canada and especially for Pospisil who squandered the same lead a day ago in his singles match.
Unable to maintain an early break in the third set, Nestor and Pospisil allowed the Italians to break right back. Serving at 3-4, 40-A, Pospisil would have his serve broken as a Fognini service return handcuffed the young Canuck prompting the unfortunate error. Fognini and Bracciali would take the third set 6-3 and suddenly the Italians had some life.
Pospisil and Nestor continued to struggle in the fourth with double faults and errors seeming to mount. Was Nestor at age 40 starting to tire? Apparently he had tweaked his right calf in the recent Masters event in Miami. Or was the problem once again Pospisil's focus as he himself admitted to in his match against Seppi yesterday? Either way the match was quickly spiralling out of control for Team Canada as Italy took the fourth set 6-3.
In the fifth both teams were feeling the pressure but it was the Canadians who almost buckled first. With Nestor serving at 2-3, he and Pospisil would face two break points at 15-40. They held their ground however and managed to get the crucial hold to tie things up at 3-3.
In the end it was strong serving from Pospisil that allowed Canada to stay in the hunt. He held at love three times in a row to tie the set at 4-4, 6-6 and 8-8. Knowing that a loss of his serve would mean losing the match, Pospisil seemed like the poised veteran and continually gained some key points for Canada throughout the fifth set.
Canada had two looks at a break while Fognini was serving at 9-9, 15-40, but the Italians refused to capitulate and found a way to hold on.
Later while serving at 11-11, Fognini was called for a footfault on his first serve with the score 15-30. While the Italians won the next point, chair umpire Jake Garner had words with the line judge who made the call and then gave the Italian duo a warning for unsportsmanlike comments that it appeared Bracciali had made after the foot fault call.
Madness ensued at 12-12 when a timely challenge by Canada led to a video replay reversing an "out" call that would have given the game to the Italians. Fognini and Bracciali had to return from their team bench and play instead at deuce. The game went on for at least another ten minutes with each team having multiple chances to win it. Canada couldn't close out their two break points and so eventually Italy did hold serve. The Canadians certainly seemed to be closing in though.
Two games later on Fognini's serve the Italians quickly found themselves down 0-40 thanks to some great plays by Nestor who had been re-vitalized since halfway through the fifth set. With three break points the Canadians were not going to let-up and they finally earned the elusive break to move ahead 14-13 and send the home crowd into a frenzy.
With Pospisil continuing to serve so consistently the pair closed it out in 4 hours and 32 minutes by a final score of 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 3-6, 15-13 to move within one win of advancing to their first ever Davis Cup semi-final.
It was redemption for Pospisil after the way his singles match turned out a day ago and also for he and Nestor as a doubles partnership who were so desperate to get back in the win column. The victory also served as validation for captain Laurendeau's decision to keep the struggling pair together.
Milos Raonic will now try to seal the deal on Sunday in a reverse singles match against Andreas Seppi. Will they be able to top today in terms of drama? As we've seen so far this weekend, anything can happen.
Raonic Opens Up During Davis Cup Press Conference
Following his Davis Cup victory on Friday over Fabio Fognini, Canada's Milos Raonic was able to show off his lighter side while also giving some revealing answers about his current approach to the game of tennis and his country's rise in prominence on the world stage. His facination with Canadians sports writer Tom Tebbutt gave reporters a few laughs throughout the exchange. Here's the transcript below
Q: After Vasek’s performance and obviously your win in straight sets do you feel that Canada has the momentum going into day two?
A: I don’t think. The best way to answer that is I don’t think it matters. It’s another match tomorrow and you just have to step up and win that match. Up two zero, down two zero, it doesn’t matter. It’s a match, you’ve got to go out there and win it.
Q: Even though you won’t be playing tomorrow do you consider that doubles match a pretty pivotal part of this series? Even though the doubles team hasn’t played well the last few Davis Cups, what are you expecting out of them tomorrow?
A: I don’t think it’s fair to say they didn’t play well last time. I think they did. I just think that team that they faced is a world class team – I think their number two in the world right now for a reason. I don’t think they played well against South Africa, but I think they are very capable and in these situations that that team of Danny and Vasek is very, very capable. Whatever happens tomorrow win or lose, it’s no effect on me. I know what I gotta do to bring out the best level for myself. And I know I can play better than I played today and I think that’s a good sign for me.
Q: It seemed like a very professional performance today, you controlled your emotions and executed well. How would you assess it?
A: First of all Tom Tebbutt I’d like to thank you for asking questions. I think that’s four press conferences without a question until today, so thank you, I’m honoured.
Q: Answer the goddamn question!
A: Well Tom Tebbutt – what was the question? I was actually shocked.
Q: I thought it was a very mature performance and you controlled your emotions very well.
A: Yes I did.
Q: How would you assess your performance?
A: It was good. I kept within myself. I felt I was able to control most of the time and I felt that I was putting in my terms and we were playing under “Milos can decide which way this goes.” I did slip up a little bit but I think I turned that around and I was proud of how I managed that.
Q: Is there any concern at all being sick a week ago with it having an effect?
A: Two questions. Spoiling you eh? Spoiling me. No, to tell you the truth I didn’t honestly feel the best today. I just had a scratchy throat last night. I know how to play in these situations and I know what I gotta do to bring out the best of myself. I’ve developed a routine, some are superstitious parts of the routine some are for what I gotta do to be 100% from the first point to the last point.
Q: There’s a new member of the team, are we going to see a dance at some point?
A: Oh they don’t invite you to the Davis Cup dinner. He had to sing the national anthem against Spain. It was a tough one but he was lucky obviously that it was in Canada and everybody else knew the anthem and could sing along. He did it like a champ. But if you want to dance you are more than welcome to step on court. You can take Tom Tebbutt with you! I heard that he has the 60s moves down.
Q: Your opponent was asked what was it that made the difference in the game and he answered that obviously it was your serve. Does that sometimes start to get on your nerves that there is so much concentration on your serve, neglecting other parts of your game?
A: No. I think that’s a good thing. My serve is something I’ve spent a lot of time on and I’m proud of the respect it gets and I think I’m getting better in other aspects of the game. I think I stepped up and I was able to break his serve at a critical moment. If my serve gets attention it means I’m putting a lot of pressure not only with my service games but also on his service games - him knowing that if I get a set I can close it out. So we can keep talking about my serve but I know the work I’m gonna put in on it and everything else.
Q: Milos is seemed after the match in your interview and even now in the press conference that you’re pretty loose and pretty playful. I don’t know if that’s because of Tom Tebbutt or is it more an indicator of just how far Canada’s come as a team over the past year and a half and where your confidence levels are as a group because of your successes?
A: I think it’s a group thing. It’s a great thing. And I think also I’ve learned within myself that I’m going to play my best tennis when I’m happy. Sometimes I feel like I stress like I need to practice, like I need to get this many hours in, but at the end of the day if things when things aren’t going well on court I’ve got to scrap, I’ve got to fight and I’ll do that best when I’m happy. Honestly I’m happy with everything on the court, off the court I feel at peace and I think that allows me to play my best tennis. I think Tom Tebbutt, hey I’m gonna give you a good one, one that you’re gonna smile about – Tom Tebbutt had that happiness when he lost at O and O (?) in San Jose.
First of all walking in shorts to a press conference in the freezing rain is not a good idea. Sarah Grossman.
(Sarah) I told you it was raining before going out.
You told me after I had already left the locker room.
Q: I don’t know where to go from here!
A: Let’s go home!
Q: One more. Growing up, and maybe Tom can speak about this too, not many successes like this for Team Canada obviously on the international scene. What does it mean for you to bring Davis Cup back to something meaningful here in Canada for kids growing up and for tennis enthusiasts at large?
A: I think success is the best way to promote the sport. I think if I do personally well week out and week in through the tour it’s a great thing and it will help to get more kids wanting to play tennis. But I think if you can show that we have a group of four, five or six that can win at the international stage then it makes it a bit more convincing, not only to the kids but to the families, to the parents you’ll say as a Canadian that you can really succeed in tennis, let’s give this a shout. It’s the same kind of belief that we have with hockey and many winter sports. I think that we’ve got to get that belief in tennis.