Archive for November, 2009


WTT Smash Hits, Baton Rouge, Dec 8th.

The 66-year-old King’s tennis playing days are over, thanks to knee replacement surgery. But she’s excited about getting to watch the lineup coming to Baton Rouge on Dec 8th., a city she played an exhibition match in 20 years ago. That list includes Serena Williams, Andy Roddick, Anna Kournikova, Tommy Haas, Lindsay Davenport, Liezel Huber, Devin Britton and Louisiana’s own Chanda Rubin. Next season Martina Hingis is rumoured to be joining the WTT league.

“I love Chanda,” King said. “She’s given back so much; I’m so glad she’s going to be part of Smash Hits. It’s just a great lineup … one of the best we’ve had in years.”

The players will form the two teams captained by King and John, who will also participate in a celebrity doubles match to open the event.

Prior to the match, special VIP ticket holders can meet King and John at a reception and silent auction beginning at 5 p.m. Proceeds from the $1,000 per person get-together benefit local AIDS charities.


Serena gets a slap on the wrist!

Serena Williams has been fined $175,000 (£106,200) and put on probation for two years for her foul-mouthed tirade at the US Open in September, the International Tennis Federation has announced.

The ITF said any further offence at a grand slam in the next two years would see her suspended from the US Open in 2010, 2011, or 2012.

The fine will be reduced to $82,500 (£50,000) if she commits no further major offence until 2011, the ITF said.

 Williams lashed out at a lineswoman after a foot-fault call at the end of her US Open semi-final loss to Kim Clijsters in September.

The title-holder and tournament favourite was 6-4, 6-5 and 15-30 down when the sanction was called against her on her second serve, setting up match point for Clijsters.

Gesturing at her with her racket outstretched, Williams – who had earlier been given a code violation for racquet abuse – hurled a volley of abuse towards her, resulting in the point penalty and the loss of the match.

The lineswoman then ran up to umpire Louise Engzell to report the incident which brought tournament referee Brian Earley on to the court.

It was never confirmed what Williams had said to the lineswoman, but the on-court microphones picked up her saying to the official in an argument: “I never said I would kill you, are you serious?”

After discussing the situation with the player, linesperson and chair umpire, Williams was handed a second code violation, the resultant point penalty handing victory to a bemused Clijsters, 6-4 7-5.

Speaking shortly after the incident, Williams, the defending champion, felt she had nothing to apologise for.

“I don’t think that’s necessary for me to speak about that. I’ve let it go,” Williams said. “I didn’t threaten (her). I didn’t say…I don’t remember anymore, to be honest. I was in the moment. And, you know, everyone’s fighting for every point. It was a really crucial point, 15-30, actually.”


Nicolay Davydenko, the Man of the Hour!

Nikolay Davydenko maybe the happiest man alive on this Monday morning, and probably no one deserves to be, more than he does. He’s a quiet fellow, never in the spotlight, not a great vivacious outgoing camera-seeking tennis star, not the guy whose picture you’ll see in the tabloids, but just looking at the way he behaves on court and off, you have the impression that he is in love with the game of tennis, and in love with his beautiful wife Irina. At 28 he has triumphed after years of hard work, and after fighting a series of niggling injuries he has reached the pinnacle of the tennis world. In just 5 days he defeated the reigning Grand Slam champions, Federer, Nadal and Del Potro on his way to capturing the ATP Tour Final. If there is a “perfect’ technician in this sport, then Davydenko comes as close as anyone ever has, and it all starts with his feet. His footwork is something to behold, he is like a ballet dancer from the Bolshoi, and if I was a coach to young players starting out with aspirations to become a pro, I would show them videos of Nicolay Davydenko. My hat is off to him!!


The eight best….a capsulized evaluation by NH.

Neil Harman, The Times Tennis Correspondent, delivers his verdict on the world’s best players as another season draws to a close.

Roger Federer: When he pulverised his racket in Miami in April, and came into his interview with eyes welled with tears, you paused and wondered if the year might spell a genuine changing of the guard. Within three months, he had won two tournaments on clay, including the French Open for the first time, reclaimed Wimbledon as his own and your entire thought process was reset. His recruitment of a personal trainer to travel full time which illustrates a determination to remain at a physical peak for as long as possible. Moves better now than he has and still know more about how to win when it matters than anyone.

Rafael Nadal: ‘Finished the batteries, No?’ Nadal said on Friday. To read some of the doom-laden accounts of his year, you would think he was finished altogether. Nadal has lost a piece of his edge, there is no doubting that, indeed he freely admits that he is struggling with the confidence required to strike his shots as he would want. His close season will be shorter than anyone’s with the Davis Cup final ending on December 6 and departing for an exhibiton in Abu Dhabi on the 30th. Did he really need that event, the profit aside? Needs to get his mind right before his game falls into place.

Novak Djokovic: Spend the end of the season like one of those metal orbs on a pinball machine, bouncing from one city to the next, have racket will travel. He talked to me about the stress involved in making the final of a tournament on a given Sunday, then playing someone of lower rank three days later at the start of the next. “You cannot know what a toll that takes,” he said. Wants so much to be better, adding pieces to his game all the time, but will still get through more matches on heart and spirit one than anyone else in the sport.

Andy Murray: We know that the game is there, it is a matter of transferring it to the mightiest stages when required. He has not been as open and chatty since Wimbledon as he was in the build-up to the most pressured two weeks of his year, remarkable as that may seem. Perhaps the defeat to Roddick in the semi-finals there took more out of him than even he appreciated. Still prefers to play tennis more as a picker of pockets rather than someone who might cosh his opponent over the head. It is all about finding the proper balance. A more consistent serve would not go amiss.

Juan Martin Del Potro: the discovery of year, but who would have said that in the weeks preceding the French Open? When he played Federer in the semi finals there, something seemed to click and on the hard courts of America, he once again showed his mettle, thumping his way to an improbable triumph in the US Open. Does anyone strike the ball quite as low, flat and mind-blowingly hard at the 6’7″ Argentine? And he is not averse to moving up the court with good hands at the net. Once he really starts to believe in himself, watch out.

Nikolay Davydenko: the Russian has experienced quite a glorious month, winning the ATP Masters in Shanghai, defeating Djokovic and Nadal on successive days in the semi final and final; and winning a group that contained that pair, defeated Federer in the semis and Del Potro in the final in London. Great movement, great hands, great anticipation, great energy, an improving serve, an ability to take the opponent’s strength away and impose his own on the match. Needs a grand slam for credibility’s sake.

Fernando Verdasco: When it came to the crunch, when the pin needed to be pulled, Verdasco came up short, which cost him the prospect of victories over Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Juan Martin Del Potro in the round robins. It may also tell you what separates him from challenging the very best in the biggest events. Some of his stroke making is quite breathtaking but then he will shove a relatively easy forehand into the tramlines and heave his shoulders in disappointment. Then he will do it again. A coach’s nightmare because he is such a competitor for 95 per cent of the time. That extra five will make all the difference.

Robin Soderling: Quiet and reserved, he almost made it to the Barclays final, having arrived as the first reserve with plenty in reserve. A ferocious forehand, an excellent service action which is very difficult to pick, an assurance about himself which is a trifle intimidating and, having traded blows so expertly with the top players, will be a real force to be reckoned with in 2010. His French Open was something of a fairytale but kept his season moving in the right direction all the way through.

Courtesy The Times.


Bryan Bros. win their 5th. ATP Championship title.

Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan were crowned ATP World Tour Doubles Champions for the fifth time in seven years after defeating Max Mirnyi and Andy Ram 7-6(5), 6-3 to win the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals Sunday at The O2 in London.

For the second year in a row, the battle for the year-end No. 1 ATP Doubles Team Ranking came down to the last match of the season, with the Bryans needing to win the title to reclaim the crown they previously held in 2003 and ’05-07. Last year they lost out to Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic in a winner-take-all final at the season climax in Shanghai.

The Bryans came into the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals with only a slim chance of finishing No. 1 in the 2009 ATP Doubles Team Rankings. They trailed their rivals, Nestor and Zimonjic, by 830 points and had lost their past two matches on the ATP World Tour. The twins were ominously defeated by Mirnyi and Ram in their opening round-robin match, but hit back strongly and played what they later claimed was their best match of the year to clinch the title.

“It means so much,” said Bob Bryan. “It’s pretty much what we play for now. That’s the goal. Play well in the slams, but the ultimate goal is to finish No. 1. We felt like it was stolen from us last year. Now we kind of crept up on those guys and stole it from them this year. We feel like it’s a little bit of a payback.”

“To come full circle, do it in the last tournament, with so much riding on this one match, it’s huge,” agreed Mike Bryan. “We’re going to be talking about this match for the rest of our lives. There’s nothing sweeter than this.”


Davydenko makes it look easy winning the ATP Championship.

Nikolay Davydenko became the first Russian to win the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals with a brilliant display against Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro.

The 28-year-old claimed the biggest title of his career, and a cheque for just over £900,000, with a 6-3 6-4 defeat of the US Open champion.

Davydenko, who beat Rafael Nadal, Robin Soderling and Roger Federer on his way to the final, was sharper throughout as Del Potro appeared to be feeling the after-effects of his semi-final win over Soderling the previous evening.

For the eighth successive day, around 17,000 spectators packed into the O2 Arena that has proved such a success on its debut as host to the most prestigious event outside the four Grand Slams.

Davydenko was making his second successive appearance in the final, having lost to Novak Djokovic in Shanghai last year, and the Russian was full of confidence after finally beating Federer at the 13th attempt in the semi-finals.

Making his fifth consecutive appearance at the eight-man season finale, the low-key Davydenko had another chance to land a title that would finally reflect his status in the game.


Murray is single again…could end the season as #5!


Andy Murray and girlfriend Kim Sears have ended their four-year relationship.

The 22-year-old student became a familiar face to fans as she followed Murray around the tennis circuit, but she was absent when the Scot played in the ATP World Tour finals in London this week.

A spokesman for 19 Entertainment, who manage Murray, said: “Andy and Kim have mutually agreed to separate. They remain friends and ask for privacy at this time.”

Miss Sears has moved out of the £5 million Surrey mansion she shared with the world No 4 and returned to her parent’s house in Sussex.

A friend of Murray told the Mail on Sunday: “There were no blazing rows, or anything like that. Kim left Andy’s house under amicable circumstances. They are still in contact with one another and remain good friends.”

Miss Sears, who is the daughter of Nigel Sears, Britain’s Fed Cup captain and head coach of women’s tennis, was introduced to Murray by Mark Petchey, the Scot’s former coach. She is about to complete a degree course in English Literature at Sussex University and has aspirations to make a career in publishing.


Davydenko defeats Federer to make the Final!

Nicolay Davydenko, the iron-man of tennis, lived up to his nickname as with only 15 hours of rest he was back on court to challenge for a place in the ATP Tour final against the #1 player Roger Federer. In their previous 12 meetings Davydenko had never beated Federer, but today he changed all that as he won 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 to move on to the final, where he will meet the winner of the Soderling/Del Potro contest.

Davydenko’s ground strokes put so much pressure on Federer forcing the Swiss magician to play almost the entire match from deep in the court, often 6-10 feet behind the baseline. The Russian outplayed Federer at the net winning 80% of his volley attempts. He played a smart game of tennis, and stuck to his game plan despite Federer’s better showing in the second and third sets.

This will be second straight year that Davydenko has made it to the final, in 2008 he lost to Djokovic.


Davydenko the victim of unfair scheduling at ATP Final!

Nikolay Davydenko admits he will not have enough time to prepare for his semi-final clash against Roger Federer at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals on Saturday afternoon.

The Russian will take to the court at London’s O2 Arena only 15 and a half hours after finishing his final round-robin match, where a 7-6 (7/4) 4-6 6-3 victory over Robin Soderling booked his semi-final spot.

The world number one, in contrast, has not played since losing to Juan Martin del Potro on Thursday night.

Davydenko, who is also struggling with a leg injury and breathing problems, said: “I have no time. Today I play night session and tomorrow at 2pm. It’s not my mistake. I hope I’ll be fit for tomorrow.”

To add to the 28-year-old’s worries, he goes into the match having lost all his previous 12 meetings with Federer.

Davydenko, though, is hopeful he will at last be able to better the world number one and reach a second consecutive final.

He said: “Every 12 times I was coming and believing I can win. But I know Federer is older, I’m also older. Maybe I start to play better and Federer not so good? We’ll see.”


Aussie fans looking for a repeat performance from Jelena Dokic.

Jelena Dokic (NSW) will join fellow Australian Alicia Molik (SA) at the 2010 Moorilla Hobart International.

It will be her second appearance at the tournament having previously competed in 2008.

Announcing her entry into the AO Series event, Moorilla Hobart International Tournament Director Michael Roberts said he is excited at having one of Australia’s top females contesting the event.

“It will be great to see Dokic back in action at the Domain Tennis Centre,” Roberts said.

“She is currently Australia’s No.2 ranked female and was in excellent form leading into the end of the 2009 season.

“She captured the hearts of all tennis fans at the Australian Open in January and hopefully she can continue her form in the main draw here and get her 2010 season off to a winning start.

“With Jelena’s ranking now sitting at No.57 in the world she has direct entry into the main draw in Hobart.

“The fields here are usually very even so she will be a realistic chance of becoming only the second Australian to claim the title,” Roberts said.

Dokic revitalised her career at the Australian Open in 2009 when, as a wildcard entrant, she went on to reach the quarterfinals.

The 26-year-old defeated Tamira Paszek (AUT), No.17 seed Anna Chakvetadze (RUS), No.11 seed Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) and No.29 seed Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) with her Australian Open campaign ending against top seed Dinara Safina (RUS).

Her results at this event saw her ranking jump from No.187 to No.91 allowing her to contest the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.

In October this year, Dokic also won a USD$100,000 ITF event in Greece. She backed this up a few weeks later winning another USD$100,000 ITF event in France, her most significant titles in more than seven years.

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