Archive for November, 2010

30
Nov
10

Sharapova will play for Russia in 2011 Fed Cup tie with France.

Maria Sharapova will lead Russia in the Fed Cup first-round tie against France next season, the president of the Russian Tennis Federation said Tuesday. Shamil Tarpischev, who is also the Fed Cup captain, said Sharapova has agreed to play in the competition for the first time since making her debut in Russia’s 4-1 first-round victory over Israel in 2008. “Sharapova has agreed to play the first round,” Tarpischev said at a news conference. “She has fully recovered from the problems with her shoulder and again could challenge for the No. 1 spot.”

Two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, former world number one Dinara Safina, and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will also be on the team for the tie on a hardcourt at the Olympic indoor stadium on Feb. 5-6. World No. 2 Vera Zvonareva will miss the tie because of contractual obligations to play at a WTA tour event but will join the team if Russia advances to the semifinals of the competition. “Vera will help the team no matter where we play—in Australia or at home against Austria,” Tarpischev said.

Four-time champion Russia has won five of eight meetings with France.

30
Nov
10

Bahamas Celebrity Invitational kicks off this week.

Not content to let their male counterparts enjoy all the fun in the sun in The Bahamas, this year’s Mark Knowles Celebrity Invitational charity event from December 2nd to 5th has drawn 3 repeat female participants; Anna Lena Groenefeld, Sabine Lisicki and Olga Savchuk and a new face, U.S. Federation Cup team heroine, Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

The Professional Tennis Exhibition will be held at the National Tennis Centre, Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre at 3.00 p.m. on Saturday 4th December. Admission: Adults $10 and Children Free. Students in school sports shirts Free. (Don’t be surprised if Andy Murray shows up!)

The annual hit with the Pros will take place with junior players selected by Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association at the Exhibition on 4th December at the National Tennis Centre ending with an autograph session with the pros.

The proceeds of the event will go to aid local children’s’ charities. To date over $500,000 has been distributed to various charities.

Tickets are now on sale at the National Tennis Centre, Atlantis Tennis Centre, Village Squash Club, H.G.Christie Ltd. and Lyford Cay School or telephone 242-359-2542.

30
Nov
10

“It’s been great all year and I want to say thanks a lot to everyone for that.”

I’ve now got about five days at home before I leave for Miami, possibly via the Bahamas depending on whether I play in a charity event there first. This time next week I’ll already be back in training and thinking about 2011. I go to Miami every year at this time and I plan to work even harder than ever. That might involve longer sessions, more hours, and just making sure everything is even more professional. It’s been great all year and I want to say thanks a lot to everyone for that.

I think we’re already incredibly professional in tennis in looking into nutrition, what we eat, the amount of calories we take on, what we do in the gym. It can even come down to making sure I’m sleeping properly. I’ll just have to speak to the guys I work with and make sure they work me even harder.

As for the coach situation, I’ll have a think about it over the next couple of weeks. I need someone that can make me a better player and that I enjoy being around. You spend a lot of time with a coach so it’s a big decision. I’ll be out in Miami for Christmas and I’ve got quite a few friends out there, but I’m not sure yet whether I’ll see my family – it’s one of the sacrifices you have to make, unfortunately. It does mean the present situation can be a bit tricky. I actually love going and buying presents, especially for my brother, but I don’t normally get much back from him. “Tough love” is what he calls it.

After Christmas I’ll head to Australia for the new season, and I’m going to start at the Hopman Cup in Perth again. It’s an international team event and, like last year, I’m going to play with Laura Robson. She’s very young so she’s had a year to improve and it’s actually a pretty strong field this year – Novak Djokovic, John Isner and Gael Monfils are playing – so it should be a really good start to the year. You’re guaranteed to play three singles, three doubles and it’s usually 40C down there so on the off days you get good training weather. I also need to make up for last year when we finished runners-up to Spain, so Laura missed out on the diamonds you get for winning. She wasn’t happy!

The other great thing about playing in Australia is there are loads of Brits there, so the support is always amazing. It’s been great all year and I want to say thanks a lot to everyone for that. Now I need to check up on my fantasy football – Man United winning 7-1 doesn’t do me much good as I’ve only got Nani – and see how I got on against Lawro in the weekend’s Premier League predictions. I’m a bit nervous, I think it’s going to be pretty close.

30
Nov
10

Bartoli adds her name to the growing list of entries in Hobart.

French tennis star Marion Bartoli will lead a host of international players when she competes for the first time in the Moorilla Hobart International next January. Currently ranked No.16 in the world, Bartoli is one of the highest profile players to compete at the event and will be hoping for an ideal preparation in Hobart before the 2011 Australian Open. The former Wimbledon runner-up enjoyed a consistent season in 2010, including a third-round appearance at the Australian Open before falling to eventual semifinalist Zheng Jie of China. Bartoli also reached the fourth round of Wimbledon and third round of the French Open. Moorilla Hobart International Tournament Director Michael Roberts believed Bartoli would be extremely hard to beat in her first appearance at the event. “Marion has been a solid performer in the top 20 for last four years and the former Wimbledon finalist is a welcome addition to the field. “She is expected to be the top seed at the tournament and will certainly raise the calibre on show in Hobart next January.”

Known as one of only a handful of players who play holding the racquet with two hands on both sides, Bartoli has held a top 20 ranking since 2006 and reached her highest ranking of No.9 in late 2007. Many believe the key to her success is her ability to meet the ball earlier than any other female player, especially on the return of serve. Bartoli will headline the Moorilla Hobart International along with former world No.1 Dinara Safina and Australia’s No.2 ranked female tennis player Jarmila Groth.

29
Nov
10

This weekend’s Davis Cup final could be the closest in years.

As the tennis season draws to a close, all eyes turn to Belgrade this weekend for what should be a thrilling Davis Cup Final between Serbia and France. On paper, this year’s Final should be one of the closest in recent memory. First-time finalist Serbia boasts the highest-ranked singles player in the shape of world No. 3 Novak Djokovic, who looked in good form at the ATP World Tour Finals last week, reaching the semifinals before losing to eventual champion Roger Federer on Saturday. But French captain Guy Forget has an enviable strength in depth from which to pick his team. France has no fewer than seven players in the Top 50 and is not lacking in experience with players like Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra among the ranks.

With so little to choose between the two sides, it may well come down to the all-important doubles rubber on Saturday and Nenad Zimonjic’s timely win at the end of year finals at the O2 will do wonders for Serbia’s confidence. Zimonjic won his second end of year doubles title alongside Canadian partner Daniel Nestor with a 76(6) 64 victory over Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi in the final. A likely doubles partnership for the French would see the two most experienced players, Clement and Llodra, on the team named alongside one another. Llodra is expected to play both singles and doubles this weekend given he has yet to lose a rubber in 2010. Joining him in the doubles could be Clement, who has been given a rare opportunity to feature in his first Davis Cup Final at the age of 32. What better way to give himself an early birthday present (he turns 33 on 17 December) than to finally play a rubber in the final having been cruelly denied on two previous occasions? Clement was nominated in the French team to play in the Davis Cup Finals in both 2001 and 2002, but on both occasions he was replaced at the last minute by Cedric Pioline and Paul-Henri Mathieu respectively.

France will be looking to Gael Monfils to continue his fine run of form that saw him finish the season strongly, so much so that he is now the away team’s top-ranked player having overtaken his compatriot Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who is unavailable due to a lingering knee injury.

29
Nov
10

Rebecca Marino named Canada’s ‘Most Outstanding Tennis Player’.

A few weeks shy of her 20th birthday, Vancouver’s Rebecca Marino has been named 2010 Most Outstanding Female Player by Tennis Canada. Over the past 11 months, Marino has risen more than 80 spots in the world rankings to a career-high of 102 and is poised to break into the world’s top 100 before the end of 2010. She qualified for the main draw at the U.S. Open, she became Canada’s number-one ranked singles player, and finished the year with a record of 42-22. Much of her success came in the final three months of the 2010 tournament season when Marino captured three $50,000 International Tennis Federation titles. All of that success should earn the powerful server a spot in the main draw of the Australian Open—the first Grand Slam event on the 2011 tennis calendar.

“I’m honoured to receive this award and greatly appreciate the support I’ve received from my family, friends, Tennis Canada, Tennis BC and fans,” Marino said in a statement released by Tennis Canada. Marino becomes the first British Columbian since Vancouver’s Jana Nejedly in 2001 to earn Top Female honours and along with New Westminster’s Sonya Jeyaseelan in 2000 and Whistler’s Marjorie Blackwood (1982) is just the fourth woman from this province to be recognized with Tennis Canada’s top award.

29
Nov
10

Roger’s win is just what the ATP Tour needed.

Rafael Nadal praised Roger Federer after the Swiss lifted his fifth title at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals on Sunday. “I feel I lost the match because I played against a very good Roger Federer on one of his favourite surfaces,” said the World No. 1, who remained upbeat despite losing 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 at the London season finale. “When he’s playing like this, it is very difficult to stop him.” Over the course of 22 career meetings, Nadal admitted, “Our relationship hasn’t changed a lot since the beginning because all the time we have been very respectful. So I think it is not a rivalry. We never had any problems in all of our careers.”

This year, 24-year-old Nadal lifted three Grand Slam championships – at Roland Garros (d. Soderling), Wimbledon (d. Berdych) and the US Open (d. Djokovic) – completing a career Grand Slam in New York City and also took a clean sweep of ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay-court titles. He compiled a 71-10 season record. “I think it was a very emotional season. I am very happy for everything and just want to say thank you very much to all the people that supported me when I had the difficult moments and when I was winning.”

Looking ahead to 2011, Nadal insists “the pressure for me is going to be the same. “When I start the season, everything starts. I don’t think about if I have to defend 100,000 points or if I have to defend 1,000 points. In Australia or in Doha when I start the season, I will have zero points. “My first goal is qualification for London next year, and after we will see. I am going to work to be ready and competitive to try to be in the top positions and to compete to keep winning titles. “The goal is the same: try to play well; try to compete against everybody and try to be in the final rounds.”

28
Nov
10

Federer shows Nadal that he’s not done quite yet!

Roger Federer won the season-ending title for the fifth time and laid down a marker for 2011 with a three-set victory over world number one Rafael Nadal in London. The 29-year-old’s attacking game carried the Swiss to a 6-3 3-6 6-1 win in one hour and 37 minutes at the O2 Arena. Federer’s victory ensured that an inconsistent year by his standards was bookended by wins at the Australian Open in January and now the ATP World Tour Finals in November.

Nadal had been hoping to land the only significant title to so far elude him but a three-hour semi-final against Andy Murray on Saturday looked to have taken the edge off his game, and Federer proved the stronger in the closing stages. And while Sunday’s final never quite matched the heights of their last meeting in London – Nadal’s epic 2008 Wimbledon final victory – it proved beyond doubt that Federer will be chasing hard on the world number one’s heels next year.

The last time the top two players in the world contested the year-end final was 24 years ago, when Ivan Lendl beat Boris Becker in New York, and few match-ups in history can have prompted such excitement as Federer and Nadal’s six-year rivalry.

28
Nov
10

Nestor and Zimonjic end with the ATP Doubles title.

Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic enjoyed a dream ending to their partnership as they beat Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi 7-6 (8/6) 6-4 to win their second end-of-season doubles title at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. The Canadian/Serbian duo, who were champions in 2008, followed up their victory over top seeds Bob and Mike Bryan in the semi-finals to lift the trophy at London’s O2 Arena. The first set was dominated by serve before the second seeds finally edged it, saving a set point in the process. Bhupathi and Mirnyi, from India and Belarus respectively, beat their opponents on their way to victory at the Paris Masters two weeks ago, but this time it was Nestor and Zimonjic’s day, with a single break of the Bhupathi serve enough to give them the title. After three years with Zimonjic, Nestor will team up with the man he beat on Sunday – Mirnyi – in 2011.

28
Nov
10

Diplomatic Roger has the 2012 Olympics in his sights.

Roger Federer says that winning a gold medal in singles at the 2012 Olympic Games in London is one of his major remaining goals. “I’ve now carried the flag twice, in Beijing and Athens, and it’s always been a dream for me to play for my country and to win an Olympic gold,” Federer told Reuters. “I already have one [a doubles gold medal with Stan Wawrinka] but still, the special part of having it at Wimbledon will be amazing.”

Federer also said that he’s not ruling out playing in 2016 in Brazil, even though he’ll be 35 years old then. When asked what his most memorable Olympic memory was, meeting his wife Mirka during the 2000 Games or winning the doubles gold in Beijing, he responded with a laugh: “That’s why I’ve had very emotional Olympics. “I couldn’t choose but obviously Mirka is long-lasting, I’ve had 10 incredible years with her, I’ve two beautiful kids with her so I guess that’s my number one pick.”




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