Archive for January, 2011

31
Jan
11

Serena’s condition may be worse than she has let on.

According to online reports, tennis superstar Serena Williams’ reps are working overtime to keep rumors about Serena’s badly infected foot under wraps. According to Williams, she injured her foot stepping on broken glass at a restaurant last July. But sources say there’s more to the story than that.

Reportedly, Williams has a serious bone infection (osteomyelitis) in her right foot that is not responding well to intravenous antibiotics such as Vancomycin, considered among the last-line of antibiotics that doctors use when all else fails. As a result, Williams is losing weight and her weakened state has caused mobility problems. Earlier this week, the sickly 29-year-old tweeted: “My throat feels raw. every time I take a sip of sumthin it feels like i just swallowed 20,000 mini knives. its 5:10am…”

In addition to dizziness, muscle weakness and low blood pressure, IV Vancomycin’s serious side effects include a persistent sore throat and swelling of the tongue and throat. Osteomyelitis can result in great loss of bone, but is treatable if caught early. The injury has caused Serena to miss the US Open, and she has plummeted from #1 to #13 in the world.

31
Jan
11

“I’m living the dream of a tennis player,” said Nole after the victory.

Novak Djokovic is the Australian Open champion for the second time in his career! The world no.3 defeated fifth-seeded Andy Murray 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 in 2 hours and 37 minutes in the Australian Open final on Sunday, clinching his second Grand Slam title. “I dedicate this title to my family, my brothers, my girl Jelena back home, my people that have been with me for so many years,” an emotional Novak said, holding the trophy at the ceremony. “It has been a tough period for our people in Serbia,” added Djokovic. “We are trying every single day to present our country in the best possible way, so this is for my country Serbia.”

Nole showed a terrific display today, intelligent play, good tactics, great footwork, reliable serve, courage, determination, faith and mental toughness.

“Winning a Davis Cup title and another Grand Slam title. I’m living the dream of a tennis player, definitely,” said Nole after the victory. “I have been more focused and dedicated to the sport than I have ever been before. To be able to win in straight sets against a player like Andy Murray in the finals of Grand Slam, it makes my success even bigger.” “This was a great match. From the start to the last point, I did what I intended of doing tactically, what I talked with my coach, what I prepared for. It’s the best way that I could ask for to start a season. Both of those guys (Federer and Murray) play their best tennis on the hard courts, as well as I do. But to be able to win against those players in straight sets is incredible.”

“During this tournament I was feeling great on the court,” added the Serb. “The Davis Cup win may have a big role in my great performance here in this tournament. After we won Davis Cup title I was feeling great on the court, just eager to compete.” Speaking about Murray, whom he has known since they were teenagers, Nole said: “I really have big respect for him and his game, because I think he has everything what it takes to become a Grand Slam champion. I’m sure that very soon he will be.”

With the victory, Nole will be no.3 on Monday, January 31, with only 85 points behind Roger Federer.

30
Jan
11

Aravane Rezai’s father banned from all WTA events.

The spectre of abusive relationships in women’s tennis has raised its head again with the WTA Tour banning a relative of France’s world No 22 Aravane Rezai from attending its events indefinitely. It is understood the person in question is her father Arsalan, who has a history of run-ins with French tennis authorities. Citing ‘a serious safety matter’, the women’s game’s authorities have imposed the ban and local police are also involved.

Aravane, 23, lost in the first round of the Australian Open and withdrew from the doubles without explanation. French media reported she had a row with her father on the morning of her match and that an altercation had taken place between her boyfriend and her father. In her post-match interview, Aravane said there had been distracting ‘concerns’ before her match, but said later that most of the claims were ‘without foundation’. The incident revives echoes of fathers whose ambitions for their daughters have spun out of control.

Extreme examples have been Mary Pierce’s father Jim and Jelena Dokic’s father Damir.

30
Jan
11

“NIKE Clash of the Champions.” to feature Serena?, Masha, Rafa & Roger.

The University of Oregon’s sparkling new facility will host four of the biggest stars from the professional tennis circuit, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams

Tickets for this special showcase go on sale Friday, Feb. 4, at 10 a.m. and can be purchased online at http://www.MatthewKnightArena.com, at all Tickets West outlets, at the Matthew Knight Arena box office on 13th Avenue, and by calling 1-800-WEBFOOT (UO athletic ticket office) or 1-800-992-TIXX (Tickets West). Ticket prices range between $25 and $85. Under certain circumstances, it is possible that one or more of the advertised athletes will not be able to participate in the NIKE Clash of the Champions. (injury) A portion of the proceeds from the exhibition will benefit each of the four athletes’ charitable foundations. “We are extremely excited to host some of the biggest names in professional tennis in Matthew Knight Arena,” said Oregon Director of Athletics Rob Mullens. “Our unique partnership with NIKE has allowed us to attract this one-of-a-kind event to the University of Oregon and the Eugene-Springfield community.

“The NIKE Clash of the Champions is going to create tremendous buzz up and down the Willamette Valley,” said Mullens. “It is a great example of the variety of events we are able to feature at Matthew Knight Arena.” The event, which will begin at 5:30 p.m., will feature Sharapova and Williams playing a singles set, followed by a mixed doubles set and concluding with a men’s singles set between the top two players in the world, Federer and Nadal. Federer owns a men’s record 16 Grand Slam singles titles, including the 2010 Australian Open, while Nadal counts the 2010 French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open among his nine career Slam titles. Sharapova brings the 2004 Wimbledon, 2006 U.S. Open and 2008 Australian Open to Eugene, while Williams has captured an amazing 27 career Grand Slam victories – 13 singles, 12 women’s doubles and two mixed doubles – including singles titles in the 2010 Australian Open and Wimbledon.

30
Jan
11

Novak Djokovic destroys Murray to prove he’s the best hard court player on tour.

Andy Murray’s Grand Slam final misery continued as the British number one was comprehensively beaten by Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open. Murray looked out of sorts from the off and was second best throughout a one-sided encounter as Djokovic followed up his 2008 success in Melbourne with a 6-4 6-2 6-3 triumph in two hours and 39 minutes. Murray has now appeared in three Grand Slam finals and is yet to win a set – a record in the open era – with this latest setback likely to be the hardest to stomach.

The first two defeats, at the US Open in 2008 and here 12 months ago, saw him lose to an overwhelming favourite in Roger Federer but he came into this contest seemingly on a par with Djokovic. But what transpired will haunt Murray for some time. His first-serve percentage was a lowly 51 per cent, his groundstrokes continually missed their target, his body language was negative while his movement, so often his strength, proved another weakness with his footwork frequently bordering on the amateurish. Murray’s travails should not detract from Djokovic’s achievement, however. He has been knocking on the door ever since his win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga here three years ago but often saw his quest for a second major flounder against either Federer or Rafael Nadal – arguably the two greatest players of all time. But his greater desire ensured he was not to be denied this time. Murray at least competed in the first set as the two men probed for a weakness in a nervy opening.

The 23-year-old from Dunblane had to overcome an awful start, losing the first six points, before saving a break point to make it 1-1. The match remained on serve until 4-5 at which point it started to go wrong for Murray. The alarm bells were ringing at 15-30 on the Scot’s serve and the situation became even more dangerous when a fantastic 38-shot rally, which saw both players take and lose the initiative, went the way of Djokovic as he brought up two set points. And Murray was unable to come through, a long forehand proving to be out after a challenge. With the first set in the bag, Djokovic was starting to cut loose and, after holding serve easily, two booming groundstrokes, one off each side, handed him a break point and the chance to further strengthen his grip on the match.

Murray saved it with a big first serve but a netted backhand presented Djokovic with a second opportunity which, having used Hawk-Eye to prove an ace was out, he took by easily chasing down a poor drop-shot before ripping a cross-court winner. Another comfortable hold from Djokovic quickly saw him establish a 3-0 lead and extend his run of consecutive games won to five. Murray was starting to implode and the Scot handed Djokovic a double break and a 4-0 advantage with an awful game which contained three unforced errors, two off the forehand side.

Djokovic was in no mood to let up and he made it 5-0 before Murray finally got on the board courtesy of a big ace out wide. Belatedly, Murray got his first break of the match to pull it back to 5-2 but it proved to be brief respite as a stunning forehand on the run gave Djokovic a set point which he converted when the Briton netted a forehand. Murray desperately needed a good start to the third set if he was salvage anything from what was starting to become a chastening experience. And he got precisely that as, after Djokovic missed a makeable drive volley on game point, he set up a break point and took it with a fantastic forehand down the line. But the hangdog expression was quick to return as he promptly threw away his advantage when, from 30-30, Murray looped a terrible forehand wide and then hammered a smash out of court. A swift hold from Djokovic was followed by a break as the Serb, on the seventh opportunity, cracked a magnificent backhand pass down the line to move 3-1 up.

Perhaps sensing he was running out of time, Murray started going for a little more and he broke back to get the set back on serve when Djokovic dumped a drop-shot into the net. He had to save a break point to level for 3-3 and he found himself taken to deuce once more in his next service game. And this time Murray was unable to escape the danger as he hit a running forehand into the middle of the net. Serving for the championship, Djokovic displayed a few nerves but managed to get over the line when Murray netted another forehand.

29
Jan
11

Bryan Bros win their 5th Aussie title for a total of 10 Grand Slam victories.

Bob and Mike Bryan spoiled the reunion party for Indian veterans Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi to claim their fifth Australian Open men’s doubles title in six years. The 32-year-old Bryans, the world’s top-ranked pairing, downed 36-year-old Bhupathi and 37-year-old Paes 6-3 6-4 to make it three straight titles at Melbourne Park, having also claimed the event in 2006 and 2007. Their five Australian Open crowns give them 10 grand slam titles as a combination overall, including at least one of each of the majors. They already held the record for the most tournament titles of any men’s pairing in the Open era, which they stretched to 68, seven clear of retired Australians Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge. They are also closing in on the Woodies’ collection of 11 grand slam trophies, and are within two of the Open era record of 12, held by another Australian pairing of John Newcombe and Tony Roche.

Bhupathi and Paes had been hoping to complete a remarkable comeback story. They were formerly a formidable combination, but their most recent previous grand slam tournament together was in 2002. The Indians had been seeking a career grand slam, each having won the French Open, US Open and Wimbledon either together, or with other partners during their long tennis estrangement.

The identical and identically-dressed Bryans – right-hander Mike is two minutes older than left-hander Bob – celebrated their victory with their familiar chest bump.

29
Jan
11

The pressure is firmly on Andy Murray in Sunday’s Australian Open final.

“It’s a tough situation for him to face this pressure from the media being a British player,” said Djokovic. “Everyone expects him to win Wimbledon because he is coming from a great country of tennis with a great history. “Wimbledon, as we all know, is the most prestigious tournament in our sport. “And he has faced that all of his career and managed to become one of the best players in the world so you have got to give him credit for that. “On one hand I would like to be in his shoes because he gets a lot of support because of the country he comes from but, on the other, I wouldn’t like it because of the media attention he faces.”

Unlike Murray, Djokovic has already broken his grand slam duck, winning here in 2008 against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Murray has reached two finals, in Melbourne 12 months ago and in New York in 2008, and lost to Roger Federer both times. “We both know how difficult it is to make that final step and win a title, especially if you have Nadal or Federer across the net,” added Djokovic, who was an impressive winner over the Swiss in the semi-finals. “In 2008, I had Tsonga. He had played a great tournament but still it was both of us trying to fight for a first title. “It was big pressure, you feel the expectations.

“You feel that you are right there and just need to take that final step. “But I feel that I am more experienced now. “Definitely winning a grand slam title here three years ago gives me a little bit of a mental advantage for the final.”

Djokovic had a shorter off-season than most after helping Serbia win the Davis Cup at the start of December and he openly admits that success over France, coupled with his defeat of Federer in the 2010 US Open semi-finals when he had to save two match points, has seen his confidence rocket heading into 2011. “That Federer match has played a role in the confidence I have carried into the new season,” he said. “But I think it has had more to do with the Davis Cup win which has given me the wind on my back. “From that moment on I felt very eager to come back to the court and play more matches because I felt that I could play my best tennis. “And it has proved to be correct and I am very satisfied to begin my season in a grand slam final.”

If he is to claim his second major title, Djokovic will have to get the better of someone he has long considered a friend after he and Murray came through the junior ranks together. And the 23-year-old from Belgrade admits it will be strange to be on the opposite side of the net in such a big occasion. “I don’t think we were planning to meet each other in a grand slam final when we were juniors,” he said. “But we were certainly dreaming of being in a final. “You could feel when we were 12, 13, 14 that we both had a great talent and the motivation to succeed. “I knew back then when I watched him play that he was going to become a top-five player.” The pair practised together in Perth around the Hopman Cup before coming to Melbourne but Djokovic is happy to put their friendship to one side, for a few hours at least.

“I sent him a text message after his semi-final win saying ‘it is the Perth final’ because we had practised there together. “We had fun. We played football there…he won, unfortunately. “It was a fun couple of weeks and I think we have reconnected with our friendship over the last 12 months. “But we have to forget about all of the that when we step out on to the court. “It’s business and I am sure he is going to be very eager to win a first grand slam title.”

29
Jan
11

Clijsters claims the Aussie Open crown in close nail(li na)-biter 3 setter.

Li Na had made history by becoming China’s first Grand Slam singles finalist and made a strong start, but Clijsters powered back to win 3-6 6-3 6-3. It is the first time that three-time US Open champion Clijsters has won a major title outside of New York. The 27-year-old has now won back-to-back Grand Slam titles and will rise to second in the world rankings. She made a typically fast start to Sunday’s final, reeling off the opening nine points in a row to grab an early break of serve as Li looked nervous in her first major final. But the Chinese ninth seed had repeatedly shown her fighting qualities over the past fortnight and headed into the final with an 11-0 record in 2011, and having beaten Clijsters to win the Sydney title on the eve of the tournament. She quickly settled into the rhythm of heavy hitting off both sides that had seen off world number one Caroline Wozniacki in the semi-finals and began to dominate again. Three games in a row gave Li the first set, which she sealed with a rasping forehand winner past a stranded Clijsters, and the Belgian looked momentarily lost for answers. A double fault from Li gave Clijsters a much-needed break at the start of the second set and it prompted a run of four successive breaks as the momentum swung from side to side, with both women under huge pressure on serve. This time it was Clijsters who took the initiative with a run of five straight games as Li struggled to keep the error count down, but the Chinese player stopped the rot by breaking back with a blistering return to trail 2-1 in the decider. A nail-biting final set appeared to be unfolding but it was Li who buckled under the pressure, giving up another break of serve with a double fault and a wayward backhand in game four, and Clijsters pumped her fist as she closed in on victory.

When it was required, the former world number one showed her mettle with two quickfire holds of serve to stand on the brink of the title, before closing it out to love and dissolving into tears as the achievement began to sink in. “I’m a little shaky still,” said Clijsters, a beaten Melbourne finalist in 2004. “Li Na was definitely a very tough competitor. She really brought it to me at the start of the rallies. I was on the back foot and leaning back – I don’t like that. “The first set, I thought ‘Wow! This is going to fast for me!’ It was tough. I felt in the second set she was getting a bit nervous. I was just happy I was able to pull it off in the end.”

28
Jan
11

With Henin out the USA has a legitimate chance of winning in next week’s Fed Cup.

Venue: Sportpaleis Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium. Surface: Indoor hard.

Belgium goes into this tie as favourites despite USA reaching back-to-back finals in the last two years and leading the Belgians 5-1 in their previous meetings. Three-time US Open winner Kim Clijsters heads up a strong Belgian side that also includes Yanina Wickmayer and Kirsten Flipkens, while An-Sophie Mestach comes in to replace the injured Justine Henin, who announced her retirement on Wednesday with a career-ending elbow problem. USA is without the injured Williams sisters, so Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Melanie Oudin once again lead the attack for the visitors. Vania King and Liezel Huber provide the team with added doubles expertise.

Both Belgium and USA are former Fed Cup champions. The Belgians won the title for the only time in 2001, while the Americans have claimed a record 17 victories, although their last triumph was back in 2000.

Belgium, Kim Clijsters, Yanina Wickmayer, Kirsten Flipkens, An-Sophie Mestach (replacing Justine Henin), Sabine Appelmans (captain)

USA, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Melanie Oudin, Vania King, Liezel Huber, Mary Joe Fernandez (captain)

28
Jan
11

After watching Murray’s performance Novak must be feeling very confident.

Unfortuneately for Murray there are only three great tennis players on the ATP tour, and Murray is not one of them. At the top by himself is Nadal, (when he is healthy), followed by the aging Federer and the rising Djokovic. Murray is in the pack snipping at the heels of these three elite players, along with all the other wannabees.

In the first of the two semifinals played at Melbourne Park we saw a high quality intense confrontation between two mature contestants. The serving, the ground strokes, the shot making and the point construction was displayed at its highest level. By contrast today’s match between Murray and Ferrer was at best mediocre. David Ferrer is a great competitor but the only similarity he has with Federer is in the first two letters of his name. Yet Murray had difficulty in finding a consistent way to defeat him. His game was riddled with errors, compounded by poor shot choices. He was slow off the mark and seemed to employ more energy in his facial expressions than he did in retrieving the Ferrer shots. Unless he can take a giant leap forward and produce the quality of tennis he played twelve months ago, Sunday’s final will be a very one-sided affair.

 Murray needed all his fighting spirit as he toiled to a four-set win over David Ferrer to reach a second successive Australian Open final. The Briton, seeded fifth, won 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-1 7-6 (7-2) to set up a final against Novak Djokovic on Sunday. Murray produced an error-strewn performance in the face of Spaniard Ferrer’s class and relentless energy. But he battled back from the brink of a two-set deficit and is now one win away from a first Grand Slam title.




Top Posts

Categories


%d bloggers like this: