Archive for the 'Aussie Open' Category

15
Dec
10

It’s been a while since an Aussie won the Open!

Samantha Stosur believes she will cope much better with the pressure of playing in her home tournament when the Australian Open gets under way next month. A first-round success at the Brisbane International (January 2-8) could secure the 26-year-old a coveted top-four seeding at Melbourne Park and avoid facing a higher-ranked opponent until at least the semi-finals. Stosur bowed out of the 2010 Australian Open at the fourth round stage, but hopes to improve on that after a stellar season that saw her reach the final of the French Open.

“It was quite difficult last year, it was harder than what I thought it was going to be and I thought I was ready for all the hype and the extra attention, but didn’t really handle it too well in the first couple of weeks. “But as the Aussie Open went on, I started to feel a bit more comfortable and started playing quite well. “So now that I’ve had a good taste of that, not only January this year but throughout the whole year, I think I’ll be much better prepared. “I guess it’s a matter of just keeping your head and really focusing on what’s important and that’s getting on the court and being prepared for matches.”

Stosur also believes that being able to train in Australia will give her an advantage. “I’m one of the few players that are here now training – on the (Plexicushion) court, in the sun, getting used to the conditions, so I think it can only help throughout January,” she said. “It’s not so easy for the Europeans who have been in winter or training somewhere else. “They’ve got to have a long flight over here, a short preparation going into the first couple of tournaments, so hopefully it will put me into a good spot.”

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30
Jan
10

Tiago Fernandes wins boys Junior title.

Brazil’s Tiago Fernandes has earned himself a memorable 17th birthday present, winning the Australian Open junior boys’ championship at Rod Laver Arena on Saturday.

Fernandes, who turned 17 on the eve of the final, overcame an early surge from Australian wildcard Sean Berman to win 7-5 6-3 in one hour and 50 minutes.

The win was the Brazilian’s first junior Grand Slam title, his previous best result being a quarter-final finish at last year’s junior US Open.

Seventeen-year-old Berman, a South-African born and New Zealand-raised player who now represents Australia, claimed the early momentum by hitting a series of quality forehand winners to break Fernandes’ serve and hold to take a 2-0 lead. However, Fernandes soon rose to the challenge, and leveled at 2-2 after breaking the Australian in a lengthy fourth game.

At 5-5, Fernandes fought off two break points against his own serve to hold and then broke Berman in the following game, claiming the set 7-5.

The 14th seed looked to be running away with the match early in the second set as he raced out to a 3-0 advantage, hitting some of the best of his 27 winners through this period.

The players then exchanged service breaks midway through the set, with Fernandes then holding to take a 5-2 advantage.

Serving for the championship at 5-3, the Brazilian managed to save three break points and eventually close out the match with an ace.

Upon claiming the championship point, the animated 17-year-old rushed over to his coach Carlos Eduordo in his players’ box to celebrate the win.

04
Dec
08

Australia’s Tennis Heritage.

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It has always been recognized by tennis historians that the game’s beginning can be attributed to the English. A group of well-off English toffs, of which there are still an abundance, came together to hit a leather ball with a cat gut strung racket over a net, and tennis was born. Exactly where and when has never been accurately determined, but the origin of the game is credited to the English. It was a society sport, played at only a few public schools, and on the grounds of some of England’s most prestigious estates. The archaic scoring, still in use today, was introduced more than a hundred years ago by a group of English gentlemen who used to bet on each point during the match, 15 pounds, 30 pounds etc.

As with most inventions, tennis crossed the English channel and arrived in Paris. The French added their own chic flair to the sport by playing the game on sand rather than grass. The sand eventually gave way to clay, women began to adopt the game, and soon all of France was cooing fifteen love! The brash Americans imported the game to New York, they built a venue called Forest Hills and popularized the game. Eventually the grass gave way to a synthetic hard surface, a product of American technology, and many Yanks adopted this ‘sissy’ English pastime. A stigma that still persists even today in many places.

But it was in Australia that the game of Tennis progressed from a quaint English pastime for the rich, to a hard hitting highly competitive match played between combatants from both sides of the tracks. Tennis became Australia’s national sport, it was played by every age group of society and from the sparse population a succession of tennis players emerged who dominated the game for almost 3 decades. There was nothing ‘sissified’ about playing tennis in Australia, nothing derogatory was ever said about tennis players, they were the new ‘heroes’ of the Australian sporting scene. Their names were revered, and their feats on the courts around the world became the proudest moments in Australia’s history. The climate in Australia is ideal for tennis. Other than cricket, the other sissy English sport, the Aussies did not have a game they could call their own. Tennis filled the bill. As tough as tennis players are, they retain a gentleman-like quality when they put on their white shorts and white shirts, and step onto the court. Being a good sport, respecting your opponent, applauding their good shots and playing within the written and unwritten rules is a part of tennis that was perfected by the Aussies. Compare a group of 20 year old athletes who are stars of their selected sport, and you will find that only tennis players and golfers possess the quality that can be best described as sportsmanship.

When the 2009 Australian Open is played in January, one thing you can be sure of, is that no matter who wins, the winner will be applauded enthusiastically by the crowds, and showered with accolades in the true tradition of Australian reverence to their sport.

“All righty then,Mate?, ‘ow about another Fosters?”

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20
Nov
08

Prize Money grows at Aussie Open.

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The prize money for the 2009 Australian Open has been announced, and if the Aussie dollar remains strong through the current worldwide economic crisis, a few players will be making sizable deposits to their Swiss bank accounts(and not only Roger Federer). A player making it through to the third or fourth round will win more money than the prize winners of many smaller tournaments. Billy Jean will be happy to know that the prize money for both sexes is identical, even though the Women only play best of three sets, while the men play best of five!

Here’s what the players receive.

Singles:-

1st. Round $19,400.

2nd. Round $30,250.

3rd. Round $50,000.

4th. Round $85,625.

Quarter Final $171,250.

Semi Final $342,500.

Runner-up. $685,000.

Winner. $1,370,000.

 

Doubles:-

1st. Round $9,585.

2nd. Round $17,035.

3rd. Round $31,245.

Quarter Final $55,400.

Semi Final $110,800

Runner-up. $223,010.

Winner $446,020.

 

If Serena shows up and enters both the singles and the doubles, both of which she should be the favourite to win, she could take home a cool $1,593,050 for two weeks work! Just in case you are questioning my addition, she only receives half the doubles prize money, Venus would get the other half.

There are other winners at the Australian Open who will benefit from the crowd that is expected to be even bigger than the 2008 crowd which set a new record of 605,735, and these beneficiaries are the three charities, Kids Tennis Foundation, United Way Australia and the Bone Growth Foundation.

The Kids Tennis Foundation was founded by tennis legend Paul McNamee to provide tennis coaching to financially and disadvantaged children on a regular weekly basis throughout Australia. Its a social welfare program that uses tennis to build self-esteem and self-confidence. Since its inception in 1981 it has brought tennis interest to more than 220,000 children.

United Way Australia partners with Tennis Australia to provide a program for the betterment of Australia’s young people through the incorporation of tennis into their lives.

The Bone Growth Foundation was established in 1991 to support research into children’s crippling bone growth problems. A black tie gala court side dinner will be held during the 2009 Australian Open to help raise funds for this worthwhile cause. A fun celebrity tournament will be part of the entertainment, and will feature several tennis legends, and a selection of local TV and radio personalities.

For first time visitors to Australia and in particular to Melbourne, it is highly recommended that the downtown areas are visited. Melbourne is a sophisticated fashionable city with many wonderful ethnic restaurants and bars, lots of places to spend your money on Aussie clothes and trinkets. Take a side trip to the mountains where the snow still remains even though the temperature in Melbourne is close to ninety degrees. Enjoy the diversity!

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18
Nov
08

Where have all the AUSSIES gone?

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For the thirty year span from 1946 to 1976 only four non-Australian men hoisted the trophy at The Australian Open Tennis Tournament. Since 1976 Australia, the host country, has not had a winner of its own competition. Once the most dominant power in tennis Australia has been overtaken by many ‘new’ countries who have produced quality tennis players that have pushed Australia off the tennis map. Just two Aussie men remain in the top 100 players on the ATP tour, Leyton Hewiit currently ranked 59th., and big serving Chris Guccione ranked 80th.

Australia is mired in the 2nd. tier of the Asia-Oceanic group of countries, and the once proud winner of 28 Davis Cups is unlikely to advance to tier one for at least two more years or longer. Tennis Australia has hired a new Spanish coach to train its players on clay at its newly opened facility in Barcelona. This facility joins those it maintains in Canberra and London. Felix Mantilla has played a major role in establishing Spain as one of the ‘new’ tennis powerhouse countries with 5 players ranked in the top 2o and of course Nadal who is ranked Number 1., and the Australian tennis authorities hope that Mantilla can start a rebuilding program that will restore Aussie tennis back to where it belongs. A tall order for any coach.

The 2009 Australian Open may only have 2 or 3 qualifiers representing the host country, a sad comment on the status of tennis in Australia, especially so since in former decades it had as many as 30 platers entered, and as many as 8 seeded players. The giants of Australian tennis are still household names throughout the world, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Ken Rosewll, Lew Hoad, John Newcombe, Tony Roche, Patrick Rafter and so on and so on, no other country in the world has such a list.

Rod Laver the left handed ‘Rocket’ is the only player to have won two Grand Slams, a Grand Slam is defined as winning all four major tournaments in a single calendar year. Laver did it twice! No modern era player has equalled this feat, Andre Agassi won all four Major tournaments but not in the same year. Neither Sampras nor Federer ever won the French, and Borg never won in Australia.

Roy Emerson won more titles than any other player, a total of 28, and he is followed closely by John Newcombe with 25.

Australian tennis is a tradition in the sport, and somehow it must regain its former glory. Hiring coaches, building new facilities, pumping money into junior player development programs will all help, but is it enough? Are young Australians motivated to be like their famous Grand parents, or are other sports occupying their time and capturing their interests? When the 2009 Australian Open begins in January it will dominate Australian TV and radio, the seating in the stands will all be sold out, and the crowds jamming the outside venues will be jostling for a position to watch the action on the big screen TV’s. There is no lack of interest, just a more competitive emerging world.

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14
Nov
08

Bernard Tomic is he Australia’s next Tennis Superstar?

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I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be the centre of attention in a country that is starving for a new tennis star to lift Australia back up to the top in its national sport. 16 year old Bernard Tomic has already beaten or equalled many of the junior records set by Leyton Hewitt, and all eyes are on this likable kid as he attempts to take his place as the next great Australian tennis player. He was recently selected to represent his country as the 6th. man on the Australian Davis Cup team against Chile, Australia lost 3-2 and Bernard never got to play, but as he said, “being selected was a great honour and the experience was wonderful.” I’m sure he will have many more opportunities to play Davis Cup matches for his country.

Bernard was born in Germany in 1992. His family moved to Australia when he was three years old, where his Father bought a tennis racket for his son at a garage sale when Bernard was about seven. He coached his son until it was obvious that Bernard had more than just a natural athletic gift for the game. He has gone on to become the 4 time successive winner of the prestigious Orange Bowl Junior championship, consider to be the toughest Junior tournament for young players. Others who won here are Roger Federer, Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors,Chris Everet, Monica Seles and Gabriela Sabatini, none won it as many times as Bernard.

He won the 2008 Australian Open Boy’s title at the age of 15, and is competing in playing matches to qualify for the 2009 main draw. If he makes it he will be just 16 years and 4 months old, seven months younger than Leyton Hewitt was when he made it. Proving that he is an all round player, he made the semi final at Wimbledon on grass, and the quarter final at Roland Garros on clay playing against players both older and stronger. He will finish this season ranked 2 or 3 in the Junior ITF rankings.

Bernard’s ambition is to the Number 1 player some day, and he is dedicated to working hard to achieve this lofty goal. He knows he has to grow physically, and he understands the commitment he has been required to make, but as he says, “If I learn to serve like Goran, have the heart of Leyton, the shots of Sampras, and the movement of Roger, then I should make it!”

Whether or not he competes in the main draw of the 2009 Australian Open in January, he will be defending his Junior crown there, and his matches will most likely be better attended than many of the matches being played by the senior pros. He has become a National tennis idol at a young age, and how he handles this pressure will tell us a lot about the character of this young man.

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