Tennis Gossip !!

#81
3-10-06

3-10-06

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
From The Daily Times: "John McEnroe and James Blake are coming to Louisville for a tennis match. It sounds like a dream, and it is. The Centre Court Racquet Club announced Tuesday that a fund-raising event called "Healthy Returns for Education" will host an exhibition match on May 3 between McEnroe -- the fiery three-time Wimbledon singles and four-time US Open champion -- and Blake -- a current Davis Cup team member, former top-ranked collegiate player and recent winner of Tennis Channel Open in Las Vegas on March 5 over Lleyton Hewitt. The pair will spar in the final event of a week-long series to benefit Blount County student foundations and the Blount Memorial Foundation. Tickets will be limited for the exhibition match. The price tag is $75, which according to Centre Court co-owner Lenny Simpson, is easily a deal. "We could have gotten Andy Roddick, but we didn't want him," said Simpson, a former player on the ATP tour. "These guys are the best. They're going to put on a great show." -- Ouch...Lindsay Davenport has lost to a Belgian in the last three Indian Wells finals...From AndyRoddick.com: "Babolat and the Andy Roddick Foundation are partnering to pull strings for charity. Babolat, in partnership with the Andy Roddick Foundation, announces a Custom+Hybrid string promotion to support the Foundation's "No Compromise" campaign. From March 15 to June 30th all tennis players who restring their racquet with a Custom+Hybrid string combination will receive a blue bracelet featuring the "No Compromise" slogan of the Andy Roddick Foundation."...From Leighton Ginn writing for The Desert Sun: "Six of the top 10 women's players are absent from the Pacific Life Open, again bring into focus how the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour does not make it mandatory for the top 50 players to play in the top events. The Pacific Life Open is a Tier I event, and is the third richest on the tour with $2.1 million in prize money. The top-level tournaments on the ATP Tour, the Masters Series, are mandatory for the top-50 players, or they will suffer fines and loss of ranking points. Elena Dementieva and Lindsay Davenport said they would welcome following the ATP's model. "I think it may be a good idea. We have to support this tournament," Dementieva said. "It's one of the biggest tournaments on the tour and we're missing some top players. I think it would be a good idea." Davenport says, "I think that's definitely a step in the right direction. It has to be something that sets the Tier I apart from the other tournaments, where players don't feel like it's OK to play Tier II instead of such a big event like this. I think they're slowly starting to adopt the same philosophy the men have since Miami is mandatory."...Look, it's Marcelo Rios playing right-handed: http://www.thedesertsun.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060309/EVENTS10/603090332/1038/sports07 ...Justine Henin-Hardenne on her injured shoulder: "It's a serious problem in the shoulder so I am not serving at all (in practices). I rest my shoulder (so) I can play without any problem but I have trouble with that. It's a tendinitis problem and it's something that will be there for my whole career."...Guillermo Coria is out of Indian Wells this week with an elbow injury...The new ATP Masters Series Broadband Console at www.atpmastersseries.tv is free during Indian Wells...From tennis writer Charlie Bricker: "Jim Courier's first career was professional tennis. In his second, he became an entrepreneur. This weekend, he's both in the kickoff event in Naples of the new four-city Outback Champions Series that brings senior tennis back to the United States after a long absence. It has taken Courier the better part of three years to resurrect this tour in the way he wants it, with younger players, more prize money ($48,000 maximum first prize) and more intense competition, but he seems to have found the right eight-man mix with himself, John McEnroe, Michael Chang, Mats Wilander, Pat Cash, Aaron Krickstein, Mikael Pernfors and Petr Korda for this inaugural. There are 21 Grand Slam singles titles among these men and, while the round-robin format will continue to dictate eight-man fields, there are other suspects waiting to play. Pete Sampras, who will play the short World Team Tennis circuit this year, is a strong possibility for later this year or in 2007 and there are hopes that two other high-profile players, Patrick Rafter and Stefan Edberg, will be sufficiently recovered from injuries to get back on court."...Scheduled today at the senior Outback Champions Series-Naples are Mats Wilander vs. Aaron Krickstein, Michael Chang vs. Petr Korda, Jim Courier vs. Mikael Pernfors, and John McEnroe vs. Pat Cash...Andy Roddick on the Indian Wells event, which a group of veteran players and investors saved from being bought out by China or the Middle East, with a few investors complaining that none of the current crop of players stepped up to help: "I think they just put on a great event. I was ecstatic when I heard it's here to stay and I think we're all pretty happy about that. They've shown a lot just for tennis. Selfishly I like it here because it's beautiful and it's a really nice place to visit." Roddick, apparently a visual learner, talking to reporters on looking at tapes of his 'old days' when he was at the top of his game, with new coach-brother John: "It's a lot easier to comprehend what someone is telling you when there is a visual in front of you. I have been looking at a lot of my good matches to see what I was doing well, my temperament, everything. Just little things. Where you're firing, when you're firing. It really hit home, seeing it."...Mardy Fish was apparently a late entry into the MS-Miami as he was given a wildcard into the qualifying. Main draw wildcards in Miami thus far are Mark Philippoussis, Nicolas Lapentti, Shenay Perry, Gustavo Kuerten, Alex Kuznetsov, of course Donald Young, Ashley Harkelroad, Vania King, Alisa Kleybanova, Jamea Jackson, Anna Tatishvilli, Angela Haynes, and Sanja Ancic...Andy Roddick on changing his game in an attempt to challenge Roger Federer: "Maybe I got caught up in thinking about how to beat one guy, and I stopped thinking about how to beat everybody else. To his credit, that's the kind of pressure he puts on guys."...Tracy Austin speaking with Tennis Week on Martina Hingis: "So many top players, and I don't say this as a cut to them, they play such a similar bang-bang or heavy topspin style. So it's really nice to see Hingis, who moves with such elegance and is such a great thinker, out there. In the middle of the point, she'll come in and hit a drop volley. At the Australian Open, seeing the way she thinks on court and seeing her change up in the middle of the point and show her versatility, float into net and execute a drop volley is impressive. First of all, most players wouldn't even think of doing it and secondly, many can't execute it. I remember at one point, she hadn't serve and volleyed the entire match so she suddenly serve-and-volleyed. One of the great things about watching Hingis is you're always wondering what she's going to do next."...From Tennis Week: "(Roger) Federer is reportedly close to signing a record racquet-endorsement deal with Wilson that would make him a Wilson ambassador for life and serve as the most lucrative racquet contract in tennis history. The contract would pay Federer $2 million annually and continue after he retires from playing tournament tennis. Federer, who formerly played with the Wilson Pro Staff and currently plays with a Wilson nCode, would be named a Wilson lifetime ambassador."...Pete Sampras speaking with the Houston Chronicle on his comeback: "I'm actually trying a bigger racket. I used a small racket my whole time on tour. But now I'm an old guy, I need some extra power. I'm using the racket that Roger Federer uses. I don't even know the name of it -- I know it's red, that's all."...Martina Hingis speaking to reporters in Indian Wells on her comeback and getting fit: "I dropped weight because my lifestyle had changed. I was like a stick. When I played Pattaya, I was 125 pounds. Now I'm like 135, 132, that's a big difference. I couldn't kill a fly."...Jimmy Connors says Wimbledon officials need to step up and buy Bjorn Borg's Wimbledon trophies that the Swede is planning to hock.
 
#82
3-11-06

3-11-06

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Bad news for James Blake as Andre Agassi says he is available for the upcoming U.S. Davis Cup match against Chile on grass: "If (U.S. Davis Cup captain) Patrick (McEnroe) concludes that I'm his next best option and he can convince me of that, then I would play. A lot can go right for anybody in these next few weeks. When my game and confidence comes around and the pieces sort of fall, I all of a sudden can be playing a pretty high level of tennis. History suggests I'm not that far removed from doing that." -- Think P-Mac will say no to Andre and risk alienating him for any future D-Cup matches? That's a lock, unless Andre gets injured or for any other reason backs out -- that's ball in Andre's court...The top-seeded Bryan brothers have a tough opener in Indian Wells against Mahesh Bhupathi and Wimbledon winner Weslie Moodie, with the winner to likely face Chilean gold medalists Fernando Gonzalez/Nicolas Massu. Other notable meetings are the Swiss Roger Federer/Yves Allegro vs. Frenchmen Richard Gasquet/Sebastien Grosjean, and Czechs (8) Frantisek Cermak/Leos Friedl vs. Croats Mario Ancic/Ivan Ljubicic...From TennisReporters.net's Matt Cronin: "The WTA will move to hard designating more Tier Is in the future, but Indian Wells will have a tough time getting on that list because it's played just before Miami. Additionally, since the Super-Nine formula of hard designations has essentially failed on the ATP Tour with the stars choosing to play when they want to, it's difficult to see a similar system working on the injury-riddled WTA Tour either. Heck, the WTA can't seem to get the Williamses to play anything these days (even though they may show for Miami). Serena's fines must have hit a solid $300,000 by now, but she's not playing...We've been propping American junior Alexa Glatch for a couple of years now as the nation's most promising girl, but the tall blonde jockette took a major step backwards in November, when she busted her right wrist and left elbow when she slammed into a dog on a motor scooter."...Roger Federer on Rafael Nadal: "I don't think we can call it a rivalry yet. There's just to many great players around." -- Ouch, when you've won only one out of four meetings, and that one win was coming from two sets down, you could say it is barely a rivalry...Andre Agassi speaking with reporters at IW on Rog vs. Rafa: "It's great to see that the one person that's close to him in the rankings is his most difficult match-up. Nadal can hit that one shot that everybody wishes they can hit against Roger and that's getting the ball up to his backhand side. It's isn't brain surgery. Nobody likes it up there. That's the only area that Roger doesn't hurt you with. So it's great to see a match-up that lends for a rivalry for a long time to come."...Bill Dwyre writing for the LA Times: "(Roger) Federer meandered into a press gathering, dressed in a drab gray sweatshirt and dirty jeans, hair slightly disheveled. And suddenly, you had the Beatles. It was standing room only. From all corners, cameras buzzed, whirred and clicked. Federer smiles. Buzz, whir, click. Federer gestures. Buzz, whir, click. It was 15 minutes of "Access Hollywood" and, as an afterthought, some questions about tennis."...Results from matches Friday at the senior tour Champions Cup-Naples were Mats Wilander d. Aaron Krickstein 2-6, 6-2, 10-2, Michael Chang d. Petr Korda 6-2, 6-4, Jim Courier d. Mikael Pernfors 6-2, 6-4 and Pat Cash d. John McEnroe 2-6, 7-6(5), 10-6. Saturday's schedule in Naples is Courier vs. Korda, Chang vs. Pernfors, McEnroe vs. Wilander, and Cash vs. Krickstein...More from the tenacious Matt Cronin: "(Andre) Agassi told tennisreporters.net that his contract with Dubai is done, which means that there is a possibility that he'll play the Tennis Channel Open (Las Vegas) next year. However, he lives very close to the site and said that having the tournament the first week of March is very risky, given that on Sunday, it's scheduled to snow 2-3 inches at his compound (which means at the Darling Tennis Center, too). He was quite interested in how the tournament went, but isn't sure whether at 36, he wants to go out and play in 40 degree temperatures at night. If I'm (Tennis Channel Open Tournament Director) Steve Bellamy, I'm guaranteeing AA day matches...Tim Henman scored a 6-3 6-1 victory over American teenager Donald Young, who received a wild card. Henman said that Young is over his head at the pro level and it's time to stop giving the 17-year-old wild cards. The Donald has yet to win a set on the ATP Tour."...Marcelo Rios says he doesn't want to make the sacrifices to play ATP-level matches again, but that since he has been the No. 1-ranked junior and a No. 1 on the ATP, he is currently training to reach No. 1 on the senior tour...From Novinite.com: "Former tennis No. 1 Martina Hingis will play in Bulgaria for the first time in a grand April 28 show. Hingis and several other big names -- including Conchita Martinez, Lizel Huber and Natasha Zvereva -- will come to mark the end of Bulgarian star racket Maggie Maleeva's playing career. Mobile operator Vivatel is supporting the spectacular event, which will take place at Maggie's own supermodern sport complex. After more than 15 years as a top tennis pro, Maleeva decides to withdraw and dedicate herself to promoting the sport center and her fashion house Capasca." Maggie's own supermodern sport complex and fashion house? Maggie is the Donald Trump of Bulgaria...Testament to the perks of being an IMG client: Wildcards for "The" Donald Young and Mark "The Dud Scud" Philippoussis this week at Indian Wells, and against next week at Miami, and again, and again until they reach their max wildcard limit for 2006...From The Desert Sun: "A four-time doubles champion, Lisa Raymond said she's relishing a new role with a new partner." -- Won't touch that...Lindsay Davenport, who will likely again this year skip the majority of the claycourt season, is conflicted on the WTA Tour schedule, saying earlier this week she would like to see the women's tour make their Tier I stops a requirement for players like the ATP does for their Masters Series events, but yesterday at Indian Wells reiterating that she wants to make her own schedule in 2006: "At the end of Australia, I'm not playing 13 plus the slams. I can't play 17," Davenport told reporters. "It was still given to me (by the WTA as), 'You have to.' 'You mean to tell me you're going to make me enter tournaments and I'm going to have to look bad pulling out even though I'm telling you I'm never going to play it?' and the answer we get is 'Yeah, basically.'"...Lisa Dillman writing for the LA Times on Andy Roddick's coaching situation with his brother John, who it turns out was responsible for his late-hour pull from The Tennis Channel Open in Las Vegas: "John already influenced one decision. After Memphis, Roddick pulled out of his next tournament, in Las Vegas. "My nature is you fall off the horse, you get back on and you just keep going," Roddick said. "He said, 'You know what, let's just calm down. Let's get back. Let's get to work a little bit.'"
 
#83
3-12-06

3-12-06

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Saturday winners at the senior tour Champions Cup-Naples were Jim Courier def. Petr Korda 6-1, 6-3, Mikael Pernfors def. Michael Chang 0-6, 2-5 (Ret.), John McEnroe def. Mats Wilander 3-6, 6-1, 10-5, and Aaron Krickstein def. Pat Cash 6-1, 6-1. "It's not often that a player gets wheeled out on a gurney and is able to play the next day," Courier told the Naples News on Chang's injury. "The news we're hearing is that he probably is going to have to have surgery on his Achilles." Scheduled for Sunday are Korda vs. Pernfors, McEnroe vs. Krickstein, Courier vs. Chang, and Wilander vs. Cash...Rough Saturday at the Masters Series-Indian Wells, with the wind and cold making for almost-empty stands during many matches, where Saturday is supposed to be a tournament's money-maker...Mark Philippoussis was suffering from a virus during his opening-round loss...Maria Sharapova on her mother Yelena: "She's not the type of person that likes to go to the tournaments and likes to be around basically a zoo with all animals. She's a very quiet lady and she doesn't like attention. She's very down to Earth. She'd rather read books all day than hanging around the players' lounge with all the players and the coaches and all the parents. It's not her thing."...Ivan Ljubicic says Goran Ivanisevic has yet to accept the Croatian Davis Cup captaincy after quarreling with the federation, and that Ljubicic will captain the team for their next tie in April...Tennisreporters.net's Matt Cronin in IW: "At 8:02 pm, most of the matches were cancelled. Some 10 minutes later, the tournament had reversed its course but 98 percent of the players had left the grounds, as well as the tour's staff. It took an hour for the maintenance crew to attempt to dry the court in a haphazard way and at about 9:15, they called it off anyway, even though the stadium court appeared to be dry. But who wants to play in 44-degree temperatures anyway? At that point, the only two players hanging around were Rainer Schuettler and Boris Pashanski. Their match had begun at 10:53 pm on Friday night and some 22 hours later, they still couldn't finish it. Only 18 of the 46 matches were completed, and some of those were already delayed, so Sunday and Monday will be very busy days."...Mark Philippoussis has taken a wildcard into this week's Sunrise (Florida) Challenger.
 
#84
3-13-06

3-13-06

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Who won the hair battle Sunday, Carlos Moya who with the headband looked like he was rocking the '80s-style mullet, or Marat Safin with the samurai bun on top of his head?...How about Brit Tennis Channel announcer John Barret referring to Carlos Moya and Marat Safin as "handsome beasts," and with the camera focusing on fat Peter Lundgren, Safin's coach sitting in the crowd, referring to him as a "fine figure of a man" -- that's good stuff...Andre Agassi on cortisone shots and his current conditioning: "I had one just before San Jose this year. The one before was starting the summer. Not playing over the fall, I never felt my back, because in everyday life it's not an issue. It's only when I sort of put my body through the trauma of all those movements out there on the tennis court. So it's fair to say I almost even forgot about my back and, when I started getting back into the tennis again in January and practicing, I was aware of it to some degree, but, again, it escalated a little quicker than I wanted...It interfered a little bit with my on-court practice. Went to Dubai, had only two days of rain that it gets a year there, and I just -- I never felt comfortable on the court. But my body felt fine. This week has been a little bit better with my game. My body is still hanging in there."...From Matt Cronin writing for Reuters: "Andre Agassi is attempting to put together a consortium to buy Bjorn Borg's five replica Wimbledon trophies. Financially-strapped Swede Borg is planning to auction off the five trophies he won between 1976 and 1980 as well as two signed rackets he used. The sale is due to go ahead on June 21 at Bonham's salerooms in London and the trophies and rackets are collectively expected to bring in between 200,000 and 300,000 pounds ($521,100). "I've discussed it with my own people to find a way of gathering the right people together to buy those trophies and do right by the game to purchase them," Agassi told reporters at the Pacific Life Open."...Winners Sunday at the senior tour Champions Cup-Naples were Mikael Pernfors def. Petr Korda 7-6 (5), 3-6, 10-8, John McEnroe def. Aaron Krickstein 6-4, 6-2, Jim Courier def. Michael Chang by walkover (Achilles injury), and Pat Cash def. Mats Wilander 7-5, 6-1. Courier will face Cash in the championship match Monday evening, with The Tennis Channel broadcasting the third-place match between Pernfors and McEnroe, and the championship match between Courier and Cash on tape delay on Tuesday at 8pm (EST)...More from Andre Agassi on the Bjorn Borg trophy debacle: "I think it would be amazing for the fans of tennis to be able to see them. But first things come first. I'd like to see the sport come together to figure out a way to make sure they don't get into the wrong hands." -- Wrong hands? Are these trophies or nuclear weapons? Is John McEnroe going to buy them and replace the toilets in his house?...Andy Roddick on his new buzz cut in Indian Wells: "(Laughing) there is no reason for the haircut. I was sitting around at about 11:30 at night last week with some friends. We had clippers, so we got rid of it. Good thing about hair, is it grows back."...U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe may miss the April tie against Chile as his wife and he are expecting their first child around April 17th.
 
#85
3-14-06

3-14-06

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
From the ATP, sticking where the money is: "The Chinese promoters of Tennis Masters Cup, co-owned by the ATP, ITF, and Grand Slams, have extended their commitment for Shanghai to host the elite eight-man and eight-team tournament through 2008. Shanghai, which last year hosted the circuit finale for the first year of a three-year commitment, will now host the tournament for a minimum of four consecutive years, running into 2008." And how will the ATP make it up to Shanghai organizers if five of the Top 8 qualifiers bail again this year?...From the Naples News on John McEnroe playing this week at the senior tour event in South Florida: "During the (Aaron) Krickstein match, McEnroe reportedly used profanity in yelling at a lines person while disputing a call. The lines person talked to the chair umpire following the incident. "If they think they're going to intimidate me by sort of going up there and saying he said a bad word or whatever, that could've been successful 15 or 20 years ago maybe when they sort of tried to run me out," McEnroe said. "Now there's absolutely nothing they can do, basically. If they think for one second they're going to throw me out of the match because I tell some guy to go screw himself, they've got another thing coming."...TennisWorld's Peter Bodo says Andre Agassi's loss to Tommy Haas is the beginning of the end in 2006: "We watched Agassi grow up in this game, just like Connors did, and we rode out all the inanities, petulant demands, and vulgarities along the way. We took the good with the bad and it's pretty easy to see which of the two came out on top. Agassi is as close as you will come to having a child born of the game, and what he became over the years is a comment both on the game -- and on Agassi. I'm comfortable with the statement. The countdown has started, it seems. Enjoy Andre while you can." -- but haven't we been hearing that going on three years or so now from every media corner?...Wayne Arthurs and partner/former player Caroline Gideskog welcomed a baby girl, Amber Leah Arthurs, on Tuesday...Marat Safin says it's not the racquet or balls causing all the injuries on tour, but overplaying: "Not the surfaces, not the balls, it's not the players, it's nothing to do with the fact that what you're doing on a court. It's just the schedule is so tight. I mean, you cannot ask the player to be on a tour for 10 years without even having a rest for one month. We don't have a rest at all, so no wonder players are injured for three years, Thomas Johansson injured two years, me, I've been injured so many times that out of eight years of my career, I've been injured four years. So it's like then the people, they don't really realize. They want to squeeze the maximum from the players."...From John Elder writing for the Sydney Morning Herald: "Bec Cartwright is the new Princess Diana -- as far as Woman's Day and New Idea are concerned. The editors of the magazines say a new instalment of the Bec and Lleyton love affair -- and breeding program -- guarantees a huge surge in circulation: up to an extra 100,000 sales. Alana House of Woman's Day, which averages 525,000 sales a week, says: "When we had the first baby photos [of Mia], we had the biggest sales in 10 years. You're talking about the height of the Princess Di days. Bec Cartwright is massive. She's eclipsed Princess Mary. She is the No. 1 selling cover girl in Australia. They can't get enough of her. She puts our sales into the 600,000s."...Lisa Dillman writing for the LA Times: "(American Vania) King's recent success, which included making the semifinals at a Tier III event in Bangalore, India, last month, has sparked debate, even within her family, about turning pro. Her older brother Phillip, who twice won the USTA national 18-and-under singles title at Kalamazoo, Mich., before going to Duke, landed in the yes camp. "He's very insistent on that," Vania said. "For him, I think he went to college and was seeing Andy [Roddick] and Mardy [Fish], who he used to beat, and James [Blake] and Taylor [Dent]. They're all doing so well. "He feels, 'If I didn't go to college, maybe I could have been with them.' I think that's part of it." Still, Vania has taken a wider view of the situation. "I've seen a lot of players -- even though I've just started -- that stayed [ranked] around 40 or 50 the last 10 or 15 years, and I just don't think that's a good life," she said. "You're making good money, but you're working so hard. And one injury could cost you your career."...Marat Safin talking to reporters at IW on taking down countryman Nikolay Davydenko for the second time in his 2006 comeback: "It's difficult to deal with the pressure for him. I was nervous, too, I can admit it. I have no problem with that and then we got into tiebreak, we both, I think, would been choking. I don't want to lose to him. Of course, he doesn't want to lose to me. It's like a derby. We both handled pretty well without discussing things and pushing each other and give the faces to each other. He is a gentleman on the court. He knows how to swallow it. He knows to give the well-done shake after the match. I think it's very impressive, even though he was very close to win it. I have total respect for him."...From Tennisreporters.net's Matt Cronin on Elena Dementieva: "There will also come a time when she realizes that spending every waking minute with her mother and now coach (which remains incredible considering that Vera D., unlike some other tennis parents, never studied the sport) stunts her development. There will also arrive a time when she gets out of her obsession pattern of going crosscourt and braves more shots down the line. Then, and only then, will she give herself a shot at her much-desired No. 1 ranking and maybe a Slam crown."...Wimbledon officials say they will make the seats wider at the venue for 2006 to accommodate the citizenry's expanding asses...From Euroweeklynews on spokes-Barbie Anna Kournikova: "Tennis babe Anna Kournikova is the new face of the Balearics. The choice of Kournikova, more famous for her appearances in lads' magazines and gossip columns than her success on the tennis court, is sure to cause controversy. Her first assignment was at the Berlin ITB Travel Fair, which opened yesterday, promoting the 2006 Pula Golf Classic."...Maria Sharapova on adding some depth to her game, working on getting to the net: "I did it in a few of my matches in Dubai. I was hitting a great first volley, then I was like, 'Whoa, do I need a second volley too?' I'm doing a lot more drills, a lot more volleys because before, I'd hit a great approach shot and kind of go to La La Land. I didn't really know what I was doing out there. But now I definitely feel a lot more confident. A year ago, I probably wouldn't even have in my mind to go to the net. Everything was basically just from the baseline for me and that took a year for me to actually get in my mind and start going. Now it's just a process of working on it, getting it better, and adding it to my game when I'm playing matches."
 
#86
3-15-06

3-15-06

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Gustavo Kuerten
took another step toward retirement, pulling out of the MS-Miami with his chronic hip problem after also missing Indian Wells this week: "I still don't feel ready to compete at a high level," Kuerten told the AP. "I have undergone exams this past week, and my hip still lacks stability. I will spend the upcoming weeks in the U.S. undergoing treatment."...Tim Henman will drop out of the Top 50 after his early exit in Indian Wells...From Bonnie DeSimone writing for ESPN: "No. 2 Rafael Nadal's win over top-ranked Roger Federer in Dubai was his 13th career victory overall, putting him three shy of the somewhat obscure but still impressive record held by Bjorn Borg for tour wins by a teenager. Nadal turns 20 on June 3, giving him a little less than three months to overtake Borg. That stretch coincides with Nadal's favorite time of year, the claycourt season, including the Masters Series events in Monte Carlo, Rome and Hamburg. You have to like Nadal's chances if he stays healthy."...Xavier "X-Man" Malisse checking in with the NCAA college basketball March Madness while blogging for the ATP website from Indian Wells: "This week there's been some discussion in the locker room about the NCAA basketball brackets. You hear the American guys talking about it but it's all a bit of a mystery to the Europeans. My interest is somewhere in the middle because I'm a native Belgian who lives in Florida. I've been watching the lead-up games like the Pac-10. I'm more into the NBA but I'll take an interest in college hoops when March Madness comes around. Xavier is in there so I have to stick with them. I filled out a bracket the last couple of years here in Indian Wells but I never followed up to check my progress. So while I'll be watching the games I won't be filling out a bracket this year."...Matt Cronin writing for Tennisreporters.net on Lindsay Davenport's back injury: "But she's not quite in the mental space where she'll commit to a long layoff, even if you could see the tears welling up in her eyes when she talked about her frustration with the injury. "I can't figure it out yet," she said. "I don't mind playing on [clay]. It would be hard to go, gosh, three months without playing at all and go straight into some big tournaments if it is in June or July. We'll have to see exactly how this progresses. I haven't given up on [clay] this year. I don't know why. Most years I do and end up going [anyway]." Also from the American journalist Cronin: "Like (Andre) Agassi, reality will have to set in with Davenport. Since 1998, they've been two the US' leading lights and despite the rough spots in their personalities (and who doesn't have those?) they will be sorely missed when they retire. At least they will think about the issues of the day and frequently weigh in heavily on the directions of the tours. Without them, the US tennis public will largely be left to the "I really only think about my tennis" quotes, which only highlights the stupidity and selfishness of certain locker room rats (or in (Maria) Sharapova's eyes, "the animals in the zoo") who drives folks away from tennis to watch other forms of entertainment."...Before another journalist drags out their "Andre is Finished" piece, can you reflect that he lost to a former No. 2-ranked player currently near or at the top of his game in Tommy Haas, held two set points in the first, and has only played a limited scheduled (two minor events, missing the Aussie Open) thus far in 2006, which doubtlessly impacts his confidence level? Stop the madness. If anything, save the retirement-bell ringing and go write a story about Agassi's fragile mental state with his comments about the Dubai loss to Bjorn "Not That Bjorn" Phau, the odd proclamation that he is ready to play Davis Cup on grass against Chile, and his teen-Agassi-like racquet smashing and attempted-umpire-intimidating meltdown against Paul Goldstein...35-year-old Brenda Schultz-McCarthy, who retired in 1999 after back surgery, on her 2006 comeback: "In 2005 my back was feeling better. I changed my service motion, using my knees a bit more and not so much my legs. I was asked to coach the Fed Cup team, and I tried playing against a few of the girls. I told myself, 'If I can beat the Fed Cup girls, then I want to actually play in the Fed Cup.' I did beat most of the girls from the team and so they let me play. It went well, I played singles and doubles. Although we didn't win, I really enjoyed it. Then, I played some TeamTennis, and had wins over (Martina) Sucha and (Anne) Kremer. I decided to give the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour another shot before I started a family." -- Wow, not many players out there are looking at wins over Sucha and Anne "Kosmo" Kremer as the launching pad for a comeback. The big-serving Schultz-McCarthy says she is looking forward to the grasscourt season and Wimbledon, where her best effort was the quarterfinals: "I want to get there one more time, to the green grass. Wimbledon would be absolutely wonderful. There are a few tournaments at the end of the season I would like to play as well, indoor events like Quebec City. Maybe Cincinnati also, in the summer."...Amer Delic rolled his ankle in the Sunrise (Florida) Challenger qualifying and may miss Miami...From Charlie Bricker writing for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "After eight hours of driving and overnight flying from Indian Wells, Calif., to Sunrise -- not to mention nearly three hours of interminable rallies earlier with Lleyton Hewitt -- Rainer Schuettler was ready for a full night's sleep. And he got it Tuesday evening, but only after putting in an hour-and-a-half practice at the Sunrise Tennis Center to shake off some of the jet lag and get ready for his first-round match today against Peter Luczak of Australia at the BMW Championships [Sunrise Challenger]."...Roger Federer in Indian Wells speaking to reporters on the return of Martina Hingis: "To be honest, I didn't think it's going to go that fast for her, to climb up the rankings and all this. I thought she might crack Top 30 at the end of the year. Here we are probably thinking she has a shot at winning a [Grand] Slam [event]. It's quite incredible."
 
#87
3-16-06

3-16-06

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
From Ibnlive.com: "All of 20, tennis ace Sania Mirza has been a sensation on and off the field. But the success story of India's youngest tennis star is not inspiring enough to be told to students. She is still not 'big' enough to he hailed as a role model for students -- at least this is what the National Council for Education Research and Training would like to believe. Which is why a suggestion to have a chapter Sania in the new NCERT schoolbooks has been turned down. The council, that frames books for schoolchildren, has come up with a list of personalities as role models for young students and has promptly left out the tennis ace from the list. Instead there will be a lesson on Bachendri Pal, the first Indian women to climb Mount Everest." -- We're betting Sania could take her in a climb-off...Matt Cronin writing for Tennisreporters.net on the Andy Roddick meltdown at IW: "What's particularly frustrating about watching Roddick play now is that he doesn't even realize when he's in control of a match. He played (a) decent tiebreaker and saw (Igor) Andreev gag a little. The Russian was no paragon of mental strength then, (but) neither was Roddick, later. "Judging from by the way he went and attacked the net in the middle of the tiebreaker, went Sideshow Bob [a Simpson's character] on it, I feel like I had him against the grain a little bit," Roddick said. But then Roddick began to look a little like Homer Simpson himself at the beginning of the third set, failing to come up with winners when he had the match in his hands and (was) moving clumsily about the court. He let go of three break points in the first game of the third set, and his mind melted. "Basically, it came down to I had a forehand pass there and nursed it," Roddick said. "He hit a volley. If I get up a break, it's a different momentum. I don't know what the hell I did. I went on walkabout and gave up the next game. It was just like a blur."...Rafael Nadal twisted his ankle somewhat Wednesday in his singles win at Indian Wells, withdrawing from the doubles...From Tennis Week: "While the nine of the world's top 10 players began this week racing around the Indian Wells hardcourts in pursuit of the Pacific Life Open title, the lone member of the top 10 who is not playing Indian Wells was busy digging in the dirt, trying to pick up the pieces of his game and rebuild his cracked confidence on the red clay courts of nearby Mission Hills. Seventh-ranked Guillermo Coria has been busy preparing for the clay-court season during daily practice sessions a the Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California under the watchful eyes of veteran coach Jose Higueras, who formerly worked with two-time French Open champion Jim Courier and briefly coached 14-time Grand Slam champion Pete Sampras."...Hard to pick a winner among the range of stupid questions posed to Andy Roddick after his loss in IW, but here's one: "Obviously you haven't had time to think about it, but do you think you'll go to Rancho Mirage and check out the courts there before Florida? Roddick: No. I mean, I pretty much don't know how that would go. I'd go look, it would be grass, I'd walk on it, go to Miami. No. Sorry."...The ATP announced a new 7-year official partnership with China's largest sports clothing company, the Beijing Li-Ning Sports Goods Company. Co-branded ATP-Li-Ning tennis clothes will be available in Li-Ning's more than 3,000 stores across China...Bill Dwyre in the LA Times: "Andy Roddick is the teenage son who wrecks your car and, as you place your hands on his neck in the strangle position, tells you he was on his way to buy flowers for his mom. He's the golden retriever who chews a hole in your easy chair and then follows you to the garage, licking your ankle as you get the belt. He is a tennis player by trade, the third best in the world among male players, according to the mathematicians who calculate such things. He has won more than $10 million doing this, and he is only 23 years old. He even won a major title, the 2003 US Open, and reached the final of the last two Wimbledons...Then, our Andy shows up and, more often than not lately, blows a gasket early and leaves the American tennis fan no choice but to figure out who Janko Tipsarevik (sic) is." -- Or how to spell Tipsarevic...Dale Robertson writing for the Houston Chronicle: "It proved to be a half-million-dollar mistake, one Linda McIngvale vows won't be repeated. Never again will the grounds crew at Westside Tennis Club (ATP Houston event) be allowed to take shortcuts in maintaining the red-clay courts. In the future, there will be nothing but by-the-book upkeep, she promises. Although McIngvale, who owns the club with her discount furniture impresario husband, Jim, has become fond of her "French guys," she hopes to not see them again any time soon. When French red clay goes bad -- and anybody who attended the 2005 U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships could see that Westside's had gone bad -- you don't just thumb through the Yellow Pages looking for a solution. You go all the way to Paris, to Roland Garros."...Andy Roddick on if he thinks there is a "target on his back" among other players with his poor play of late: "I don't know. You know what, if there is, there is. But it's been there for two years. So it's not all of a sudden some new thing. I mean, first I was the punk kid that nobody wanted to lose to. It goes on, so on and so forth. I don't think that's some new thing or valid reason why I'm not going deep in tennis tournaments."
 
#88
3-21-06

3-21-06

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Lindsay Davenport
pulled from Miami Monday, citing her back injury that flared up in Indian Wells... U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe writing for ESPN: "(James) Blake's play is great for the United States Davis Cup team, and it's great that Andre Agassi is interested in playing again. After Blake's performance at the Pacific Life Open, three Americans are in the Top 10 for the first time since 2000 (Andy Roddick is ranked No. 4 and Agassi is No. 10). That's great for American tennis. James has brought a lot to the table in Davis Cup, and obviously what he did in Indian Wells has been a major statement. I'm excited, and we'll get Roddick on track. We're feeling pretty good about our chances this year."...Mardy Fish is experiencing how his management company "Special Effects" (SFX) has little pull at the IMG-run Masters Series-Miami this week, with the former Top 20-ranked American forced to play the qualifying. Fish won his first-round qualifying match Monday over Frenchman Julien "United Colors of" Benneteau...Lleyton Hewitt drops from the Top 10 to No. 14 after his early Indian Wells exit, and Tim Henman plunges out of the Top 50...From the ATP: "Sir Richard Branson, the world-renowned British entrepreneur behind the Virgin Brand, and Florida Marlins starting pitcher Jason Vargas, and tennis legends Billie Jean King and Jim Courier will join with tennis stars Roger Federer, Maria Sharapova, James Blake and Venus Williams at "Stars for Stars," the Official Awards Party for Professional Tennis on Tuesday at the Four Seasons Hotel Miami. The event, which sold out over the weekend, will feature sumptuous food prepared by Miami's most-renowned chefs following the presentation of the awards to honor the achievements from 2005. Nominees include Kim Clijsters, Rafael Nadal, Sania Mirza, Marcos Baghdatis, Justine Henin-Hardenne, Andy Murray, Maria Kirilenko and the Bryan Brothers among others."...From Charlie "The Blogging Brick" Bricker: "OK fan, get involved: I'm going to be on the stadium court Wednesday for the opening match of the Nasdaq-100 and I don't care who's playing because I want to be there when the first player challenge is issued and the first replay aired on the big screens above the court showing whether the ball was in or out. What would feel particularly pleasant is if the fans got into, screaming "Challenge!" down to the involved player. Do you suppose we need those NFL red flags so the offended player can reach into his back pocket and throw it on the court?"...From AndyRoddick.com: "The Nasdaq-100 has released it's draw for the 1st Round of Men's Singles. Many have been looking forward to the first round draw of the Nasdaq 100. There are many interesting matchups. As expected, Andy will be awaiting the results of the match between Andrei Pavel (ROM) and Alberto Martin (ESP)." -- Besides the see-spot-run writing style, can we ask how Andy was expecting to be waiting for the Pavel-Martin winner before the draw came out Monday? Is Andy psychic?...In Miami, what happens when some prick such as (fill in the blank) gets so pissed off during a match that he calls for a video replay for the hell of it, like when his opponent hits a passing shot that clips the tape then lands five feet in? That will be good theater, and likely elicit some good booing from the crowd...Hawk-Eye inventor Paul Hawkins speaking with The Independent demonstrating why he doesn't understand PR or marketing: "With unlimited challenges they can say 'Hey, that was close. I was wrong, but no harm in looking,' whereas if it's limited they are saying, 'I am sure you are wrong.' If it is then shown the line judge was correct, it puts the player in an uncomfortable position. Why should a player need to become involved in the officiating anyway? Why doesn't the umpire have a little screen by his chair? If he is not sure of the call, he can look at our system and decide whether to overrule or not. So the player doesn't need to challenge." -- Yes, cool clinical technology without player or fan involvement, wouldn't that be great for the game...From Tennis Week: "If it seems (Maria) Sharapova is everywhere at Crandon Park that's because the Sports Illustrated swim suit model will be showing multiple sides of herself. Actually, there will be six Sharapova's appearing around the grounds at Crandon Park as Canon, an endorsee of the 2004 Wimbledon winner, will have six Sharapova look-alikes placed throughout the tournament grounds taking photos with fans from Friday, March 24th through Tuesday March 28th."...Elena Dementieva is 1-4 vs. Russians in finals...Jason Dasey writing for ESPN: "As for Elena (Dementieva), she's more girl-next-door than pin-up girl, yet has won many admirers with her natural beauty, charm and grace. Her tennis attire is sporty rather than sexy: instead of the (Maria) Sharapova-style baby-doll nighties, Elena's outfits are geared for on-court comfort, although she still cuts a striking figure in her preferred colour of red. She also has a strong, intellectual side that comes across with her thoughtful and measured answers during media conferences and interviews." -- Stalker alert!...Martina Hingis is 2-6 vs. Top 10 opponents in 2006...Amelie Mauresmo says now that she is back on top of the WTA Rankings, there's no reason she can't finish the year No. 1: "The first time, I had the feeling it would not last whereas now, things are much more under control," she told the sports daily L'Equipe. "And if I have things under control, it means it's going to last much longer. My main target is now to still be at this place at the end of the year. I now feel I really dominate women's tennis. It makes a big difference."
 
#89
3-28-06

3-28-06

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
According to FHM magazine readers, Maria Sharapova is the eighth sexiest woman in the world, behind No. 1 Scarlett Johansson...From the blogging Charlie Bricker: "It's 4 p.m. and on this sixth day of the Nasdaq and the players are proving what I thought all along -- that their eyesight isn't half as good as they think it is. Either that or the apoplectic fits they went through with chair umpires before we had electronic line calling was, at least to some extent, an effort to get a make-up call somewhere down the line. At this point in the afternoon, the players have been right 27.1 percent of the time with 26 calls overturned out of 96 challenges and now James Blake, who is the No. 1 stand-up player in tennis, men or women, is delivering some straight talk on line calling, the treatment of linespeople and the future of the Hawk-Eye system. "Maybe we'll be humbled a bit. I think a lot of us need that, so maybe we'll stop arguing with the umpire," Blake said. "Maybe we'll realize the linespeople are getting it right. They're doing their job. I think some of these challenges might be just in hopes as opposed to really thinking they're right."...Tennis-X Punter's Likeliest Upset of the Day: (Q) Simon Greul d. (4) Andy Roddick...The 2006 World Team Tennis draft begins at 10 am (EST) on Tuesday in Miami, featuring players Pete Sampras, Venus Williams and John McEnroe, and fans can follow the draft results live on-line at www.WTT.com ...Justine Henin-Hardenne is staying in the U.S. to train for her 2006 claycourt debut in Charlotte during the week of April 10...Though it has nice bells and whistles, content-wise could Marat Safin's website suck harder?...Roger Federer has won his last 44 matches on U.S. soil...Andy Roddick and Robby Ginepri pulled from the Miami doubles with Ginepri ill...From Andy Roddick's personal trainer Dougie Spreen: "The most important thing for me to make sure that Andy is feeling good and we used those few days to make sure his body feels good. We wanted him feeling good and ready to go when we got to Miami this week." -- So how was Andy feeling? Good?...No U.S. women are in the Miami quarterfinals for the first time since 1990...From the Mercury News: "Tennis great Billie Jean King plans to design a tennis and fitness center for the first gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual retirement community in Palm Springs. "This will be a fun place to live and be healthy," King said Thursday. "It's about the body, mind and spirit -- the whole person."...From The Australian catching up with Damir Dokic: "Since arriving in the struggling village of Vrdnik he has bought a fountain for the rundown town square, put on a festival for the locals featuring free beer and a roasted ox, and even paid for a new fence for the school. The locals have been delighted by his generosity but some are still a little wary about their new benefactor. "He has a good soul but he can be...well, a bit difficult," says Mayor Zivko Lezakov with a diplomatic smile...The Australian telephoned and visited Dokic's house several times but he refused to be interviewed, saying he would only do so for $25,000. "I am sick of being mocked in the Australian media," he said angrily, speaking in Serbian through the intercom at the end of his long driveway."...Brit Davis Cup captain Jeremy Bates speaking with The Times on Andy Murray: "He needs everyone to get behind him because it's not an easy journey he's on and we need to respect that. Mentally, he's one of the strongest 18-year-olds I've encountered in my life and a great match player, technically very aware and he's really good fun, too, when you get to know him. I have as much time for him as he wants from me."...Roger Federer speaking with the Miami Herald on his internet habits: "I don't really surf. I go to rogerfederer.com to see what fans write. I check out newspapers and some tennis things, but not much else unless I'm looking for specific information."
 
#90
3-30-06

3-30-06

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Ivan Ljubicic
on acting as Croatia's Davis Cup player/captain: "It is a lot of work, I have to say. I just announced that this next match is gonna be my last as a captain. The problem is all the work with the media about the match, especially now when it's coming closer, all the talks with the federation representing the players, representing everyone. It's not easy, definitely. On a consistent basis, it's little bit too hard. One thing is (to) talk with Mario (Ancic) as a partner, but (it is another) to talk with him as a captain. With him, it's always I want to have a good relationship because we always play doubles together, we always do a lot of things together. I prefer that relationship to be healthy instead of making some mistakes as a captain."...If you've got your wireless laptop or handheld at the NASDAQ-100 in Miami you'll find a search yields more than 12 wireless sources, with half of them unencrypted, nice...The odd match-up of Gloria Estefan and Tommy Lee Jones are on hand Thursday in Miami at the NASDAQ-100 for a Mercedes-Benz fashion show...From the Dallas News: "David Beckham, Giants running back Tiki Barber and tennis diva Maria Sharapova are all on the ballot for Vanity Fair's International Best-Dressed list."...From the blogging Peter Bodo: "So here I am in Miami, and I have to tell you, it's dead as a doornail. It's after 2 P.M. already, and the only thing that's been going on is the less-than-marquee match-up between Tatiana Golovin and Jie "Shtrait Outta Si Chuan" Zheng. It's okay, as such things go, but the stadium is maybe one third full. And this is the quarterfinals of, arguably, The U.S.'s second most prestigious pro tournament. The quarterfinals of what Butch Buccholz, founder of the NASDAQ-100 (and one of the all-time great guys in tennis), had dreamed up as the "fifth Grand Slam," later revised to "The Latin Slam."...Arlen Kantarian, the former NFL Properties executive and current USTA honcho is on the long list for NFL commish...From Steve Tignor blogging for Tennis.com: "(Andy) Roddick has played some solid tennis in Key Biscayne so far, but watching him live it's easy to see that he's playing from the same far-back position in the court as always. Roddick says he was a baseline grinder for much of his junior career, and he's just comfortable back there. It must be so: His coaches keep changing, but he's in the same spot."...From Charles Elmore writing for the Palm Beach Post: "You need only to have watched Spain's David Ferrer Tuesday to appreciate the absurdity of the coaching rules and enforcement now. Ferrer received a warning for talking to coach Javier Piles at his courtside seat during an injury timeout for opponent Olivier Rochus in their fourth-round match at the Nasdaq-100 Open. But that rare warning only stopped one obvious conversation. Piles continued touching his cap from his courtside seat, pointing two fingers toward his eyes, and touching his finger to his mouth throughout Ferrer's 6-7 (5), 7-6 (2), 7-5 win. Piles talked to Ferrer between points, when the No. 11-seeded Spaniard ostensibly went to the back corner to towel off sweat from his face. They avoided eye contact during those moments, like spies on a park bench."...Thursday in Miami, chance of rain 20 percent, high of 78 degrees.
 
#91
3-31-06

3-31-06

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Roger Federer
has gone 155 matches without a straight-sets loss, and has not lost in back-to-back tournaments since August 2004...The NASDAQ stock market will conduct its first live-opening bell on Friday from the NASDAQ-100 Open in Miami at 9:20 am (EST)...To say Ivan Ljubicic is feeling confident this week at Miami is an understatement: "I'm No. 2 now for points of this year, definitely I feel like No. 2 player in the world. It's not a secret. It's not just the feeling. Also I think the numbers are showing the same way."...Ivan Ljubicic on his countryman Goran Ivanisevic, who is playing the senior tour and has waffled on taking over the Croatian Davis Cup captaincy: "I'm talking to Goran on a regular basis, almost every day. He just sprained his ankle again, or course. I mean, he's very unlucky with his injuries. But he's not changing his mind at the moment (about taking the Davis Cup captaincy). But he might, you just never know with him."...The ATP announced that U.K. sports executive Phil Anderton has been named the organization's Chief Marketing Officer. Anderton, 40, comes to the ATP with an extensive background in global sports management and consumer goods marketing including work with the Coca-Cola Company and Procter & Gamble...29-year-old three-time French Open winner Gustavo Kuerten is at a U.S. clinic hoping to recover from his hip injury in time to compete at Roland Garros: "My goal is to fully fortify and stabilize my hip again. I'll stay (at the clinic) for some time."...Andy Roddick after his loss Thursday in Miami: "You know, like I said, this whole week I liked where my head was at as far as competing. You know, I wasn't even today, I got fired up but, you know, I got down, I came back, like Brick said, I played terrible in the first set and was able to kind of regroup and not lose it. You know, that's a sign of, I think, confidence coming back, is being able to regroup a little bit. Even though I came up short, I can take a lot more out of this loss than, obviously, those of you who were with me in Indian Wells after that one. There wasn't a whole lot positive about that and I can normally try to find something."...Mary Pierce has pulled from Charleston with her ongoing foot problem...From the BBC: "Andy Murray will find out on Friday if he is fit enough to play for Great Britain in next month's Davis Cup tie against Serbia & Montenegro. The Scottish teenager damaged an ankle during his loss to Stanislas Wawrinka in the Nasdaq 100 Open last week. He had a scan on Thursday to determine the extent of the damage and will find out the results in the next 24 hours."?When was the last time Miami had ZERO Americans in the men's and women's semifinals?...For U.S. fans watching March Madness, the tennis version, this month, how many more times can ESPN2 show that Bulova commercial with that freakish blonde Euro fem-bot. That commercial was old three years ago. Enough!
 
#92
4-5-06

4-5-06

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Croatian captain and No. 1 player Ivan Ljubicic says he is suffering abdominal pain and may miss the opening day of all of the Davis Cup tie versus Argentina: "At the moment I cannot say with 100 percent certainty that I will play on Friday," Ljubicic told the Vecernji List on Tuesday. "What is certain is that I shall not be at my best and there is a chance that Mario (Ancic) gets to be our number one. But I will make a final decision on Thursday." -- With no world-class Croat player ready to step in at singles, no Ljuby means no semifinals...Aussie Wayne Arthurs on retirement, speaking with the Courier-Mail: "I'm a little bit at the crossroads I think with the arrival of the baby daughter. I'm probably going to take another month off to really enjoy the experience and get back on the clay just before the French Open, leading up to the grass. I'll reassess at the end of the year. Retirement's sort of in the back of my mind. I'm prepared to play Davis Cup. Hopefully that will spur me on to want to play in a semifinal."...From Express India: "Wimbeldon champion and Indian Davis Cup captain Leander Paes has become father as his partner Rhea Pillai delivered a baby girl at a city hospital, sources said on Tuesday. The baby, born on Monday, has been named Anaihya. Both mother and child are healthy, the sources added. The tennis star has been seeing Pillai, former wife of actor Sanjay Dutt, for the past couple of years. The duo met at an art of living class where Pillai was the teacher."...From Pete Sampras in a conference call before his exo match vs. Robby Ginepri at River Oaks: "Playing tennis is like riding a bike; you don't forget it. I'm more concerned about my movement and my body than actually hitting backhands and forehands. I'm not really worried about playing anybody...There's always swagger when I step on the tennis court." And ESPN says "The match will be web-cast free of charge on the U.S. Tennis Association's Web site, www.usta.com, with the pre-game starting at 8:15 p.m. ET on Thursday and the match itself beginning at 8:30 p.m."...Paul Hawkins, the inventor of Hawk-Eye, speaking with ESPN on the only bad moment in Miami: "There was a cameraman and a million other people in the booth shooting to show the way it works, and a cable was kicked loose and the system went down for a few minutes. Unfortunately, it was during the (Roger) Federer match."...ESPN2 is not happy with the Friday-Sunday slots allocated for showing the WTA Amelia Island event and no stars in sight...Scoville Jenkins beats Mark Philippoussis Tuesday at the River Oaks exo, the answer to why The Scud isn't playing Davis Cup this week for Australia...Pete Sampras on his new racquet: "I'm using the (Roger) Federer racquet, which is a little bit bigger than what I had. It has a little more power, but the control is not as good, especially when I hit it off the frame."...Florida Gator Joakim Noah, son of Yannick Noah, on beating UCLA and their trash-talking cheerleaders: "They were talking a lot of trash. I mean, it was crazy. They were just talking crazy to me, like, 'You're so ugly.' I mean, it hurts when you have so many beautiful girls out there just telling you how ugly you are and stuff. I just had to focus on the game. I mean, when somebody is screaming all that stuff at you, you know, the best thing I could do was just blow a kiss by, and maybe they like me."...From the New Zealand Herald: "After a series of hotel forays, which became like an adventure out of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the embattled New Zealand Davis Cup tennis team has finally settled into a decent hotel in Almaty. The first was "too dear," the second was "too grimy," but the third one, as in the beds in the famous Grimms Fairy Tale, was "just right." As well, marooned team member Alistair Hunt has now joined the team in Kazakhstan, and the squad is ready for action. Hunt had visa problems and was stranded in Frankfurt for three days awaiting clearance. Meanwhile, team manager Paul Smith says they are also now in a suitable hotel after the original hotel had nearly tripled the price."...From the venerable Tom Tebbutt writing for The Globe and Mail: "Canadian tennis player Peter Polansky of Thornhill, Ont., survived a fall from a third-floor hotel room in Mexico City early yesterday and is expected to make a complete recovery. Polansky, 17, and an alternate member of the Canadian Davis Cup team that is in Mexico City for a American Zone match-up starting Friday, apparently was either sleepwalking or having a nightmare when he awoke at 1 a.m. Possibly fearing there was someone in the room, he pounded out a lower window with his heel, crawled through and fell approximately 30 feet. He landed in shrubbery, suffered no broken bones and was able to get up and find help. Yesterday, he spent hours in surgery to repair the back of his left leg near his ankle. One unconfirmed report stated Polansky received as many as 400 stitches and that the lacerations came to within two millimetres of his femoral artery. The reigning Canadian under-18 junior indoor champion, Polansky recently played three International Tennis Federation $10,000 (U.S.) events in Quebec and has a men's ATP world ranking of No. 975."
 
#93
4-6-06

4-6-06

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Pete Sampras
on tonight's exhibition match against Robby Ginepri at River Oaks: "I'm looking forward to playing again in front of people instead of my son, so I'm going to be a little more nervous. I'm excited to play Robby, who's a good, young American player, and I'm excited that it will be available online."...Max "The Beast" Mirnyi speaking with The Australian on politics: "Generally speaking, Americans are not making too many friends around the world. Belarus has been the target for some time and something to write about. Now that the elections are finished and the old president has been re-elected, there will be new things to talk about. I don't really get too disturbed or pay too much attention to it."...Lleyton Hewitt seen training for the Davis Cup in Australia in Rafael Nadal-style capris...From tennis writer Jon Wertheim: "So a few hours after he wins his fourth event of the year, (Roger) Federer flies to New York, where he is appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund. Beyond the pro forma posing for photo ops, he delivers a five-minute address that went well beyond "Thanks, this is a real honor." He shakes hands with U.N. dignitaries, meets Kofi Annan and meets with the press. The next day he travels to Bristol, Conn., to tape SportsCenter ads. If there's a more desirable athlete in sports to market globally, I'd sure like to know who it is."...Kim Clijsters writing on her website: "Brian and I are engaged! we don't have a specific date for the marriage yet, but we'll think about it later this year. But most likely this should be somewhere next year. Meanwhile, I have been home for a couple of days already. But the Miami jet lag isn't over yet: awake at night and getting sleepy daytime. It is getting better now and I sure hope to be in my usual rhythm again soon. I start training on clay from next week onwards, as a preparation for the Fed Cup against Russia on 22 and 23 April. With (Elena) Dementieva and (Nadia) Petrova the matches will be difficult, so training has to be hard! After the Fed Cup I'll be travelling to Warsaw and this time daddy joins me again, it has been a while and I'm really looking forward to it. After that I might join the tournament in Rome before heading for the French Open." -- Is that daddy as in father or daddy as in Brian?...Martina Hingis and Patty Schnyder are blowing off the next round of Fed Cup for Switzerland...Brit captain Jeremy Bates on Andy Murray being ready for this weekend's Davis Cup: "Andy is better than he was. He has been out on the court and had a hit for the first time since last Thursday. We had the results of the blood test and it is a pretty severe bacterial infection which he is in the process of fighting off. He is getting stronger by the day and this is the first time he's been able to hit a few balls. He's been moving around but we don't know what the state of his ankle is because he's not been running around and playing sets but I don't think there is any visible signs of a problem with his ankle. The more important issue is his health. It's a question of how quickly he can recover. It's harder with an illness than with an injury. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize he hasn't played a lot of tennis and the issues will revolve around how he feels, his energy levels and his capability to play five sets on Friday. If he can't play Friday, can he play Saturday? If he can't play Saturday, can he play Sunday? Can he play all the way through? We'll have a conversation about that on Thursday."...Marcelo Rios on Chile's chances vs. the U.S. this weekend on grass: "Chile have two great players that can beat anybody. I think they are going to make a great match and if they win it's going to be a really great thing for Chile. I didn't have a chance to play really big matches for Chile -- when I played I was alone, or I didn't have a partner to help us improve. I would love to have had these two players -- Nicolas Massu and Fernando Gonzalez -- in the team with me when I was playing. Winning Davis Cup was one of the things I never did. Playing the United States -- (James) Blake and (Andy) Roddick -- on grass, is difficult, but whenever Massu and Gonzalez play together in a team they do pretty well. They can do well, but it's a lot to ask for them to win."...Henri Leconte on France facing Russia in Davis Cup: "Russia play well and we just received news that Sebastien Grosjean hurt his back -- we don't know if he's going to be able to play. If not it will be Gasquet and we'll see who else, but it's difficult for Guy Forget. The best thing is that we play in France on a fast court and we will see what happens. Without Sebastien though it will be very tough. (Richard) Gasquet seems better in Davis Cup at the moment than on the regular tour. Sometimes you are better at Davis Cup because it pumps you up, sometimes it works the other way and there is too much pressure."...Belarus' Vladimir "The Vladiator" Voltchkov has gotten Lleyton Hewitt's hackles up ahead of their David Cup meeting by saying the former No. 1-ranked Aussie has no weapons: "Well, his ranking's not going to hurt me either," Hewitt told reporters. "He is a lot better player than what his ranking is, there's no doubt about that, but he's still got to go out there and see what happens tomorrow. It's fine him talkin' the talk first. We've got to see how he performs tomorrow."
 
#94
4-8-06

4-8-06

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Fernando Gonzalez
on the grass surface for the U.S. Davis Cup tie: "I mean, this grass, I don't want to say, but it's really bad. Really low bounces. You cannot play. Sometimes the ball was coming with no power."...Greg Rusedski and Andy Murray lost to the Serbs to trail 1-2 in their zonal tie entering Sunday...From the Florida Times-Union on the alleged shoplifting arrest of WTA player Katerina Bohmova: "Qualifier Virginia Ruano Pascual said her coach told her about Bohmova's arrest Friday morning. "I met her for the first time at Indian Wells this year," Ruano Pascual said. "I practiced with her, talked with her. She's so nice. She's so friendly." Italian Francesca Schiavone said she wasn't surprised. "I'm not surprised any more. It can happen. Everything in this life, in this world can happen," Schiavone said. "We were laughing [before the match], saying, 'How is this possible?' Maybe [it's because] she is young. I don't know." Schiavone joked that she would have gone for a bigger score. "I say I can do something like this, because I know I'm so crazy, but [only] for billions and billions of dollars. Before they catch me, [it would be] three, four, minimum five years. Not like this. Not for rings or stupid things."...Andy Roddick is 6-0 in matches where he has had the chance to clinch a Davis Cup tie...Jon Henderson writing for The Guardian on the Brit Davis Cup tie: "The crowd in the arena certainly got their money's worth although Andy Murray's major contribution to proving he is a feisty competitor came with a foul-mouthed outburst after Britain lost the crucial doubles. Murray faces disciplinary action after he swore at the chair umpire, Adel Aref of Tunisia -- f-word abuse that was clearly heard on BBC TV and remarked on admonishingly by commentator Andrew Castle."
 
#95
4-10-06

4-10-06

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
From the Houston Chronicle: "James Blake might be the second seed behind defending champion Andy Roddick in the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships at Westside Tennis Club next week, but he'll be first in the hearts of everyone associated with the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Blake has decided to donate at least $25,000 to gastro-intestinal tract cancer research efforts -- and his gift could be as much as $52,000 if he wins the tournament -- in memory of his father, Thomas, who died of stomach cancer in 2004. Jim and Linda McIngvale, owners of Westside, followed suit by pledging all of the tournament's special-event income to the hospital's efforts to find a cure."...Ouch, temp-U.S. Davis Cup coach and former Andy Roddick coach Dean Goldfine showing why he is currently out of a job, with his assessment of the U.S.-Russia Davis Cup semifinal, which the Russians will surely put on clay and be overwhelming favorites: "I don't necessarily think that if we do play on clay that that is really their [Russians] best surface," Goldfine told reporters. "It's definitely, in my opinion, not Marat's [Safin's] best surface. Maybe some of the other guys, it might be. Even guys like [Mikhail] Youzhny, [Dmitry] Tursunov, all those guys, in my opinion, play better on a faster surface. If they go ahead and throw the match on clay, I don't think that's necessarily benefiting them." -- Hey Dean, Safin and Nikolay Davydenko have both reached the French semis. Barring injury, that will be their squad. Look up Andy and James' records on European clay, or in late-round D-Cup meetings on clay, and you'll get the picture...Miami semifinalist (l. to Roger Federer) David Ferrer blogging for the ATP website this week from Valencia: "After Miami I went straight to my home in Xavia, 120 kilometers south of Valencia and rested for a couple of days. I just rested and spent some time out with some friends and family in my town. It was nice since it was my birthday this week also. We ate a lot of paella! Last night, I watched Valencia (football) vs. Celta with some friends. Valencia won 1-0, which is great because they are second in the league. And tonight I'll be watching Barcelona vs. Santander. It is great to be back in Valencia; I really enjoy this tournament, I feel more relaxed and motivated with so many people I know around supporting me."...Mardy Fish won the Tallahassee (Florida) Challenger over the weekend...Rafael Nadal is missing the opening week of the claycourt season in his homecountry event at Valencia? Ouch, the foot injury that won't get better...India gets another ATP event as the troubled Ho Chi Minh tournament (so much for last year's trumpeted "Professional tennis in Vietnam!" where organizers charged citizens two months in wages for tickets) moves to Mumbai, the home of Bollywood, in September. Mahesh Bhupathi's company, Globosport India, will be responsible for the marketing, management and promotion of the event...Andy Roddick will attempt to reach his sixth consecutive final this week in Houston, which would put him with four other players who have reached six or more finals in a row at one event in Ivan Lendl (Masters, 9 finals), John McEnroe (London/Queen's, 7 finals), Yevgeny Kafelnikov (Moscow, 6) and Balazs Taroczy (Hilversum, 6)...Davis Cup zonal losers round-up: The Brits lose to thr Serbs in Davis Cup zonal competition when Novak Djokovic beats Greg Rusedski in four sets in the first singles Sunday, losing out on a spot in the World Group playoffs. Also Leander Paes plays hero, with India beating Pakistan 3-2 when Paes tops Aqeel Khan 6-1 in the fifth in the fifth-rubber singles Sunday. The Marcos Baghdatis-led Cyprus squad loses to Bulgaria 3-2 when Fotos Kallias loses the decider for the Cypriots in a photo finish...Where is the world is Guillermo Coria during the opening of the claycourt season?...Status of tennis at SI.com: Still no tennis page, with the sport relegated to the "more" sports page, but at least Jon Wertheim's column is now right above the professional wrestling column, which boasts the tagline: "A blow-by-blow account from my four full days behind the scenes at WrestleMania 22."...Greg Rusedski speaking with reporters on Andy Murray's expletive-laden meltdown in their Davis Cup doubles loss: "You have to take into account he is 18 years old. He's made a mistake at the end of the match, which all of us have. I've sworn at Wimbledon, used every bad word you can possibly imagine on Centre Court. He is going to grow up and have ups and downs in his career, and that's what makes him interesting. He has already accomplished so much; he is going in the right direction but he's going to have a few difficult moments. He'll get over them and he learns from things. He is very mature in a lot of respects. It's another learning experience for him. Let's not be too critical of him; let him move on."...James Blake says he is looking forward to the September Davis Cup semifinals as he has never been to Russia...After helping Australia through to the Davis Cup semifinals, Lleyton Hewitt delivered the shocker that he might not be available for the September meeting at Argentina on red clay. "There's a lot of tennis to be played between now and then," Hewitt told reporters. "I'll sit down and evaluate it as we get a little bit closer. But it's been terrific being involved and it's great that we've got through to the semifinal." Yup, but unless you're Spain, going into Argentina is a lose-lose situation as Lleyton realizes -- with Hewitt the most hated player in Argentina after his contentious run-ins with David Nalbandian, Guillermo Coria and Juan Ignacio Chela. Tennis Australia is going to have to pony-up some money to make that appearance happen...Lleyton Hewitt speaking with reporters on his 2006 claycourt campaign: "I didn't play this whole next 10 weeks last year with a cracked rib, so I'm looking forward to going out and getting some cheap points on the tour and hopefully getting my ranking up again. Last year was a tough year: to finish in the top four and only play eight events, you can't ask for much more than that, I guess, when you only finish eight tournaments. But it's going to be nice to build on that. Wimbledon's obviously the key in a couple of months' time, but it would be nice to go out there and be an underdog at the French Open and see what happens. Last time I played, I made a quarterfinal, lost to the eventual winner in Gaston Gaudio, so I've won some big matches at the French. It's probably going to be the toughest Grand Slam for me to win, but it's definitely not out of the question."
 
#96
4-11-06

4-11-06

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
From South Africa's News24.com: "The partnership agreement between the ATP Tour and South African Airways is sure to benefit tennis in this country. That is the view of ATP Tour executive chairperson and president Etienne de Villiers who is in the country for the announcement of the arrangement. The three-year partnership with SAA sees the airline become the "Official Airline of the ATP." "We are looking to grow the tour in countries where the sport will take root," said De Villiers on Monday. "I would love to see tennis grow at grassroots level and not just be seen as a middle-class sport. Now that SAA have taken the ATP Tour on board, it would make sense to have an international tournament in South Africa."...From the Bangkok Post: "Thailand's top tennis star Paradorn Srichaphan will be taking on the services of Dutch tennis coach Sven Groeneveld to try and beef up his clay court game. The Thai star said he would skip the Masters Series in Monte Carlo next week because he would have had to take part in the qualifying tournament. "After that it is the clay court season and I would like to improve my performances on that surface," Paradorn said. "I will train in Thailand for another two weeks before going to Barcelona for the first clay court tournament." Paradorn said that one of his main sponsors, adidas, had arranged for the Dutch coach to work with him. "He has coached Monica Seles, Mary Pierce and Tommy Haas," Paradorn said. "It is important that I learn clay court technique and tactics."...From Leo Schlink writing for The Australian: "Tennis Australia will investigate security measures for the Davis Cup team ahead of September's rugged semi-final clash with Argentina. Australia was yesterday condemned to a September 22 to 24 tie in South America with its detested Cup antagonists after Argentina downed Croatia 3-2 in Zagreb. While TA is anxious to avoid inflaming relations between its players, in particular Lleyton Hewitt, and the Argentineans, it is determined to protect the team. Hewitt was last year vilified as one of the five most hated sporting figures in Argentina, along with England football captain David Beckham. He has clashed with most of Argentina's survivors of the sport's drug purge, including David Nalbandian, Guillermo Coria and Juan Ignacio Chela, over the past two years."...Russia has confirmed they will put the U.S. on clay for the September Davis Cup semifinals...SI.com's Jon Wertheim on Nadia Petrova: "The top seed at the Amelia Island Bausch & Lomb event won her third Sony Ericsson WTA title. It's early in the clay season, but if you're in the market for a French Open pick, you could do worse than Petrova." -- Since that was her first-ever clay title amidst a weak field, we'll keep the Russian big-match choker as our last pick for the French...From tennis writer Matt Cronin: "The word off the court is that US (Fed Cup) Captain Zina Garrison will name four of the following five players -- Jill Craybas, Shenay Perry, Jamea Jackson, Mashona Washington and Vania King -- to the Fed Cup team that will face Germany away in two weeks. It's one of the most inexperienced teams in US history and they will be a substantial underdog. Veterans Lisa Raymond and Meghann Shaughnessy have said they no longer want to play for Garrison and the four US stars -- the Williams sisters, Lindsay Davenport and Jennifer Capriati -- are all injured."...From The Scotsman: "Jeremy Bates, the Great Britain Davis Cup captain, yesterday blamed television schedulers for damaging his team's hopes of reaching the World Group play-offs. Faced with playing the veteran Greg Rusedski on each of the three days of competition because Andy Murray was short of match fitness, Bates acknowledged it would have been difficult in any case to overcome Serbia & Montenegro, but argued the schedule imposed on his team had made it doubly hard. "I'm very frustrated we're playing Davis Cup at 11 o'clock on a Sunday morning," said Bates after Rusedski's four-sets defeat by Novak Djokovic had ensured a victory for the visiting team. "I can't tell you how frustrated I am. I had no option...The ITF and the BBC call the shots. We had several meetings about it, and my desire was to get the most favourable start and circumstances for the team."...Sue Mott writing for The Telegraph: "Wimbledon are considering the value of allowing the women players to become more accessible, especially to television viewers. For players to be interviewed directly before they go on court. For the winner to be miked up afterwards. For active players to go into the BBC commentary box between their own matches and offer opinions on their rivals. For their coaches, even their families, to be wired for sound. This is quite a revolution for a conservative sport that insists on whites at Wimbledon and hush for the serve. It will stand or fall by how far it goes. If you miked up the Henmans in the players' box, for instance, you might just pick up the sound of breathing. That's it. Presumably the television companies will be looking for something slightly racier than that. On the other hand, if you wired up Richard Williams, father of Venus and Serena, the lava flow of words, some attached to a sentence, some just dropped in for effect, would be overwhelming."...From The Guardian on Monday: "Great Britain were yesterday fined $2,500 by the International Tennis Federation, the world governing body, for Andy Murray's "unsportsmanlike behaviour" at the end of Saturday's doubles. The young Scot swore at the umpire, Adel Aref of Tunisia, when Murray, below, and Greg Rusedski were beaten 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 by Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac."...Roger Federer has successfully defended three titles in 2006, and the rest of the ATP players none.
 
#97
Ginepri Slide Continues on Clay; Murray Fined for Potty Mouth


<SMALL>Posted on April 11, 2006</SMALL>

Ginepri Loses, Roddick, Blake On Tuesday at ATP Houston

American Robby Ginepri's miserable 2006 campaign rolled in and out of Houston Monday when the No. 3 seed was ousted in the opening round of the U.S. Men's Claycourt Championships 6-4, 6-4 by Spaniard Al Montanes.

Ginepri dropped his win-loss to 2-10 in 2006.

"If I could put my finger on it, I'd be winning some matches," Ginepri told reporters. "I thought I played a good match, but it (hurts) to go down again. But he was playing very well. He stung me on a lot on drop shots."

No. 5 Tommy Haas, the lone other seed in action, moved into the second round with an impressively-easy 6-1, 6-4 win over Spaniard Oscar Hernandez.
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Other winners were Austrians Oliver Marach (d. Marin) and Jurgen Melzer (d. Minar, bagel in the second), and German Tomas Behrend (d. Sabau in three).

Tuesday highlights include (WC) Mardy Fish vs. (8) Juan Monaco, (1) Andy Roddick vs. Chile's Paul Capdeville, (Q) Anthony Dupuis vs. (2) James Blake who will try and put a halt to a three-match losing skid, and an all-qualifier in American Scoville Jenkins vs. Russian Igor Kunitsyn.

French Champ Costa Bounced at ATP Valencia

Unseeded former French Open champion Al Costa, bothered by a chronic knee injury, took another step toward retirement in 2006 with an opening-round loss to unheralded Serb Boris Pashanski 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 Monday at the ATP claycourt stop in Valencia.

Seeded players went two-for-two on the day with winners (2) Gaston Gaudio (d. Sluiter in two tiebreaks) and (7) Fernando Verdasco (d. A.Martin).

Other un-seeded into the second round were German Florian Mayer (d. (WC) Burniol, bagel in the first) and Spaniard Guillermo "G-Lo" Garcia-Lopez (d. Feliciano "G-Lo" Lopez).

Highlights of Tuesday play on the dirt in Valencia are (1) Davydenko vs. Hernych, and defending champ (5) Andreev vs. (WC) Safin in an all-Russian.

Qualifiers Win, Americans Exit at WTA Charleston

The wildcards lived up to their name Monday at the WTA stop in Chaleston, where American Neha Uberoi advanced with an opening-round win over American Lisa Raymond in three sets, and Georgian Anna Tatishvili came from a set down to defeat Spain's Laura Pous Tio.

In seeded play No. 14 Lucie Safarova came from a set down to outlast Aussie Sam Stosur, No. 16 Mara Santangelo stright-setted France's Stephanie Foretz, and No. 13 Sofia Arvidsson was ousted by Puerto Rico's Kristina Brandi.

It was a tough day for the "B"-squad Americans as Laura Granville and Amy Frazier also lost their openers, and comeback kid Ashley Harkleroad was fed a bagel set en route to a loss against Colombia's Catalina Castano.

Highlights on Tuesday's schedule on the dirt at Charleston are Vaidisova vs. Castano, Schnyder vs. Tu, the top-seeded Henin-Hardenne vs. Bammer, and Zvonareva vs. Safina in an all-Russian.
 
#98
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
After previously stating she would probably blow off the claycourt season with her back injury, a nice fat under-the-table appearance fee must have popped up as the Turkish media is reporting Lindsay Davenport will play the WTA Istanbul Cup beginning May 22...Pete Sampras will make his World Team Tennis debut when he and the Newport Beach Breakers host the St. Louis Aces on Monday, July 10. Sampras is also scheduled to play July 12 at the Sacramento Capitals, July 18 at the Philadelphia Freedoms, July 19 at the defending WTT Champion New York Sportimes, and July 21 at the Hartford FoxForce. He meets the St. Louis Aces for a second time on July 23 in St. Louis and joins the Breakers for their July 24 match at the Houston Wranglers. Other marquee names in the league this summer are Bob/Mike Bryan (KC Explorers), Martina Hingis (NY Sportimes), Anna Kournikova (Sacramento), Todd Martin (Boston), John McEnroe (NY Sportimes), Anastasia Myskina (Springfield), Martina Navratilova (Boston), and Venus Williams (Philadelphia)...Canadian Davis Cup captain Martin Laurendeau on Frank "You Can" Dancevic losing to Mexico's Santiago Gonzalez in straight sets. "Frank lost with a lot of courage today. Gonzalez was flawless and played Frank perfectly. Any country that beats our top singles player twice deserves to win." -- (fill in your own beating-Canadian-No. 1 comment here)...From the AP: "Billie Jean King is in constant motion. She's gearing up for the inaugural "Billie Awards" with Elton John in California next week, the World Team Tennis season in July and the "Go Girl Go" fitness programs in Atlanta and Chicago. And an HBO Sports documentary on her life, "Billie Jean King: Portrait of a Pioneer," premieres Tuesday night in Manhattan. "At 62 you want to keep moving, that's important," King said in a recent phone interview with The Associated Press. She still plays tennis three times a week despite six operations on her knees. "Go for it, dream big and go for it," she said."...From the Sydney Morning Herald: "Alicia Molik's return to tournament tennis will come six month's earlier than expected, yet oddly enough a week or two later than possible. Molik will make her comeback in Rome next month -- the earliest date available after fulfilling her commitment to the TV series Dancing With The Stars. Just as Collingwood's Brodie Holland discovered last year, celebrity and sporting schedules can sometimes clash, and Molik will delay her first appearance on the European claycourt circuit until the Italian Open on May 15. She might then enter the Istanbul Cup the following week ahead of the French Open on May 29."...From Dale Robertson of the Houston Chronicle: "Though his mother was a fine tennis player, Texas Longhorns hero Vince Young says he never tried to play the game except casually on occasion as a kid. Nonetheless, as Jim McIngvale's invited guest, Young made a predictably big splash at Westside on Tuesday night, throwing a few passes between the Andy Roddick and James Blake matches. Young threw one of them perfectly to Roddick, who ran a length-of-the-court pattern. "If I'd have dropped that one, I would have been a total dork," Roddick said. He, in turn, blasted a serve past Young, just to show him his stuff. Having become an Austin resident when he's not globe-trotting on the ATP Tour, Roddick is gradually being transformed into a Longhorns fan after rooting for Nebraska (where he was born) since childhood. Roddick's grab, by the way, meant $10,000 to the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Texas ex McIngvale, who owns the tennis club and Gallery Furniture, convinced Young to fling the football around for a good cause. For every "completion," Mattress Mack told Young he'd donate 10 grand to the cancer center. McIngvale ended up being on the hook for $40,000."...Spaniard Al Costa has lost seven matches in a row...From ContactMusic.com: "Tennis ace Andre Agassi has been praised as the perfect man by his wife Steffi Graf -- despite her initial reluctance to date him. Graf reveals it took Agassi months of perseverance before he secured her attentions, because he refused to ask her out personally. Instead, the former husband of actress Brooke Shields, was so shy he sent Graf love messages through his friends. She says, "That was the wrong way. If you have something to tell me, the only way is to do it directly." However, after being happily married for four-and-a-half years Graf is convinced she has found her Mr Right. She adds, "You just have to look in his eyes. He is unbelievably cordial. He's just perfect."...From Tennis Week: "A foot injury has prevented Mary Pierce from playing Charleston this week, but she'll still emerge as a winner at the clay-court event. Pierce will receive the first annual Meredith Inspiration Award during this week's Family Circle Cup. The award, sponsored by Meredith Corporation, the publisher of Family Circle magazine, recognizes the woman professional athlete who by her actions has inspired women worldwide to achieve their personal and professional goals. Off the court, Pierce has been an active supporter and charitable volunteer. She has been very involved in the WTA Tour's charity initiatives and serves as Whirlpool Ambassador for Habitat for Humanity. Her contributions also include work with Tennis for Africa, a non profit organization dedicated to providing support to the poorest populations in Africa, and the Elton John AIDS Foundation, which is fighting the battle against AIDS worldwide."...Ashley "Pebbles" Harkleroad speaking with the Charleston Post & Courier on husband Alex Bogomolov, Jr.: "He's in Mexico right now, chasing points. He'll be gone for three weeks, and that kid can go for five weeks at a time, no problem. He's all by himself, too. I need someone with me at all times. I get lonely, you know. I enjoy tennis, it's the lifestyle I'm not a big fan of. I have to find a way to get through it. If I find a way to get that done, I feel like I can play better tennis. It's a lot of ups and downs out here, and I like to be on an even keel. You are not going to get that with this lifestyle, so it's something I'm constantly struggling to improve with myself, dealing with the ups and downs."...Thomas Muster speaking with the BBC: "I changed my racquet in 1997 to a slightly longer one with a different stringing pattern. It helped me to serve better, volley better and to hit more 'flat'. That is shown in my record on hard courts that year because they were the best of my career, but I couldn't play as well with that racquet on clay. It didn't spin the ball as well. I played really well at Key Biscayne, but then when I went to Davis Cup, Goran Ivanisevic beat me on clay and that was really unexpected because I was in really good shape. I couldn't spin the ball the way I used to and I didn't have a good clay court season. I tried all sorts of other racquets and string patterns, even using my old racquet for clay and my new racquet for hard courts, but nothing worked. I couldn't make the transition between the two quick enough. Once you lose confidence and you are testing racquets in the middle of the season it's like a Formula One driver trying to work out troubles with the engine."...Mary Pierce and Tatiana Golovin will miss the French Fed Cup tie with injury...The draw has been made for the September Davis Cup World Group Playoff ties: Mexico at Austria, Thailand at Germany, Czech Republic at Netherlands, Korea at Romania, Belgium at Slovak Republic, Italy at Spain, Sweden at Brazil, and Serbia & Montenegro at Switzerland, with the winners gaining entry into the 2007 World Group and the losers banished to zonal play.
 
#99
4-13-06

4-13-06

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Frenchman Richard Gasquet may miss Monte Carlo with an ab injury...Lleyton Hewitt has pulled from the Masters Series-Monte Carlo with reportedly no reason given to the ATP...From the AP: "A ghostly John McEnroe and Maria Sharapova's pulsing heart are two of the more eye-catching sights at the new Wimbledon tennis museum, which opened on Wednesday. The All England Club, readying itself for the grasscourt Grand Slam which starts on June 26, unveiled the revamped facility, which contains startling technological innovations belying Wimbledon's stuffy image. Three-time singles champion McEnroe famously ruffled the feathers of the Wimbledon establishment with his on-court tantrums in the late 1970s. Now the 47-year-old American has a special place at the All England Club as a museum exhibit. McEnroe reminisces about his Wimbledon experiences in a recreated 1980s Gentlemen's Dressing Room as a life-size apparition using a projection technique called "Pepper's Ghost." The McEnroe phantom competes for attention with a 200-degree 3-D cinema room that takes the viewer right inside the heart and mind of 2004 women's champion Sharapova."...Remember when Croat Karolina "The Spreminator" Sprem used to be good, a fast-rising start before hooking up with career-killing coach Borna Bikic?...From ABC in Australia: "Australian tennis star Lleyton Hewitt's claim that he was defamed by the governing body of the men's professional tennis circuit looks likely to go to trial. The Australian is suing the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) after it fined him for not attending a press conference at the Cincinnati Masters tournament in 2002. After almost four years before Adelaide's Supreme Court the matter now looks likely to go to trial."...From The Herald: "Judy Murray, the mother of Britain's top tennis player Andy, last night launched a scathing attack on Tennis Scotland, claiming the agency was failing to capitalize on the success of her son. She says the governing body for the sport in this country is not doing enough to encourage children to play, and that they lack the business acumen required to deliver sport professionally. "Tennis is competing with every other sport to attract kids and, if it is not accessible and affordable, they will go elsewhere," she said. "Tennis Scotland is run by a well-intentioned board of volunteers and a small staff who I feel do not have the business insight, ambition, and experience to deliver sport professionally. Tennis Scotland seem reluctant to capitalize on the free publicity generated by Andy and, instead, appear content to sit back and hope for the best."...From the St. Pete Times on everyone's favorite Indian pseudo-prodigy: "With an aggressive, go-for-broke style, (Sania) Mirza raced up the rankings from the obscurity of No. 163 (No. 326 in '04) to a career-best 31 last season. And she was featured on the cover of Time magazine's Asian edition in a story titled "Asia's Heroes." But 2006 has taken a different turn. Mirza has struggled, dropping to 37. Maybe it's a nagging elbow and wrist injury that requires a cumbersome brace on her forearm, hampering her power game. It could be opponents are starting to figure out how to play her. Or perhaps it's the weight of carrying a country's hopes and dreams each time she steps onto a court."
 
4-14-06

4-14-06

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Is it true that ZERO Americans will play the first claycourt Masters Series event of the year at Monte Carlo? Nice effort...From AndyRoddick.com: "Plenty of Andy's fans would love to follow in his footsteps. While we may never kiss a grand slam trophy, at least we can share his stylish and powerful footwear! "Explosive starts, sensational stability, faster recovery," is only a handful of the enhancements Team All Court and Team Roddick footwear can bring to your game." -- Plenty of Andy's fans would also probably prefer not to be fed thinly-veiled commercials...From the vomit-in-your-mouth-then-swallow file from ContactMusic.com: "Lindsay Lohan has given up on 20-something lovers and has her sights set on film-maker Brett Ratner, according to US tabloid reports. The actress/singer and the Rush Hour director were spotted enjoying each other's company at a recent party at Los Angeles' Dime club. One reveller tells American magazine Life + Style, "They were all over each other, touching and caressing." At 37, Ratner, who was most recently dating tennis ace Serena Williams, is almost twice 19-year-old Lohan's age. After splitting from Wilmer Valderrama, Lohan has been romantically linked with a string of hunky young stars, including Jared Leto."...Tennis-X Upset Pick of the Day: Al Montanes d. (7) Paul Goldstein -- bet the house, and your neighbor's house...From Justin Gimelstob blogging for SI.com: "Clay specialists aren't as numerous as they were when I came on Tour 10 years ago, when drawing most South Americans on a fast surface -- like indoor supreme or grass -- was a true blessing. In today's game, most players have surface preferences, which correspond with their attributes and comfort level, but there are very few players in the top 100 who don't have all-around games." -- Like James Blake? Za-zing! Sorry James...From Mark Hodgkinson writing for The Telegraph: "The mind is cast back to (Serena) Williams' last appearance in a Wimbledon final, in July 2004. In the minutes after her defeat by Maria Sharapova, Williams was asked how, "as a tennis superstar", she might respond to the challenge from the teenage Russian. "A tennis superstar?" Williams replied. "I'm not a tennis superstar. I'm a superstar. Period. Like Britney Spears." And the sad thing is that she was not joking. Even in a sport that has known some puffed-up personalities, the Serena Williams ego takes some beating."...33-year-old Antony Dupuis' win over James Blake on Tuesday was his first ATP-level victory of the year...James Beck writing for the Charleston Post & Courier: "Thank goodness for players who can actually think and play tennis at the same time. It's tough, but there are still a few players who can meet the challenge. It was almost scary watching the late match Tuesday between Dinara Safina and Vera Zvonareva. These two Russians didn't pull any punches. It's a miracle that either can still swing a racket. That's how hard they hit the ball. Baseline to baseline. Power to power. No strategy. Just be the last person to hit the ball in any point. Just to watch Safina and Zvonareva bang away at each other almost made me hurt. Big rackets. Big players (Safina is a 6-footer). Something has to give. The stress on the body parts is just too much. Perhaps, tennis should go back to wooden rackets. Or at least, smaller rackets. Put the thinkers back in the game, and the game would be much more fun to watch. The casual fan could actually see the game as a game, and not as a Barry Bonds slugfest."...From Leighton Ginn writing for The Desert Sun on "The" Donald Young: "One misconception about Young is he hasn't played the lower-level pro tournaments, the challengers and, even lower, the futures. However, Young is playing those and going far into those tournaments, although he hasn't won a title yet. "(Bud Collins) said, 'You're Mrs. Young? Why isn't he playing futures?'" Illona Young said. "I said 'He is. Why don't they say that in the media? Why do they say he hasn't won anything?'...He said 'I'm glad to know that.'" In the Futures tournaments, Young has reached one semifinal and two quarterfinals this year." -- So in other words, he hasn't won anything yet...From South London on the water shortage faced by Wimbledon: "WIMBLEDON tennis will go ahead this year, no matter what the water situation, organisers have said. The All-England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) has poured cold water on the idea that the world-famous tournament might have to be abandoned because of drought. Thames Water has said a ban on watering sports grounds could not be ruled out, but the club has moved to reassure the public the event will go ahead whatever the weather. A spokesman for the AELTC said: "There is absolutely no way it wouldn't happen. At this stage we are talking to Thames Water to look at all the options. It might make things a bit more tricky for our ground staff but they are all consummate professionals. "We will formulate plans as the situation unfolds but our message is one of reassurance."...From The Australian: "(Alberto) Mancini, a central figure in an ugly post-match Australian Open locker-room confrontation last year between (Lleyton) Hewitt and Juan Ignacio Chela, believes Hewitt will play in Buenos Aires."
 
4-15-06

4-15-06

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
That's right, ZERO American men entered in the Masters Series-Monte Carlo according to the ATP entry list. Is it a boycott? Are they boycotting the fact they reek so badly on clay? Last year Vince Spadea was the lone American to brave one of the toughest dirt fields of the year, but after a first-round exit in 2005, even Vincenzo bails in 2006. Discount James Blake who is reportedly having some wisdom teeth pulled...The Qatar Tennis Federation and ExxonMobil Qatar, Inc. yesterday extended their partnership for another three years. ExxonMobil will now remain the title sponsors of the Qatar Open in Doha until 2009...SI.com photo caption: "Andy Roddick is one of the few Americans to have had some success on clay, but he has yet to win an elusive French Open title." -- Uh, or any substantial title on clay. Inferring that he maybe should have won the French by now? "Elusive"? Get that intern off caption duty...Houston, you have a problem, congrats on the worst live web scoring of the year -- is that secretly just updated every 10 minutes by hand?...Rough headline from Sportsnet.ca, attributed to the AP: "Maghdatis, Roddick advance"...If a tree fell in the forest, and that tree crushed the Fed Cup to death, would anyone hear it?
 
4-17-06

4-17-06

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
From Gavin Versi writing for The Telegraph on the Andy Murray drama and the canning of coach Mark Petchey: "Petchey believed that in order for Murray to reach the upper echelons of the sport he needed to be more aggressive. The Scot disagreed, preferring to build his game around consistency. The former British No. 3 Barry Cowan, who commentates on Sky alongside Petchey, feels that Murray's current style of play is inhibiting his progress. "I think he's someone who can go the whole way, but the way he's playing at the moment could hold him back," he told The Sunday Telegraph. "With his talent, belief, athleticism and understanding of the game he can definitely win a Grand Slam, but he's playing too passively...He needs to take risks. Roger Federer, Marat Safin, even David Nalbandian, these guys are aggressive players. They take the game to their opponents. Murray doesn't do that and it could hurt him."...Nadia Petrova joins the Top 5 for the first time on the WTA Rankings...Mardy Fish will have to play the qualifying at the French Open, but his goal is to make the main draw at Wimbledon after winning a Challenger and the tour event in Houston in consecutive weeks: "It's reachable now. I need to bear down again, forget about the last two weeks and start over."...Marat Safin only got into the Monte Carlo draw as an alternate after a number of players withdrew...Find the fun part in this excerpt from AndyRoddick.com: "Most Andy fans would agree that 30 seconds of A-rod is hardly enough, yet some of our favorite Andy moments are from his various commercials. A natural in front of the camera, Andy has entertained us in several American Express, Lexus and ESPN promotions. Andy's latest commercial with Lacoste gives a behind the scenes look at Andy both on and off the court. Dawning a variety of Lacoste items throughout the montage, Andy shows how to win in style."...Nice four-leaf-clover run from Mardy Fish at Houston, getting a walkover versus Rainer Schuettler and a default from Tommy Haas...From the New York Daily News on the ongoing saga on Joey G.: "He was born in Yonkers and raised on the streets and came to be known as Joey G, a playful nickname that seems quite ill-fitting given his current circumstances. There are a lot of people looking for Joey G -- aka Joe Giuliano -- these days. Some are friends who are worried about him. Some are alleged victims who are repulsed by him. Some are investigators for the Carlsbad (Calif.) Police Department who are eager to talk to him. Joe Giuliano is a tennis coach, or at least he used to be, before he disappeared some five months ago, before the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) banned him for life amid charges of sexual indiscretions, making him the first person in the sport to be permanently suspended. And the Tour does mean permanently. The WTA has even barred Giuliano from buying a ticket to a Tour event; his face was posted at entry points and ticket booths at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, S.C., last week."...Tommy Haas has pulled from Monte Carlo with his wrist injury...Tim Henman and Andy Murray are playing doubles together in Monte Carlo.
 
4-18-06

4-18-06

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
From Steve Bierley writing for The Guardian: "Serena Williams, the seven-time grand slam champion who has been out of action since losing in the Australian Open third round in January, is expected to announce shortly that she will not play any more tennis this year."...Pat Cash and his ego putting out a job classified in The Sunday Times: "Perhaps it's the splash of Celtic blood that flows through my veins, but I can identify with Andy Murray. Almost a quarter of a century ago I was the teenage kid with a rebellious streak who was tipped for stardom and became the nation's top player at a young age. I was not comfortable with the pressures of expectation and ultimately felt more at ease away from home and came to view the examination of the media as something to loathe. However, there was one crucial difference between Murray and the Pat Cash who graduated from becoming the world's best junior to playing a key role in a Davis Cup final and winning titles on the main tour. I was fortunate enough to have almost a second father in my coach Ian Barclay and a committed uncle in Australian captain Neale Fraser. Right now, Murray looks a kid very much on his own. My experiences with Mark Philippoussis and Greg Rusedski convinced me that I never wanted to take up a coaching job again, but I admit that I would have to think twice if the opportunity to work with Murray presented itself."...Former ATP pro and Boris Becker coach Mike DePalmer on Andy Roddick, speaking with the Knoxville News Sentinel: "The biggest mistake he made was getting rid of Brad Gilbert. He can't just muscle guys around the court. You have to know how to exploit weaknesses, when to come into the net, when to cover, how to cover, what type shot to expect back. Those are the things missing in Roddick's game."...Rafael Nadal has won 36 consecutive claycourt matches...How much does Monte struggle with getting the top players? This is the first year since 1980 that all Top 3 players are playing the event...Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal have won the last 10 Masters Series events they have competed in together...Guillermo Coria is looking to reach his fourth consecutive Monte Carlo final...Mardy Fish rose 91 spots to No. 121 with the Houston title...From the ATP: "Thomas Johansson has started to practice tennis this week and is helping Jonas Bjorkman with some coaching in Monte Carlo. The Swede still cannot see clearly with his left eye, but is making progress and hopes to return in either Rome or Hamburg."...K-Swiss has signed 19-year-old Phillip Simmonds as its first athlete endorser in four years...From the ATP: "As a part of the ATP doubles revolution, Spaniards Ivan Navarro-Pastor and Daniel Gimeno-Traver designed a graffiti together with a local artist and the top seeded Argentine doubles pair Martin Garcia and Sebastien Prieto." -- Yikes, seems like the "doubles revolution" is losing steam...James Blake rises to a career-high No. 7 on the ATP Rankings as dirtballers Gaston Gaudio and Guillermo Coria tumble past him after losing dirt points...Paul Goldstein is the top seed this week at the Bermuda Challenger, a field also containing Mardy Fish and Mark Philippoussis...More from Mark Petchey, speaking to The Telegraph on getting canned as the coach of Andy Murray: "All I can say is we were talking a lot this year about his best way to play and perform consistently against the best players in the world so he could reach the Top 10 as quickly as possible. I felt that we made a lot of progress in the nine months we'd been together and I thought the process would take another year until he was playing his best tennis consistently. In relationships like this there are bound to be differences of opinion at some stage and it's Andy's prerogative to find someone who sees it the way he does, not just strategically but in all the elements that end up making a great player." -- Real politically correct, you've got to hand it to Petchey...Greg Rusedski says heavier balls are making it difficult to serve and volley these days, even on hardcourts: "Now week in, week out, it's almost impossible to play that game even on the hard courts and indoor courts which is, for me, quite a thing where I have to kind of thinking about the future and other things because I'm just so surprised how it just keeps on getting slower year after year after year. I guess I'm not the only one who's feeling that with these balls we're playing with. A lot of guys are having shoulder problems or wrist problems, and it's very hard to generate anything and it's more of a baseline style."...Tim Henman on his ranking being possibly too low to get into Rome and Hamburg: "I'll have to wait and see what happens with Rome. You know, there's a chance I might get in, but I'm not sort of overly concerned. I'll keep doing the work and see which opportunities I get in that time period and take it from there. Definitely, definitely eager to play. If there could be a couple of guys pull out along with (Andre) Agassi and perhaps (Lleyton) Hewitt, (Thomas) Johansson, I'll be watching."...Novak Djokovic on the fear factor of Roger Federer: "He plays -- he's just one of the best players ever in tennis history, that's for sure. Everybody knows that. The problem is that -- why he's so good on all kind of surfaces is that every time before the match everybody goes -- he goes to every match with already a winner, you know? Because everybody is getting scared, 'Oh, he's Roger Federer,' you know. 'I cannot win against him,' you know. 'He's perfect. I have to play something that I am not playing, something over my maximum, my limits.' That's how he already wins, you know."...The rusty Alicia Molik has been left off the Aussie Fed Cup team.
 
4-20-06

4-20-06

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Roger Federer
is 30-1 this year...From press release: "The Internet's largest sports betting site, PinnacleSports.com today served another ace by becoming the first bookmaker in the world to offer wagering on the ATP Merrill Lynch Tour of Champions...On the clay courts this weekend, PinnacleSports.com has listed 1990 French Open Champion Andres Gomez as the favorite to win the (Barcelona) Champions Cup at 3/1 odds."...Guillermo Coria on new coach Jose Higueras: "I hired him especially because I want to go to a higher level. We are starting to work together, and we are going through a period where we are getting to know each other now. We will work together until Wimbledon, and then after that we will see if we are continuing together or not. I would like it very much because he's a person who's had very good results as a player but also as a coach. He has a lot of experience. He's someone very simple, very calm."...The ITF says webcasting is on the way for Davis Cup matches where the home country is not already covered on local television...From tennis blogger Pete Bodo on the press vs. fans access to player transcripts and such on the Internet: "Turns out that a significant portion of ITWA (International Tennis Writers Association) members want to fight plans by the ATP (and, presumably, tournaments) to provide fans with live video feeds to websites (and other sources) from, among other places, the press interview rooms. This goes hand-in-hand with ITWA's support for the policy of keeping press conference transcripts from being posted at tournament websites, or even at the ASAP archives, for at least 24 hours...I feel a little torn about airing the dirty laundry of an organization to which I belong in public forum, but I think this is very much a public issue -- at least for tennis fans. I am adamantly and deeply opposed to these protectionist practices, and to the underlying premise that the news media can or should be in the business of controlling the flow of information or news in order to mollify a part or all of its constituency."...Mardy Fish will skip Rome to play the Tunica Challenger. <!--StartFragment -->Fish next faces Mark Philippoussis at the Bermuda Challenger, with a plea to get tossed some ATP-level wildcards: "It's good to be winning again," Fish told reporters. "Slow clay is not really my surface but I need the points here and my confidence is up again after winning in Houston. It was a strange tournament to win after two withdrawals but it was a big one for me. It's a long road back to the top but the wildcards help -- they were designed for exactly this situation, players trying to get back up to the top."
 
4-22-06

4-22-06

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
This week in Monte Carlo marks the first ATP Tennis Masters Series event in history in which no Americans were in the draw. But hey, they ? the Americans ? did play in Houston so that should count for something, right?...By the way, can you name the last American to reach the Monte Carlo final? Answer: Aaron Krickstein in 1992?. Roger Federer had never reached the Monte Carlo semifinals until now. Fed has also won 28 straight TMS matches dating back to a loss to Richard Gasquet in the Monte quarterfinals last year?Rafael Nadal is now 13 matches from tying the all time clay win streak set by Guillermo Vilas of 53 back in 1977. Projecting ahead, if he wins Monte he?ll be up to 42, then wins Barcelona he?ll move to 47 and would then tie Vilas by reaching the Rome final?During his current clay streak, Nadal has beaten Guillermo Coria the most ? 3 times?A win over Gonzo on Saturday will put Club Fed into his 12th straight tournament final. Sounds impressive right? Well it is, but Ivan Lendl holds the record with 18 consecutive finals which he did back in 1981-82? Former French Open champion Albert Costa will officially retire following the ATP event in Barcelona which begins Monday. Says Al: "For me it is very special to be here to play my final tournament here. It is very emotional for me and it was very difficult for me to take this decision to retire, but it is now time for me to say Goodbye? I can not say only one moment, there are two ? when I won Roland Garros, and when Spain won the Davis Cup." Costa hopes to one day become the Spanish Davis Cup captain?After serving up 23 doubles faults against Nicolas Kiefer - most in a win ever by a winning player on the ATP circuit ? Guillermo Coria only could muster 8 against Nadal Friday. Bummer?Former South African Davis Cup captain Craig Tiley has been named the new tournament director of the Australian Open. Hope Lleyton agrees. Tiley also coached Wayne Ferreira, George "I Beat Pete" Bastl and Ivo "I Dated Hingis" Heuberger. Note to self: See good things do happen to those who coach Heuberger?Fed Cup begins on Saturday, for those really interested?This from Australian teen "prodigy" Bernard Tomic: "I want the serve of Goran Ivanisevic, the heart of Lleyton Hewitt, the mind of Pete Sampras and the groundstrokes of Roger Federer. I want to be No. 1 in the world and win all the Grand Slam tournaments." While you are at it Bernard, anything else? Maybe Anna?s body? Marcos?s girlfriend?. Adds IMG suit Brian "Just because my last name rhymes with Looney doesn?t mean I am" Cooney on the Aussie: "We see a lot of talented young players, but everything about Bernard points to him becoming a true ?superstar??Winning four consecutive under-18 ITF tournaments puts him in the top 200 players in the world already, and he?s just 13 years old."?Snap back to reality, congrats to Patrick McEnroe and wife Melissa Errico who welcomed the arrival of their first daughter Friday afternoon in New York. The yet-to-be-named child weighed eight pounds at birth. Meanwhile Patrick reportedly shed 35 pounds sweating during delivery to settle in at a new daddy weight of 135 lbs.
 
4-28-06

4-28-06

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
From the AP: "Indonesia has refused to play its Fed Cup playoff match in Israel and requested the International Tennis Federation to change the venue to a neutral country. If the request is denied, the women's team will have to forfeit, Indonesian Tennis Association deputy secretary-general August Ferry Raturandang said Thursday. "We cannot play in Israel," he said, noting that his country, home to some 190 million Muslims, has no diplomatic relations with the Middle Eastern Jewish state. Indonesia has long supported Palestinian independence."...Guillermo "El Mago" Coria, after failing to pull a rabbit out of a hat against Nicolas Almagro, on his supporters: "I'm very happy with the team I have around me. Working with Jose Higueras is going very well but we can't fix the problem in under a month. I've had this serving problem for the last six months so we have to be patient. But my results last week in Monte Carlo, where I was able to beat people like (Nicolas) Kiefer who are ranked very high even while serving badly, gave me a lot of encouragement."...CNN.com's Candy Reid says take it down a notch girls, the men deserve more: "This is probably not going to be a popular answer, but no, I don't think that the women should earn as much money as the men. However, I do think it's inevitable and that Wimbledon will join the other three Slams in the next few years. Don't get me wrong, I love watching women's tennis -- but for me it's simple. Playing five sets is much tougher than three, especially on slower courts where matches can last up to or beyond 4 hours. One of the main arguments for equal prize money is that women's tennis is as popular, if not more so and that's a valid point. But in my opinion, there are more competitive early round matches in men's tennis than women's and to win a Grand Slam, the guys (with the exception of (Roger) Federer) have to win 7 tough ones, not just 3 or 4."...The Tennis Channel will show the ATP Barcelona final at 9:30am EST Sunday in the U.S...Rafael Nadal has been named as the ATP European Player of the Year for 2005 as voted by the ATP's European tournament directors. Ouch. We were leaning toward that longshot named Roger Federer. Was that a second-place award? Is Switzerland in Europe?...Al Costa on ending his career in Barcelona: "For me it is very special to be here to play my final tournament here. It is very emotional for me and it was very difficult for me to take this decision to retire, but it is now time for me to say goodbye."
 
4-29-06

4-29-06

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
World No. 1 Roger Federer says he will play the Davis Cup World Group qualifying in September: "He took us all by surprise," Swiss tennis association spokesman Daniel Monnin said in a statement on the association's website...Kim Clijsters writing on her website on the Fed Cup: "I would love to be part of the team when we will play against the US, even though the date is a bit of a problem as it is right after Wimbledon and before Stanford. However, should we be playing on hard court, that Fed Cup tie would be an easy transition and a great preparation for the hard court summer."...From tennis writer Matt Cronin: "I am truly scared after visiting Patty Schnyder and hubby Rainer Hofmann's new web site (www.the-white-mile.org), which features eerie Twin Peaks music, Jason from "Friday the 13th," killer spiders and cockroaches coming out of a dilipidated house. The site is up to promote a book they are working on called "White Mile."...From the Miami Herald club-spotters: "The next night at Opium, NFLers Thomas and Julius Jones, Bryant McKinney, and D.J. Williams joined Serena Williams' table for Imperia vodka cocktails and hip-hop..."...Andy Murray speaking to The Times on being without a coach: "It's not the nicest thing being on your own, but I think when you are my age it is quite good to be on your own for a while. You have to find your own guys to practise with and it helps as you have to make an effort to chat to them a bit more and get to know them. When you have a coach, they tend to organise everything, book the practice courts and things, and sometimes you don't speak to anyone. It's been good."
 
5-2-06

5-2-06

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
From the Houston Chronicle on WTA Tour CEO Larry Scott lambasting the French and Wimbledon for not anteing-up the same prize money for the women as the men: "Women got the vote in Britain in 1918 and the Sex Discrimination Act has been in force for more than 30 years, yet Wimbledon continues to take a Victorian-era view when it comes to pay." Added tennis' feminist pioneer, Billie Jean King: "Equal prize money is a no-brainer. Some traditions are good to keep, but Wimbledon needs to join the modern world on this." Stephane Simean, who's in charge of prize money for the federation defends the decision by saying: "On the women's side there has been a very positive change, with the arrival of many new stars...Now are 10 to 15 who can vie for a Grand Slam. "(But) we look objectively at the criteria, and there's still not the same density (of talent) on the women's side as there is on the men's. For now we are focusing just on the winners."...Dmitry Tursunov blogging on the ATP website: "First off I'd like to say that I'm forced to do this thing and they told me they won't let me play doubles if I refuse! Just kidding!!!...You try to arrive around Friday so that you have time to get used to the courts the time zone and find a few local bars. I'm sure some of you know that some bars are fairly expensive so you want to look around before the tournament starts so that if you lose in the first round your prize money will cover the drinks...This being the first time in Portugal I wasn't sure what to expect so I was excited to come here. Plus I like Portuguese better than Spanish so I was fired up to brush up on my swear words in this language...My first hit is with Vince Spadea! Arguably the best rapper on the circuit! Probably because he is the only one who tries it and everyone is too tired of asking him not to. So we just let him do it. We start off by throwing rhymes at each other and after I out-battle-rap him he asks for 2 out of 3. "Time to hit!" -- I said and we started. Nothing too hard! We are very fragile, finely tuned machines so killing ourselves in a warm-up is not our style! After we warm up we play some points and...the result is really not so important! The important thing is that we enjoyed it! So, I lost...I hate clay!!!...By the way I forgot to mention that this is a men's and women's tournament so if you lose early and you are lacking confidence there is a good chance to challenge one of the girls to a match...I went to the player's lounge and destroyed Elena Vesnina in pool! Well I won 1 out of 4 games but that's because of the stupid rule where you can't sink the 8-ball until you clear all the other ones...Whatever!"...From the ATP: "Broadcast coverage of ATP tournaments surpassed 1,200 hours and attracted more than 41 million TV viewers during the month of February. The European market showed the largest growth with broadcast hours increasing by 142 percent, while the global audience grew by 109 percent...Mardy Fish is the second seed behind Bobby Reynolds this week at the Atlanta Challenger...Andre Agassi has committed to play on grass at the Stella Artois Championships (Queens Club) before Wimbledon...Andy Murray pulled from Estoril with a bad back...From Tom Perrotta of the New York Sun: "Roger Federer has lost two matches this year, both to Rafael Nadal in tournament finals, yet few tennis fans in America have seen either one...The (Tennis) Channel remains less widely available. In New York City, for example, customers who do not have Time Warner Cable are out of luck (Dish Network became the first national provider of the channel in February; viewers must purchase a package of 180 channels -- rather than 60 or 120 -- to receive it). The larger point is that tennis remains without a comprehensive, full year television schedule, though there have been marked improvements since 2002...If a la carte cable television, by which viewers can purchase whatever channels or events they like, takes off, it could present more options (and perhaps more reach for The Tennis Channel). The men's tour recently launched Masters Series TV on the Internet (for $9 a tournament or a discounted $50 for a year) for access to footage from Masters Series events like Monte Carlo. But so far it does not allow viewers to watch entire matches, just extensive highlights, player interviews, and other features. It's too steep a price for too little product."...From Bonnie DeSimone writing for ESPN: "Will the now seemingly perpetual U.S. drought on European clay continue? (Andy) Roddick is the only one of the trio with a respectable career record on the surface, and much of his winning bulge comes from his performance in Houston, where he's won three titles and reached two other finals. Here's the breakdown on clay: (Andy) Roddick: 55-23 (turned pro in 2000) (James) Blake: 19-22 (2000) (Robby) Ginepri: 2-12 (2001) Andre Agassi, the last U.S. player to win the French Open (1999), won nearly three-quarters of his matches on clay over a 20-year span (152-57), but had announced he would sit out the clay-court season even before his back problems made that moot. You could argue that the current crop of Americans would be well advised to concentrate on what they're already good at, but then you'd be arguing with Jim Courier, and he's still quick on his feet. "There's always hope of getting better if a player is willing to make minor adjustments," the '91 and '92 French Open champion said."
 
5-3-06

5-3-06

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Andy Roddick
will play the Masters Series-Rome, Lleyton Hewitt will skip the "mandatory" Masters Series event...French Open champ Anastasia Myskina taking the high road after losing to Polish 17-year-old Agnieszka Radwanska at Warsaw: "It's the beginning of the claycourt season and so nothing really bad happened. I think she was a little luckier than me. Some of her shots were unbelievable and really close to the line."...Serena Williams is ranked No. 106...Frenchman Richard Gasquet is out of Rome with his ab injury...Taylor Dent speaking with CNN on his best shot at winning a Slam: "The courts at Wimbledon have slowed down quite a bit. As of now, I feel my best chance to win a slam is at the US Open because of the speed of the surface and the solid footing." -- Isn't a Slam getting a little ahead of yourself? Start with maybe two matches in a row at a tour event...Dmitry Tursunov blogging for the ATP website on doubles partner Marat Safin: "Apparently he felt I was really downplaying his ability to hit forehands in the middle of the court! I would have to disagree with him on that! I was just being factual. I even gave him a compliment! He did serve a couple of good serves at 7-8 in the 'breaker! But anyway, I felt kind of bad so I went to have breakfast with him as an apology! We sat on the terrace and had a good conversation. I ordered hot chocolate and he had coffee with milk. I apologized, and then we talked strategy for our next match and it was so great to really have a good heart-to-heart talk without all the girls running over and handing phone numbers to me and asking me to pass it to Marat! Towards the end of the breakfast we really bonded and I felt like we became a REAL doubles team. I braided his hair and he talked about this cute bag he bought at Louis Vuitton store! Unfortunately he had to leave soon for a warm-up so I hugged him good bye and wished him luck! He is soooo cute when he pouts!!!"...From tennis writer Leo Schlink: "Mark Philippoussis has rejected an invitation to contest a Tennis Australia play-off for a French Open wildcard. Australian Davis Cup captain John Fitzgerald said yesterday Philippoussis had refused to join a play-off of Australians for the wildcard. "All our players, outside Lleyton Hewitt who is already in the main draw, were given the opportunity to play," Fitzgerald said. "Four of the next five guys (in the rankings) are going to play. Mark just said he didn't want to take part. There was no issue with that."...From the Washington Post: "Serena Williams, who's battling questions about her commitment to tennis, probably will miss the French Open and Wimbledon because of knee and ankle injuries, the head of the women's professional tour said yesterday. Williams, a seven-time Grand Slam champion, hasn't played since losing to Daniela Hantuchova in the third round of the Australian Open in January. The French Open is set for May 28 in Paris and Wimbledon will begin on June 26 in London. "There was no timetable she shared with me at the moment" on a comeback, Larry Scott, chief executive of the WTA Tour, said in an interview after speaking with Williams last month. "But I don't expect it to be within the next couple of months."
 
5-6-06

5-6-06

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
In a scientifically-airtight poll of approximately 800 Tennis-X readers, 36 percent believe Roger Federer would beat Rafael Nadal if they met in the French Open final, while 9 percent believe both players won't reach the final...From Marat Safin's website on Friday: "Marat did twist his ankle today. He has had an x-ray which determined it was not as serious an injury as at first thought but decided not to play in the doubles and risk further injury. He is okay and will fly to Rome for the Rome Masters Series tomorrow Saturday."...Roger Federer will open against clay specialist Juan Ignacio Chela in Rome next week, with Andy Roddick facing Romanian Victor Hanescu, James Blake facing Frenchman Florent Serra, Robby Ginepri facing Max "The Beast" Mirnyi, and Rafael Nadal opening against his Spanish mentor Carlos Moya...From Tennis Week: "Roland Garros is gaining greater exposure this season. In addition to starting the opening round on Sunday, May 28, rather than the traditional Monday start for majors, the final day of French Open qualifying -- Saturday, May 27 -- will be televised by Eurosport."...Dmitry Tursunov blogging for the ATP website on partner Marat Safin twisting his ankle: "How did it happen?! "I was walking downhill to get a haircut at the site and I rolled my ankle!" he says. How is that possible?! I get my injuries off court as well but at least I'm not in semis of doubles when I get injured. You've got to pick the right time to get an injury. At least tell me that the excavator ran you over or a kid shot you with a bow. But not rolling an ankle while walking! How can you expect people to respect you on court when you get injuries like that?! Oh well! Hopefully he will get better for Rome so we can win there. We reserve the plane for Saturday noon so that means that my obligations with the blog are fulfilled. I have to go pack my bags now and get some sleep. It was fun here in Portugal but all roads lead to Rome!"...Andy Roddick on being appointed to President George W. Bush's President's Council of Sports and Fitness: "It's a great honor to be recognized in this way. When I was in school, I actually won the Presidential Fitness Award, and it was something I was always proud of. I hope kids look at this and know how important it is to be active and get exercise. Tennis is a great way to have a lot of fun and be healthy."
 
5-8-06

5-8-06

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
From the AP: "Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal got a quick tune-up on grass before the Rome Masters. The two top-ranked players joined Ivan Ljubicic and Gaston Gaudio for a doubles exhibition Sunday on the field at Stadio Olimpico before AS Roma's soccer match against Treviso in the Italian league. "The grass wasn't exactly Wimbledon," Federer said. "I'm very excited to be back in Rome."...From the Gwinnett (Georgia) Daily Times: "It was difficult to tell which John McEnroe and Jim Courier played better -- their shots or the crowd. They hammed it up Saturday night in their best-of-three set exhibition, the opening match of the Mercedes-Benz Classic. The nearly 4,500 fans on hand for this first tennis event in the Arena at Gwinnett Center marveled at McEnroe's precision and gaped at Courier's athleticism. But fans also got into the act -- and egged it on. "You can't be serious!" one man yelled from the back rows after a shot looked long, alluding to one of McEnroe's famous outbursts from the past. Now 47, McEnroe embraced his former image. He yelled at the umpire. Twice, after making unforced errors, he whacked a tennis ball nearly into the upper deck of the 13,000-seat arena. He also slammed his racket into the ground. Aside from a few terrified ball girls, everyone loved it."...First-round losers in the Rome qualifying over the weekend included Vince Spadea, Jonas Bjorkman and Nicolas Lapentti...From Australia's The Advertiser on Lleyton Hewitt's activities while he skips the Masters Series-Rome: "Just when we thought they couldn't get any tackier, out come Bec and Lleyton Hewitt carrying their baby daughter Mia to present a Logie. While it was for Most Outstanding Children's Program, the presence of Mia, who was in a Zimmerman dress like mum, was just plain strange -- we're only used to seeing her in Woman's Day, or hidden under a blanket. Proving his stint in the diner on Home and Away worked wonders for his acting ability, Ley-Ley and his wife were quite the comedians. The pair even had a dig at their own expense saying "in case you didn't know we've had a baby recently."...If the WTA aligns itself with the ATP with its major events for 2008, how about a suggestion to kill the crappy Tier-whatever events that don't feature any players within the Top 25? Such events are typically called "challengers," or should be...From AndyRoddick.com: "Andy has landed on clay courts this month and is now in the land of pasta and gelato. For his fourth year in Foro Italico -- Rome for the Roma Masters Series, he'll be bringing out his volleying and killer kick serve to the court again." -- Killer kick serve = good, volleying = maybe leave that in the U.S...From NewIndia123: "Designer giant Ralph Lauren has landed the role of the first-ever Official Outfitter of Wimbledon, and will now design and dress all on-court officials umpires, ball boys and ball girls. While the Officials clothing will be enhanced by the new navy blue and cream colours uniforms, the ball persons uniforms, will consist of a navy polo top with sporty white striping, enlarged Polo Player logo and the newly designed Ralph Lauren/Wimbledon crest on the sleeve, worn with navy shorts for the boys and with a navy skirt for the girls. In addition to this, both boys and girls will have a navy fleece warm up suit with zipped jacket, according to Femalefirst. The new uniforms will be made available to the public June 06 this year, at Ralph Lauren London and Glasgow stores, Harrods, Selfridges and selected independent outlets. People will also be able to purchase the apparel on line from www.polo.com." -- Get ready for the new fad of 2006, dressing like Wimbledon ball boys and girls...The Prague Post on Martina Navratilova competing in Prague this week: "Czechs still embrace Navratilova as if she never left. "Although she is technically an American, she never lost her Czech heart," says Ivo Kaderka, president of the Czech Tennis Association. "Martina was always perceived as a great ambassador of Czech tennis, even though [communist] media did not report about her success." Far from being envious, Czechs often viewed Navratilova, fellow tennis great Ivan Lendl and other athletes who defected during communism as symbols of hope, that there was a way to overcome the obstacles set by a totalitarian regime. That hasn't faded with the passing of time. "She could not come back because she would've been arrested by the regime, but she never denied her Czech roots. She became a hero in the eyes of many people in this country," says Jan Kodes, a national tennis champion in the 1970s."...Anna Kournikova speaking with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on retirement and her role models: "I really don't know in my mind and in my heart yet. Until I do, they're going to keep asking. Once I decide if I am going to play or if I'm not, there'll be some kind of announcement. There's no timeline...I really respect and admire Oprah and Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan -- they're remarkable women. They inspire me. Another one is Reese Witherspoon. She's got an amazing career and a family, and she's so young. And she has values. The people I most respect are the ones that work hard and achieve and give back to the community. They don't live isolated lives; they're actually part of the world."...From Scotland on Sunday: "The future plans for the UK arm of the late Mark H. McCormack's International Management Group (IMG) is uncertain after posting record losses, and anxious staff and clients nervously await publication of the 2005 figures in the autumn. IMG UK, which includes Scottish golfers Colin Montgomerie and Sam Torrance among its clients and is a partner in prestigious golf events such as the Barclay's Scottish Open and the Dunhill links championship boasting a combined 5.5m prize fund, posted losses of 4.6m for the financial year ending December 31, 2004, with turnover down by almost a third at 46.4m...But it was the departure of world number one tennis player Serena Williams to the same William Morris agency that snatched female golf sensation Michelle Wie from under the nose of IMG and the defection of top South African golfer Ernie Els late last year that was the seismic shock IMG could least afford...A former IMG employee, who did not wish to be named, said: "Staff morale is on the floor and it is very difficult working in an upbeat dynamic positive industry in an atmosphere of malaise and mistrust. Under the new ownership, there is a suspicion that all that counts is the USA, Tiger Woods and Maria Sharapova and that the regions really don't count. The consensus view is that the profitable parts of IMG are being made ready to be sold off."...From The Times on Mark Petchey's whereabout after being suddenly shuttled off by Andy Murray: "After the shock of the break-up with Murray, Petchey returned to the television studio with Sky, where he is their lead analyst. "I am going to take my time to decide what else I might do," he said. "I am under contract with Sky and that is all I'm concentrating on."...From Zimbabwe's Super Tennis: "Czech-born tennis legend, Martina Navratilova, slammed Czech Republic president Vaclav Klaus on Saturday claiming he was anti-homosexual. The 49-year-old former world tennis number one said his refusal to rubberstamp a law in February permitting homosexual couples to marry had gravely disappointed her. "I cannot be satisfied by him, because he does not consider homosexuals to be 100 percent human beings," said Navratilova, who often springs to the defence of homosexuals and lesbians. "I know I cannot change his opinion but I did think he was more liberal than this," added the naturalised American, who is set to play in the doubles in the Prague Open, which will be her first ever WTA tournament in her birthplace since she left the country in 1975."
 
5-11-06

5-11-06

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Tennis Channel founder Steve Bellamy
has stepped down from his post at The Tennis Channel to pursue other interests. In an official release Bellamy said: ?I?ve been contemplating this for a while and believe it is the right time to make this change. Although tennis is one of my life?s main passions, and the knowledge, experience and relationships gained over the past seven years at The Tennis Channel were an incredible gift, there are a few other things in life that I?m really excited about doing. The rigors of travel for a hands-on, year-round international sport make it hard on family life, so before all of the summer tournaments begin it makes sense to make this move. When the network began I had one child, and today I have four.??Rafael Nadal has now won 49 straight matches on clay, four shy of the men?s Open Era record of 53 set by Guillermo Vilas?For what it?s worth, Potito Starache broke Roger Federer twice today, but the Swiss star was coming off an earlier meeting with the Pope in St. Peter?s square. Said Federer: ?Yes. It was an emotional day today (smiling). In the morning, meeting the Pope, which was, very, very nice and a big honor of course. Got to shake his hand, exchange a few words in German, and that's it. But of course very special for me. I'm Catholic after all, you know. So it was very nice. And then after on, the great match here. So it was a perfect day.??Two-time Slam finalist Mark Philippoussis will pass-up on the French Open and return to tennis on the grass in June. Why that is news is a mystery?More proof that anyone can blog, Andy Roddick has just made made his first entry on his website: ?there is really no set format and I have never done this before so be patient haha?. if this one is terrible, then it will get better?. if this one is good, then next weeks will most likely be much worse. I think I am just going to go for random thoughts.? How did we all survive without it, Andy?...The Roddick-Baghdatis matches was halted early in the first set as a man in the stands had to be taken in a stretcher after he collapsed?Has Roger Federer ever lost to player that has dated Martina Hingis? Radek Stepanek gets his shot Thursday?What were the odds that Brit serve-volleyers Greg Rusedski and Tim Henman would be still in Rome on Thursday?...The oft-injured Taylor Dent underwent back surgery on Wednesday. "This is a minor procedure and I hope to be back for the grass- court season," Dent said in a statement. "I have been able to play tennis and am training every day. I am hopeful this will help take away some of the pain during serving."?A knee injury has ended Igor Andreev?s hopes of playing at the French Open this year?Thomas Johansson blogging about Roger Federer: ?A lot of fans probably don't know just how loud and funny Roger can get. He has a really, really good sense of humor. People think of him as very quiet and calm but watching the Safin match he was screaming and yelling along with the rest of the players as the big Russian let a 6-1, 4-1 lead slip away against Ruben Ramriez-Hidalgo. I hope Roger controlled himself a little better when he met the Pope earlier in the day. Roger is also a genius with languages. He used to be coached by Peter Lundgren, so I can almost speak Swedish with him.?
 
6-7-06

6-7-06

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Looks like the rain and cold are history in Paris as temps are expected to only climb through to the finals...Roger Federer has won 26 straight in Grand Slams, passing Pete Sampras' 25. Rod Laver owns the record at 29...Roger Federer has dropped one set en route to the semifinals. Last year he dropped zero sets...Dinara Safina won just three points in the second set against Svetlana Kuznetsova. Nice effort, get in shape...Rafael Nadal has won 57 straight on clay but has lost more sets (2) in the last two rounds than his opponent Novak Djokovic...Donald Young can't win on the pro tour, and now he can no longer win in the juniors, falling in three sets in the boys' third round. Next stop for The Donald, the Wimbledon juniors...The highest-ranked player Ivan Ljubicic has beaten at Roland Garros is No. 79 Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo and now he gets No. 95 Juliean Benneteau...Dinara Safina really did only win three points in the second set...17-year-old Nicole Vaidisova has won her last two matches over Slam champions, and to win the title will have to play two more...Mario Ancic remains the last guy to beat Roger Federer on grass...Justine Henin-Hardenne has won her last 12 matches at Roland Garros, and 20 of her last 21...USA Today tennis writer Doug Robson says don't look for Kim Clijsters to keep her word about retiring at the end of 2007: "It's hard to imagine a player giving up status, fame, and millions of dollars in their tennis prime that isn't suffering from a debilitating injury -- which Clijsters isn't. The Belgian 22-year-old (she turns 23 June 8) insists -- as she did earlier this week in Paris -- that she wants to retire healthy to start a family. When you see her goo-goo eyes around American boyfriend Brian Lynch and the unrequited affection she showers on children, it seems feasible. But if I were betting, I'd say she'll reconsider and play longer than she intends -- if she is injury-free."...Should Rafael Nadal and Ivan Ljubicic win Wednesday it will be the first time the top four seeds have advanced to the semifinal since 1985 when John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Mats Wilander last set the mark...Nicole Vaidisova on, you know, picking up, you know, experience this year: "Definitely, you know, played a little more matches, you know, tried to get a little more experience, you know, on the big stages. You know, in Australia I played on center court and US. By picking up those matches, it's definitely great. You know, you can take a lot of it to your next matches."...Nicole Vaidisova's uncle is Daniel Vacek...Justine Henin-Hardenne on the logically-difficult life of the tennis pro: "It's a very difficult life. You do a lot of sacrifices. It's quite logical. Probably some years ago players didn't feel it so much because they didn't play so fast, it wasn't so physical as it is today. Today, it's a very difficult life. I think it's rather logical." And H-H on her new buddy-buddy relationship with countrywoman Kim Clijsters: "We discuss things normally. We'll probably go out for lunch during Roland Garros. In Liege, we put the problems of the past aside. We were both professionals. We were happy to have this experience together. We were part of a team. Today we're competitors again. We don't have any problems between us. We have a lot of respect for each other. We each know what each of us has done is quite fabulous. Of course, we need to respect each other, so we do. We have a very healthy relationship. I think that is very important. It's best that way."...Punter alert: unless she has an extended case of the nerves as she did in the beginning of her match against Dinara Safina, look for Svetlana Kuznetsova to exploit the still-developing claycourt movement of Nicole Vaidisova in a straight-set win...Here's ESPN's Mary Joe Fernandez's waffling no-pick for the all-Belgian semifinal: "Belgians Justine Henin-Hardenne (the defending champion) and Kim Clijsters (the No. 2 seed) have a long history together, playing each other since they were kids. But their semifinal match is going to come down to who is stronger mentally on the given day and who wants it more. On clay, Henin-Hardenne's game is a little more complete -- she uses more of the court and the angles. But for me, Clijsters' game is ideal for this surface. She can defend until the very end and hits heavy enough where she can hurt you and open up the court. But it's going to come down to who can handle the stage because their games are so similar. We'll see if Henin-Hardenne feels the pressure since everyone thinks she's now the one to beat. However, it's a semifinal and not a final, so maybe that will help Clijsters. There are a lot of components that go into this matchup."...ESPN's Luke Jensen picked two of Tuesday's six matches correctly, double ouch, you and Brad Gilbert should get together, start an on-line tennis betting advice column...From tennis blogger Peter Bodo: "I went before the board of the International Tennis Writer's Association to discuss my having gone public with information that the ITWA board felt was strictly internal and confidential material (the backstory is at my Whistle-Blower Me blog). It isn't necessary or relevant for me to discuss the specifics of the meeting, and I think ITWA's request to keep the substance of the discussion confidential is reasonable and fair. But I also feel obliged to tell you all that my position has not changed on the public's "right-to-know" issues, and I will report on any relevant developments at the appropriate time."...From tennis writer Joe Drucker writing for CBS Sportsline.com under the headline "Radical Proposal": "Fifteen days for a (Slam) event is ridiculous, testing the stamina not just of players but of fans trying to follow these superb Slam events. I'm convinced one reason tennis has such a hard time generating traction for itself in the U.S. is that its four most important tournaments take too long. I'm certain many will vilify for me this, but here's my suggestion: Cut Slams draws in half to 64. This will make entry into a Slam something that must be earned rather than exist as the ongoing welfare state for those who haven't played as well throughout the year...And, yes, make every match for both genders two-out-of-three sets." -- Think that's already being done Joel, they're called Masters Series and Tier I events respectively...Roger Federer has reached eight consecutive Slam semifinals, second only to Ivan Lendl's 10 (1985 US Open-1988 Australian Open).
 

railbird2

EOG Senior Member
IMG and USTA both have heads up their ass, Donald Young overrated from jump street, US coaching sucks, players are all *****s that dont train hard, boys and girls.

Only 3 white americans under 25 in the top 250 wta.

Sampras hasnt given squat back to tennis, Davenport is a selfish lazy pig.

Debbie Graham, Ellioit Telschter, Brian Teacher, Billie Jean King, Tracy Austin all collect USTA WELFARE CHECKS.
 
railbird said:
IMG and USTA both have heads up their ass, Donald Young overrated from jump street, US coaching sucks, players are all *****s that dont train hard, boys and girls.

Only 3 white americans under 25 in the top 250 wta.

Sampras hasnt given squat back to tennis, Davenport is a selfish lazy pig.

Debbie Graham, Ellioit Telschter, Brian Teacher, Billie Jean King, Tracy Austin all collect USTA WELFARE CHECKS.
Railbird,

I couldn't agree more.:+thumbs-2
 
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Andy Roddick's
agent Ken Meyerson, who allegedly set up the coupling of his ward with Jimmy Connors as part-time coach according to The Times Online, speaking with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Charlie Bricker before the deal was formally announced: "There is nothing to it. Absolutely nothing. But hey, I love Jimmy. If he called me (he hasn't) and said he wanted to help Andy, I'd tell him to call Andy (he also hasn't)." Bricker wrote: "Meyerson had already heard about the story and he wasn't certain if should laugh it off and hit the damage control button. Actually, there was no damage. It was one of those stories you throw at the wall to see how long it will take to slide to the floor." -- Guess it stuck to the wall...David Nalbandian elaborating on his abdominal injury: "I was perfect in the beginning and I didn't feel like I can continue playing for three, four hours. Doesn't matter the score. Maybe if I lose the first set, I mean, and I didn't have these kind of problem, I want to continue until the end. I mean, I don't mind the score; I mind the health, the body. I don't mind if I'm beating 6-1, 6-1 or losing 6-1, 6-1, but I'm gonna fight until the end. I'm gonna fight if I'm okay. If I'm not okay, I mean, fight against what? It's impossible...This injury, I've already had two or three times already, and normally it happens in very long tournaments with very tough matches with many sets, where I spend a lot of time on court. You feel very bitter about it. You feel very bitter having to retire like that, with that type of problem."...Ivan Ljubicic on if Rafael Nadal was receiving illegal coaching from his Uncle Toni in the stands during their match: "No, not today. I have to say that, I mean, it's too far away, you cannot say. But I had bad experience in Miami when I lost to him. Toni was telling him a lot what to do, yes. But not today. Today, maybe yes. The stadium is so big, you cannot realize that. In Miami we played on a grandstand, so it's so small you can actually hear everything."...From Marat Safin's website: "Marat is fine and will play at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle next week. He will go to Halle later this week." -- Guess that depends on your definition of "fine."...From Tennis Week: "They have fallen from the top 10 of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour rankings, but when it comes to ranking the nation's most popular sports stars Venus and Serena Williams top the list. Reigning Wimbledon champion Venus has reclaimed her spot as America's favorite female sports star followed by sister Serena, who ranked second in a Harris Poll. Tennis made a strong showing as four of the nation's top 10 favorite female athletes are current or former tennis players: Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, who ranked eighth and Anna Kournikova who placed ninth in the top 10. Tiger Woods ended Michael Jordan's 12-year run as the nation's favorite male athlete by taking the top spot for the first time. None of the 10 men in the poll are tennis players."...Katarina Srebotnik and Nenad Zimonjic won the French mixed troubles title...From the Rafael Nadal blog: "I had a very late lunch on site. I had a big, big dish of pasta with salmon. When I say 'big' I mean really, really big. At lunch I also had a chance to see on the computer the feature ESPN did for Roland Garros. I have to say they did a good job, so congrats guys."...Good news from the BBC for those who'd like to see Brad Gilbert out of the ESPN booth: "American Brad Gilbert could become Andy Murray's new coach after holding talks with the British number two and the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA). Gilbert, who used to coach Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick, met Murray's agent Patricio Apey and LTA boss Roger Draper in a Paris hotel on Wednesday morning. Murray, 19, needs a new coach after parting with Mark Petchey in April. The LTA also needs someone to head its performance programme after sacking David Felgate last month. The three-way meeting has fueled speculation that a possible joint arrangement, for the benefit of both the LTA and Murray, has been discussed. Murray ideally needs a full-time advisor, but the chance of getting help from Gilbert, one of the most successful and respected coaches on the tour, would be appealing."
 
7-10-06

7-10-06

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Rafael Nadal
had won 14 straight tournament finals until Fed beat him Sunday (his last lost was also to Fed at Miami in '05). Federer has won four straight Wimbledons, tying Pete Sampras' consecutive mark. Bjorn Borg won five straight. Federer is 8-1 in Slam finals, and has won 48 straight on grass, and 28 straight at Wimbledon including 84 of 89 sets. Federer had lost five straight to Nadal until Sunday...The last time Rafael Nadal got bageled was last year in Monte Carlo by Guillermo Coria. Nadal had held 80 straight times until getting broken three straight in that first set against Federer. Nadal is the first Spaniard to reach the Wimbledon final in the Open Era...American Jan-Michael Gambill went 0-3 Saturday in World TeamTennis play, losing in singles to Nick Monroe (ouch), while Anna Kournikova went 1-2...From TennisNews.com: "If you need an indication of the gap between the Top Two and the rest of the ATP, consider this: Rafael Nadal had held in 80 straight games entering the final. And Roger Federer bagelled him in the first set."...Jimmy Connors writing for the BBC: "Roger Federer is starting to remind me of Bjorn Borg. Not just in the way he's dominating Wimbledon year after year, but also in his approach to the sport. In my playing days I could never get to Borg, never knew what he was thinking. He just kept going, playing the sort of tennis that made him who and what he was. Federer is just the same, especially in his attitude and the way he never lets himself gets flustered. Look at him after the match. He came off and said he was a little nervous serving it out but I just thought 'what does it take for him to show some emotion?' He's so calm and collected during the course of play and he's just the same walking around with the trophy."...Luke Jensen writing for ESPN: "Going into this fortnight, I honestly thought Andre Agassi was going to beat [Rafael] Nadal. I couldn't believe someone who plays eight feet from the baseline and had so little experience on grass was going to be able to pick it up like Nadal did. He has a great ability to close in on the ball from where he stands and his serve was noticeably bigger at Wimbledon. He's only going to get better and that's bad news for the rest of the field. Going forward to the US Open, I would love to see a Federer-Nadal final. American Andy Roddick is off the pace. His compatriot James Blake is a top-10 player, but for him to win slams he is going to have to be as mentally tough as Federer and Nadal. The rivalry that you have in Federer and Nadal has the potential to rival Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe in terms of their contrasting styles."...Greg Garber writing for ESPN: "There was no formal, on-air farewell to broadcasting from Brad Gilbert on Sunday. The former coach of Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick and future coach of Scotland's Andy Murray glibly rolled through what could be his final Wimbledon appearance as an ESPN analyst without once mentioning his future. Gilbert's imminent departure has been a poorly-kept secret here at the All England Club for the entire fortnight. According to sources familiar with the negotiations, some technical details have yet to be worked out between Gilbert and the Lawn Tennis Association. Still, it is understood that Gilbert will receive approximately 500,000 pounds per year ($920,000) to work with the 19-year-old, who is seen by many as a future top-10 player. Gilbert himself declined to confirm that the deal is done, but did not sound like a man who will be returning to broadcasting any time soon."
 
7-11-06

7-11-06

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Anna Kournikova
goes 0-2 Sunday in doubles for the Sacramento Capitals in World TeamTennis play, with a WTA Tour comeback seeming farther and farther away...Radek Stepanek and Marcos Baghdatis are new members of the Top 10 this week on the ATP Rankings, with Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt out...Wildcards Anders Jarryd and Robin Soderling drew No. 2 seeds Jonas Bjorkman and Thomas Johansson in the all-Swedish match-up this week in Bastad. Andy Murray and brother Jamie are playing doubles together this week in Newport...From Lauren Ober writing for AfterEllen.com: "Wimbledon might be one of the biggest events on the lesbian sports calendar, but the number of openly gay girls knocking balls around center court is few and far between. And by few and far between we mean just two -- Amelie Mauresmo, the reigning world number one, and Martina Navratilova, whose status as an icon of women's athletics elevates her to the mono-name realm, a la Madonna. And since this was Martina's last showing at the All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Mauresmo will be the lone remaining out lesbian on the Sony Ericsson WTA tour...It's long been speculated that directives from the WTA higher-ups keep lesbians in check and players are discouraged from coming out. But in 1999, Mauresmo, who at 20 years-old had just reached the finals of the Australian Open, came out and her tennis game has improved because of it...With Martina bowing out of the game at 49 years-old, it will be up to Mauresmo to carry on the mantle of lesbian tennis star. Not that Mauresmo is any great crusader for LGBT issues. She keeps her sexuality to herself after her very public declaration in 1999. Since then she has two long-term relationships, but Mauresmo learned from her relationship with Bourdon to guard her privacy a little more carefully. She has been seen in the spectators boxes with her girlfriends and the television cameras often cut to a shot of her girlfriend in the stands, but other than that, Mauresmo's private life is kept under wraps, as is Martina's. Neither Mauresmo, nor Martina fete any LGBT causes, though Martina did sign a handsome six-figure contract with Olivia Travel in 2005. Joining Mauresmo, Martina and King in small club of out lesbian tennis players are Rosie Casals, Gigi Ferandez and her partner Conchita Martinez. One transgender woman, Renee Richards, also took to the pro stage in the late 1970s, but retired soon after to pursue a career in medicine. Only time will tell if other lesbians do indeed exist on the WTA tour, but for now, Mauresmo, with her number one ranking, her powerful one-handed backhand and her bowling ball-sized shoulders, will just have to suffice."...The Brad Gilbert-Andy Murray deal, possibly for three years, is expected to be announced today...Venus Williams drops out of the Top 20 on the WTA Rankings...From Reuters: "Creatine, a dietary supplement popular among competitive tennis players, does little to improve strength or performance on the court, a study shows. Dr. Babette Pluim from the Royal Netherlands Lawn Tennis Association in Amersfoort and colleagues tested the effects of short- and medium-term creatine supplementation on selected aspects of tennis-specific training in 36 competitive male tennis players. Compared with placebo supplementation, neither six days nor five weeks of creatine supplementation had any significant effect on serving velocity, forehand velocity, or backhand velocity, the team reports in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Taking creatine also had no significant effect on repetitive sprint power or upper or lower extremity strength."...16-year-old Wimbledon winner Caroline Wozniacki will turn pro after the US Open...Greg Rusedski has pulled from Indy with a hip injury while Nicolas Kiefer will get a wildcard...Balle de Match has been named the official apparel of World TeamTennis...From TennisReporters.net: "In his speech to the guests, [Roger] Federer said the Wimbledon Museum had already been after him, asking if it could have his jacket for its constantly-updated collection of players'attire. Federer said, "I went to the museum which is in a new building, and it's fantastic. As the jacket is now out of date, I've told them they can have it after dinner? -- a reference to the fact that the gold design on the left breast features three rackets, one for each of his Wimbledon titles (until yesterday). Knowing how to behave scores points at Wimbledon. While nothing was ever said, the All England Club's senior officials were silently fuming when Venus Williams kept everyone waiting for nearly an hour last year, rolling in with her entire entourage at 10.50pm for a dinner advertised as being "9.30pm for 10pm." As if to make his point obliquely, Phillips went out of his way to praise the humanity of this year's champions. "I think we're incredibly lucky to have two players like Roger and Amelie at the top of the game," he said in his address to guests. "I don't just mean the way they play, but the way they are as people. They're tremendous assets for the game."...From Tennis Week: "Pete Sampras will launch his return to professional tennis with the Newport Beach Breakers on Sunday and the Outdoor Life Network will televise the match starting at 11:30 a.m. Eastern time. Sampras' inaugural World TeamTennis season will be the centerpiece of WTT television coverage on both The Tennis Channel and OLN, which will both televise matches throughout July and August. OLN, which will be renamed the "Versus" network starting in September, will televise two of Sampras' WTT matches, including Sunday's match against the five-time WTT champions Sacramento Capitals and Newport Beach's meeting with the Houston Wranglers on July 30."...From the BBC: "The All England Club has denied press reports that a "drunken" David Hasselhoff had to be removed from the Wimbledon tennis championships. Security guards "knew nothing" of the claims, said a spokeswoman, adding the former Baywatch star "wasn't ejected." He tried to enter the press centre while searching for Court 13 but was not correctly accredited, she added."...From the Kansas City Star: "This week, [Wimbledon] workers will begin erecting four cranes that will remove the green sloping roof in a three-year program that will put a retractable roof over the world's most famous tennis arena by 2009. Next year, Centre Court will have no roof at all. In 2008, a new roof will be in place, and by 2009, the retractable portion will be installed and ready to slide across when rain hits. The Centre Court complex also will have its seating capacity increased to 15,000 from 13,800. Lights also will be installed on Centre Court."...Martina Navratilova is urging tennis officials to ban grunting.
 
7-12-06

7-12-06

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
From Reuters: "French Open champion Rafael Nadal escaped unhurt after the car in which he was travelling hit an electricity pylon in Manacor, Mallorca, Spanish media reported on Tuesday. The 20-year-old world number two returned to his home town on the island on Monday after losing to Switzerland's Roger Federer in the men's singles final at Wimbledon. Spanish news agency Europa Press reported that a woman who lived nearby went to investigate after hearing the noise of the accident and found Nadal dizzy but unhurt. She said the tennis player recovered after having a drink at her house and the car was taken away by a tow truck. The pylon collapsed as a result of the impact and local radio station IB3 reported the accident had caused power cuts in the Portocristo area of the island." Nadal then released a press release via the ATP: "As you will have been able to find out through all the different means of communication, I had a minor accident, not serious, this morning at 9:30 when I was driving to the port of Puertocristo on Mallorca. I had been with some friends to go fishing and when I went over a pothole I lost control of the car a little and it made me bump into an electricity pylon. The speed that I was doing was very little [around 18-1/2 mph] and it was all OK. Let me tell you that I spent a fantastic day fishing with my friends. We caught something like 30 fish. I will carry on enjoying some days off; it's been a long time since I had some time off." -- Uhhh, speculating on this would surely get us sued. We bet he was dehydrated and needed some water after fishing with friends...Andy Murray is attempting this week at Newport to become the first-ever No. 1 seed to win the event...Ian O'Connor writing for USA Today: "Around the same hour that French soccer legend Zinedine Zidane was being named the World Cup's best player, this after Zidane blew the tournament by reducing it to a Three Stooges routine (no, he didn't quite go out like Ted Williams, did he?), the post-Wimbledon headlines had all U.S. prospects heading south. Venus Williams, out of the top 20. Andy Roddick, out of the top 10. No American had reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals for the first time in 95 years, and Andre Agassi sure couldn't be blamed for that. Agassi had done his time on grass, and every other surface, and will retire at the U.S. Open knowing that image isn't everything, not when reality bites. We haven't forgotten how to produce tennis stars or forgotten how to maintain tennis stardom: We've forgotten how to do both. Venus and Serena Williams grew more bored with their domination of the women's side than did the fans who endured their intramural finals, and so they cut their primes down to size, leaving a once punch-drunk field to see major championship openings it thought it would never see...Truth is, American tennis needs a 500-foot home run when the Open starts next month, and the Federer-Nadal rivalry doesn't pack enough lumber. It's a ferocious pairing, no doubt. But American sports fans are funny: They prefer American competitors on at least one side of the draw."...Anastasia Myskina goes 2-0 in her World TeamTennis debut, driving the Springfield Lasers to victory...With Greg Rusedski injured and Tim Henman bailing on Davis Cup, Andy Murray will lead Britain in Davis Cup minor-league play on July 21 against Israel with Alex Bogdanovic or Alan Mackin in the second singles spot...Bjorn Borg has told The Sun that Roger Federer is now among the four greatest ever with Rod Laver, Pete Sampras and himself...Andy Murray saved five match points in his first-round win at Newport...From Tennis Week: "James Blake's "J-Block" has grown from a vocal section of Blake supporters in New Haven into a nationwide network. Now, Blake, who may currently be cruising I-95 in the "J-Block Mobile" as you read this, has expanded J-Block into a charitable program to benefit the USTA Tennis & Education Foundation with a series of events that began today. Blake and Nike are partnering to develop a line of J-Block merchandise that will be sold in markets where James competes in the U.S. Open Series. One hundred percent of all proceeds from J-Block merchandise sales will go to the USTA Tennis & Education Foundation, which supports local tennis programs in cities in which he plans to compete including Indianapolis (National Junior Tennis League), Washington (Washington Tennis and Education Foundation), Cincinnati (Inner City Youth Opportunities), New Haven (New Haven Parks and Recreation) and New York (Harlem Junior Tennis Program)."...From Tennis Week: "The approaching 2008 Olympic Games have prompted the ATP to put off plans to revise the men's tennis schedule until 2009. The redesigned schedule may well include moving the Tennis Masters Cup from Shanghai to Europe and eliminating the current Masters Series format, ATP chairman Etienne de Villiers suggests...de Villiers told The SportsBusiness Journal's Daniel Kaplan, significant schedule changes will not be made until 2009 due to the 2008 Olympics...In an interview conducted prior to the French Open, de Villiers told Tennis Week senior correspondent Steve Flink he is not convinced maintaining the Masters Series is in the best interests of the game." -- That's called folding what you know is a losing hand...Your tennis prayers have been answered as FedCup.com will provide radio coverage of the semifinals this weekend...Another first-round loss on clay for Guillermo Coria...Check out tonight's premier of Project Runway on Bravo where one of the contestants, in her bio to qualify for the show, revealed about designing outfits for Serena Williams: "She fancies herself a bit of a designer so I had to make it seem like my ideas were her ideas."
 
7-13-06

7-13-06

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Chanda Rubin
went 2-0 in singles and doubles to lead the Philadelphia Freedoms to victory in World TeamTennis, while Jan-Michael Gambill went 0-2 for the Houston Wranglers, losing in singles and in doubles with brother Tory...Four of Pete Sampras' 14 Slam titles came in finals over Andre Agassi, three of those at the US Open...ESPN has denied confirmation that Brad Gilbert has left the network to coach Andy Murray...From blogger Shawn Randall: "It was also interesting to learn just how far Andy Roddick has fallen. After a shaky opener against Janko Tipsarevic [at Wimbledon], Roddick was full throttle and back in bash mode in a convincing win over Florian Mayer in the second round -- I watched it! But then against Andy Murray Roddick again looked like a player badly in need of a new game. The volleys are no good, the backhand is still subpar and the forehand and serve seem to have lost a bit of pop. Can Jimmy Connors help? Doubt it, but we'll see. Roddick has a bunch of points to defend this summer so odds are he may not even be in the Top 15 come the US Open. Simply amazing. As for the rest of American tennis -- OUCH! For the first time since 1911 no Americans were in the quarterfinals. That's incredible. And even more incredible was that Shenay Perry was the only U.S. player to reach the fourth round. Unreal. Aside from James Blake, who continues to have trouble in big Grand Slam matches (i.e. five setters), and the retiring Andre Agassi, the rest of the crew is slipping. Roddick is in a funk, Robby Ginepri is off the radar, Taylor Dent is battling a bad back and Mardy Fish is...well Mardy Fish. And the future doesn't look much brighter. Donald Young? Scoville "MIA" Jenkins? Brendon "We Hardly Knew Ya" Evans? Yikes. Sam Querrey from what I've heard is the best of the bunch, the lone Top 20-type prospect."...Robby Ginepri pulled from Newport with a staph infection, and Marcos Baghdatis pulled to play Davis Cup...Andy Murray's blogging on his new website didn't last very long...From the BBC: "Former Wimbledon referee Alan Mills, nicknamed "Rain Man" for overseeing the often wet tennis championships, has received a CBE from the Queen. Mr Mills, 70, retired last year after nearly 25 years of deciding when to stop play and scrutinizing everything from players' clothes to the umpiring."...ESPN's Wimbledon ratings saw a two percent increase from last year...From Tennis Week on Anna Kournikova's new scary-thin look: "Since Anna Kournikova made her annual summer return to the court launching her World TeamTennis season last weekend she's been confronted with questions of loss. Kournikova's strikingly slender appearance has prompted speculation surrounding the reasons for her dramatic weight loss, but the 25-year-old Russian says her lean look reflects her natural physique. "I'm naturally long, lean and lanky," Kournikova writes in the column she contributes to Elle Magazine's June issue. "When I was playing tennis on the professional circuit, my body completely changed. for nearly 15 years, I spent six hours a day on the court in a crouch." Kournikova contends the physical demands of playing the pro circuit contributed to the more muscular, fitter figure she exhibited in gracing the pages of Sports Illustrated and starring in several ad campaigns and attributes her slender shape to the lack of daily tennis training. "Now, almost three years have passed since I was on the court full-time and my body has changed again," Kournikova said. The former World No. 8 said a lingering back injury prevents her from extensive training and suggested a full-time return to professional tennis is probably impossible due to her health. "I have a chronic spinal lumbar dysfunction. If I exercise a little too much it does bother me," Kournikova said. "If I start training for six hours a day on a professional level that's when it's really troubled. If I exercise one or two hours a day it doesn't bother me. I don't know how to fix that problem right now. If I knew, I would have come back and played already. World TeamTennis is very competitive, but it's a good level for me physically and personally (because it is) a very short amount of time so my back doesn't start to get bad."...Amelie Mauresmo will miss Fed Cup and will be out three weeks with a groin injury, and Justine Henin-Hardenne will miss the tie against the U.S., citing exhaustion...Mariano Puerta's doping suspension has been reduced and he will return to tennis in 2007: "I find it extraordinary that it could ever be thought satisfactory that a person's livelihood can be terminated in circumstances such as these," Puerta said in a statement. "My position has always been that I did not deliberately or knowingly ingest any prohibited substance. The tribunal accept that the substance...entered my system entirely inadvertently and without my knowledge as a result of accidental contamination by an over-the-counter medicine which my wife was taking."...Eleanor Preston writing for The Guardianon Martina Navratilova being pissed off about her non-send-off at Wimbledon: "Martina Navratilova said yesterday that she was angry only a handful of spectators watched her say a final goodbye to Wimbledon last week. Navratilova, who won 20 Wimbledon titles, believes she was robbed of the farewell she deserved after schedulers put her match on Court Two. "They blew that one. It shouldn't matter where you lose but it just wasn't the right send off," said Navratilova, whose Wimbledon career ended when she lost her third-round mixed doubles match with Mark Knowles on Wednesday. "I think they thought that we would win and the next one would have been on Court One but the first one should have been on Court One. I didn't challenge it. I'm not going to go over there and yell and scream. They should have thought about it. I shouldn't have to fight about that. I really wanted to leave on a good note and I left on the worst possible note."
 
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