September 4, 2015

Victoria Duval – Cancer Survivor, Venus and Federer Fangirl

(September 3, 2015) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Just over a year ago Victoria Duval was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma just one day before the start of Wimbledon. She lost in the second round. Just the year before, the American of Haitian descent qualified for the US Open and upset 2011 champion Sam Stosur in the first round.

She returned to the tour at an ITF event in Landsville, Pennsylvania in early August this year, winning two matches before withdrawing from her quarterfinal match.

She played in the US Open qualifying tournament where she lost in the second round.

I asked her about the biggest challenge in being back on the court.

“I think the mental aspect, just like the focus that it takes to do a long match,” she said. “In my second round (qualies) match, I was tired emotionally in the third set more than physically and I think that the hardest thing coming back is staying in the moment for hours at a time, so it’s going to take a few more months being in competition.”

“I think the serve and the return are the hardest coming back. Adjusting to the speed, the different speeds, the ball comes from a different direction. The serve is something that I’m constantly working on. I was impressed with the level I was able to play at. It was good.”

Losing in the first round of the mixed doubles with Christian Harrison on Thursday, I asked the effervescent teen about what she plans to do in New York now that she’s completely done at the US Open.

“I will probably stick around tomorrow and go home the next day. It’s New York so you have to live a little.”

“I went to the Guggenheim, because I love art, O my gosh! Art fanatic. I want to go to the Metropolitan.

“I saw that (Roger) Federer went. Jealous! I can go that day. I so just want a selfie with him!”

“That would be a highlight of my life, just one selfie,” the bubbly Duval squealed. “I tweeted that one time, but then I deleted it, because I said that’s too much fangirling.

“Like my family gets emotional when he loses. Like we are staunch Federer fans. It gets serious.”

She talked about Venus Williams as a very significant example in her life.

“For Venus to be doing what she’s doing at her age, with all of the health issues that she’s had to battle, she’s definitely a role model for me even though we have totally different illnesses. What she has been able to do and I’ve been able to look up to someone like that. And obviously she’s so nice and she talks to me whenever I need her to talk to me, so I feel super blessed to have someone like that.”

“Venus is everything I want to be,” the 19-year-old proclaimed. “She’s like so poised. Oh my god, I love her so much! Massive fangirl in the locker room. She walks in and I’m like ‘aaahh!’ I have to hide in the corner. She was doing her hair and I wanted to talk to her so badly, but she getting ready for her match – I’m like ‘what do I do?!!’

“I like freak out when I see her!”

Duval is among a group of young American women tennis players on tour. “Yea, for sure. We’re trying to be the next generation, we boost each other, we’re all friends so it helps.”

Does she or her peers feel pressure after Serena and Venus Williams are no longer on the scene?

“Not yet,” Said Duval. “Yah, we will, but not yet. Especially for me right now, I’m just too happy to be back, for other players I’m not sure, but for as young as we all are, I think we have no pressure.”

She was asked if she’s seeking a rise in the diversity of the sport of tennis.

“Yes, I definitely think so. I think we are seeing our group – me Taylor (Townsend), Sachia (Vickery), Alicia (Tornado Black) even.

“I think that the fact that we are all rising together we’re making more of an impact because we’re not at the lower level we’re kind of making a name for ourselves now, we’re being seen so I definitely think it’s a boost.”

For now, Duval is focusing on making the draw of the next major.

“My next tournament is going to be a 75K in New Mexico,” she said. “Then I’ll probably just stay in the states and do Challengers… Carlsbad and stuff like that and hopefully have my ranking up for Australia next year.”


Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama at the US Open.

Related articles:

A New “Sunshine” – Victoria Duval

296th Ranked Qualifier Victoria Duval Upends 2011 US Open Champ Sam Stosur in First Round of US Open

Victoria Duval Diagnosed with Cancer


In His Own Words Lleyton Hewitt


(September 3, 2015) Lleyton Hewitt rallied from two sets down against his Australian countryman Bernard Tomic but could not capitalize on two match points and lost 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 5-7, 7-5 in an almost 3 1/2 hour match on Thursday at the US Open. This is the transcript from his post match news conference. This was Hewitt’s last singles match at the US Open. The former No. 1 won the title in 2001.


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Lleyton Hewitt

Press Conference

B. TOMIC/L. Hewitt

6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 5-7, 7-5

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What were your emotions after that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I left it all out there again. Yeah, obviously you go through the pain barrier out there on the court. Everything happens so quickly. It was the same as Wimbledon.

But, you know, was a great atmosphere out there on that court. The crowd was really involved. You know, it was nice to be able to turn it into a decent match.

Q. You had your little boy out there watching you. He’s here now. What does it mean for you to be able to share this moment, even though it didn’t go your way tonight?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, no, it’s great. Obviously my two oldest kids especially are old enough to understand what daddy does out there now. It’s been a lot of fun this year taking him to a few more tournaments.

He’s really enjoyed it. He loves sport. For him to sit out there for five hours, it was a pretty good effort.

Q. Did you feel you had it?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, obviously I felt like once I got to the fifth, if I could have broken that first game as well, I could have really opened it up. You know, Bernie’s got such an easy serve, though, he hits his spots well. He was able to do it in that first game from Love-40 down. That sort of just kept the momentum going for him there. If I was able to break it open early in the fifth…

But then obviously had 15-40 at 5-3. He was kind of in that mood of just going for everything. Couple of shots went in.

Q. Would you take that backhand that just dropped over?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I can’t remember now. The first backhand he hit, hit the tape. Went for a winner. The next one I felt like I scrambled as much as I could have. He was sort of just redlining on every shot.

Q. What will you miss about playing at the US Open?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, just great atmosphere like tonight. Especially the night matches are really special at the Open here. I’ve been fortunate to play in so many long four- and five-set matches out there on all three of the major courts.

You know, it was a great atmosphere out there again tonight.

Q. You’re kind of a real mentor and kind of a father figure to these youngsters. Did you feel any conflict? Is it easy to set aside that aspect of things when you go out there and play against them?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was really awkward. I said it would be before the match, and it was (smiling).

As I said before, I get along really well with Bernie. Yeah, he’s a good guy. He’s moving in the right direction. You know, the last couple years I’ve gone out of my way to try to help him out a lot. Yeah, I think it was awkward for both of us.

Q. Do you think something like this does something good for him?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably, yeah, in the long run I think. He obviously was well on top. Yeah, I was able to somehow find a way. That’s what I’ve been renowned for in my career. If I can instill a little bit of that especially into the three promising young guys on the way up, you know, with their games and the weapons they have, then that’s just another positive for them.

Q. Talk about your quality of fighting. Obviously that was something you had from the get-go. Did you work on that at all? Did it just come naturally?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, it just came naturally, yeah. I’m just very competitive. I pride myself on getting the most out of myself.

Q. Do you think you have the same level of ferocity and fight now that you did at the very beginning?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I do. Yeah, maybe in a different way in some way, though.

Q. It was obviously a very emotional match. You’ve both spoken about that. Is it a match you could actually enjoy while you were in the heat of the battle or just too much pressure and too much else going around to really enjoy what was happening? The second part is, in one sense is this like a baton change between you and the young ones, playing Bernie, now the No. 1 Australian?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, he’s been I guess the No. 1 for a while, for the last couple years anyway. In terms of that, I’ve seen my role the last couple of years as more of a mentor to those guys anyway.

Yeah, I guess once you’re out in the heat of battle it’s hard to enjoy it because you’ve got so many things going through your mind about trying to get the most out of yourself and performing as well as possible.

So, yeah, I would have liked to have been able to enjoy it a bit more. But obviously when it’s so tight, especially in the fifth set, you’re just trying to find a way to obviously get across the line.

Q. You said your competitiveness is something you’ve always had. How do you go about trying to instill that in another player?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it’s not easy. Everyone’s personalities are different, so you’ve got to work with that a little bit, I think. It’s probably a work in progress.

But I think the biggest thing is if they see what you can get out of it, just doing a lot of the 1% things, and it doesn’t always even have to be on the match court. It could be being the ultimate professional in the locker room and preparing as well as possible for matches. Then it just becomes part of your daily routine.

So there’s a lot of things the younger guys can learn.

Q. You’ve heard the Aussie fans singing a fun song about walking in a Hewitt Wonderland. What’s the one most wonderful thing about all your years playing tennis?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Playing tennis?

Q. Yes.
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don’t know. Tennis has given me the life that I have, and that’s the best thing. Obviously I’ve had a lot of success. A lot of hard work and dedication and sacrifices. But obviously at the end of the day, you know, tennis has given me this great life.

Q. Can you mention some of your most cherished memories from here, if any, other than the year you won? Big or small things you’ll always remember about this place or your time here?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, the night matches are always, you know, that’s probably the biggest difference to a lot of the other tournaments. When you play at night here, great atmosphere here, obviously 23,000, 24,000 people. You really feel like you are the showtime, prime time match.

Yeah, probably a couple years ago, two years ago, whenever I beat del Potro in the second round in five sets, because I came back from a foot surgery and didn’t know if I’d have the opportunity to compete out there on the center stage against those guys again. To beat another former winner here in the night match, that was probably, apart from winning it, one of my biggest ones.

Obviously my first breakthrough year in 2000 of making the semis in singles and winning the doubles the year before I won it. This has always been result-wise one of my more successful slams.

Q. Talk about the first great win when you were young, winning your hometown tournament, how important was that?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It was obviously important. I went from 750 in the world to 150. Winning a couple satellites, I wouldn’t have done it that quick.

Yeah, I guess, you know, instilled the confidence and self-belief that I can go out there and match it against tour players because I really was just not even a rookie. I was on the junior tour.

To go out there and beat guys like Agassi and hold up under that pressure and circumstance in the heat of battle against the best guys, that gave me a lot of belief. I think that’s one of the reasons why I was able to succeed at a young age.

Q. At Wimbledon you spoke about some of the toughest strokes you’ve faced. Mentally, who would be the one or two greatest fighters that you’ve faced in your career?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, Nadal for sure. The way he goes about it is fantastic. He’s one of my favorite players to watch. How he handles, even at the French Open this year, Novak was well on top early, when he finally got on the scoreboard, incredible competitor.

Q. Can you sense a transformation in the way you were received here? Back when you were younger, you weren’t the crowd favorite. Today everyone was going crazy wanting you to win.
LLEYTON HEWITT: They like the old guy, don’t they? It’s nice (smiling).

Yeah, unbelievable atmosphere out there. The night matches have been great. Even two years ago when I played on center court against del Potro, the whole crowd got behind me there. I really felt the love. Yeah, coming back as a champion as well as the years go on, once you’ve been back, your 10-year anniversary of winning the thing, you’ve been around for a while. I guess I appreciate that.

Q. What will you think about leaving the grounds tonight?
LLEYTON HEWITT: What time to book a practice court for tomorrow. Sam Groth already messaged me (laughter).

Q. A lot of your biggest rivals have long retired. Is there anybody who you’re going to particularly miss playing against?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably Roger just because how good he is. Everything that he can do on a tennis court, it’s second to none. I’ve had a lot of practice sessions before every major tournament the last couple years with Roger and I’ve really enjoyed that as well.

Q. When you first came into it, there were a bunch of Aussies. Now at the end of it there’s a bunch of Aussies too. Is there a message you would like to give to the young guys coming through?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I will pass on stuff to the young guys. I don’t have to say it here. But, yeah, obviously that’s my next role, is to help those boys out.

I was very fortunate that I came up in a group where there weren’t a lot of egos, especially the Woodies Stoltenberg, Fromberg, Wayne Arthurs, a lot of these guys. I stayed at both the Woodies’ houses around the world. They helped me out with a lot of stuff. Obviously Rafter came up when I was playing Davis Cup with him. He took me under his wing.

So I was really fortunate with that stuff. It’s just like, you know, I had Nick at my house in The Bahamas last week training beforehand. I think that’s just part of a really good Australian culture.

Q. How special was it playing in front of your biggest fan, and what advice did he give you after the match?
LLEYTON HEWITT: He said I nearly won (laughter).

No, he gets along well with Bernie, too. No, it was good. He loves his tennis. I’m very proud that he could sit through five sets. Now he knows what Bec and my parents have had to sit through their whole life.

No, he loves it. Yeah, Bernie is fantastic with Cruz, Nick and Thanasi. They’re great. Hopefully some of this rubs off and he wants to be out here someday.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports


Note from the US Open Media Operations Guide as why Tennis Panorama News is allowed to post transcripts:

Transcripts of player interviews cannot be posted until one (1) hour after the interview has ended. Player transcripts can only be posted on the website of the publication that was accredited.

Murray Rallies From Two Sets Down to Win, Hewitt Falls Short in Comeback, Federer Cruises at US Open

(September 3, 2015) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY –
“But, you know, was a great atmosphere out there on that court. “The crowd was really involved. You know, it was nice to be able to turn it into a decent match.”

“Tennis has given me the life that I have, and that’s the best thing. Obviously I’ve had a lot of success. A lot of hard work and dedication and sacrifices. But obviously at the end of the day, you know, tennis has given me this great life.”

No need for a comeback for second seed Roger Federer. He hit 46 winners in demolishing Steve Darcis 6-1, 6-2, 6-1 in the first night session match.

“I think this year is another good year. Doing the right things on the court,” Federer said. “It was pretty on the easier side, you know, so I was able to mix it up, was attacking, was also staying back some. I was pretty much all-out attack as much as I could. Obviously I have to manage that against different players when the scoreline isn’t maybe so one-sided.”

American Jack Sock had to retire against Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium while leading due to cramps. The heat during the day was over 90 degrees.

There are two American men left in the draw- No. 13 John Isner and unseeded Donald Young.

“Isner said: “Well, he’s fine now. I didn’t speak in-depth with him. I imagine he got an IV. I hope so. Those help a lot when your body is completely cramping.

“But it’s tough to see. You see it on TV and you’re helpless at that point, completely. He sweats more than anyone I’ve ever seen.

“It’s not a fitness thing. I think that’s a big, big misconception. He’s in very good shape. He can play 50-ball rallies if he wants to. But he sweats a lot. He loses a lot when he’s sweating.

“It’s all about, in my opinion, putting the right things in your body beforehand. He’s in very good shape. It’s not a fitness thing, if people are saying that. His body was at a deficit of whatever it is, sodium, magnesium, potassium. Whatever it is, in these humid conditions, you have to put all that in your body.

“It’s a huge bummer. No offense to his opponent today, but if Jack’s body held up, he would have won the match, so…

“Huge bummer, especially at his home Grand Slam. He obviously was playing well, too, up until that point. Good thing for Jack is he’s very young. He’s very, very good. So he’s going to have a lot more cracks at this tournament, that’s for sure.”

US Open

Men’s Singles Second Round 

[2] Roger Fefderer (SUI) d. Steve Darcis 6-1 6-2 6-1
[3] Andy Murray (GBR) d. Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 5-7 4-6 6-1 6-3 6-1
[5] Stan Wawrinka (SUI) d. Hyeon Chung (KOR) 76(2) 76(4) 76(6)
[6] Tomas Berdych (CZE) d. Jurgen Melzer (AUT) 7-6(2) 6-1 6-3
[12] Richard Gasquet (FRA) d. Robin Haase (NED) 4-6 6-3 7-6 6-4
[13] John Isner (USA) d. Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) 6-3 6-4 6-4
[15] Kevin Anderson (RSA) vs. Austin Krajicek (USA) 6-3 6-4 6-2
[20] Dominic Thiem (AUT) d. Denis Istomin (UZB) 6-4 6-4 1-0 ret.
Jiri Vesely (CZE) d. [21] Ivo Karlovic (CRO) 76(3) 36 36 62 76(4)
[22] Viktor Troicki (SRB) vs. Rajeev Ram (USA) 7-6(10) 6-4 3-6 6-3
Ruben Bemelmans (BEL) d. [28] Jack Sock (USA) 46 46 63 21 ret.
[29] Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) d. Lukas Rosol (CZE) 7-6(4) 6-2 6-2
[30] Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) d. Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) 6-0 6-3 6-4
[31] Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) d. Nicolas Mahut (FRA) 6-4 6-2 6-7(4) 6-1
Donald Young (USA) d. Aljaz Bedene (GBR) 3-6 6-4 6-4 6-2

Singles – Second Round

[20] Victoria Azarenka (BLR) def. Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) 7-5, 6-4

[2] Simona Halep (ROU) def. Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) 6-3, 6-4

[22] Samantha Stosur (AUS) def. Evgeniya Rodina (RUS) 6-1, 6-1

[16] Sara Errani (ITA) def. Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) 0-6, 6-4, 6-3

Johanna Konta (GBR) def. [9] Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP) 7-6(4), 6-7(4), 6-2

Mona Barthel (GER) def. Olga Govortsova (BLR) 2-6, 6-2, 6-4

Varvara Lepchenko (USA) def. Lesia Tsurenko 7-6(7), 6-2

[18] Andrea Petkovic (GER) def. Elena Vesnina (RUS) 6-3, 7-6(4)

[11] Angelique Kerber (GER) def. Karin Knapp (ITA) 7-5, 6-2

Barbora Strycova (CZE) def. Qiang Wang (CHN) 6-2, 4-6, 7-5

[26] Flavia Pennetta (ITA) def. Monica Niculescu (ROU) 6-1, 6-4

[5] Petra Kvitova (CZE) def. Nicole Gibbs (USA) 6-3, 6-4

[24] Sabine Lisicki (GER) def. Camila Giorgi (ITA) 6-4, 6-0

Shelby Rogers (USA) def. Kurumi Nara (JPN) 6-4, 6-4

[32] Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK) def. Danka Kovinic (MNE) 6-4, 5-7, 6-4

Petra Cetkovska (CZE) def. [4] Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(1)


Mardy Fish – In His Own Words



Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Mardy Fish

Press Conference

F. LOPEZ/M. Fish

2-6, 6-3, 1-6, 7-5, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What are the emotions, Mardy? How are you feeling?
MARDY FISH: It’s tough to say because I don’t feel that great just from the match. So it takes a little bit away, you know, just — I don’t know.

I mean, it will probably sink in a little bit later when I start feeling a little bit better.

Q. You got to be proud of the way you fought over five sets considering how many matches you have played over the last few years?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, not many.

Yeah, I put myself in a couple of difficult positions and came away pretty well. That was the goal.

Q. Can you describe the emotions that you had when you went up 5-4 in the fourth set? Looked a little bit like disbelief that you might win that one.
MARDY FISH: Oh, not really. I was starting to sort of feel pretty tired and starting to get a couple of twinges in my legs at the end of the fourth set, so I figured that was my opportunity. You know, didn’t pick a great time to play the worst game I played all day.

You know, I haven’t been in that position in a long time, obviously. So things happen.

Q. Lopez said afterwards that when you guys met at the net he told you he felt you deserved to win; you outplayed him. What did that mean to you?
MARDY FISH: I felt the same. (Smiling.)

No, we have played a lot of matches. I have had some success against him. I was playing fine. Certainly put myself in an opportunity to win the match.

Q. You were playing so well for a while. Did the thought occur to you somewhere in the third set, Maybe I shouldn’t quit? I should keep going?

Q. No second thoughts?

Q. What message would you most want people to take from your career and the way you have handled the challenges before you?
MARDY FISH: I don’t know. I mean, I’ve got a lot of great memories. I have got a lot of great memories; I’ve got a lot of good wins out here. I have made a lot of really good friendships with almost everyone out here.

You know, I’ll miss that. I can’t answer that. I mean, I’m not sure. Someone else, other people, you guys, have to answer the career part.

And then the health stuff, I mean, I’m just trying to help any way I can and share my story. Like I say, if it helps other people, that’s great.

Q. What do you consider most important about your story and the health obstacles that you would want people to draw from?
MARDY FISH: Well, just that you can beat it. That you can put yourself back — it’s always going to be part of your life, and you can pull yourself right back in the fire and come through okay. I think I showed that here at this tournament.

Q. You said you felt a couple twinges in your legs in the fourth. Did you pull a hamstring later on? Did you ever think about you would just have to quit?
MARDY FISH: No, I wasn’t quitting. I was just cramping. I mean, both sides of both legs, if I moved anywhere close to three or four steps, two or three steps, it would go.

So, no, you would have had to carry me off the court. I was definitely not stopping at that point.

Q. You chose this as your last venue. What does this event mean to you? Was there more fight in you than you expected? Some people go through a farewell tour that’s kind of routine. There seemed to be quite tremendous amount of spunk and fight in you today.
MARDY FISH: Thank you. Well, I have worked hard to try to get back. Obviously I’m not in as good of shape as I used to be a few years ago.

That probably wouldn’t have happened a few years ago. I probably would have been fine in the fifth set. I worked as hard as I could. My body is just about done.

So I gave it everything I had; that was all I had.

Q. Can you maybe give us some insight on why you thought it was important to come back?
MARDY FISH: For the three events or just this event?

Q. No, the three events, just to come back and have your good-bye.
MARDY FISH: Yeah, they are my favorite events. They’re some of the events where I have had my most success, best fan experience that I have throughout the years: Atlanta and Cincinnati especially, and here.

You know, I wanted this to be — this one specifically to be the last one. I probably would have chosen this one as my last one regardless if I didn’t have any issues with my health in the past couple of years just because this is the biggest one and the most fun and the one that you want to go out on.

But this one was extra special or extra special meaning for me because of how it happened in 2012.

Q. What’s next for you? What are you looking forward to? What are you going to do now?
MARDY FISH: I’m going to try to take an ice bath and try to feel better. (Laughter.)

Q. Not that immediate.
MARDY FISH: I’m going to, I don’t know. I’m going to play in my club championship at Bel Air. I haven’t played a lot of golf recently.

And then I have got some stuff in the works. (Smiling.)

Q. You had a real good career, and then you really turned it up around 2012 with a win over Andy, better ranking. But if someone says, Seems like that kicked off your anxiety, that you were sort of used to playing under the radar and now it’s a bit tougher, could you just talk about that process if you don’t mind?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I mean, expectations changed and pressure was a lot higher and a lot more on myself and from others.

I mean, that’s how it all happened. That’s how it all came. Expectations changed. There was a lot more pressure on myself to play well at every event, and, you know, every week.

That was the position that I wanted to be in, you know, the top American, top 10 in the world, and, you know, sort of a marked man.

It was too much for me to handle.

Q. Do you think you put that pressure on yourself also as well as coming from others?
MARDY FISH: Sure. I mean, everyone puts some pressure on themselves to succeed, and I just — I was maybe a little bit different because I was working so hard and trying so hard to be as good as I could be and I was sacrificing a lot on and off the court. So that’s why I always was hard on myself.

Q. You seem somewhat sad. Is it because of the way it ended or the fact that it’s ended?
MARDY FISH: Definitely not the way it ended. Just I don’t feel great right now. (Smiling.)

Obviously with my history of anxiety disorder, I, you know, get a little nervous when I don’t feel well.

But, no, look, those are the situations you work so hard to be in. You know, just an awesome crowd, and it’s a really nice memory to have on my final match. Obviously not the last set, but my final match.

Q. You speak of expectations and the pressure creating some anxiety and some nervousness in you. Were you feeling that at all when you were serving for it at 5-4?
MARDY FISH: No, not specifically at that part. I certainly felt like that was, you know, my opportunity, big-time opportunity to really capitalize.

But, you know, once that had sort of came and gone, I knew I was sort of in trouble because of, you know, the way my legs felt. I tried as hard as I could to hydrate as best I could. I did everything I could.

My body gave out, and that’s why I’m stopping.

Q. Can you describe what you were saying to yourself when your legs were really starting to hurt and cramp up? If this wasn’t US Open and your last match, would you have quit, retired if it were somewhere else?
MARDY FISH: No, I mean, I would have tried. I haven’t cramped very much in my career at all. In the beginning of my career I never played long matches like that to cramp, and the end of my — sort of 2010 through 2012 I was so fit that I never needed to worry about it.

So it was kind of the perfect storm of, you know, doing everything I could, but, you know, a little bit — you know, not enough left in the tank.

That’s the way it goes.

Q. What were you saying to yourself when it was happening as it was happening?
MARDY FISH: I’m in trouble. (Smiling.) No, I wasn’t really thinking. Then it starts –you know, look, we were 3-All, 3-4 serving. I was somehow figuring out a way to hit winners and hold serve. I had two 15-40s because it’s hard to play a guy that’s, you know, sort of wounded and you can — I have been there. I understand that.

I haven’t actually been in my position very often at all. It’s very hard to play someone like that when you know that, you know, their body is sort of giving out.

So I actually had, you know, more chances than he had in the fifth before the eighth game. Way more chances.

I was sort of, you know, wondering if I could actually get through it, but obviously I knew I was in a bit of trouble.

Q. In the months and years ahead, what do you think will give you the most satisfaction about what you have accomplished both as a player and as a person, given what you have had to deal with?
MARDY FISH: That’s a good question. I mean, I put my head on my pillow every night — I’m very comfortable knowing how hard I have worked in the later stages of my career. Very comfortable with how this summer has gone. Just at peace personally.

You know, I’m bummed that obviously my career didn’t end the past few years, you know, the way I had imagined. But it is what it is, and you try to make the best of your situation obviously.

You know, it’s tough. I mean, it’s tough. It sort of, you know, starts kind of kicking in every once in a while in my head as I answer these questions that this is probably the last time I will do this.

Q. How does that make you feel?
MARDY FISH: It doesn’t make me feel sad or happy or anything. It’s just I have done a lot of these. (Smiling.)

You know, it’s an interesting lifestyle. It’s a different lifestyle to live as a tennis player and as a professional athlete.

You know, to be up here and answering questions from you guys is different than most. So I will probably never do it again. It’s different. (Smiling.)

Q. Besides playing golf, there are new opportunities for tennis players with maybe less pressure, like the International Premier Tennis League. Is that something you might be interested in doing one day?
MARDY FISH: Yes. I’m sure tennis will always be a part of my life. I’ll always be around it.

Yeah, so I’m not going to go too far. I’m going to try to help out with the USTA as much as I can, some of the younger Americans. I have a lot of experience over the last 15, 16 years. I have been playing tennis tournaments since I was six years old, so it’s a long 27 years of playing tournaments that matter, and now it’s over.

Q. I’m sure you spoke to James and Andy about how it feels to close it up and to close here. I’m wondering how you have experienced the last few days and also the last hour or two?
MARDY FISH: Like I said, I don’t feel great, so it’s not that part. That part is tough and different.

Those guys both announced here that they were stopping, so it’s a little different feeling. I have known for a little while.

I knew with Andy, knowing him personally, he didn’t know his — he didn’t know he was going to stop until relatively recent when he announced it.

And James may have known or may not have known. He didn’t tell us too much. I forgot the first part of your question.

Q. Has it matched your expectations kind of on what they told you or what you expected?
MARDY FISH: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, yeah. I mean, I’m not looking for everyone to bow down when I leave the room and carry my racquets out today. I mean, that’s not what it’s — it’s uncomfortable and that’s not what I’m looking for.

I accomplished everything that I set out to this summer, and I’m happy about that.

Q. You talk about this being your last time you do this and that it’s an odd feeling. I’m sure that it is. I just read your first-person piece you wrote about your experiences. I was struck by the fact you said you didn’t want yourself to be defined by sports terms like winning and choking, and that this wasn’t a sports story so much as it was a life story.

Q. Being a life story, what aspects of that, you know, what verbs would you use for your life story? What part would you want us to think about your life as opposed to your tennis necessarily?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I mean, just that I was — just that I was helpful to other people, that I was open and honest about a topic that is supposed to be masculine, or not supposed to be masculine.

We are trained as tennis players from a very young age to not show weakness. I was very good at that throughout my career. I would not complain very much if I didn’t feel well or, you know, fake it on the court if I didn’t feel well, and, you know, not show that side of it.

So I’m sort of out front with that part of my life because it helps me a lot when I talk about it. Makes me feel better when I talk about it. I want to help people that have gone through it and try to be a role model for people that are deep into some bad times, that they can get out of it, because I was there. They can conquer it.


Transcript from ASAPSports


Note from the US Open Media Operations Guide as why Tennis Panorama News is allowed to post transcripts:

Transcripts of player interviews cannot be posted until one (1) hour after the interview has ended. Player transcripts can only be posted on the website of the publication that was accredited.

Serena Williams Rebounds From Slow Start to Advance to Third Round of the US Open



(September 2, 2015) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Serena Williams escaped a 0-4 deficit in the first set tiebreak to win her second round match against Kiki Bertens 7-6(5), 6-3 at the US Open on Wednesday.

Williams stands five wins away from tennis history – winning the Grand Slam and her 22nd majors which would tie her with Steffi Graf for second on the all-time list.

Williams was far from her “A” game on Arthur Ashe Stadium, committing 34 unforced errors and hitting 10 double-faults.

“I felt a little tight today,” Williams said. “I think I’ll do things different, just things with myself, and I’ll be better for my next match.”

“I just got a little nervous today. But, you know, I’ve been doing totally fine. I’ve been completely relaxed, chill. I’ve been really, really fine.

“So I’m going to get back into the place that I was and I’ll be fine again.”

After the match Williams went with her coach to the practice court to work on serve.

“Patrick (Mouratoglou) told me some things that he saw that he thought I could work on to improve it and to get better,” she told media.

She will take on US countrywoman Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the third round. Sands dominated Coco Vandeweghe 6-2, 6-1. Mattek-Sands hit only 9 unforced errors to her opponents 25 and was 10 for 14 at the net.

“She’s playing great,” Mattek-Sands said of her next opponent. “I mean, right now she’s on a mission to get a record, and I’m here playing my game. I think it’s going to be a battle out there. I’m going to do my best.”

Mattek-Sands talked about her aggressive style of game:”That’s a game style that I’ve played with since I’ve been little. That’s how I’m going to go out there and play. Obviously Serena’s pretty aggressive. She’s going to rip some balls, hit some big serves. I think it’s going to be a good match.
“That’s obviously going to be the clash there. I’m excited for it”

“Sure,” Mattek answered about liking to be the spoiler. “That’s a fun role to play. Mess up the draw a little bit.

“No, you know what? I go into each match giving myself the best chance, I mean, knowing I can win any match I go into. Whether you’re going to get it done or not, your opponent has something to do with that, too. I’ll always feel confident in my game, confident in myself, and go out there and give my best.

“Every time I step on the court, that’s what I’ll give.”
“Right now I’m giving myself the best chance I can to play well. That’s all I can ask for.

Williams knows that it won’t be easy against her countrywoman.

“Knowing that she’s capable of having big wins kind of relaxes me because I know she’s going to come out and I know what to expect. She’s going to give 300%. She’s a huge fighter.

“She has a great game, by the way. I know that will help me, that I have to start out strong if I want to stay in the tournament. If not, I can go on vacation.”

“I love her personality,” Williams explained. “It really shows in her dresses and the clothes and the outfits. I love her spirit. She’s had a lot of ups and downs throughout her whole career.

“She’s just incredibly positive, you know. It’s so inspiring for someone like me. So I love that about her. And she has a really aggressive game. You know, I just don’t think there’s anyone on tour that says, I don’t like Bethanie Mattek. I don’t think that exists.”

“I definitely feel more determined to do better than what I did,” Williams said about Wednesday’s match. “I know I can play better, so…

“Yeah, it definitely wasn’t my happiest of moments. You know, I don’t think you should be happy with just winning. At least I’m not. Maybe other people can. Always looking to do better.

“You know, if I don’t play well, I’m not going to be happy even if I won.”

Serena’s 35-year-old sister Venus was extended to three sets by Irina Falconi 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-2, Venus served for the match twice in the second set and Falconi made her way back to win the tiebreak.

“She really competed well,” Venus said of Falconi. “Played a great tiebreaker. I was really impressed with those dropshot returns off her serve. It was insane. Just great hands.

“Always definitely in a position to win the match, win the set, so that’s always a positive.”

Venus’ next opponent defeated her sister Serena in Montreal a few weeks ago. Belinda Bencic saved three match points and cried on a changeover before rallying to defeat Misaki Doi 5-7, 7-6 (3), 6-3.


Singles – Second Round

(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. (Q) Kiki Bertens (NED) 76(5) 63
(12) Belinda Bencic (SUI) d. Misaki Doi (JPN) 57 76(3) 63 (saved 3 mp)
(13) Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) d. Lauren Davis (USA) 61 62
(15) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. Magda Linette (POL) 63 62
(17) Elina Svitolina (UKR) d. Kaia Kanepi (EST) 63 64
(18) Madison Keys (USA) d. Tereza Smitkova (CZE) 61 62
(23) Venus Williams (USA) d. Irina Falconi (USA) 61 67(2) 62
(25) Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) d. Polona Hercog (SLO) 63 67(2) 63
(Q) Anett Kontaveit (EST) d. (31) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 75 64
(WC) Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) d. CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) 62 61
Madison Brengle (USA) d. (Q) Anna Tatishvili (USA) 63 62
(LL) Daria Kasatkina (RUS) d. Ana Konjuh (CRO) 64 64
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) d. Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) 75 61
Roberta Vinci (ITA) d. Denisa Allertova (CZE) 26 63 61
Mariana Duque-Marino (COL) d. (WC) Oceane Dodin (FRA) 61 57 62
Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) d. (Q) Jessica Pegula (USA) 57 75 63

Singles – Second Round

[7] David Ferrer (ESP) d. Filip Krajinovic (SRB) 75 75 76(4)
[8] Rafael Nadal (ESP) d. Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 76(5) 63 75
[9] Marin Cilic (CRO) d. Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) 62 63 75
[10] Milos Raonic (CAN) d. Fernando Verdasco (ESP) 62 64 67(5) 76(1)
[14] David Goffin (BEL) d. Ricardas Berankis (LTU) 57 64 36 62 61
Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) d. [17] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) 63 76(5) 26 46 64
[18] Feliciano Lopez (ESP) d. Mardy Fish (USA) 26 63 16 75 63
[19] Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) d. Marcel Granollers (ESP) 63 64 63
[23] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) d. Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) 46 64 60 26 64
Teymuraz Gabashvili (RUS) vs. [25] Andreas Seppi (ITA)
[26] Tommy Robredo (ESP) d. Sam Groth (AUS) 64 76(3) 64
[27] Jeremy Chardy (FRA) d. Martin Klizan (SVK) 75 64 76(1)
[32] Fabio Fognini (ITA) d. Pablo Cuevas (URU) 63 64 64
Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) d. Illya Marchenko (UKR) 64 76(2) 46 64
Benoit Paire (FRA) d. Marsel Ilhan (TUR) 63 36 64 63


Mardy Fish Ends Pro Career with a Five-Set Loss at the US Open

Mardy Fish


(September 2, 2015) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Former Top 10 player Mardy Fish ended his singles tennis career on Wednesday in the second round of the US Open, falling to 18th seed a fellow 33-year-old Feliciano Lopez 2-6, 6-3, 1-6, 7-5, 6-3. Fish had a chance to serve out the match in the fourth set in a match which lasted 3 hours, 11 minutes. Fish began suffering from leg cramps in the fifth set.

“I was starting to sort of feel pretty tired and starting to get a couple of twinges in my legs at the end of the fourth set, so I figured that was my opportunity,” Fish said. “You know, didn’t pick a great time to play the worst game I played all day.
“You know, I haven’t been in that position in a long time, obviously. So things happen.”

Fish came back to the tour this year admitting that he’s been suffering from anxiety disorder. He wrote about it in the Players’ Tribune.

“I was lucky that I won the fourth set,” said Lopez on court “And then in the fifth set, he was not feeling well. He was cramping and he was so tired. I think he really deserved the win today.”

“It’s been many years together. We played many times. He beat me a couple times,” Lopez said. “I have to say, he was the better player, normally, when we played. And he was a great player, had a good career. It was very sad what was happening the last two, three years with this illness, and it’s great to have him back at least for a few weeks.”

“I’ve got a lot of great memories,” said the former world No. 7. “I have got a lot of great memories; I’ve got a lot of good wins out here. I have made a lot of really good friendships with almost everyone out here.”

“And then the health stuff, I mean, I’m just trying to help any way I can and share my story. Like I say, if it helps other people, that’s great.”

“I wanted this (US Open) to be — this one specifically to be the last one. I probably would have chosen this one as my last one regardless if I didn’t have any issues with my health in the past couple of years just because this is the biggest one and the most fun and the one that you want to go out on.

“But this one was extra special or extra special meaning for me because of how it happened in 2012.”

“I’m bummed that obviously my career didn’t end the past few years, you know, the way I had imagined. But it is what it is, and you try to make the best of your situation obviously.

“You know, it’s tough. I mean, it’s tough. It sort of, you know, starts kind of kicking in every once in a while in my head as I answer these questions that this is probably the last time I will do this.”

As to the future: “I’m going to try to help out with the USTA as much as I can, some of the younger Americans. I have a lot of experience over the last 15, 16 years. I have been playing tennis tournaments since I was six years old, so it’s a long 27 years of playing tournaments that matter, and now it’s over.”

ASk about telling his “life story” he said: “I was helpful to other people, that I was open and honest about a topic that is supposed to be masculine, or not supposed to be masculine.

“We are trained as tennis players from a very young age to not show weakness. I was very good at that throughout my career. I would not complain very much if I didn’t feel well or, you know, fake it on the court if I didn’t feel well, and, you know, not show that side of it.

“So I’m sort of out front with that part of my life because it helps me a lot when I talk about it. Makes me feel better when I talk about it. I want to help people that have gone through it and try to be a role model for people that are deep into some bad times, that they can get out of it, because I was there. They can conquer it.”


2015 US Open: An Upbeat Jamie Loeb Loses to Caroline Wozniacki in Her Pro Debut


(September 1, 2015) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – After all these many years making the commute to Flushing Meadows to watch the US Open with her family, 20-year-old Jamie Loeb made her Grand Slam debut there on Tuesday after recently turning pro.
The Ossining, New York resident, who drove to the tournament on Tuesday morning with her family, came into the US Open as a wildcard, given to her as the reigning NCAA Division I champion out of North Carolina. Loeb was ranked No. 1 in the country as a freshman, and she was named the ACC Women’s Tennis Player of the Year in her second year at UNC.

Despite world No. 4 Caroline Wozniacki demolishing the new pro 6-2, 6-0 in 67 minutes in Arthur Ashe Stadium, Loeb was very upbeat calling her debut “awesome. Stepping on the court and everyone cheering and saying my name. It’s something I’ll never forget. I was dreaming of this first moment on the court.”

“It was a great experience being on Arthur Ashe with all the support out there.”

“I’d always dreamed of playing of playing on Ashe, I was excited I practiced here once five years ago”

“My whole family was in my box.”

One celebrity in attendance was former Yankee shortstop and sure to be Hall of Famer Derek Jeter. “I was aware of it on the changeover,“ Loeb said. I looked up and they were showing him (on the screen).

“I would love to meet him, but that was pretty awesome, cause I’m a Yankees fan and he’s one of the best baseball players ever. For him to be there, that was a lot.”

“She (Wozniacki) played the pressure moments better than I did.”

At the end of the match, Wozniacki spoke to Loeb.

“She congratulated me on turning pro and wished me good luck,” she said. “Very complementary. Hearing her speak afterwards, it meant a lot coming from her. She doesn’t have to say anything. She was very sweet.”

“My success in college dictated how well I would make that decision (to go pro) I basically accomplished as much as I basically can, besides winning a team event in college but, I knew I was ready. Obviously I was kind of thrown into it in my first pro tournament but it’s something I’ll definitely learn from and I’ll watch it to see what I have to work on.

As for goals for the end of this year, Loeb said,” to get my ranking up so I can make qualies at the Australian Open on my own. But I definitely want to be in qualies at next year’s US Open. Main draw would be nice but I have to look over my schedules to see what tournaments I’m playing. Like I said it’s a process. So hoping to be back here in the near future.”

On the day of her pro debut, FILA announced that they are sponsoring Loeb and it has entered into a multi-year endorsement agreement with her. “I’m with FILA now and I will be wearing their tennis shoes shortly.”

“They want my input in their outfits, what I’m comfortable wearing.”

Loeb will continue her training at the John McEnroe Tennis Academy in New York.

“I saw John (McEnroe) the other day and he gave me a hug and wished me good luck and everything. It’s like my second home.”

As for the hard work ahead, Loeb said: “My fall will consist of playing a lot of Challengers, right now.”


Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama at the US Open.


More Women’s Seeds Lose, Young Beats Simon, Federer Cruises at US OPen

Lucie Safarova

Lucie Safarova

(September 1, 2015) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – The upsets continued on the women’s side of the draw at the US Open on Tuesday. French Open finalist sixth seed Lucie Safarova lost to No. 37 Lesia Tsurenko 6-4, 6-1, while 14th seed Timea Bacsinszky lost to Barbora Strycova 7-5, 6-0 Alizé Cornet 27th seed Alizé Cornet also was defeated. Ten women’s seeds have lost in the first round at the US Open, half of the Top 10.

No. 11 Gilles Simon led Donald Young by two sets to none and 3-0, when the American rallied to win the match 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.

“Down two sets to love and 3-0 actually, that’s when I decided to swing a little freer, start to, you know, push the envelope a little bit and start to come in more, just assert myself to the match,” Young said. “I was going to go down swinging. That was pretty much my mentality at that point.”

“I love playing in New York. I love playing on hard courts. It’s the last slam of the year. I haven’t had the results I wanted at the other slams. I didn’t want to go out like that.

“If I was to go out, I really wanted to go out swinging and giving him a battle and making him earn it. I didn’t feel at first I was able to do that. To be able to do that was great. Emotionally I just felt, you know, it gives you confidence to know you can come back from 2 sets to love against such a quality opponent, a top 10 guy, wins titles and, competes at the highest level every week.”

This was the first time Young had ever come back in a match from two sets to love down.

There was no such drama for high seeds (2) Roger Federer, (2) Simona Halep, (4) Caroline Wozniacki, (6) Tomas Berdych and (9) Garbine Muguruza.

Federer destroyed Argentine Leonardo Mayer 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 in 77 minutes.

“I feel good now,“ Federer said. “I actually wasn’t so confident yesterday and today. I just felt like maybe could be one of those matches I just couldn’t see it coming.

“So thankfully I took this match extremely serious. I thought at times almost I was taking it a bit too serious. I got that lucky in Shanghai, so that’s why that was just — it was just creeping around in my mind that maybe today was going to be a bad day.

“Plus I had practiced with him, you know, here, I don’t know, the day of the draw, and he was playing very well in practice, too.”

A record was set for retirements during the first round of the U.S. Open than in any round at any Grand Slam tournament in the open era.

Twelve men and women have retired during matches on Monday and Tuesday. Tuesday pull-outs included Marcos Baghdatis, Ernests Gulbis, Thanasi Kokkinakis, Aleksandr Nedovyesov and Marina Erakovic.

Andy Murray bested controversial Nick Kyrgios in four sets in the night match. The young Australian Kyrgios was playing his first match since and episode in Montreal where he verbally abused Stan Wawrinka. He’s been put on probation by the ATP, and if he misbehaves in the next 6 months at an ATP event, he could face a suspension and fine. However this would not apply for the US Open as it’s a Grand Slam.

Singles – First Round

[2] Simona Halep (ROU) def. Marina Erakovic (NZL) 6-2, 3-0 (retired – knee injury)
[4] Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) def. Jamie Loeb (USA) 6-2, 6-0

[5] Petra Kvitova (CZE) def. Laura Siegemund (GER) 6-1, 6-1
Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) def. [6] Lucie Safarova (CZE) 6-4, 6-1
[20] Victoria Azarenka (BLR) def. Lucie Hradecka (CZE) 6-1, 6-2
[11] Angelique Kerber (GER) def. Alexandra Dulgheru (ROU) 6-3, 6-1

[18] Andrea Petkovic (GER) def. Caroline Garcia (FRA) 3-6, 6-4, 7-5
[9] Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP) def. Carina Witthoeft (GER) 6-2, 6-4

[22] Samantha Stosur (AUS) def. Timea Babos (HUN) 6-3, 6-4

[16] Sara Errani (ITA) def. Mayo Hibi 6-0, 6-1
Johanna Konta (GBR) def. Louisa Chirico (USA) 6-3, 6-0
Elena Vesnina (RUS) def. Laura Robson (GBR) 3-6, 6-3, 7-5

Kurumi Nara (JPN) def. [27] Alizé Cornet (FRA) 2-6, 6-4, 6-4

Petra Cetkovska (CZE) def. Christina McHale (USA) 4-6, 6-4, 6-3

[24] Sabine Lisicki (GER) def. Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) 6-1, 6-4
Varvara Lepchenko (USA) def. Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 6-1, 6-1

Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) def. Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 6-3, 6-1

Qiang Wang (CHN) def. Maria Sakkari (GRE) 7-5, 6-2

Shelby Rogers (USA) def. Sachia Vickery (USA) 6-2, 6-2
Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK) def. Julia Goerges (GER) 6-3, 6-4
Nicole Gibbs (USA) def. Lourdes Dominguez Lino (ESP) 6-3, 3-6, 6-4
Barbora Strycova (CZE) def. [14] Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) 7-5, 6-0
Danka Kovinic (MNE) def. Aleksandra Krunic (SRB) 4-6, 7-5, 6-1
Mona Barthel (GER) def. Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-1
[26] Flavia Pennetta (ITA) def. Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS) 6-1, 3-6, 6-1
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) def. Annika Beck (GER) 6-4, 1-6, 6-4
Evgeniya Rodina (RUS) def. Tereza Mrdeza (CRO) 6-2, 6-2
Karin Knapp (ITA) def. Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) 6-7(1), 6-2, 6-4
Olga Govortsova (BLR) def. [28] Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) 6-1, 0-6, 7-6(3)
Camila Giorgi (ITA) def. Johanna Larsson (SWE) 6-3, 6-3
Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) def. Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) 6-0, 6-3

Monica Niculescu (ROU) def. Alexandra Panova (RUS) 7-6(3), 5-7, 6-3

Singles – First Round

[2] Roger Federer (SUI) d. Leonardo Mayer (ARG) 61 62 62
[5] Stan Wawrinka (SUI) vs. Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) 75 64 76(6)
[6] Tomas Berdych (CZE) d. Bjorn Fratangelo (USA) 63 62 64
Donald Young (USA) d. [11] Gilles Simon (FRA) 26 46 64 64 64
[12] Richard Gasquet (FRA) d. Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) 46 61 46 63 20 ret.
[13] John Isner (USA) d. Malek Jaziri (TUN) 62 63 64
[21] Ivo Karlovic (CRO) d. Federico Delbonis (ARG) 63 75 75
[30] Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) d. James Ward (GBR) 61 75 63
Jurgen Melzer (AUT) d. Denis Kudla (USA) 63 75 61
Austin Krajicek (USA) d. Santiago Giraldo (COL) 36 76(6) 76(6) 76(1)
Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) d. John-Patrick Smith (AUS) 61 36 75 76(4)
Jiri Vesely (CZE) d. Paolo Lorenzi (ITA) 64 64 64
Gilles Muller (LUX) vs. Ruben Bemelmans (BEL)
Aljaz Bedene (GBR) d. Ernests Gulbis (LAT) 36 64 30 ret.
Robin Haase (NED) d. Dustin Brown (GER) 46 46 63 75 64
Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) d. Paul-Henri Mathieu (FRA) 64 26 67(7) 61 62

More to follow…


Catching Up with Vania King

Vania King gives towels to children

(September 1,  2015) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY –  WTA player Vania King is back on tour after being absent for about almost a year. Playing under a protected ranking, we caught up with the Californian who is currently ranked at 414 in the world after her first round US Open loss to Roberta Vinci 6-4, 6-4, on Monday.

Tennis Panorama News: A tough match on the road back. You are under a protected ranking, am I correct?

Vania King: So I played three tournaments prior to this and yes I was out for almost a year. I didn’t touch a racquet for seven months. I had a herniated disc in my neck. I started having pain in May of last year. By US Open I had decided that I had needed some time to take off. I took off seven months, it got much better, so I was very happy with that. Started practicing and I really wanted to make the US Open. I felt that my tennis was good and I needed matches. Today I felt like it was a good match for me. I really see I need to get stronger. I was out for seven months and only practiced for three months. The first two I was so weak that I really couldn’t do what I wanted to do. Now I really can’t do what I really want to do in terms of fitness –wise, court-wise, because my body is not strong enough to do it. So slowly my goal is next year. I feel that my tennis is there.

I was up a break in both sets, I just need to get stronger.

TPN: Have you set your goal for next US Open in terms of your fitness?

VK: I haven’t set a specific date, but I really hope that I can be back next year, with or without any injury. Being strong and healthy. One year, I was gone for a year so I lost all of my rankings (points).

One year to get back into the the 100 may be a tough task for me but, I’m going to take it a step at a time and I feel that my tennis is good, so I’m happy about that. It just depends on how long this body takes to get strong again.


TPN: What keeps you motivated to keep playing? You are only 26, but it seems like you have been around for a long time.

VK: Tennis has changed a lot. When I came on tour it was fairly common for players to come up at 14, 15, 16… I was late actually at 16, 17 – that was late. But after me, no player that broke through was a teenager, very, very few players, but Americans overall.

It’s very hard for players to break through, the game has gotten very physical and players are mentally and physically very tough, so it’s hard to break through you have to be consistent physically and mentally throughout the year.

I needed to stop for my physical health, but it was also very benfeficial for me to stop mentally, because I have never had a break.

As to your question, to stay motivated, to recognize that players, we do get burned out during the year because we do play a long season. If we play too many tournaments in a row, then we get burned out. With experience every play figures out what they can handle mentally. So for me it took me a few years to figure out how many tournaments can I play in a row. Which areas geiographically do I feel better in, in that way I adjust my schedule. And if I’m feeling bad, what do I do, should I push through it, should I take a break, go on holidays…

With experience, I learned to recognize the signs and for me it was always better to take a step back and not to push through it, take a few days off, take a week off… and then come back.


TPN: Are you playing doubles at all?

VK: I’m playing here with a protected rank, so I’m playing maybe Wednesday or Thursday.


TPN: What’s been the highlight of your tennis career?

VK: Winning my first title in Bangkok. Winning the grand slams. Results-wise those are the best, but I think that if I could be happy consistently then I could I could be pleased. That was my goal to be happy for a long period of time. Recognizing metal dips and stuff and trying to maintain that.


TPN: Tennis idols growing up?

VK: When I grew up I loved Pete Sampras, I played nothing like him because I’m tiny. Don’t have a big serve but I loved watching Pete. Watched all of his matches, tape them and watch them. I loved watching the rivalry between him and (Andre) Agassi, but I always rooted for him.


TPN: What do you think of when I say the name Serena Williams?

VK: I want her to win the Grand Slam. I think she can do it. I think she needs to stay focused. I think most of the tennis tour would be excited if she won it because it’s milestone for our generation. Of course Steffi (Graf) has done wonders for tennis, but we haven’t had someone from our generation to surpass the world records. She has won four in a row. Technically not the Grand Slam. I think she’s a great champion. I am so envious, I admire her so much for how strong she is mentally. Everyone’s got great tennis, of course she’s got great tennis but she is mentally the most stable and strong and that’s why she’s where she is.

TPN: Are you playing any tournaments the rest of the year?

VK: My plan is to play challengers because now I don’t have a ranking. I’ll play challengers get stronger and then use my protected rank. I’ve got a couple more protected ranking tournaments I’ll use them for next year.


Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News at the US Open.


Q & A with ATP Rising Star Elias Ymer

(August 31, 2015) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – In qualifying for the US Open, Sweden’s Elias Ymer became only the second man to qualify at all four Grand Slams in a single season. The world No. 144 on the ATP World Tour lost in his first round main draw match to Diego Schwartzman of Argentina 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. He took time out after his loss to speak to Tennis Panorama News.

Tennis Panorama News: Can you talk about the rare feat of making all for major main draws through the qualies in the same year? Can you talk about your road through the qualies?

Elias Ymer: Of course it’s a big effort. I was really motivated in the qualies. I played every slam I wanted to make the main draw. I was really working in the qualies, focusing on every match. I had good structure before every match, planning, everything was good. I earned it, I was winning every match. I really played good in the qualies.


TPN: Most challenging qualies?

EY: I think in Australia when I was playing my first qualies. When I qualified it was really like, I felt the most in Australian because the others, I feel of course but it’s not the same feeling. The first one is an unreal feeling.


TPN: How did you get into playing tennis?

EY: My father was a professional runner and my parents come from Ethiopia and my father wanted me to be a runner but I don’t like running so much you know. In Ethiopia everyone running and when we came to Sweden. In Sweden tennis is a big sport, they have so many great players.


TPN: There has been a bit of a tennis player drought in Sweden, do you feel pressure because of it?

EY: No. I wish I had some players coming up with me, so I was not the only one. They could challenge me and I could challenge them we would move up together. It is what it is now and I have to see some other young guys coming up. I try to focus against them and challenge them.

TPN: Who were your tennis idols? Did you mimic them in your style?

EY: Not really because I haven’t see many players who play like me I play really different because, sometimes when I try to watch and see who I’m playing like, I cannot find the guy.

TPN: Describe your playing style.

EY: Aggressive from both sides. I need to be a little bit more consistent. When I’m playing really good, everything works for me sometimes when I’m little off I can be up and down. I use my forehand a lot to move the players side to side, trying to come to the net, I know it’s going to come, my game.


TPN: So who were the tennis players you admired?

EY: Of course Sweden has a lot of players… I was always too young, we never really had one to look up to. (Robin) Soderling was a Swedish player we were watching quite young. What he has done is unbelievable. It was sad when he had stopped playing.


TPN: Do you speak to any of the former Swedish pros?

EY: I speak a lot with Magnus Norman and Stephan Edberg. Twos guy who I really admire, really admire. They know a lot about tennis and they are a big help.


TPN: You are only 19, what’s been the highlight of your career so far?

EY: When I qualified for all four slams is a big highlight and I have to say when I qualified in Australia, it was a dream come true, actually to play in the main draw. Because I’ve been wanting to play in Grand Slams, it’s what you dream of.


TPN: Do you have any goals set for you within the next year?

EY: I think this loss for me was very important. I saw a lot of stuff I need (to work on), I have a lot of work ahead of me, I’m going to need to put my head down and work my a** off because it’s not coming easy. This job is like really tough and I have a lot of work.


TPN: What are your plans for the rest of the year?

EY: I’m going to Turkey, then I’m going to stay in Europe playing some ATPs mixed with Challengers.


Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News at the US Open