2014/08/23

All Will Hail the Conquering Hero as Andy Murray Opens Wimbledon on Monday

 

(June 22, 2014) WIMBLEDON – Andy Murray will receive a conquering hero’s welcome when takes Wimbledon Centre Court on Monday at one o’clock as he opens to defend his 2013 title. Murray broke the 77-year-old curse, as no man from Great Britain laid claim to Wimbledon since Fred Perry won the title back in 1936.

The 2012 year was a special year for the Scotsman Murray, as he won his first major title at the U.S. Open, just after winning the gold medal at the London Olympics. Opening the Wimbledon fortnight Wimbledon will be a memorable day for the world No. 5 and third seed.

“Tomorrow when I sort of go out on the court, I need to enjoy that moment when I walk back on the court,” Murray said.

“But as soon as I start playing the match, yeah, it’s about trying to win.  And, yeah, I enjoy winning.  That’s it.  I mean, you know, I don’t really want to go out on the court tomorrow and enjoy playing and then lose.

“I would rather, you know, enjoy a win, and that’s what I’ll try to do.  But it’s time when I get on the court to start concentrating.  Not think about last year, concentrate on this year’s tournament, and that’s it.”

Murray was asked about the extreme pressure he had to deal with on account of the British male Grand Slam futility. “I think I handled them fairly well,” Murray said.  “This has been my most consistent tournament throughout my career.  I haven’t lost before the semis for the first few years.  I’d always played pretty good tennis here.

“I maybe could have played a bit better in the latter stages of the event in some of the years.  But I feel in terms of handling the pressure, you know, there was a lot of it, and I think I did okay.

“Last year the final was definitely the most pressure I’d felt in all the years I’d played here.  So, yeah, I managed to come through it.  I think that comes with age and experience.

Questions were posed to Murray about his unique selection for his new coach, Amelie Mauresmo former No. 1 player on the WTA tour. Very few women coach male pros.

“I think, first of all, you can talk about her accomplishments on the tennis court,” Murray said of his new coach.  “She won a lot.  She was No. 1 in the world.  She won multiple Grand Slams.  She got to latter stages of slams very often.

“I think she was someone who struggled with nerves and conquered them later in her career, which I think when you start to coach someone, I think you can help more than someone that hasn’t had those issues before.

“She understands the psychological part of the game maybe more than some because of that.

“And in terms of what she’s like, her game style, she had quite a creative game style.  She used a lot of spins, slices, she came to the net, good variety in her game.  That’s something that I’ve always tried to use during my career.  So I think she can help with that.

“And then in terms of what she’s like as a person, she’s a very, very nice person.  She’s very easy to speak to.  She’s very easy to communicate with.  She listens well.  She’s firm, as well.

“So there are the reasons why I wanted to give it a shot, and hopefully it will work out well.”

“It was about finding the right personality with the right experience to help me,” Murray stated about choosing Mauresmo.

“I think she will help me.  I’ve really enjoyed the last ten days I spent on the court with her.  It’s been great.

“And, yeah, if it helps sort of bring more female coaches into men’s sport and women’s sport there’s not that many female coaches on the women’s side either that’s a good thing.

“Because there’s absolutely no reason why someone like Amélie can’t help me.

“It’s possible it doesn’t work.  It has nothing to do with whether she’s a woman or not.  That’s not why it will work or not work.  That’s how I feel about it.”

“But my mom will tell you this is history,” Murray added.  “One of the coaches that I also loved when I was growing up that I traveled with was Olga Morazova.  I actually saw her in the car park here the other day.  I always found her great fun to be around.  I learned a lot from her when I was a kid, too.

“A lot of the female coaches that I have been around.  Although there’s not been many of them, I’ve always enjoyed working with them.”

Murray will face 104th-ranked David Goffin of Belgium on Monday. Murray spoke about his opponent’s good tennis in the past at big events.

“He doesn’t mind the big stage,” he said.  “And, yeah, he’s solid.  He’s a solid player in all parts of the court.  It will be a tricky match.”

 

Karen Pestaina at Wimbledon

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Quotes of the Day from the Pre-Wimbledon News Conferences

Serena in press 3

(June 21, 2014) WIMBLEDON – Players met the media on Saturday for pre-Wimbledon news conferences, days ahead of the The Championships, 2014.

 

Who says I was over it (smiling)?

-No. 1 seed Serena Williams  asked about how long it took for her to get over her stunning second round loss at the French Open to Garbine Muguruza.

 

-Simona Halep on her new found fame in her homeland of Romania

It was amazing feeling when I arrived home, because they stopped the plane just on the red carpet at the airport and everybody was waiting for me, about 300 fans.  I went to them and I said hello, many things there.  They ask me many things.

Yeah, was incredible.  For me was the best moment of my life.  Was incredible.  I will never forget that moment.

 

The big change is that everybody knows me now and a lot of people are speaking about me and are watching me.  In Romania all the press, every day they are watching me.  I don’t know why.

It’s a little bit difficult, but I want just to stay very far of this and just to keep focus my mental for the tennis.  I just want to think about tennis now and nothing else.

 

On looking at her ranking years ago:

A few years ago I was looking at the rankings on Internet, and I saw I was fourth page.  I said my dream is to be on first page.

So now I am there, and I am really happy.  I cannot be sad that I lose some matches.  I want just to enjoy this moment and to try to improve more in my game and to be maybe second or first.

 

Roger Federer on his second round loss at Wimbledon last year:

That was done a week after Wimbledon.  After that, I didn’t need to think about it a whole lot anymore.  It was just one of the big goals I set for myself.  I failed.  Back to work.  Get yourself in shape.

Rafael Nadal on Wimbledon:

I say before:  Is really the most dangerous tournament of the year.  When I arrive to Roland Garros I already played for one month on clay.  I played a lot of matches.  So more or less I can imagine how I am going to play.

 

 

 

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Engagement Broken and Nursing Injuries, Caroline Wozniacki Beaten in First Round of the French Open

 

(May 27, 2014) Almost a week after her engagement to Golfer Rory McIlroy was called off, Caroline Wozniacki, carrying a couple of injuries, was upset in the first round of the French Open on Tuesday. The 13th seed lost to Belgium’s Yanina Wickmayer 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-2.

McIlroy and Wozniacki, who had been engaged since New Year’s Eve, split up last week. They had been seeing each other since 2011.

Wozniacki began her post-match news conference with a statement:

“I don’t really want to talk about my personal life. I hope that you all can understand that. The only thing I really have to say is that, you know, (I want to) thank everybody for their support and sweet messages.

“What happens in my personal life, I just want to really keep that between my closest people around me. You know, I just have to move on.”

Coming into Tuesday Wozniacki led Wickmayer 6-1 in head-to-head meetings. Wickmayer is working with former player Kim Clijsters. Clijsters beat Wozniacki in the 2009 U. S. Open Final.

Wozniacki played a limited clay court schedule due to a knee injury.

“You’re not prepared for something like this, and (it) came a bit as a shock,” Wozniacki told media. “I just tried to prepare the best that I could. I felt a little bit rusty out there, and it wasn’t really a pretty match. But I tried.”

 

Related article:

Golfer Rory McIlroy calls off Engagement to Tennis Player Caroline Wozniacki

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“Papa” Roger Federer: “I couldn’t be happier”

Federer on court-001

(May 13, 204) Last week Roger Federer became the father of a second set of twins, when wife Mirka gave birth to sons Leo and Lenny. Federer withdrew from the Madrid Open last week to be with his family during the birth and is back on tour this week playing the Italian Open.

“I spoke to the team, I spoke to Mirka, asked all of them what they think I should do and they told me to come here and play,” said Federer in his pre-tournament news conference in Rome. “So I said ok, if you don’t want me around, I’ll go away! I miss them a lot already, it’s a different type of week, but I’ll get through it and I hope I can play some good tennis here.”

“I couldn’t be happier… for those who have kids it’s the best thing… they know what I am talking about. It’s hard to leave all the family, but I’ll see them soon, shortly. The boys are healthy and Mirka is good too. It’s a great time in our lives.

“The plan is that they can come on tour. At least we know how to handle with kids on the road, and that’s quite a challenge early on especially when they are about 12 months old.”

“Things went well, the boys are healthy. Mirka’s good, too,” the world No. 4 said. “So it’s a great time in our lives right now.”

“Boys names are hard. It was all last minute,” Federer said. “Girls, I feel like there’s so many nice names and they’re all cute but with boys it’s totally a different story.

“I miss them a lot already and also the girls. It’s a different type of week but I’ll get through it and I hope I can still play some good tennis.”

Leo and Lenny join twin sisters Myla Rose and Charlene Riva in the family. The girls will turn 5 on July 23rd.

“This time around, we kind of know how to handle kids on the road,” the Swiss said. “I’m aware it’s going to be a lot of work but at the same time I know what I’m getting into. So it’s something I’m very much looking forward to. … There will be a long time without any traveling after the tennis is over, so I’m looking forward to the next couple of years now.”

“Papa” Federer is a three-time losing finalist in Rome – 2003, 2006 and 2013. He’ll begin his quest for a Rome title on Wednesday when he plays Jeremy Chardy.

 

Related article:

Federers Welcome Another Set of Twins to the Family

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Fashion Statements in Notes and Quotes at the Sony Open

 

Fashion statements

 

(Match 20, 2014) On Thursday at the Sony Open some of the players were asked about their “fashion” and “style” on and off-court. Here is what some of them had to say.

Serena Williams

The world No. 1 sported Miami Dolphins colors on court on Thursday. The 17-time major champ is a co-owner of the NFL team.

Actually, we’re playing ‑‑ Nike and I wanted to pay homage to my team that I co‑own, so it was like, We should totally do the Dolphin colors.  Just have something really fun for Miami.  You know, Dolphins are great, so just, Go Dolphins, go Fins.

 

Djokovci inpress

Novak Djokovic

The World No. 2 was asked about his inspiration in designing his outfits.

You mentioned Andre Agassi.  I mean, he definitely revolutionalized the fashion in tennis.  He was the first one to dress differently and to have some kind of statement on the court.

Well, I have been through a process in my career, as well.  I had different dragons and wings on my shirts (smiling).

But I’m at a different stage right now.  Of course I’m very much involved in giving ‑‑ trying to give my input as much as I can to design my own clothes.  I’m fortunate to have a really good team of people and designers from Uniqlo Company who represents me the last two years.

There is various, I will say, inspirations behind the certain designs for different periods of the year depending on color of the surface, depending on the time of the year, depending where we go, color of Serbian flags, so forth and so forth.

So there are different sources of inspiration we are trying to put into the design and kind of create something that looks nice on the court.

 

Roger Federer

Roger Federer

The Swiss No. 2 and 17-time major champ had a question posted to him about his process of picking out colors and styles and if he had any fashion advice.

Well, normally, look, it’s great to see fans wearing the RF cap, you name it, or Nike in general.  It’s like a tag of approval maybe in a way that they enjoy what I’m wearing.  They feel like they’re connected to me, which I do feel is the case.

The hard part is deciding today what I’m going to wear for US Open next year.  It’s kind of hard, you know, sometimes to put myself in the right mind and mindset to know, Am I going to like, you know, stripes in one‑and‑a‑half years?  I’m not sure, you know.

Right now I maybe do, but maybe one‑and‑a‑half years maybe not so cool.  That’s the hard part when we work together with Nike.  But I really enjoy the process, and it’s nice to be part of it rather than just getting stuff and then not liking or loving stuff.

It has that element where you can be part of it.  My advice probably is you’ve got to make sure you wear the clothes and not the clothes wear you.  It’s quite simple in a, way but don’t wear something you totally feel uncomfortable with, but, you know, take some chances.  Play around a bit.

I felt very uncomfortable in suits when I was younger, so what I just started doing was wearing suits when I was going to dinner.  I used to overdress a little bit so I got used to wearing suits.  Now wearing a suit is like wearing a track suit for me.  So it’s all good.

 

Murray in press

Andy Murray

Andy Murray was asked how players showcase through fashion and individual styles.

This is a tough question for me.  I don’t really know how to answer it (smiling).

To be honest, I mean, I just like wearing on the court what’s comfortable.  So long as the products work well, then that’s the most important thing for me.

I mean, adidas, the way they work is they tend to have their ‑‑ they have their own colors, so all of the players wear a fairly similar kit; whereas some of the other companies, you know, it’s more sort of individual.

So you see that player’s sort of style or what they like a little bit more.

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Juan Martin del Potro Withdraws From Indian Wells with Wrist Injury

Del Potro in press

(March 9, 2014) INDIAN WELLS – Sixth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro withdrew from the BNP Paribas Open on Sunday due to ligament damage in his left wrist. Del Potro also pulled out of the Dubai tournament last week with the same injury.

“Well, my situation, it’s the same as Dubai,” said the Argentine.  “The wrist is still bothering me a lot.  I signed up for doubles here to try before singles how I’m feeling, and I played yesterday and I didn’t feel really well.

“I’m not feeling 100%, and I’m not in good conditions to compete and to try and to win the tournament.

“I mean, I always like to feel good and feel the chance to win the tournament, and I’m not feeling that.  The wrist is still bothering me a lot, and my doctors tell me to wait ten more days doing the treatment and do everything possible to play in Miami.

“That’s what is my focus now.  I will have the next ten days for do the same treatment, the same exercises, the same rehabilitation, and try to get in Miami much better than here and see what could happen in that tournament.”

“The problem start in Melbourne,” Del Potro said.  Yeah.  In my first round in Melbourne, yeah.

“And after that match is painful all the time.  I couldn’t spend time without the pain after Melbourne.”

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Twizzles and Selfies in Notes and Quotes for Saturday at the BNP Paribas Open

 

(March 8, 2014) INDIAN WELLS, California – a quick at the more unusual player quotes from the BNP Paribas Open.

Maria Sharapova who was an NBC Olympic correspondent in Sochi was quizzed on the word “twizzle” after her straight sets win over Julia Goerges.

 Sharapova 382014 IW

 

Q.  Who is the coolest athlete you met, and do you know what a twizzle is?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  A twizzle?  Is that part of figure skating?  Right, right.  I don’t know if that was a trick question.

Who did I meet?  I met a lot of former athletes that were working for NBC, which was like Scott Hamilton.  I don’t know.  It was really bizarre just like having breakfast around each other like it was no big deal.  All these athletes getting together, not actually working on our sport, but that was special.

Q.  Did you and Johnny Weir hang out at all?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Unfortunately I missed him, but I was told we had a coat competition.  Yeah, we tried to upstage each other’s coats.  I brought 12 and he brought 25.  I mean, that’s pathetic.

Q.  Never going to win that battle?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, you never know.

Q.  Would you consult him for designing for Serena?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  That could be fun.  He could design for me, as well.

Serena Williams tweeted her approval for Sharapova’s dress. The Russian was quizzed about this and talked about tennis dresses and how she and Serena Williams could design one for each other.

Q.  I think Serena tweeted during your match that your outfit was totally cute.  She approved.

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Really?  Are those her exact words, Totally cute?

Q.  She said #approved.

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I think we have to exchange designs.  We have to design an outfit for each other.  That would be fun.  Without knowing…

Q.  Cat suit?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, I have to put an end to the cat suit on me (Laughter.)  I mean, I’m 26 already, so I think those days are over.

But that would be fun without telling each other what it is, just unveiling it.

Q.  You would trust each other to do that?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Oh, yeah.  That would be a lot of fun, don’t you think?  You guys would all show up for that, right?  (Laughter.)

We’re going to get great coverage.  Nike is going to be happy.  It’s all good.

Q.  What kind of ideas do you have for dressing up Serena then?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  It’s our secret.  Show up to the unveiling.

Q.  No hints?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  No hints.  I have a few things in mind, a few silhouettes.

 

 

Federer 382014

 

 

 

 

Roger Federer bested Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-2, 7-6(5). The Swiss who has been on twitter about a year was asked about taking “selfies,” as he has recently posted a couple on his twitter account.

Q.  On your year or so on Twitter, you have gotten very good at selfies.

ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, okay.

Q.  If you could take a selfie with anybody, who would it be?

ROGER FEDERER:  Nobody.  I mean, this is totally for the supporters of me, whoever follows me or a fan of me, whoever it is, the people who do, you know, follow me on Twitter or Facebook.  Just trying to make it fun and different.

Took me a long time to sort of warm up to social media, because I just didn’t know how it’s supposed to be used ‑ even though there is no rule to it.  But I find some people use it in a very funny way and some in a very strange way

First, for myself, I had to find out what was going to be my direction.  I saw it more as giving more sort of the extra, you know, sort of hints, sort of my angle, an extra angle to our life on tour.

So it’s actually become quite enjoyable.  The last thing I want to feel is pressure that I have to take pictures or have to is something.  If I don’t want to post anything for weeks, I have the right to do that and that needs to be the case.

But I must say it’s pretty funny, and it doesn’t stress me out.  You just can’t being sucked into it too crazy, otherwise all you start doing is spending time on the phone, and that’s not what I want to start happening to me.

 

LiNa 382014

Li Na – no more doubles please.

 

Q.  We see a lot of the top players playing doubles at a tournament like this.  Why not you?

LI NA:  I think doubles court for me too small enough (Laughter.)  I don’t know.  Maybe last time I play doubles was 2007.  Or I play Olympics I think with a young girl.

When I was stand up the court I even didn’t know what I have to do.  Even I return, I was feeling the court so small.  Everywhere is people (smiling).  I cannot do it.

So for me, I really, how do you say, focus on my singles right now to see maybe I can, I even can improve a little bit.

Q.  Do you not like doubles?

LI NA:  Not really, no, because you have to, how do you say, talk to your opponent all the time.  Yeah.

Warinka in press

Stanislas Wawrinka and the boring questions.

Q.  Where have you placed the Australian Open trophy?  And when do you think it will start getting boring with all the questions and Australia and all the things you achieved over there?

STANISLAS WAWRINKA:  Well, I think I’m not going to get boring about those questions, you know.  It’s more about being Swiss No. 1 that’s annoying me.

But about winning Grand Slam, I think it’s great.  It’s positive.  So I can answer many few questions if you want.

The trophy is in Switzerland in a safe place

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Venus Williams Dominates in First Round Victory in Dubai

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(February 17, 2014) DUBAI – Wild Card entry and two-time former champion Venus Williams was off to a winning start at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships besting Elena Vesnina 6-3, 6-2 hitting 10 aces along the way.

“The last couple matches I played against her, at Wimbledon she played so well and it wasn’t my day, and Cincy as well – I had some chances there but she was clearly more on her game,” Williams said after the win.

“These days I’m a little more on mine, so I was glad to get a win.”

Venus Williams dubai

“I definitely don’t take for granted any win anymore,” said Williams. “Not that I used to. But now it’s even more special, every win. My serve keeps improving pretty much every tournament. That always helps me.

“I think the more matches I’ll play, the better I will feel. You know, in moments where I’m controlling the match, the better I will feel in moments where things are close.”

The 2009 and 2010 champion’s win will set up a second round meeting with the winner of sixth seed Angelique Kerber and former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic.

DUBAI DUTY FREE TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS
Dubai, UAE
February 17-February 22, 2014
$2,000,000/Premier
Hard/Outdoors

Results – Monday, February 17, 2014
Singles – First Round
Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) d. (WC) Nadia Petrova (RUS) 63 62
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) d. Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) 64 67(3) 64
Sorana Cirstea (ROU) d. Roberta Vinci (ITA) 64 63
Lucie Safarova (CZE) d. Sloane Stephens (USA) 63 75
(WC) Venus Williams (USA) d. Elena Vesnina (RUS) 63 62

Doubles – First Round
Kops-Jones/Spears (USA/USA) d. Chan/Huber (TPE/USA) 63 76(4)
Groenefeld/Rosolska (GER/POL) d. Dushevina/Parra Santonja (RUS/ESP) 64 63
Raymond/Zhang (USA/CHN) d. (WC) Flipkens/Kvitova (BEL/CZE) 06 64 107 (Match TB)

Singles Qualifying – Final Round
Annika Beck (GER) d. (1) Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) 61 64
(3) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) d. (5) Yvonne Meusburger (AUT) 61 63
Karolina Pliskova (CZE) d. Camila Giorgi (ITA) 75 62
Maryna Zanevska (UKR) d. Mona Barthel (GER) 76(8) 64

Order Of Play – Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Centre Court (from 14.00hrs)
1. Alizé Cornet vs. Simona Halep
2. Caroline Wozniacki vs. Sabine Lisicki
3. Angelique Kerber vs. Ana Ivanovic (NB 19.00hrs)
4. Serena Williams vs. Ekaterina Makarova

Court 1 (from 14.00hrs)
1. Maryna Zanevska vs. Jelena Jankovic
2. Samantha Stosur vs. Annika Beck
3. Kaia Kanepi vs. Flavia Pennetta
4. Kirsten Flipkens vs. Karolina Pliskova

Court 3 (from 14.00hrs)
1. Hlavackova/Safarova vs. Black/Mirza
2. Errani/Vinci vs. Pavlyuchenkova/Petrova (NB 16.00hrs)
3. Jankovic/Kleybanova vs. Kudryavtseva/Rodionova

 

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Venus Wins, Stephens Falls in Doha

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(February 10, 2014) Venus Williams returned to the court for the first time since losing in the first round of the Australian Open, while countrywoman Sloane Stephens fell in Doha on Monday.

Williams bested qualifier Petra Martic 6-2, 6-2 to set up a second-round match with former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.

No. 2 American Stephens could not find any consistency and lost to qualifier Petra Cetkovska 7-5-6-1.

QATAR TOTAL OPEN
Doha, Qatar
February 10-February 16, 2014
$2,440,070/Premier
Hard/Outdoors

Results – Monday, February 10, 2014
Singles – First Round
(Q) Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) d. (11) Roberta Vinci (ITA) 63 63
(Q) Petra Cetkovska (CZE) d. (14) Sloane Stephens (USA) 75 61
Peng Shuai (CHN) d. (Q) Nadia Petrova (RUS) 76(5) 75
Venus Williams (USA) d. (Q) Petra Martic (CRO) 62 62
Annika Beck (GER) d. Mona Barthel (GER) 76(5) 62
(Q) Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE) d. Flavia Pennetta (ITA) 75 63

Doubles – First Round
Pliskova/Pliskova (CZE/CZE) d. (WC) Al Nabhani/Honcova (OMA/SVK) 63 62
Buryachok/Diatchenko (UKR/RUS) d. Dushevina/Parra Santonja (RUS/ESP) 63 26 103 (Match TB)
(WC) Jankovic/Kleybanova (SRB/RUS) d. Lepchenko/Panova (USA/RUS) 76(3) 06 102 (Match TB)

Order Of Play – Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Centre Court (from 15.30hrs)
1. Francesca Schiavone vs. Magdalena Rybarikova
2. Dominika Cibulkova vs. Alisa Kleybanova
3. Ana Ivanovic vs. Daniela Hantuchova (NB 19.00hrs)
4. Marina Erakovic vs. Samantha Stosur

Court 1 (from 14.30hrs)
1. Tadeja Majeric vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
2. Stefanie Voegele vs. Alizé Cornet
3. Andrea Petkovic vs. Yanina Wickmayer
4. Eugenie Bouchard vs. Bethanie Mattek-Sands

Court 2 (from 14.30hrs)
1. Kaia Kanepi vs. Varvara Lepchenko
2. Alla Kudryavtseva vs. Sorana Cirstea
3. Lucie Safarova vs. Kirsten Flipkens (NB 18.00hrs)
4. Chan/Huber vs. Klemenschits/Olaru

Court 3 (from 14.30hrs)
1. Zhang Shuai vs. Maryna Zanevska
2. Karolina Pliskova vs. Cagla Buyukakcay
3. Monica Niculescu vs. Fatma Al Nabhani
4. Pavlyuchenkova/Petrova vs. Beygelzimer/Savchuk

Court 4 (from 14.30hrs)
1. Barthel/Moulton-Levy vs. Kops-Jones/Spears
2. Mirjana Lucic-Baroni vs. Yvonne Meusburger (NB 15.30hrs)
3. Elina Svitolina vs. Klara Zakopalova (NB 18.00hrs)

Court 6 (from 15.30hrs)
1. Kristina Mladenovic vs. Jana Cepelova
2. Karin Knapp vs. Caroline Garcia
3. Husarova/Rosolska vs. Raymond/Zhang

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US Hopes Youth Will Triumph When They Face Italy in Fed Cup this Weekend

Fed Cup logo

(February 5, 2014) The USA will face Italy for the fourth time in the last six years when both teams meet again in Cleveland this weekend in Fed Cup quarterfinal play.

Neither team will have its “A” team so youth will be served, especially for Team USA. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez named the team last month – Madison Keys (18), Alison Riske (23), Christina McHale (21) and Cleveland native Lauren Davi (20).

“It’s exciting to have young members, new members on the team, said Captain Fernandez to media on Wednesday in a pre-draw news conference.  “Christina (McHale) is our experienced one, the veteran at the prime old age of what, 21?

“And I think Alison is our oldest player at 23.  So you bring a lot of excitement and energy and enthusiasm when it’s your first time.  You get this great experience to play for your country, represent your country.
So those are all pluses.  I don’t really see any negatives.  Obviously not having played under the pressure of Fed Cup before you never know how someone is going to handle it.
“I think that’s a positive regardless because of the experience and the feedback you get in it.  For me’s really it’s all positive.”

“I think this team from Italy, the challenge is that they’re big hitters,” said Fernandez. “They hit the ball hard and they’re aggressive.  Good indoors.  Probably one of their favorite surfaces.”

Team Italy who will be sporting a team of mostly first-timers are up to the challenge.

“I think will be a tough match, very talented match,” said Italy’s captain Corrado Barazzutti.  “They are young team against, so we come here to try hard to win this match and we know that will be difficult.”
“I think it’s pretty clear the future is very bright, and this is an example of it,” Fernandez said of the US squad.  “This group and the group around them has really been really making strides the last few years and working hard to break each category.
“When I started with the Fed Cup as captain five, six years ago I want to say there were only three Americans in the top 100.  I believe we’re at 11 or 12 now.  So everybody is improving and pushing each other.  We’re seeing the results.
“We have different game styles, which is great, and personalities, but it’s very positive.  It’s extremely exciting to be part of and to see the young players grow and develop as people and as players as well.

As the lone member of the Fed Cup team with any Fed Cup experience, Christina McHale offer some advice to her teammates:

“I’ve had some of my best memories and just fun weeks playing Fed Cup, so I’m really excited to be back on the team.
“I think everyone here has come to a Fed Cup before, so I think they already have some experience.
“I mean, I think just, you know, it’s such an honor to play for your country, so just giving it everything you have, which we always do.  I think that’s the best advice.”

Italy beat the US in the first round of Fed Cup last year. Overall, the US has a 9-3 record versus Italy in Fed Cup play. The US has the record for the most Fed Cup titles at 17, while last year’s winners Italy have now won the cup four out of the past eight years.

 

 

 

 

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