2014/08/31

Novak Djokovic Shares a Chat with a Ball Boy During First Round Win at Roland Garros

(May 26, 2014) Novak Djokovic played through some rain and some rain delays on Monday before reaching the second round at the French Open with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 win over Joao Sousa of Portugal.

In the second rain delay of the match in the second set, Djokovic went into showman mode by making funny faces at the TV camera. Afterwards Djokovic invited a ball boy who was holding his umbrella to sit beside him on the bench to chat. Djokovic let the ball boy hold his racquet and gave him a bottle of Perrier water, while the Serb had a sports drink. A few minutes later the rain delay ended and they shook hands hands to end their chat.

“We had a nice chat,” Djokovic said. He’s a tennis player, so I asked him how long he’s playing, and how he’s enjoying his time as a ball kid. It was a nice, fun time, something unusual for the Grand Slams.”

See video below.

 

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Knapp Sacks Riske: Italy Advances in Fed Cup Over USA

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By Steve Fogleman

(February 9, 2014) Karin Knapp followed up on her win over Christina McHale yesterday with a clinching 6-3, 7-5 victory today over Alison Riske in the first round of the 2014 Fed Cup season in Cleveland, Ohio. The Italians defeated the American team in all three live rubbers.

Knapp did had some trouble closing it out over Riske, who was a last-minute replacement for Madison Keys in an effort by Captain Mary Joe Fernandez to get some momentum for the US. Riske acquitted herself well. She elevated her game in the second set, and after drawing even with the Italian, she was broken at 5-5 in the next game. Knapp served it out from here.

Overall, the match was more competitive than it might appear.

“It’s not easy because she came back. I got a little bit nervous. I got a little bit of emotion.”

Knapp told the press that the team made a pact to jump in the Cleveland snow if they won the tie.

“After this, we will all put the jacket on, the scarf on and we will jump in the snow!”, she said.

No word on when and where that photo opportunity will occur, but the snowy tundra of Cleveland Public Square is conveniently located between the venue and the Fed Cup hotel.

The snow didn’t stop the crowd from arriving to cheer on the US team, but it did slow them down. There were many empty seats at the start of the tie, but the fans filled in to create a boisterous cheering section by the beginning of the second set. The Public Auditorium was noticeably louder than yesterday.

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Riske had a “big group of people from Pittsburgh” to join her for the event. She called the tie “an unbelievable experience” and noted the “awesome” support from the fans.

She’ll be in training in the two weeks leading up to Indian Wells.

Madison Keys and Lauren Davis won the inconsequential doubles rubber 6-2, 6-3 over Nastassja Burnett and Alice Matteucci.

Italy will advance to the quarterfinals, while the US will be attempting to simply avoid relegation from the World Group in their next outing.

Steve Fogleman is Editor of TennisEastCoast.com, a Mid-Atlantic based tennis website. He is in Cleveland, Ohio covering the Fed Cup tie between USA and Italy for Tennis Panorama News.

Related article:

Catching Up with Alison Riske at Fed Cup in Cleveland

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Italy Sweeps USA on Day 1 of Fed Cup to Take 2-0 Lead

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By Steve Fogleman

(February 8, 2014) CLEVELAND – Team Italy blanked the USA on Saturday in Cleveland, Ohio, to take a 2-0 lead in Fed Cup first round action.

Christina McHale played a horrendous first set, ceding second serves to Karin Knapp. Knapp’s powerful backhand threatened to make the match a runaway for the Italian. McHale settled down in the second and broke twice to level the score at 6-4.

The ultimate result was a big bang for Italy with a victory by Karin Knapp in three sets, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1. McHale ran her Fed Cup career record to 5-3 with the loss.

After the match, McHale admitted that “by giving her that lead she really relaxed and started playing much better.”

The Italian team was especially loud and supportive. Karin Knapp acknowledged that she feeds off of them and predicted that they would feed off of her win.

“We are not a lot, but we are loud. They helped me”, she said.  “They gave me confidence”.

“If I get the point, maybe Camila goes on the court a little relaxed.”

Maybe you’re right, Karin Knapp.

As predicted by Knapp, Camila Giorgi did come out relaxed…and focused.

Giorgi thrashed Madison Keys 6-2, 6-1, notching a victory for the Italian in her first Fed Cup rubber. Keys seemed to be confused and having one of those days, and she was unable to hold serve on a regular basis.

Giorgi said it did help her composure knowing that her nation was already on the board before she hit her first ball in a Fed Cup.

Keys summed it up best. “She was playing amazingly. I can only control so many things. Great job to her today”, she said.

The Americans are now in danger of losing a fourth straight tie to the Italian team dating back ten years. They’re 0-10 in ties where they’ve started with a pair of singles losses.

But US Captain Mary Joe Fernandez has every reason to believe that this team, at least on paper, should have a realistic shot at pulling a sweep of their own tomorrow. I agree.

Steve Fogleman is Editor of TennisEastCoast.com, a Mid-Atlantic based tennis website. He is in Cleveland, Ohio covering the Fed Cup tie between USA and Italy for Tennis Panorama News.

 

Video Bonus:
Fed Cup Cleveland: Better Than the Winter Olympics

 

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Rafael Nadal Stars in New “This is SportsCenter” Commercial

(September 10, 2013) To celebrate Rafael Nadal’s US Open victory, ESPN debuted its latest addition to the award-winning “This is SportsCenter”  franchise with a spot that features the Spanish champion.  Filmed in both English and Spanish, it is now running on both ESPN and ESPN Deportes. following Nadal’s 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 win over Novak Djokovic to claim his 13th major title.

During the 30-second ad, named “Candy Dish,” SportsCenter anchors John Anderson and Bram Weinstein speculate about what makes the Spanish player so popular in the office.  Turns out Nadal’s exotic accent, great tan and dashing looks are not necessarily what is driving all the foot traffic to his cube. It might instead have something to do with what he keeps in the US Open Trophy on his desk.  ESPN Deportes’ SportsCenter anchors Alvaro Morales, Jorge Eduardo Sánchez and Carolina Padrón appear in the Spanish-language version.

 

This is the second spot in the campaign, following Robinson Cano’s “Handshakes,” to be released in English and in Spanish.

 

Wieden + Kennedy New York is the creative agency for the This is SportsCenter campaign. The overall initiative, a cornerstone of ESPN’s brand since 1995, gives fans an inside peek at the Bristol, Conn., campus, where athletes, mascots and anchors interact in the center of the sports universe.

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Milos Raonic Launches New Balance Line at Ping-Pong Club

(August 21, 2013) NEW YORK, NY. World No. 10 Milos Raonic took on all comers in a game of ping-pong as New Balance launched their new NB Tennis line at SPiN, a Ping-Pong club in Manhattan. One of the Canadian’s opponents was Jim Courier.

Video by Josh Meiseles.

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Novak Djokovic Launches Uniqlo’s US Open Performance Wear Collection

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By Josh Meiseles, Special to Tennis Panorama News

(August 19, 2013) NEW YORK, NY – Novak Djokovic’s global brand has grown exponentially in recent years. If Monday’s appearance at Uniqlo’s flagship store in New York City is any indication of the Serb’s worldwide popularity, his potential for even further growth is substantial.

Hundreds of “Nole” fans flocked in droves to catch a glimpse of the World No. 1 as he helped celebrate the launch of Uniqlo’s US Open Performance Wear Collection, arriving hours in advance and lining Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. The first 100 fans were given the opportunity to have their picture taken with Djokovic and in some instances snag an autograph.

Djokovic also answered a handful of fan-submitted questions while modeling his gear to be worn at the year’s final major. He discussed a bevy of topics including his biggest motivation on the court, which he explained consists of his family, friends and especially his compatriots back home in Serbia.

Djokovic, who last May signed a five-year contract with the Japanese clothing brand to be his apparel sponsor, was the US Open champion in 2011 and enters this year’s edition as the top seed. He will begin his quest for a seventh Grand Slam title when the US Open commences next week.

Josh Meiseles is covering Pre-US Open special events for tennis Panorama  for Tennis Panorama News. He is a freelance writer for ATP World Tour digital media, and writes about professional tennis at his site The Sixth Set. Follow his US Open special event coverage here and on our twitter account @TennisNewsTPN. Follow him on his personal twitter at @The Sixth Set.

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Venus Williams to Make an Appearance on Katie Couric Talk Show

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(July 10, 2013) On the nationally syndicated daytime talk show “Katie,”  hosted by Katie Couric airing July 11, an emotional Venus Williams discusses career stress. Other guests Robin Roberts, Sportscaster Hannah Storm and Whoopi Goldberg share their passion for powerful women in sports. The show will air at 3 p.m. ET. (Check local listings for times in other areas)

Venus Williams who did not play Wimbledon due to a back injury has been suffering from the autoimmune disease Sjogren’s Syndrome. She was diagnosed with it back in the summer of 2011.

 

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Behind the Scenes: An Interview with Steph Trudel

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Steph Trudel (left) with tennis commentator Rob Koenig.

By Amy Fetherolf‏

(March 22, 2013) MIAMI – For many tennis fans, what goes into tennis broadcasts remains a mystery. To shed some light on the production of the omnipotent tennis world feed, I sat down with Steph Trudel, who does graphics and statistics for television broadcasts of ATP Masters 1000 events.

Amy Fetherolf: How did you get started doing graphics and statistics for the ATP Masters 1000s?

Steph Trudel: I studied in Toronto in radio and television arts. It was a three-year program. At first I was a cameraman. Then I started working for Tennis Canada, in the summertime, for the men’s and the women’s tournaments as an in-house camera guy. So I would go around and shoot the players signing autographs.

Every year, there was an American company called IBS that would come around to provide tournament services like the radar, the scoreboards, the statistics. Then one year, in 2000, they were forming a television department. They came up to me and they said, “Look, we’re looking for someone with broadcasting experience. Would you like to travel the world doing television graphics for tennis events?” So that’s how I got the job. I flew down to Florida, lived in Jacksonville for two years, and that’s how I got started. I switched from cameraman to being a graphics operator.

AF: What does your job entail when you’re covering a tournament?

ST: We obviously get here a few days before to do the setup. We have to run all the cables, put the computers in place, do some testing to make sure all the equipment works. That normally takes two days. We get here three days before the event. And then when the tournament starts, we do the world feed coverage.

When you look at the Masters 1000s and the 500s, it has the same look. It’s the same graphics. For example, the Masters 1000 has that golden look to it. Whether you’re in Miami, or Shanghai, or Monte Carlo, the viewer can identify, okay this is a Masters 1000 event. Prior to that, when you didn’t have one world feed, you’d have broadcasters using their own graphics. So from the point of view of a viewer, there was no branding. You weren’t aware that it was a Masters 1000 in Monte Carlo this week and Rome the next week. So that’s why that part was created back then, to give a branding. And when the match starts, we input the statistics for winners, unforced errors.

AF: You track those yourself?

ST: Yeah. So every point that gets played gets analyzed. It’s either a winner or an error. And then if it’s an error, you have to determine if it’s an unforced or forced error. And then the positioning of players, if he’s at net or on the baseline, and if it’s a forehand, backhand, and all that.

AF: The world feed has those great graphics, sometimes showing serve placement or mapping a player’s toss. Is that also something you do?

ST: That is done by Hawk-Eye. Hawk-Eye can do many, many things. Not all of it you see on air, because a lot of it is very interesting, but a little more difficult to explain. We have to keep in mind that because we’re doing a world feed, these images are going to Argentina, to Russia, to Guadalupe. Hawk-Eye can give you a lot more statistics than what you see.

AF: I’ve seen some cool things, like statistics on the average distance each player is running during a point.

ST: Even when there’s a serve, they can track how fast the ball travels, so after that serve, he has .873 seconds to react to the serve and all that.

AF: If there were one stat that you would track regularly that’s not available to fans, what would it be?

ST: I think most of the stats that are out there are the stats that are important, that are relevant. But after that, you can always delve in to find something else. What I’d like to see on set stats is forced errors. That’s something that we track, but everyone seems to be talking about the unforced errors.

AF: I’d love to see things like what a player’s go-to serve placement is on a big point.

ST: That’s all stuff that Hawk-Eye does. And a lot of times they’ll do that when a player’s serving on break point. But between points you have 20, 25 seconds. So it’s hard sometimes to get up a lot of information. Sometimes I want to put forehand winners, then you do a replay, which takes about 12, 15 seconds, so you don’t have time to put up that information. Sometimes a replay is more interesting than a stat.

AF: Sure, that’s very true. Not everyone is quite as nerdy as I am.

ST: I know especially the American audience is a lot more wanting to have statistics. It’s more of a statistically oriented culture. Whereas the Europeans, they like their stats, but they’re not as die-hard stats fans.

AF: Maybe it’s the coverage of other sports in the States. It seems like there’s a lot of advanced stats for the popular sports like baseball, hockey.

ST: Sure, for the NBA, football, and all that, yeah.

Amy Fetherolf‏ is covering the Sony Open as media for Tennis Panorama News (@TennisNewsTPN). She is a co-founder of The Changeover. Follow her on Twitter at @AmyFetherolf.

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Novak Djokovic Gangnam Style

 

BEIJING, China – After capturing the China Open title, Novak Djokovic thrilled fans with his imitation of the dance from the hit “Gangnam Style” by South Korean rapper Psy.

Djokovic said he did not rehearse the dance and that if he wins next week in Shanghai he might do it.  He was at first a little hesitant to do it but then joined in the fun with the ball boys and ball girls.

“No rehearsals,” Djokovic said.  “The only time I have done it, I think, was a week ago.  The song is quite catchy, so I might do it again in Shanghai.  Depends.

“For next year, we’ll see if ‑‑ I get a lot of feedback from the fans.  So if the fans have something to suggest, I’m open for any suggestions and maybe we can work something out for next time.”

Djokovic later added, “As I said, nothing was planned.  But I was talking to the fans that actually suggested me to do that dance in the end of the tournament in case I win the tournament.

“So I had to hold my promise, and it was fun.  You know, I think it was obvious that I was the worst dancer there out of the small group, but it still was quite a lot of fun.”

The video to “Gangnam Style” (shown above) has gone viral since its release in July 2012 on YouTube where it has been viewed more than 390 million times.

Karen Pestaina, Abigail Hinto and Natalie Ho contributed to this report.

 

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HEAD Interview with Andy Murray

 

New York – September 10, 2012 Andy Murray wrote  new British tennis history by capturing the US Open. The Gold medalist of the London Olympics won a HEAD to HEAD battle of racquet rebels, winning his first Grand Slam title with a 7-6(10), 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2 win over Novak Djokovic in the US Open final.
Murray, swinging his YouTek IG Radical Pro, won the second-longest final in tournament history, lasting 4:54 hours as he claimed a tough final set over Djokovic (YouTek IG Speed MP). Between them the two racquet rebels now hold two of the top three spots in the ATP rankings.

Murray got a huge weight off his shoulders as he became the first British man since Fred Perry in 1936 to lift a grand Slam trophy: “I don’t know how I did it,” said Murray. “There were incredibly tricky conditions. After the third and fourth set, it was tough mentally. Novak is so strong; he fights to the end in every match. I’ve had some long tough matches in the past with Novak, I just managed to get through it.”

Djokovic was defending the title he won a year ago, with the Serb having won four Grand Slam titles since the start of 2011. “It wasn’t meant to be,” said Djokovic. “I want to congratulate Andy and his team. He absolutely deserves this. I tried my best,” said the world No. 2 who came back from two sets down to force a fifth set.

The Scot’s victory ended his summer of success after playing the Wimbledon final against Federer and then beating the Swiss three weeks later in the Olympic gold medal match. He is the first male player to win the Olympic tennis tournament and the US Open in the same season.

HEAD has an Andy Murray 2012 US Open champion Facebook sweepstakes going on right now which is promoting the Radical Bag and Radical Pro racquets; https://www.facebook.com/headtennis/app_141572462652932

 

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