2014/07/24

Groth Takes Out Defending Newport Champ Mahut

Black and white Groth-001

By Dave Gertler

 

(July, 10, 2014) NEWPORT – Lleyton Hewitt has made the final in Newport two years running, and is scheduled to play his quarterfinal match on Thursday, but the biggest story of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships on Wednesday was lesser-known Australian, Sam Groth. After defeating reigning champion Nicolas Mahut in straight sets in front of a packed Center Court stadium, Sam Groth has won through to his first ATP tournament semifinal, and will also break into the top 100 for the first time, achieving a lifelong career goal.

 

“I really had nothing to lose,” said the big serving 26-year-old, “I had a hell of a lot to gain. First time in a semifinal, first time probably in the top 100, first time direct entry into a grand slam. I went out there confident, and I really wanted to do all those things. I thought I played really well.”

 

Groth managed to break Mahut early in the first and second sets, using his remarkable serve – known as the fastest on tour – to hold his way through to a straight-sets upset victory over the former world No. 37, 6-3, 6-4.

 

“People have always thought of me as just a serve,” said Groth, who cracked a 146mph ace to seal the first set, “But I don’t think you get to top 100 being just a serve. My serve probably has gotten better, I’m hitting my spots better, and I think I’m volleying better than I ever have. I’m making it tough for guys to break me and I think that builds a lot of pressure.”

 

Closing out the match was hard, said Groth. Once gaining the break in the second set, “For the first time in the match,” said Groth, “Everything became a little bit real, and everything came to the front of my head, and I had a couple of shaky games there.”

 

Mahut admitted to being fatigued from a busy grass season, but gave full credit to Groth, saying, “I was not feeling great, but the thing is him, he played well. To win, I have to play my best tennis, and that’s not the case today, so I just have to congratulate him. He was just too good for me today.”

 

Groth will now face another big server, Ivo Karlovic, in the semifinal on Saturday, after Karlovic held off Israel’s Dudi Sela 7-6, 7-5 on Center Court. “It’s tough to play against Ivo on all surfaces,” said Sela, “If he hits a good percentage of the first serve, you have no chance, nobody (does). I held my serve pretty good, and I tried to play well in the tie break, but in the beginning, I had an easy mistake that I made and I let him run away.”

 

Karlovic agreed that his potent serve-volley strategy on grass is a tough to match, saying, “I feel like if I lose my game on my serve, it is always because I do it; because I do double faults, because I do easy volley. I don’t feel like it’s the other guy ever.” The semifinal match-up between Karlovic and Groth, both possessing potent serve-volleying games, is set to be a tight affair. Karlovic professed that, “He also is going to hit a lot of aces. So, there will be also a couple of tiebreaks, so it can always go either way.”

 

The 35-year-old Croatian, who will appear in his first semifinal in Newport, opened up to press after his match, talking about what it’s like being a professional tennis player as well as the father of a young daughter. “It isn’t easy always to go, to leave her at home. I would like to be a lot more home now, but this is what I do, this is where I earn my money, and I do it for her also. But after this, I will go a little bit home, and that’s it.”

 

The tournament’s biggest names, top seed John Isner and multiple grand slam winner Lleyton Hewitt, will both take the court tomorrow in their separate quarterfinals against up-and-coming American men, in what promises to be an equally exciting order of play. Hewitt, the spearhead of what has been a strong tournament for Australians in Newport, will take on American Steve Johnson, while Jack Sock will try to usurp his training partner, No. 1 seed John Isner, who is gunning for his third title on the Newport grass courts.

 

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney covering Newport for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his Twitter updates from the tournament @TennisNewsTPN, follow him on his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

 

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Tennis Results Round-Up for July 9, 2014

atp wta

NÜRNBERGER GASTEIN LADIES – BAD GASTEIN, AUSTRIA
$250,000.00
7-13 JULY 2014

RESULTS – JULY 09, 2014
Women’s
Singles – Second Round

[4] A Petkovic (GER) d D Pfizenmaier (GER) 61 63
S Voegele (SUI) d [5] E Svitolina (UKR) 62 75
[8] K Pliskova (CZE) d [Q] A Bogdan (ROU) 62 75
G Min (USA) d [Q] I Falconi (USA) 63 63

Women’s
Doubles – Quarterfinals

[4] K Barrois (GER) / E Daniilidou (GRE) d [PR] K Bondarenko (UKR) / N Melichar (USA) 36 62 10-5

First Round
[5] A Klepac (SLO) / M Torro-Flor (ESP) d A Hlavackova (CZE) / E Svitolina (UKR) 26 64 10-6
[WC] L Moser (AUT) / L Siegemund (GER) d D Schuurs (NED) / E Wacanno (NED) 76(5) 67(2) 10-7
[Alt] P Ormaechea (ARG) / D Pfizenmaier (GER) d B Krejcikova (CZE) / K Siniakova (CZE) 64 57 10-7

ORDER OF PLAY – THURSDAY, JULY 10, 2014
CENTRE COURT start 11:00 am
[7] C Giorgi (ITA) vs [WC] L Moser (AUT)
P Ormaechea (ARG) vs [2] S Errani (ITA)
[6] Y Meusburger (AUT) vs C Scheepers (RSA)
After suitable rest – M Barthel (GER) / S Klemenschits (AUT) vs [Alt] P Ormaechea (ARG) / D Pfizenmaier (GER)

COURT 1 start 11:00 am
[Q] S Rogers (USA) vs [3] C Suarez Navarro (ESP)
M Duque-Marino (COL) / B Garcia Vidagany (ESP) vs [2] K Pliskova (CZE) / K Pliskova (CZE)
After suitable rest – [5] A Klepac (SLO) / M Torro-Flor (ESP) vs [WC] L Moser (AUT) / L Siegemund (GER)

 

ATP – Båstad, Sweden

RESULTS – WEDNESDAY, 9 JULY 2014

Singles – Second Round
[Q] R Olivo (ARG) d [2] T Robredo (ESP) 76(6) 63
D Lajovic (SRB) d [4] J Janowicz (POL) 63 11 ret. (left foot)
[5] J Sousa (POR) d [WC] E Ymer (SWE) 63 75
[PR] P Cuevas (URU) d [WC] C Lindell (SWE) 46 62 76(2)

Doubles – First Round
[1] D Marrero (ESP) / F Verdasco (ESP) d R Junaid (AUS) / C Kas (GER) 67(5) 62 12-10
[2] A Begemann (GER) / R Lindstedt (SWE) d P Hanley (AUS) / J Marray (GBR) 26 64 11-9
[4] J Brunstrom (SWE) / N Monroe (USA) d J Cluskey (IRL) / M Kukushkin (KAZ) 76(5) 64
[Alt] D Brown (GER) / D Lajovic (SRB) d A Siljestrom (SWE) / I Zelenay (SVK) 36 76(4) 10-6
J Chardy (FRA) / O Marach (AUT) d P Andujar (ESP) / P Carreno Busta (ESP) 76(5) 64

SCHEDULE – THURSDAY, 10 JULY 2014

CENTRE COURT start 11:00 am
[8] P Carreno Busta (ESP) vs P Lorenzi (ITA)
[Q] A Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) vs [3] F Verdasco (ESP)
[1] D Ferrer (ESP) vs V Hanescu (ROU)
[Q] R Albot (MDA) vs [7] C Berlocq (ARG)

COURT 1 start 11:00 am
[WC] I Arvidsson (SWE) / M Eriksson (SWE) vs [3] T Bednarek (POL) / H Kontinen (FIN)
[4] J Brunstrom (SWE) / N Monroe (USA) vs G Kretschmer (GER) / A Satschko (GER)
J Chardy (FRA) / O Marach (AUT) vs [2] A Begemann (GER) / R Lindstedt (SWE)
[1] D Marrero (ESP) / F Verdasco (ESP) vs [Alt] D Brown (GER) / D Lajovic (SRB)

 

 

BRD BUCHAREST OPEN – BUCHAREST, ROU
$ 250,000.00
5-7 JULY, 2014

RESULTS – JULY 09, 2014
Women’s
Singles – Second Round

[8] P Hercog (SLO) d K Piter (POL) 62 57 76(4)
L Arruabarrena (ESP) d C Buyukakcay (TUR) 75 36 76(6) (saved 2mp)
M Niculescu (ROU) d [Q] E Kostova (BUL) 75 75
K Kucova (SVK) d [WC] C Dinu (ROU) 62 63

First Round
[1] S Halep (ROU) d [LL] I de Vroome (NED) 60 64
[2] R Vinci (ITA) d A Dulgheru (ROU) 62 63
[Q] K Bertens (NED) d I Begu (ROU) 60 36 62

Women’s
Doubles – Quarterfinals

P Kania (POL) / A Tatishvili (USA) d O Kalashnikova (GEO) / A Krunic (SRB) 75 36 10-7

First Round
I Olaru (ROU) / V Solovyeva (RUS) d [3] L Arruabarrena (ESP) / S Soler-Espinosa (ESP) 36 63 11-9

Suspended due to darkness
[1] K Piter (POL) / O Savchuk (UKR) lead P Cetkovska (CZE) / A Panova (RUS) 31

ORDER OF PLAY – THURSDAY, JULY 10, 2014
CENTRE COURT start 3:00 pm
D Kovinic (MNE) vs [4] K Knapp (ITA)
I Olaru (ROU) / V Solovyeva (RUS) vs [WC] E Bogdan (ROU) / A Cadantu (ROU)

Not Before 6:00 pm
[1] S Halep (ROU) vs A Krunic (SRB)
S Soler-Espinosa (ESP) vs [2] R Vinci (ITA)

COURT 1 start 3:00 pm
[7] P Cetkovska (CZE) vs [Q] K Bertens (NED)

Not Before 4:30 pm
after suitable rest – C Buyukakcay (TUR) / K Knapp (ITA) vs [4] I Begu (ROU) / M Irigoyen (ARG)

COURT 2 start 3:00 pm

Not Before 4:30 pm
after suitable rest – [1] K Piter (POL) / O Savchuk (UKR) vs P Cetkovska (CZE) / A Panova (RUS) (tbc)

 

ATP Newport

RESULTS – JULY 9, 2014

Singles – Second Round
[1] J Isner (USA) d [Q] A Krajicek (USA) 63 63
[2] I Karlovic (CRO) d S Stakhovsky (UKR) 75 76(3)
[3] L Hewitt (AUS) d [Q] A Pavic (CRO) 62 62
[4] N Mahut (FRA) d [Q] L Saville (AUS) 64 62
[6] S Johnson (USA) d T Ito (JPN) 63 20 Retired
[7] J Sock (USA) d R Ram (USA) 75 62
D Sela (ISR) d [8] A Mannarino (FRA) 63 61
S Groth (AUS) d M Jaziri (TUN) 76(7) 76(3)

Doubles – First Round
[2] D Nestor (CAN) / A Shamasdin (CAN) d P Marx (GER) / F Nielsen (DEN) 64 64
C Guccione (AUS) / L Hewitt (AUS) d R Harrison (USA) / M Venus (NZL) 63 64
S Ratiwatana (THA) / S Ratiwatana (THA) d A Kuznetsov (USA) / P Polansky (CAN) 36 75 10-5

ORDER OF PLAY – THURSDAY, JULY 10, 2014

CENTER start 11:00 am
D Sharan (IND) / D Young (USA) vs C Guccione (AUS) / L Hewitt (AUS)
S Groth (AUS) vs [4] N Mahut (FRA)
D Sela (ISR) vs [2] I Karlovic (CRO)
S Ratiwatana (THA) / S Ratiwatana (THA) vs J Erlich (ISR) / R Ram (USA)
COURT 1

Not Before 3:00 pm
After Suitable Rest – [3] M Ebden (AUS) / S Groth (AUS) vs A Krajicek (USA) / J Smith (AUS)

 

ATP Stuttgart

RESULTS – WEDNESDAY, 9 JULY 2014

Singles – First Round
[6] G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) d [Q] M Cecchinato (ITA) 64 16 75
[7] S Giraldo (COL) d [Q] M Delic (CRO) 64 62
[Q] P Davydenko (RUS) d B Rola (SLO) 64 76(8)
[LL] L Sorensen (IRL) d I Sijsling (NED) 64 61
[Q] Y Marti (SUI) d [LL] H Laaksonen (SUI) 75 64
L Rosol (CZE) d [WC] A Zverev (GER) 76(7) 76(9)
D Gimeno-Traver (ESP) d P Gojowczyk (GER) 75 63
B Becker (GER) d B Paire (FRA) 36 62 62
SCHEDULE – THURSDAY, 10 JULY 2014

CENTER COURT start 11:00 am
[5] P Kohlschreiber (GER) vs J Struff (GER)

Not Before 1:00 pm
[1] F Fognini (ITA) vs A Golubev (KAZ)

Not Before 3:00 pm
[5] P Kohlschreiber (GER) or J Struff (GER) vs L Rosol (CZE)
D Gimeno-Traver (ESP) vs [4] F Lopez (ESP)
F Bagnis (ARG) / M Cecchinato (ITA) vs [WC] M Berrer (GER) / A Zverev (GER)

GRAND STAND start 10:30 am
L Mayer (ARG) vs [2] M Youzhny (RUS)
[8] F Delbonis (ARG) vs B Becker (GER)
[3] R Bautista Agut (ESP) vs [LL] L Sorensen (IRL)
After Suitable Rest – F Fognini (ITA) / J Monaco (ARG) vs [Alt] P Gojowczyk (GER) / D Meffert (GER)
After Suitable Rest – A Golubev (KAZ) / M Mertinak (SVK) vs M Demoliner (BRA) / P Raja (IND)

ENBW COURT start 10:30 am
M Kowalczyk (POL) / A Sitak (NZL) vs N Barrientos (COL) / J Spir (COL)
[Q] Y Marti (SUI) vs [6] G Garcia-Lopez (ESP)
[Q] P Davydenko (RUS) vs [7] S Giraldo (COL)
After Suitable Rest – [1] C Fleming (GBR) / M Fyrstenberg (POL) vs G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) / P Oswald (AUT)
After Suitable Rest – F Delbonis (ARG) / L Mayer (ARG) vs [3] F Cermak (CZE) / L Rosol (CZE)

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John Isner Leads Top Seeds into Newport Quarterfinals

John Isner

John Isner

By Dave Gertler

(July 9, 2014) NEWPORT – Day Three of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport, Rhode Island, saw solid performances from top seeds, and expected results from the tournament’s big servers and grass court specialists.

 

The only minor upset of the day was Israel’s Dudi Sela ousting his higher-ranked opponent, No .8 seed Adrian Mannarino, in straight sets. Sela had a strong serving day, winning 82% of points on his first serve and converting five of six break points against the Frenchman. Sela, one of the shorter players on tour, will now face the tallest, Ivo Karlovic, whose 18 aces was too much for serve-and-volleyer Sergiy Stakhovsky to handle, the Croatian winning 7-5, 7-6.

 

The tournament’s top four seeds also won through to the quarterfinals in straight sets. Defending champion Nicolas Mahut beat Australia’s Luke Saville in an hour, 10 minutes, out-serving the 20-year-old Australian qualifier, breaking him on four occasions. “It was a tough match,” said Mahut, “He’s a good player on grass. This kind of surface you have to be really focused on your serve and take the opportunity. It was much better than yesterday and I hope tomorrow will be even better.”

 

His serving will need to stay solid in his quarterfinal match against Australian Sam Groth, who although still outside the top 100, is one win away from reaching that milestone after another solid serving performance saw him through his match against Malek Jaziri. Groth’s ace count against the Tunisian was remarkably high at 24, ominous for his next opponent, who said, “He’s serving huge, he’s a very, very powerful player. So if I had to play against him I will have to be really concentrate on my serve, and then wait for something, maybe a double fault once, try a good return and waiting for the small opportunities I will have. But the first thing is to keep my serve, I’ll be really focused on that.”

 

Tournament top dog John Isner required less time and less aces against fellow American Austin Krajicek, defeating him on Center Court 6-3, 6-3 in just over an hour. “It was a pretty clean match,” said Isner, “I guess I got up early in both sets, and for me, that helps so much. I feel like I play pretty well when I’m playing ahead, especially on this surface too. It was a good match, very happy with it.”

 

Isner’s quarterfinal opponent was decided in a match between Rajeev Ram and Jack Sock, 21-year-old Sock coming through on top. Sock and Isner, both good friends, are looking forward to the quarterfinal. “He and I practice a lot and have become pretty good friends,” said Sock of Isner, “We obviously know each other pretty well now. We both know each other’s games pretty well so it should be whoever can execute better, I guess.”

 

Sock, fresh from winning his second grand slam – a Wimbledon doubles title with Vasek Pospisil, defeating the Bryan brothers in the final – is enjoying the burst of confidence he’s received into his singles game. “No matter what tournament it is, even doubles,” said Sock, “Whenever you win a match, it can only help, and especially the slams. I think that when you can get that run going into to second week of any slam, singles or doubles, and then you end up, like we were, fortunate enough to play on the weekend, second week of a slam, there’s only a few guys left in the locker room. It’s pretty cool, it’s a pretty special feeling. And to be able to be there and then go out on Center Court and play, and be lucky enough to win against the best team, probably, of all time in doubles, it can only help your confidence.”

 

Isner, who has not lost to Sock in four matches, seemed positive about Sock’s future in the game ahead of their first meeting on grass. “We’re both gonna want to win,” said Isner, “We’re good friends; we may even go out to dinner tonight, or even tomorrow night. I’ve gotten especially close to him now that he’s moved to Tampa. We train together, we use the same strength coach, we’re always training together. He’s a good friend of mine and someone who – I think, in a sense, he might look up a little bit to me. I’m certainly much older than him but he’s – in my opinion – got an incredibly bright future. He’s got a lot of weapons in his game, especially with that forehand of his, which is world class. So, he’s only gonna get better.”

 

The winner of Isner/Sock will face – in the semifinal – the winner between Lleyton Hewitt and Steve Johnson, who both graduated comfortably past their round-of-16 opponents, Ante Pavic and Tatsuma Ito, respectively. While Hewitt and Johnson won’t contest their quarterfinal tomorrow, the 33-year-old Aussie won’t be resting entirely. He’s one of five Australians remaining in the doubles draw at the quarterfinal stage. After his match with Pavic, Hewitt revealed, “I only play doubles most of the time to play with guys that I’m going to play Davis Cup for Australia with. That’s the only real reason that I play doubles. We’ve got a Davis Cup tie later in the year and Chris Guccione and I will most probably be playing doubles there, so it’s good to get some more matches.”

 

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney covering Newport for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his Twitter updates from the tournament @TennisNewsTPN, follow him on his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

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Round of 16 Preview for Hall Of Fame Championships

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By Dave Gertler

 

(July 9, 2014) NEWPORT – ‘I’ve won a lot of matches here the last three, four years,” said John Isner after his 6-3, 7-6 first-round win. “I love this tournament. I hope I can keep moving on in the draw, and hope I can be here for the weekend.”

 

John Isner is the clear favorite and top-dog at this year’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport. After making it through a tighter-than-expected first round match against qualifier Wayne Odesnik, the tournament’s top seed and world No.12 Isner will need to get through Austin Krajicek, the 24-year-old American ranked 208, who managed his first ATP tour main draw win when he took out Tim Smyczek in the first round here in Newport.

 

A potentially more interesting matchup would occur in the third round of Isner’s all-American quarter of the draw, where he would potentially face the winner of Jack Sock and Rajeev Ram. 21-year-old Sock, the tournament’s 7th seed, has had a standout year having won 13 ATP-level main draw matches, as well as healthy performances in Challenger events and, perhaps most surprisingly, a Wimbledon Men’s Doubles title a week ago. But to reach the third round, Sock will have to get past grass-master Rajeev Ram, the evergreen 30-year-old from Denver, who won this very title in 2009, and successfully tested his all-court bag of tricks in his first round win against Australia’s Matt Ebden.

 

Should Isner make it to the semifinals, his opponent, one of Lleyton Hewitt, Ante Pavic, Tatsuma Ito or Steve Johnson, will have their work cut out for them against the 6’10” big-serving Isner.

 

Indeed, it’s difficult to observe the sheer speed of Newport’s grass courts, and not sense that the only player capable of stopping Inser from winning his third Hall of Fame title will be one of the other big servers, several of whom are placed in the bottom half of the draw.

Of these three contenders, Ivo Karlovic, at 6’11’ the tournament’s No. 2 seed, is the obvious favorite to face Isner in the final, but may face a challenge from an in-form Sergiy Stakhovsky, who has beaten Roger Federer on grass and may possess the craftiness to neutralise Karlovic’s strong serve-volleying. While this second-rounder will take place last on Center Court, second-billed on Court 2, France’s Adrian Mannarino and Israel’s Dudi Sela’s will decide who gets to play the winner in the third round. Both players born in the ‘80s, ranked in the 90s, and lefties with similar career grass records, this match should go three sets.

 

The biggest threat to Isner in the final, however, might be from the third quarter of the draw, where defending champion Nicolas Mahut is seeded to reach the semifinals, but will have to contend with some dark Australian horses who are enjoying feeding on the Hall of Fame’s grass. Mahut’s second-round encounter with Luke Saville, opening the bill on Center Court, presents a clear opportunity for the 20-year-old Australian, who qualified for, and then reached the second round of, Wimbledon’s main draw. After qualifying in Newport and winning his first round match, Saville now has an 8-3 record on grass in 2014. If Mahut is able to advance to the third round, he may face 26-year-old Australian Sam Groth, who clocked a 143mph serve in his first-round upset win over 5th seed Donald Young, and whose ability to clean up points with deft touch at the net stands him in good stead to make the later stages of a grass court ATP 250.

 

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney covering Newport for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his Twitter updates from the tournament @TennisNewsTPN, follow him on his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

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Tennis Results Round-Up for July 8, 2014

 

 

atp wta

   
NÜRNBERGER GASTEIN LADIES – BAD GASTEIN, AUSTRIA
$250,000.00
7-13 JULY 2014

RESULTS – JULY 08, 2014
Singles – First Round

[2] S Errani (ITA) d [Q] K Siniakova (CZE) 63 62
[3] C Suarez Navarro (ESP) d [Q] L Siegemund (GER) 76(3) 16 64
[4] A Petkovic (GER) d J Cepelova (SVK) 76(8) 75
[5] E Svitolina (UKR) d P Mayr-Achleitner (AUT) 61 64
[6] Y Meusburger (AUT) d [Q] T Smitkova (CZE) 76(9) 46 75
[7] C Giorgi (ITA) d A Hlavackova (CZE) 62 63
G Min (USA) d [LL] B Garcia Vidagany (ESP) 63 62
[Q] I Falconi (USA) d J Larsson (SWE) 63 63
[Q] A Bogdan (ROU) d A Tomljanovic (CRO) 63 30 Retired
D Pfizenmaier (GER) d M Torro-Flor (ESP) 67(5) 61 64
[Q] S Rogers (USA) d K Pliskova (CZE) 67(8) 75 64
C Scheepers (RSA) d M Duque-Marino (COL) 61 62
P Ormaechea (ARG) d J Jaksic (SRB) 63 46 63

Women’s
Doubles – First Round

[2] K Pliskova (CZE) / K Pliskova (CZE) d [WC] Y Neuwirth (AUT) / J Toljan (AUT) 62 60
M Barthel (GER) / S Klemenschits (AUT) d [3] G Dabrowski (CAN) / A Rosolska (POL) 61 63

ORDER OF PLAY – WEDNESDAY, JULY 09, 2014
CENTRE COURT start 10:00 am
[Q] A Bogdan (ROU) vs [8] K Pliskova (CZE)
[4] A Petkovic (GER) vs D Pfizenmaier (GER)
D Schuurs (NED) / E Wacanno (NED) vs [WC] L Moser (AUT) / L Siegemund (GER)
After suitable rest – [5] A Klepac (SLO) / M Torro-Flor (ESP) vs A Hlavackova (CZE) / E Svitolina (UKR)

COURT 1 start 10:00 am
G Min (USA) vs [Q] I Falconi (USA)
S Voegele (SUI) vs [5] E Svitolina (UKR)
[PR] K Bondarenko (UKR) / N Melichar (USA) vs [4] K Barrois (GER) / E Daniilidou (GRE)
After suitable rest – B Krejcikova (CZE) / K Siniakova (CZE) vs [Alt] P Ormaechea (ARG) / D Pfizenmaier (GER)

 

 

SkiStar Swedish Open

ATP – Båstad, Sweden

RESULTS – TUESDAY, 8 JULY 2014

Singles – First Round
[PR] P Cuevas (URU) d [6] J Chardy (FRA) 62 62
[7] C Berlocq (ARG) d J Reister (GER) 26 62 62
[8] P Carreno Busta (ESP) d D Brown (GER) 63 64
V Hanescu (ROU) d P Andujar (ESP) 64 64
[Q] R Albot (MDA) d K De Schepper (FRA) 76(4) 61
[WC] E Ymer (SWE) d M Kukushkin (KAZ) 63 75
[Q] A Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) d J Vesely (CZE) 75 62
[WC] C Lindell (SWE) d [Q] I Cervantes (ESP) 62 63
[Q] R Olivo (ARG) d P Mathieu (FRA) 52 ret. (illness)

Doubles – First Round
[3] T Bednarek (POL) / H Kontinen (FIN) d C Berlocq (ARG) / P Cuevas (URU) 63 36 10-2
[WC] I Arvidsson (SWE) / M Eriksson (SWE) d L Dlouhy (CZE) / J Vesely (CZE) 16 76(5) 10-7

SCHEDULE – WEDNESDAY, 9 JULY 2014

CENTRE COURT start 11:00 am
[4] J Janowicz (POL) vs D Lajovic (SRB)
[WC] E Ymer (SWE) vs [5] J Sousa (POR)
[PR] P Cuevas (URU) vs [WC] C Lindell (SWE)
[Q] R Olivo (ARG) vs [2] T Robredo (ESP)

COURT 1 start 11:00 am
P Andujar (ESP) / P Carreno Busta (ESP) vs J Chardy (FRA) / O Marach (AUT)
[1] D Marrero (ESP) / F Verdasco (ESP) vs R Junaid (AUS) / C Kas (GER)
[Alt] D Brown (GER) / D Lajovic (SRB) vs A Siljestrom (SWE) / I Zelenay (SVK)
[4] J Brunstrom (SWE) / N Monroe (USA) vs J Cluskey (IRL) / M Kukushkin (KAZ)
P Hanley (AUS) / J Marray (GBR) vs [2] A Begemann (GER) / R Lindstedt (SWE)

 

BRD BUCHAREST OPEN – BUCHAREST, ROU
$ 250,000.00
5-7 JULY, 2014

RESULTS – JULY 08, 2014
Women’s
Singles – First Round

[4] K Knapp (ITA) d [WC] I Olaru (ROU) 61 63
[7] P Cetkovska (CZE) d A Cadantu (ROU) 63 62
A Krunic (SRB) d A Panova (RUS) 46 63 61
[Q] E Kostova (BUL) d A Lim (FRA) 36 64 75
K Piter (POL) d [WC] C Mitu (ROU) 60 16 76(5)
D Kovinic (MNE) d [Q] A Kontaveit (EST) 61 64
S Soler-Espinosa (ESP) d [Q] S Karatantcheva (KAZ) 62 61

Women’s
Doubles – First Round

[4] I Begu (ROU) / M Irigoyen (ARG) d L Kichenok (UKR) / N Kichenok (UKR) 64 62
K Bertens (NED) / T Paszek (AUT) d [Alt] T Curovic (SRB) / E Kostova (BUL) 61 64
[WC] E Bogdan (ROU) / A Cadantu (ROU) d R Jani (HUN) / V Kapshay (UKR) 62 76(5)
P Kania (POL) / A Tatishvili (USA) d T Bua (ARG) / D Seguel (CHI) 61 62

ORDER OF PLAY – WEDNESDAY, JULY 09, 2014
CENTRE COURT start 3:00 pm
[Q] K Bertens (NED) vs I Begu (ROU)

Not Before 5:00 pm
[1] S Halep (ROU) vs [LL] I de Vroome (NED)
M Niculescu (ROU) vs [Q] E Kostova (BUL)
A Dulgheru (ROU) vs [2] R Vinci (ITA)

COURT 1 start 3:00 pm
C Buyukakcay (TUR) vs L Arruabarrena (ESP)
K Kucova (SVK) vs [WC] C Dinu (ROU)
after suitable rest if needed – [1] K Piter (POL) / O Savchuk (UKR) vs P Cetkovska (CZE) / A Panova (RUS)

COURT 2 start 3:00 pm
P Kania (POL) / A Tatishvili (USA) vs O Kalashnikova (GEO) / A Krunic (SRB)

Not Before 4:00 pm
K Piter (POL) vs [8] P Hercog (SLO)
[3] L Arruabarrena (ESP) / S Soler-Espinosa (ESP) vs I Olaru (ROU) / V Solovyeva (RUS)

 

 

Hall of Fame Tennis Championships

ATP Newport

RESULTS – TUESDAY, 8 JULY 2014

Singles – First Round
[1] J Isner (USA) d [Q] W Odesnik (USA) 63 76(6)
[3] L Hewitt (AUS) d R Harrison (USA) 16 75 64
[4] N Mahut (FRA) d F Arguello (ARG) 76(1) 64
[7] J Sock (USA) d A Kuznetsov (USA) 64 63
[8] A Mannarino (FRA) d J Wang (TPE) 62 64
[Q] A Krajicek (USA) d T Smyczek (USA) 76(7) 61
[Q] A Pavic (CRO) d M Copil (ROU) 76(0) 64
[Q] L Saville (AUS) d P Polansky (CAN) 64 62
S Stakhovsky (UKR) d F Dustov (UZB) 63 62

Doubles – First Round

D Sharan (IND) / D Young (USA) d [1] S Gonzalez (MEX) / S Lipsky (USA) 67(1) 76(3) 10-7
[3] M Ebden (AUS) / S Groth (AUS) d K King (USA) / M Przysiezny (POL) 57 62 10-6
J Erlich (ISR) / R Ram (USA) d [4] K Skupski (GBR) / N Skupski (GBR) 57 64 10-6

SCHEDULE – WEDNESDAY, 9 JULY 2014

CENTER start 11:00 am
[Q] L Saville (AUS) vs [4] N Mahut (FRA)
[3] L Hewitt (AUS) vs [Q] A Pavic (CRO)
[1] J Isner (USA) vs [Q] A Krajicek (USA)
S Stakhovsky (UKR) vs [2] I Karlovic (CRO)

COURT 1 start 11:00 am

T Ito (JPN) vs [6] S Johnson (USA)
R Ram (USA) vs [7] J Sock (USA)
P Marx (GER) / F Nielsen (DEN) vs [2] D Nestor (CAN) / A Shamasdin (CAN)
After Suitable Rest – R Harrison (USA) / M Venus (NZL) vs C Guccione (AUS) / L Hewitt (AUS)

COURT 2 start 11:00 am

S Groth (AUS) vs M Jaziri (TUN)
[8] A Mannarino (FRA) vs D Sela (ISR)
A Kuznetsov (USA) / P Polansky (CAN) vs S Ratiwatana (THA) / S Ratiwatana (THA)

 

 

Mercedes Cup

ATP – Stuttgart

RESULTS – TUESDAY, 8 JULY 2014

No results due to rain
SCHEDULE – WEDNESDAY, 9 JULY 2014

CENTER COURT start 11:00 am
P Gojowczyk (GER) vs D Gimeno-Traver (ESP)

Not Before 1:00 pm
L Rosol (CZE) vs [WC] A Zverev (GER)
[5] P Kohlschreiber (GER) vs J Struff (GER)
I Sijsling (NED) vs [LL] L Sorensen (IRL)

GRAND STAND start 11:00 am
B Becker (GER) vs B Paire (FRA)
[Q] M Delic (CRO) vs [7] S Giraldo (COL)

Not Before 2:00 pm
After Suitable Rest – F Fognini (ITA) / J Monaco (ARG) vs [Alt] P Gojowczyk (GER) / D Meffert (GER)
After Suitable Rest – F Bagnis (ARG) / M Cecchinato (ITA) vs [WC] M Berrer (GER) / A Zverev (GER)
A Golubev (KAZ) / M Mertinak (SVK) vs M Demoliner (BRA) / P Raja (IND)

ENBW COURT start 11:00 am
[Q] Y Marti (SUI) vs [LL] H Laaksonen (SUI)
[Q] M Cecchinato (ITA) vs [6] G Garcia-Lopez (ESP)
[Q] P Davydenko (RUS) vs B Rola (SLO)
After Suitable Rest – F Delbonis (ARG) / L Mayer (ARG) vs [3] F Cermak (CZE) / L Rosol (CZE)
After Suitable Rest – [1] C Fleming (GBR) / M Fyrstenberg (POL) vs G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) / P Oswald (AUT)

Not Before 4:00 pm
Court and Time TBA – M Kowalczyk (POL) / A Sitak (NZL) vs N Barrientos (COL) / J Spir (COL)

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Top Seed Isner Advances, Hewitt Guts Out a Win Over Harrison

 

John Isner

John Isner

By Dave Gertler

(July 8, 2014) NEWPORT – Tuesday was always going to be an exciting day at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport, Rhode Island, with a defending champion, No.1 seed, and a dual grand slam champion in action. All three – Nicolas Mahut, John Isner and Lleyton Hewitt respectively – would advance through their matches to round two, but it was the manner in which, in particular, the latter did, that had the New England tennis enthusiasts on the edge of their seats.

 

Two-time champion John Isner managed a late charge from his first round opponent, qualifier Wayne Odesnik, but would be too strong, taking the match 6-3, 7-6 in 1 hour and 20 minutes. Isner’s second round opponent will be world No.208 Austin Krajicek, who held off Tim Smyczek in their first round match.

 

Lleyton Hewitt in Press

Lleyton Hewitt in Press

While big-servers Isner and Mahut would have relatively comfortable wins, the match-up between Lleyton Hewitt and world No.144 Ryan Harrison would turn out to be a much more even and entertaining one.

 

22-year-old Harrison opened strongly, breaking twice in the first set for 6-1. “I was trying to play a bit too clean tennis,” said Hewitt post-match, “and sort of just over-hitting the first set and I just lost my rhythm a little bit. After the first couple of games, Ryan played a lot better as well. He hit his spots on his serve, hit his forehand a lot better.”

 

In the second set, Hewitt appeared to be experiencing shoulder pain, but after treatment during a medical timeout, was able to stay in touch with Harrison and eventually take the set 7-5. “So at the start of the second set, I was really just trying to hang with him more than anything, and make him play a lot of balls.”

Newport on edges of seat-001

By the start of set three, it was clear to the Newport crowd that they were being treated to an exceptionally high-quality grass tennis match, and were showing their appreciation to the Australian as much as their local prospect. “Considering I was playing an American, it seemed like a lot of them were going for me, which is nice,” said Hewitt, who has reached the final in Newport the last two years, “I guess they appreciate me coming back as well, after losing in two finals as well.”

 

The final set included a total of five breaks of serve, Hewitt ultimately the victor 6-4. After being on court for 2 hours and 10 minutes, Hewitt said of his gritty win, “I just tried to win ugly more than anything, and just get balls back in play.”

 

Harrison, who is unfortunately known for drawing tough first-round opponents in big tournaments, was unable to contain his emotion at one point, breaking his racquet on the grass, and receiving a code violation. Said Hewitt of his up-and-coming opponent, “I think he’s just frustrated because he’s a lot better player than where his ranking’s at at the moment, and he’s probably been in this situation where he’s had opportunities to beat better players and hasn’t been able to close it out. I knew that going into the match and that’s why in the end, I just tried to hang with him, hang with him and then hopefully put some pressure and some doubt into his mind.”

 

Hewitt’s will take the court against his round 2 opponent, Croatia’s Ante Pavic, on Center Court, Wednesday.

 

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney covering Newport for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his Twitter updates from the tournament @TennisNewsTPN, follow him on his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

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Defending Champ Mahut Feels Like Home in Newport

Maht 1-001

By Dave Gertler

 

(July 8, 2014) NEWPORT – Day Two of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships promised plenty of top-seed grass court action for the tennis-loving community of Newport, Rhode Island, but it delivered much more than the crowd expected in terms of match quality and edge-of-your-seat drama.

 

Thirty-two-year-old Nicolas Mahut played his first round match against Argentina’s Facundo Arguello, the only Spanish speaker in an ATP 250 main draw that started with 14 North Americans and 4 Australians, out of 32 players. The French fourth seed, also the defending his 2013 Hall of Fame Tennis Championship title, was largely untroubled by the 21-year-old world No.119. Although Arguello was able to force a first-set tie-break, he was unable to create any break point opportunities in a match that lasted 1 hour, 30 minutes.

 

Mahut seemed comfortable in the New England surroundings. “Of course, I feel like almost home. I played, I don’t know, maybe ten times (in Newport), and I know everybody here. I have my habits, I go to the same restaurant with a French manager.” The world No. 59 was dominant in the match’s only tie-breaker, only allowing his younger opponent 1 point, saying, “I’m ten years older, so I get more experience. And that helped me in the important moments. Like in the tie-breaker, first set.”

 

While this predicted result was playing out on Center Court, a minor upset was taking place on Court 2 where Canadian Peter Polansky and Australian Luke Saville were contesting for a spot in the second round to face the winner of Mahut/Arguello. Polansky and Saville, ranked 133 and 184 respectively, started nervously, particularly Polansky, who is yet to win a main draw ATP match this year, and who served three double faults to break himself in the first game. Saville also opened his serving campaign by getting broken, but would soon right the ship, becoming the steadier of the two, and ultimately scoring his first career ATP main draw match, outside of a grand slam.

 

”I feel like mental toughness is probably the biggest part of my game, my biggest strength,” said Saville, “I think he let (the conditions) affect him a lot more than me today, which I was quite happy to see him get a bit frustrated out there. I’ve been serving well, been getting a lot of free points when my first serve lands. I’ve gotta keep serving well, keep staying mentally tough, keep trying to get to the net, try to get the first big shot in the rally and get him on the defense.”

 

Saville, who grew up playing on Australian grass, and has a Junior Wimbledon trophy under his belt, is relishing the opportunity his next match, Wednesday’s opening match on Center Court, will bring. “I’ve got a tough match next round against the defending champ Mahut, so I’ll go out there and give it my best crack. I believe I can win out there.”

 

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney covering Newport for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his Twitter updates from the tournament @TennisNewsTPN, follow him on his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

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Feliciano Lopez Defends Eastbourne Title

feliciano-lopez-tennis-panorama-300x450

(June 21, 2014)

Aegon International
Eastbourne, Great Britain

RESULTS – SATURDAY, 21 JUNE 2014

Singles – Final
[3] F Lopez (ESP) d [1] R Gasquet (FRA) 63 67(5) 75

LOPEZ RETAINS EASTBOURNE TITLE
• Lopez needed two hours and 13 minutes to secure his fourth tour-level trophy
• The 32 year old is the first player to reach consecutive grass-court finals (Queen’s, l. to Dimitrov) prior to Wimbledon since 2001, when Lleyton Hewitt and Thomas Johansson both featured in back-to-back title matches on the surface.
• The Toledo native struck 14 aces and 44 winners, capitalising on four of six break points.
• Gasquet was foiled in his bid for a third Aegon International crown, having triumphed in 2005 (d. Mirnyi) and 2006 (d. Bjorkman) when the event was held in Nottingham.

WHAT THE PLAYERS SAID

Lopez: “The way I play here is completely different from when I play on the other surfaces around the world. That’s really one of the most important things. Then my attitude was great. I was fighting. Even though I lost the second set, I was [fighting] all the time.”

Gasquet: “[It's] always difficult to lose the final. It’s always very disappointing, but I tried my best. I think on two break points I could have done a little bit better, maybe return faster than I did. But it’s tennis. I tried to fight the best I could.”

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A Look at the History of Queen’s Club with CEO Andrew Stewart

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By Wendy M. Grossman

 

(June 16, 2014) LONDON – In one week every November at Queen’s Club, says Andrew Stewart, the club’s CEO, you can find three world champions in action side by side within 100 yards or so of each other. He doesn’t mean three top tennis players. He means the world champions of three different racquet sports: members of the ATP’s top eight, who like to practice here on the indoor courts during the world championships, held across town; the top ten rackets players participating in the Rackets Invitational; and finally the top real tennis players competing in the British Open.

 

“I don’t think there’s anywhere else in the world you can see that.”

 

Stewart describes rackets with enthusiasm, quoting the famed 20th century commentator Dan Maskell, who began his career as a ballboy-turned-tennis pro at Queen’s, as saying that rackets was the greatest spectator sport he’d ever seen. During the pro tennis tournament, however, you can’t peep in to find out: the rackets courts are where they put the players’ lounge. Stewart himself no longer plays tennis; his sport is cricket.

 

Currently properly known as the Aegon Championships, the Queen’s Club tournament, held two weeks before Wimbledon, is one of the oldest on the men’s calendar. The first edition was played in 1884; it moved to Queen’s in 1890 and has been held there ever since, though not continuously. There were breaks for both world wars, and another from 1973 to 1976. At that point, Frank Lowe, a club member who worked in advertising, found the tournament commercial sponsors, and the tournament has flourished ever since. The 1970s were also when the tournament moved from its original timing two weeks after Wimbledon to its present place in the calendar.

 

From 1890 to 1973 the tournament included a women’s singles draw; men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles were added in the early 1900s. After 1973, however, the women formed their own tour and haven’t been back. Like almost all the male winners, the female winners were an elite lot who typically made – or won – Wimbledon finals, players like Ann Jones, Christine Truman, and Maria Bueno.

 

Stewart believes it’s unlikely the tournament could follow the current trend of becoming a combined event: “The difficulty here is, you’ve got to remember that the members are paying a subscription to play on their courts – and they don’t get on them.” They are indeed: a list of subscription fees posted on the wall gives the present rate for non-shareholding members as a little over £3,000 a year – something over $5,000. Despite the size of that fee, Stewart objects to the general characterization of the club as being full of “toffs” – a recent article in the Times recently claimed that there were no pictures of “the bad boy from the back streets of Australia” in the clubhouse. Wrong on two counts: first, because there are plenty of such pictures; second, because Hewitt’s name appears on the list of honorary members to be found hanging on an upstairs wall. The club reportedly despised McEnroe back in the 1970s – but these days the club embraces all its distinguished former champions.

 

“They love their sport,” Stewart says.

 

Stewart says the members love the tournament and appreciate its benefits to the club; nonetheless, as he describes it the disruption is considerable. All the stands and decorations take two months to build every year and another month to take down. So most of the club’s ten grass courts – plus the indoor courts, since those are used for players’ lounges as noted above – are unavailable to members for the months of May and June. The groundsman, Stewart Kimpton, as per his instructions, gets four grass courts ready for the members’ use a couple of weeks before the tournament; from the day after the tournament the members can play on the grass courts until October. Overall, the club has ten indoor courts, a couple of which were built in the 1880s and were used in the 1908 Olympics.

 

“We were delighted it went to Wimbledon,” he says of the 2012 Olympics.

 

The club originally opened its doors in 1886 as only the world’s second multi-sport complex. In those early days, it hosted rugby, football, and many other sports; it even had a skating rink. At the time, the biggest sporting events of the year were the competitions between Oxford and Cambridge; the club’s colors still reflect that: blue for Oxford and Cambridge; red, reflecting the military background of many members in the early 20th century; and white, for the Corinthians football club that used to play there and had a particular ethos of playing hard – but fairly. So Queen’s Club was the host for all those Oxford vs Cambridge competitions – rugby, athletics (the British term for track and field)…and tennis, among other racquet sports. These days, the club aims to have courts matching every surface the majors are played on: it has 33 in all – grass, French clay, indoor, and hard courts.

 

The year Stewart joined was interesting timing: the year before, the Club had changed ownership. The background: the 1950s were a tough time for Queen’s Club. The difficulties had their roots in the early 20th century, when nationalism began to enter sports. Britain began building national stadia to house sports like football, cricket, and rugby, and the headquarters of those sports migrated there, with interested members following them. Queen’s Club became a specialist in racquet sports: tennis, rackets, real tennis, and squash. Second, a number of members died in military service during the two world wars. The upshot was a struggle to keep the club going – which was eventually solved by selling it to the Lawn Tennis Association in 1951 for £50,000. By 2005, when the LTA decided to move its headquarters and put the club up for sale, the asking price had escalated to £45 million. Alarmed at the thought that it might go to developers – this is 11 acres of prime real estate in central London! – the members pushed for the right to buy it back. The purchase price was eventually agreed at £35 million, all but £6 million of it raised from the members themselves. The £6 million has been repaid, and the club expects to have paid off its debenture holders by 2022.

 

Stewart explains all this in a deep radio voice wearing an air of authority that might make you think he’s been part of the club forever. In fact, he only joined in 2008 but, he explains, “I’m ex-Army. I was in the military. I was in a regiment my father was in and my grandfather was in, and I believe that history is essential to the ethos of anything that’s any good. I think the joy about Queen’s is that it is steeped in history.” He looks forward to adding to it: “If Murray wins next year and become the sixth four-time winner [in the Open Era], could he become the [first five-time winner]?

 

The Club’s history is hung all over its walls, from the 1980s advertising poster caricatures of players such as John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, and Stefan Edberg, to the carefully compiled framed photographs and explanatory placards documenting the history of rackets, real tennis, and court tennis.

 

Which brings us to the most obvious piece of club history, the trophy, a giant silver cup, probably the largest trophy anywhere on the tour. It memorializes many iconic moments: the moment when John McEnroe arrived as a player, or the shock emergence of 17-year-old Boris Becker. The person who brings it in to show, gleaming and newly polished, puts on white gloves before touching it and lifts it gingerly by both handles. The engraved names of past champions circle the cup in columns, beginning in 1890. There are only three spaces left. Stewart has a plan for this as so much else: the club will add a black base to house the post-2016 champions. Meantime, he tells me a clever bit of coincidence: Andy Murray’s name, in 2013, just happens to line up perfectly next to the Irish player Joshua Pim, the champion in 1893. This pleases Stewart because: in 2013, Murray also won Queen’s and Wimbledon in the same year.

 

Chris Northey: The voice of the club

The personality of a tournament is all about the details. At Queen’s, one such detail is the former stage, screen, and TV actor Chris Northey, the club’s announcer. A glance at his IMDB entry shows a career spanning some 30 years and including small parts in TV productions of Reilly: Ace of Spades and An Ungentlemanly Act, and the movie Morons from Outer Space.

 

From a small room with an arched window at the top of the club, Northey has introduced every match and every player. His acting experience – he was trained at London’s prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts – means he knows how to use and care for his voice so he doesn’t get laryngitis. As the game has expanded internationally, he’s found some of the less English names a struggle.

 

Northey has always loved tennis and still plays “as much as my wife will let me”. He landed the announcer’s job after a recommendation followed by an audition. Long a part-time coach, some years back, the club offered him a second job, organizing the members’ play in club sessions at weekends. He accepted, happily: “My job was my hobby.”

 

 

 

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Keeping the Queen’s Club Grass Courts Perfect – Meet Graham Kimpton

 

By Wendy M. Grossman

 

(June 16, 2014) BIRMINGHAM – Graham Kimpton is looking somewhat harassed. Not surprising; it’s quarter-finals day at Queen’s and he’s the grounds manager. The buzz around the world may all be about Wimbledon but in England it’s widely held that the Queen’s Club grass courts are the best in the world.

 

“We’ve got lots of traditional practices that we use,” he says, when asked how he takes care of the club’s ten grass courts. (In all, it has 33 that include representatives of every major surface the game is played on.)

 

“Traditional” means more to Kimpton than just avoiding chemicals as much as possible: his father came to manage the club’s grounds in 1966, and Kimpton joined him in 1984. They worked here together until about five years ago. “So we’re very – I wouldn’t say old-fashioned but traditional – in the approach that we take. It’s attention to detail. That’s what we do.” He is grateful, he says, to the backing and support he gets from the club.

 

These details include everything from the mix of grass cultivars, the make-up of the soil, and the design of fertilizer programs to the type of mower they use. An example of the level of detail: the mower’s width is chosen so that the stripes you get from mowing first in one direction and then in the other fit perfectly into the lines that mark out the court.

 

“The biggest difference between ourselves and All-England is the grass seed mixture.”

 

The All-England Club’s decision a few years ago to switch to 100 percent rye grass made headlines. Queen’s is still using the same mix it’s used for many years. It’s close to what Wimbledon used in 1991, when I interviewed the head groundsman there: 50 percent rye; 45 percent distributed between two kinds of fescue, and 5 percent bent grass.

 

“It’s a real sort of traditional tennis mix,” Kimpton says.

 

Each type of grass brings something different to the mix. Rye is hard-wearing, an obviously important quality. But, Kimpton says, it’s tufted, meaning it grows straight up, making it hard to get the density that Kimpton believes plays best. The fescues, which are curly and grow laterally as well as vertically, fill in the gaps and also block weed grass from growing – but fescues by themselves are too fine.

 

One reason for the difference is that at the end of the Championships, when play has finished on Centre Court, “They plane the whole lot off and they start again.” By contrast, he says, at the end of the Queen’s Club tournament after a few weeks rest and some rain the courts are ready to go again. “So I don’t want to take all of the good stuff out just to get rid of a little bit of bad stuff.”

 

While the wear pattern on the courts has certainly changed – look at a 20th century grass-court match sometime and you’ll see the same sand along the baseline but a second worn area up the T to a big bare patch in front of the net – he says the mix has held up well to the many changes in the game. Connors, in his day, used to try to deliberately drop the ball onto the bare spot near the net because the bounce was so unpredictable.

 

The biggest challenge for Kimpton is that trying to balance the 51-weeks-a-year needs of the club’s 2,000 tennis-playing members against the demands of running a world-class tournament on the remaining week. “To get that week as good as you want does cut into the members’ time.”

 

Watching his perfect courts wear away doesn’t bother him. “People say, doesn’t that break your heart? “After the first day of practice and you see all it’s done.” He shrugs. “It keeps me in my job.”

 

People may debate climate change, but Kimpton notes that England’s winters have gotten noticeably milder. “We don’t have those long, cold, frosty periods.” He wishes they’d come back: those low temperatures help kill bugs.

 

A tidbit for fans to debate: the players constantly – even this week – say that the grass courts have been deliberately slowed over the years in response to those many 1990s grass-court finals between big servers like Pete Sampras and Goran Ivanisevic that featured no rallies longer than five shots. Kimpton says not.

 

“We haven’t done anything. We relaid Centre Court in 1993 and we just put some heavier clay soil on there. But Sampras and all those guys, they were around for a lot longer after that. So we haven’t really done anything.”

 

Instead, Kimpton says, what’s changed is the ball. “I spoke to Todd Woodbridge, and he said that every year he won Wimbledon he kept the ball. If you look at the first time he won it to the last time he won it the last ball is a lot bigger, a lot fluffier than the first ball. They move slower.” In the ITF’s annual speed tests, there’s little difference.

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