2015/03/01

Double Delight for Townsend: Wins Australian Open Girls’ Doubles Crown with Andrews and Advances to Girls’ Singles Final

MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – A pair of 15-year-olds from the United States, Taylor Townsend of Stockbridge, Ga., and Gabrielle Andrews of Pomona, Calif., captured the Australian Open junior girls’ doubles title on Friday by defeating Irina Khromacheva of Russia and Danka Kovinic of Montenegro, 5-7, 7-5, 10-6.

Townsend and Andrews have known each other since they were 8-year-olds in tennis camp and have been friends  since. “They used to bring us out into the Home Depot Center and they have the eight high-performance camps and so they brought people from all over,” Townsend said.  “We just decided to play doubles. Easter Bowl was the first time when we were 14.”

Earlier in the day Townsend advanced to the junior girls’ final with a 7-6 (3), 6-4 win over Krista Hardebeck  of Santa Ana, Calif., in a 90-minute slugfest.

“She played really well, I came out playing really well,” Townsend said. “I went up, 2-0, and then she came back and got up, 3-2, and then from there it was really tight and no one could really break serve. A lot of return errors really killed me because she was holding serve and holding serves at love, because I was missing my second serve returns.

“I stayed in the points and I was just fighting at the end. She gave me some free shots, I hit some good shots, good severs, when I needed them. I made sure to keep coming into the net. I couldn’t stop doing that. And in the second set I think I did that more than in the first.”

Hardebeck, 17, defeated  Townsend last week in the Loy Yang Traralgon International quarterfinals, 6-4, 6-2, and went on to win the tournament.

“I was really excited about it,”  Hardebeck said of that win. “I actually played Taylor last week and I beat her there. It was a great match and a great week there. This week was pretty good as well, so I’m happy.”

Townsend said: “The biggest thing for me was that I competed today. Last week, I feel like I kind of less settled because it was a warm-up tournament quarterfinals like. It was very very tough conditions. It was windy outside.”

“But today I definitely came out really hard and that was the biggest thing keeping myself pumped.”

Townsend led off the match with a break of serve and Hardebeck returned the favor in the fourth game. Both held serve until the tiebreak, which Townsend won, 7-3, by playing aggressive tennis. She ended the tiebreak with an ace.

The second set saw Hardebeck  take a 4-2 lead and in the sixth game of the match she saved four break points.  It looked as though Hardebeck was going to send the match to a third set.  But Townsend picked up her game by mixing up baseline and net play and won the next four games in a row to win the match, 7-6, 6-4.

Towsend served seven aces in the match in contrast to Hardebeck’s  seven double faults.

“My serve was a little bit shaky today,” Hardebeck said. “It wasn’t in its best form but Taylor played really well, so there really wasn’t much I can do anyway.”

Townsend will face the Russian Yulia Putintseva for the junior girls’ title Saturday.

“She’s a very tough opponent, very competitive,” Townsend said. “She tries to get in your head with ‘c’mon’s’ to pump herself up. She kind of plays better when she’s down. I’m going to have to keep the pressure on her and keep playing my game and being aggressive and, hopefully, I’ll come out on top.”

Karen Pestaina is the founder and editor of Tennis Panorama News.

This article originally appeared in the Straight Sets Tennis Blog of the New York Times.

 

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Nadal Storms Past Federer in Australian Open Thriller

MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – Rafael Nadal rallied to stop Roger Federer 6-7(5), 6-2, 7-6(5), 6-4 on Thursday night to advance to his second Australian Open final.

The two men battled in the semifinal with incredible shot-making and stamina in the three hour and 42 minute match.

“I thought Rafa played well from start to finish, really,” said Federer.  “I started really well myself.  It was obviously a big set for me to win, and missed obviously the opportunities in some of all the sets maybe.

But Rafa did well to hang in there.  At the end was a bit better.  It was a tough match physically as well, but, you know, only beginning of the season.

“I’m feeling all right, so it’s okay.”

Commenting on his forehand which seemed errant during parts of the match, Federer said, “I don’t think it was that bad.  I’m always gonna miss forehands because I have to go after the ball.  If I just put it into play he’ll smack it.  So it’s pretty simple.  I have to keep him driving it, and obviously at times I clipped the tape a bit too often.

“But I hit flatter than Rafa, so it’s always gonna happen, some of it.  I thought I retrieved well again.  Obviously the surface is not the fastest, but he does a good job getting a lot of balls back and staying in the points.

“And then obviously he’s got great passing shots and so forth.  You have to, you know, go after it and try your best there.

“We have had good matches over the years.  I enjoy playing him.  The crowd really gets into it, which is nice.  We have a lot of respect for each other, which is good, too, I think.

“I hope it inspires future generations or other players, you know, being nice to each other on the court and all that stuff.

“You know, works as well at the highest of levels.  Yeah, we also kind of, you know, play well against each other.  I always think he plays a bit better against me than against other players, but that’s good for him.”

Federer started the match off strongly breaking Nadal and building a 4-1 lead. In the seventh game of the first set Nadal broke Federer ar 30 and both med held for the rest of the set to get to a tiebreak Federer won the tiebreak 7-5.

The second set began with Federer breaking Nadal at love and Nadal returning the favor in the very next game. Both men held until the sixth game when Nadal broke Federer’s serve and the Spaniard broke serve again at 5-2, a game after a ten minute break in the match due to the Australia Day fireworks to capture the second set 6-2. Federer lost 11 consecutive points after the break for fireworks.

 

The third set saw both men steadily hold their serves, which forced a third set tiebreak. Nadal cruised to a 6-1 lead and Federer crept back to make it 6-5, but Nadal closed the tiebreak on his serve clinching it 7-5.

In the fourth set Federer saved a break point in the third game and two break points in the fifth game. Nadal saved a break point in the eighth game. Nadal broke Federer in the ninth game. While serving for the match Nadal faced two break points but finally won on his second match point. After the match he came back onto the court and fell to his knees to celebrate the victory.

Nadal’s consistency from the baseline forced Federer into 63 unforced errors to Nadal’s 46 winners and 96 points won on the baseline. Nadal raises his record versus Federer to 18-9

Nadal who won the Australian Open in 2009 will try to win a second title against the winner of Novak Djokovic or fourth seed Andy Murray, who meet in the second semifinal on Friday night.

 

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News

(Article to be updated after news conferences)

 

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Meeting the Great Rod Laver

MELBOURNE PARK,  Australia – As someone who has worked in media since I was a teenager,  I rarely get excited about celebrities of any sort. It’s also rare for me to write in the first person and actually give an opinion. Some would call it being jaded, others would call it just doing what one is supposed to be doing as a reporter, I call it living among so many of them growing up in the New York City area. They are people too, so let them live their lives.

However getting the chance to see the great Rod Laver on Wednesday morning at the Australian Open as he met the press, was a rare exception for me. I was genuinely thrilled at seeing the greatest player in the history of the sport face-to-face. When the announcement was made in the media center on Tuesday night that he would be talking to media on Wednesday morning,  I lit up like a child at Christmas. Here is a man who played for the love of the sport and back in 1962, when he won his first Grand Slam it was a amateur sport. Needless to say I never ever saw him play as he was before my time, but my father a devout tennis enthusiast used to tell me about the great Rod Laver when I was a child.  His opinion has definitely influenced my thoughts on the “GOAT” (greatest of all time) discussion.

Playing a majority of a career for no money certainly has added to Laver’s legacy to me. Two Grand Slams – one as an amateur and one as a professional, I can’t even fathom it in this modern age when winning a major nets you  a two million dollar check. According to the ATP World Tour web site, Laver earned a total of $1,565,413 dollars in his pro career, which is less than the winner’s check of this year’s Australian Open being played in an arena named after him.

Rod Laver is back in Melbourne Park this week to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his first Grand Slam in 1962.   According to the ATP site he won 42 tournaments and he won eleven major titles singles titles. The 73 year-old Laver lives in California these days.

I asked Laver if actually felt like fifty years had passed since he first won his first major to which he replied: “Sometimes you think, Boy, 50 years is a long time ago.  As I just mentioned, the flooding of memories coming back, especially when I meet Roy Emerson on the plane.  I played him in three of the four finals.  Those things immediately come back.

” Of course, he reminds me of some of the things that happened in that match.  Yes, it’s right there in front of you.  I never put a time on it, but 50 years is certainly a long time back.
“I was just honored to be able to pull it off.  You don’t start off trying to win the Grand Slam.  You’re just very happy to play the matches, tournaments.  The thrill of going to the French Championships, Wimbledon, US Open.
“Fortunately, the years prior to that, I had either won Wimbledon or got to the finals.  My ability, I felt it was possible to win tournaments, but not a Grand Slam, so… ”

 

Laver spoke about today’s current ‘big four’ and if back in his day they same thing existed:

“You know, it wasn’t as noticeable with the four players.  It was amateur tennis back in those years, so they weren’t only Australian.  There was a Neale Fraser, Roy Emerson.  The Hoads, Rosewalls had turned professional.
“When you go to Europe, you have Santana, Pietrangeli.  There were a lot of good players out there, but I don’t know that we could hit upon saying, There were four.  There were probably eight or ten talented players that won tournaments in the past.
“My thought is, yes, there were players there.  Again, when you’re playing amateur tennis, just playing in the tournaments, you don’t have the criteria of who wants to win it.  It’s amateur tennis.  No one was really high on, I’ve got to win this tournament for my career.  There was no career, because you’re playing amateur tennis.  There’s no money in it.
“The whole cycle has changed for the good.  Tennis is just unbelievable.  What I saw last night, being able to see the winner is going to walk away with $2 million, is great for the sport.”

The laugh of the morning came when a reporter asked about Laver about the ATP players efforts about trying to get a greater voice and address some of the problems of the tour, the schedule and the Grand Slam prize money, to which he responded, “Well, you’re probably talking to the wrong person saying, Is the prize money enough?”

He further commented, “I think the scheduling is more of a situation that the players are worrying about because of the amount of tennis they have to play in each tournament, the talent that’s there.  There’s not an easy match on the circuit.  The first round could have been a final last week.  You’ve got to play your best tennis from the word ‘go.’
“Back in my era, there were players that you would think would win the tournament.  You had an easier one or two rounds.  Today the schedule is so rigorous that you’ve got to be able to play all the time because of the points systems.  It seems like the way it’s being done now, you’ve got a lot of the points, you drop one off, whatever happens with Nadal this week, you know, he takes over, cuts off last year’s.
“There’s always things you can look at.  I think there’s always things we looked at.  We were looking at tournaments, because I came along when Open tennis came in 1968, the tournaments would start up.  Lamar Hunt was very big in football in the U.S., then soccer.  He wanted to do something with tennis.  He said, Hey, I got $1 million.  I want to get a promoter.  You could play 50 tournaments, $20,000 in total purse.  Find the tournaments, find your best 32 players that you can sign up.  I mean, that’s how it was happening as Open tennis was unfolding.
“It’s a different world.  To play for $10,000 in those WCT matches, that was big money in our world because we just left Open tennis, and I turned professional.  There was nothing like that sort of money out there. ”

Laver was also asked to comment about how on Friday the Equal Rights Campaign will be flying rainbow flags on Friday in Melbourne Park.
“It’s hard to know how to construct something like that, ” said Laver. ” But, I mean, to each their own.  Lifestyles, whatever comes up happens.
I would say it’s difficult to not have something like that that is current with politics around the world.  That’s all I could really say about it.”

With all of the money in tennis these days, especially among the  highest ranked players, if tennis were still an amateur sport would we see all of these great athletes still in it.  That’s a question for another time. It was one of the rare times I’ve been in a news conference in which I could see the reverence and respect for a subject written on all the attendee’s faces.

Regardless of all the great tennis I’ve seen this fortnight, my longest lasting memory from my first Australian Open will be meeting Rod Laver. He’s a monument to tennis and he should be cherished.

 

Karen Pestaina is the founder and editor of Tennis Panorama News. She is in Melbourne, Australia covering the Australian Open as a member of the media.  Follow her throughout the Australian Open on twitter at @TennisNewsTPN. She freelances for various media outlets and has worked for many a broadcast news entity. She witnessed her first live tennis match as a young child at Forest Hills when Guillermo Vilas upset Jimmy Connors to win the 1977 US Open. This branded her as a Vilas fan for life.

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Serena Williams Notches 500th Career Win, Advances to Third Round of Australian Open

Serena Williams of the U.S. reacts during a training session in Medellin November 23, 2011. Williams will play an exhibition tennis match against her sister Venus in Medellin this week. REUTERS /Albeiro Lopera (COLOMBIA – Tags: SPORT TENNIS)

 

 

MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – Serena Williams defeated Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-0, 6-4 on Thursday. Not only, did Williams extend her 16 match winning streak i9n Melbourne Park, she gained her 500th career victory. Williams won the Australian Open in 2009 and ’10 but couldn’t play in 2011 due to injury.

Williams  gave the crowd a scare when she fell on the court  just before the end of the match. “It’s fine. I just have wobbly ankles,” she said in a TV interview after the match. “I wasn’t meant to be a ballerina or anything.”

“There was no extra pain, Williams told media her post-match interview in the media center.  “It was fine.  I twisted it.  But it’s all taped up, so the tape really, really helped.”

Williams reflected on her 5ooth win, “It’s great.  I haven’t even thought about it.  It’s like the ultimate.  It’s really, really cool.  The first thing I asked, of course, Is there anyone that achieved a thousand?  I guess not.  I never will get there either.

“But it’s really cool.  500 is a lot of matches to play, let alone to win, so it’s pretty cool.”

“Yeah, my target is just to keep going.  I never even thought about 500 till I got to Australia and realized after Brisbane I was at 498.  So then I was like, Oh, I definitely want to get to 500.  I knew I was going to get to 500 sooner or later.
“Now I don’t know what the next milestone is.”

Williams will be playing with Andy Roddick in the mixed doubles and she commented on the team drawing the top seeded team of  Kveta Peschke and Mike Bryan of in the first round.

“I heard about it” said Williams.  “It’s a tough draw in the first round.  We’re always up for a challenge.”

As for talking strategy with Roddick. “A little bit.  Like yesterday I texted Andy and he said, What side do you want to play?  I was like, Oh, yeah, we forgot to discuss that.”

” We’re looking forward to it.  It’s going to be fun.  Why not start out with the best?”

Williams is set to face the winner of Dominika Cibulkova and Greta Arn.

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Nadal, Li, Kvitova, Tomic and Hewitt Meet the Press in Pre-Tournament Interviews at the Australian Open

Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts after winning against Mikhail Youzhny of Russia during the ATP Qatar Open tennis tournament in Doha January 5, 2012. REUTERS/Mohammed Dabbous (Qatar – Tags: SPORT TENNIS)

 

MELBOURNE, Australia – The day before the Australian Open 2012 begins was a day filled with practices and news conferences.

Rafael Nadal, Li Na, Petra Kvitova, Bernard Tomic and Lleyton Hewitt held pre-tournament media conferences.

Fresh off his exhibition tournament win at the AAMI Classic on Saturday, Australian Bernard Tomic told media that he’s “ready to go.” His first round opponent on Monday will be the No. 22 seed Fernando Verdasco.

“Have a good preparation, good confidence over the last few weeks,” said Tomic. “I think it’s going to be an exciting match tomorrow.

“The key to beating the Spaniard? “Just got to be more attacking. I think I’ve done that well the last few weeks. Even in Kooyong and Brisbane, I’ve been a bit more attacking. To beat the top guys, you need to step up. You can’t play outside 50 tennis.

“I have a good chance, the way I’m playing, to beat him.

“He beat me once in Brisbane I think when I was 16 up there. That was when he was on his run, playing well. I think, you know, the last six months he hasn’t really done much. I think it’s a good time to play him.”

Li Na spoke about her intense training: ”I was training very hard in off the season.  I was staying for one month, like every day five to six hours because I know after French Open I didn’t doing well.

“I need strong body to prepare for this year.”

Li  talked about the biggest change in her life is that more people know her now. “I mean, right now doesn’t matter where I been in tournament, so many fans know who I am.  Not like before.

“Yeah, of course, agent doing good job.  More sponsor coming (laughter).  Also more people focus on me.

“Like last second half year, I think I couldn’t win three matches in a row.  I mean, always like easy to lose the match.  Also I feel I losing all the confidence on the court.

“For me, I’m not hungry anymore on the court like last half of year.  But now I feeling hungry again.  I still like tough and I’m back.”

Following Li Na in the main interview room was her morning practice partner, Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.

“I think she’s (Li Na) playing very well.  She’s very good on the legs, she’s moving, playing really fast.  I mean, she can go really far in this tournament.”           .

Her thoughts for the year ahead, “I mean, the last year was great for me.  Of course, I had many results.  It will be very tough to have similar results this year.

I know it will be very tough, but still I just want to be focused on my game and we will see.

I’m more famous in Czech.  After Wimbledon was the first really big.  Yeah, it’s really strange for me.

I’m already get used to.  So, yeah, I mean, it’s the part of our life.  We have to live with this.”

On becoming No. 1 in the future, “I mean, it’s very close, but still it’s really far away because, you know, many players can be really top, higher one.  I mean, it’s really open now, the women’s tennis.  Everybody from top can play really well.

“I know it’s just some points, but still it’s really big step.”

Wildcard and Australian Lleyton Hewitt talked about expectations: “Yeah, it doesn’t really change a lot, though.  You still go in, yeah, focus on your first‑round match.  Just like anything else, try and prepare as well as possible.  I think I’ve done that.

“The last few days have been good.  Had some good, tough hit‑outs with quality players on Rod Laver Arena out there.  I feel like I got a bit of confidence in the last couple of days.”

“When I come to Grand Slams or big tournaments anyway, you’re sort of in your own bubble a little bit.  You’re not worried about the outside talk or what it’s really about.  You’re doing everything in your power just to be as ready as possible.

“You know, this week has been no different.  Rochey and I and my team behind me, we’ve done everything we can to obviously get my body and ball‑striking and everything in as good a nick as possible, and it would have been the same 10 years ago.”

Hewitt will open the Australian Open against German Cedrik-Marcel Stebe.

The final media conference of the day was with world No. 2 Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard was loaded with questions about Saturday night’s players meeting, possible player action and his role in it, citing parts of the official transcript:

Q.  In London during the Masters, you were a bit exhausted, tired of the whole season.

RAFAEL NADAL:  Yeah, I said.  But I was going to take more care about what I going to say now in the press conference because after what I say in London, in every press conference the people ask about what I say there.  What I say there is I played a few matches at the end of the season with less passion than usual.  That’s nothing crazy.  That happens when you are a little bit more tired than usual.  Maybe you’re not doing your job all the time with the same passion because you’re tired.  That’s part of the job.

I’m here in Australia 2012 with big motivation, with big passion, and trying to enjoy the previous weeks.  I did.  I’m happy.  I am practicing well.  I’m enjoying everything.  I will try to be ready for tomorrow.

Q.  Any comment on these reports of a possible players strike around the share of prize money given to players and Davis Cup commitments as well?

RAFAEL NADAL:  I don’t have any thoughts about that.  I am here to support what most of the players think.  But I not going to be the one who going to talk about these things, especially because I am always the one and I am tired.

Q.  Did you have to say at the meeting last night, Sorry, guys, I’m not going to be the one leading this?  At the US Open you were identified as someone who took the initiative.

RAFAEL NADAL:  Nothing of strikes.  I never take any initiative.  I never say anything about strike.  I never did.

Q.  Last night did you have to say to the guys, I’m not going to be the public face?

RAFAEL NADAL:  No.  I gived to the rest of the tennis player, like another guys did, my opinion, and that’s it.

Q.  Were you happy with the way the discussion went and what people were saying?

RAFAEL NADAL: I say before, something that happens in the meetings.  Everybody have, you know, different thoughts.  This time believe a lot of players have similar thoughts.

But I say before, everything that I will say, you know, will write in your words, and I don’t want you to write nothing in your words.

I’m the one who in the past talk a lot about the calendar, talk a lot about the Davis Cup, talk a lot about the problem with the US Open.  Now I not going to be the one who keep talking about a lot of things because finally if we have the right guys there to fight for us, maybe, but today we don’t have that.

Q.  But are you saying that because after what happened in New York, you were criticized by people for that?

RAFAEL NADAL:  No, no, no.  You know, when you are talking about Davis Cup, when you are talking about Grand Slams, when you are talking about calendar, when you are talking about a lot of things that can be better for the tour, a lot thinks, most of the players thinks that’s the right way.  That is not happening.  That’s talk for talk.

I want to talk when we have real chances to make that happen.  When we don’t have chances to make that happen, because with how the world of tennis is working today, we don’t have any chance on changes because we don’t have the support of the structure.

I repeat, is talk for you.  I give information for you to write newspapers.  But at the end of the day I look like I am the one who always talk about things that must change, and I don’t win nothing on that.  I just lose time, energy, and the people can think that he’s always the one who says the bad things, the negative things.

If I win something on that, I will keep talking.  If I don’t win something on that, when a lot of things happen, I will not tell you for sure in the past.  We are not in that way to change situations even with the support of the super majority of the players.  Even like that we didn’t win nothing.  Sorry, I am tired of keep working on these things.

Rafael Nadal will face American Alex Kuznetsov in the first round of the Australian Open.

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News. Transcript excerpts from ASAP Sports.

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‘Oz and Ends’ – In Melbourne, Finally

 

MELBOURNE, Australia (Tennis Panorama News, January 14, 2012)– After three planes with a combined total travel time of more than 30 hours, I am finally in Melbourne, exhausted and very jet lagged! I had always wanted to attend the Australian Open and even after my application was approved, it still did not truly hit me that I was going ‘down under’ until flying over Sydney and seeing a panoramic view of the harbor and the famous Opera House.

 

I was stunned to feel the chill in the air as I left Melbourne airport, I actually needed a sweater. I was anticipating 90-100 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures, but  Melbourne residents told me it’s been one of the coldest summers ever. I think I packed a combination of winter, spring and summer items which almost cost me an overweight baggage fee at the airport. It will be interesting to see how the players will adapt to the cooler-than-normal climate.

 

After arriving at my Melbourne dwelling in the early evening, I tried to make myself stay up until eleven o’clock so I could wake up at a normal time to get rid of my jet-lag.  Did. Not. Happen. I woke up at 3 am and could not go back to sleep. As the dawn came, I felt as though I were in London, England, or Paris in the October – a cloudy day, with a misty cool drizzle emerged and it felt as though I were back home in the New York City area with temperatures in the 50’s. Is this really Melbourne?

 

I made the trek from my dwelling to Melbourne Park, about a mile-and-a-half on foot. Melbourne, like New York is a walking city.  Also like New York, it’s a city with good public transportation. Melbourne has many trains, trams and buses.

 

 

The media center is a giant room filled with hundreds desks with TV monitors, with interview rooms on the perimeters. Most of the bigger media outlets have desks in the center of the huge room in the main media area. I’m in the north end of the floor in a quieter part of the media center – the Radio Room. I’m a radio person in my non-tennis media life so I feel right at home hearing other journalists put together radio reports and podcasts. Rather nice to be in this intimate space. Later in the day I was actually offered a spot in the main media room, but I respectively declined, that’s how much I love my space.

 

With the end of the qualies and news conferences taking place (more on this in another article later), the main interview room was full of action all afternoon with Caroline Wozniacki, Sam Stosur, Kim Clijsters, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic taking turns in the spotlight.

 

It seemed as though every other player interviewed has injury issues coming into the tournament. It made me feel as though it were “the walking wounded Australian Open.”

 

Saturday and Sunday will be days for me to “get my bearings” and eliminate my jet lag. The Australian Open has a very different layout from the US Open.

 

Receiving my credential in the media center in the morning I thought to myself  ‘welcome to the show.’ One media friend, who did not realize I was going to be in Australia saw me and said  almost exactly what I was thinking earlier – “Welcome to show, so now you are a part of it.”

 

 

This post is a way of briefly introducing you to what I call our ‘diverse’ Australian Open coverage and the thoughts behind it. Let me be honest, as mostly a hard news broadcast journalist I live to be objective, fair and factual in my old-school AP-like style. I’ve been doing it the Dragnet way “Just the facts, Ma’am,” pretty much since I began my career in media as a teenager.

 

We’ll be doing daily standard reporting – highlights and quotes of course. I am big on quotes. I like to let people tell their own stories using their own words, I think it comes from the fact that my favorite task to do as a journalist is the interview, one-on-ones especially. The players and what they say and do are the stories, not the reporters.

 

I am introducing ‘Oz and Ends,’ an “off-the record” type of daily peek into the Australian Open from my personal perspective. No, I won’t be breaking the fraternal media center code, what goes on in the media center, stays in the media center. This really will be a blog-type post of my random observations. This is a big departure from what I do professionally. It’s rare that I even write in the first person anymore.

 

I’m always telling reporters who work for the site to ‘bring people with you on your journey,’ now it’s my turn to do the same thing in an informal way with ‘Oz and Ends.’ I don’t know what each day will bring – whether it’s randomness or story-telling, we’ll see what develops each day.

 

I will also be doing a focus on some of the fans. Fans bring color and excitement to all Grand Slam tournaments and I think that they tend to get ignored by the bigger media outlets.

 

Provided I can get my phone situation in order, I will be tweeting from the site’s twitter account @TennisNewsTPN around the grounds. There are people who live in the media center during tournaments and I am not one of them. My hard news history has had me work in many different places, from international war zones, to local drug busts, from the local mayor’s offices to national political conventions. I like to move around. I’ll admit it, I’m a court hopper, and tweeting from my phone from all over the tournament grounds works well with my style of coverage, better than carrying a laptop around. Whether one is in the media center or not, it’s tough to cover everything, I’ll be back and forth from courts to the media center, a lot of walking, but it will be a lot of fun.

 

I’m going to try to focus on the more interesting match-ups as opposed to just what’s on the show courts. Let’s face it, not many of the opening round matches on the show courts are all that compelling.

 

Last, but certainly not least I will be trying to do a daily podcast to summarize the day’s play – an Australian Open update in a New York minute, as it were. Look out for some other surprise features. In addition, a shameless plug for myself which I usually never do, I will be contributing to a couple of other media entities, so watch out for my byline elsewhere in the wonderful world of tennis news.

 

Tonight I will get some sleep! Until next time.

 

Karen Pestaina is the founder and editor of Tennis Panorama News. She is in Melbourne, Australia covering the Australian Open as a member of the media.  Follow her throughout the Australian Open on twitter at @TennisNewsTPN. She freelances for various media outlets and has worked for many a broadcast news entity. She witnessed her first live tennis match as a young child at Forest Hills when Guillermo Vilas upset Jimmy Connors to win the 1977 US Open. This branded her as a Vilas fan for life.

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