2014/09/15

After 24 Hour Trip and Lost Luggage, Mladenovic Survives First Round in Florianópolis

Kristina+Mladenovic+2011+Hopman+Cup+Day+3+BGX6GpRjVzPlBy Barbara Galiza

(February 26, 2013) Florianópolis – The young French hope Kristina Mladenovic had to endure a few setbacks before playing her first round match in Florianópolis today. The 19-year-old arrived yesterday in Brazil, after a 24 hour trip and having her luggage lost, but still managed to advance to the second round. Mladenovic beat the British qualifier Anne Keothavong, 6-3, 6-4.

 

“I arrived yesterday, it was like a 24 hour trip from Memphis to here. So long, it’s one day! (laughter) So I’m really happy to have won today”, said Mladenovic, who captured the doubles title in Memphis, alongside Galina Voskoboeva.

 

“Yesterday afternoon my luggage didn’t arrive. I was waiting for my bag all night, I couldn’t practice. I came early this morning just to have an hour (hitting session) with my doubles partner (Petra Martic).”

 

The French player, 58th in the WTA rankings, is the seventh seed on the draw that also features the American Venus Williams. In the second round, Mladenovic faces the German Tatjana Malek.

 

“I came here with no expectations. I know it’s very hard, I was in indoor hardcourts in Memphis and here it was sort of a shock. I just tried today to be really focused on every shot and find a rhythm.”

Barbara Galiza is a journalist from Rio de Janeiro and is covering the WTA tenis tournament in  Florianópolis Brazil as media in  for Tennis Panorama. She likes tennis and writing. Sometimes she blogs, most of the time she tweets. – @fiercetennis. Follow her update s on @TennisNewsTPN.

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Nadal Wins His First Title Since Return From Injury

Rafael Nadal  photo by Wagner Carmo/Inovafoto

Rafael Nadal photo by Wagner Carmo/Inovafoto

By Barbara Galiza

(February 17, 2013) São Paulo – Today marked an important day for Rafael Nadal. At São Paulo, the former number one took his first title since returning to the tour – after a seven-month injury-lay off. The Spaniard beat David Nalbandian in the final, 6-2, 6-3. This is the first trophy won by Nadal since Roland Garros, in June. Despite the win, Nadal, who looked rusty throughout the week, hasn’t yet decided whether he’ll play Indian Wells and Miami.

 

“My priority is celebrating today’s title, that was very important for me. I’ll think of Acapulco and nothing else”, said Nadal. The fifth player in the rankings returned to the court last week, at Viña Del Mar, and will play ATP 500 Acapulco next, starting on the 25th March.

 

“We are not in a position to think about the week ahead. We go day by day, week by week. We’ll see how the knee is responding in Acapulco and when we finish this clay season, we’ll see how things have passed in these three tournaments and decide if we’re prepared to face playing in Indian Wells.”

 

Since his return, Nadal hasn’t yet faced a player inside the top 30. However, the 11-time Slam champion assures he isn’t worried about possible rivals, but about his knee:

 

“It’s not a question about (stronger) rivals, it’s a question about the surface. It’s about the evolution of my knee. I have no problems to play better rivals, because I know I can lose and can win. To me, it’s not a problem to lose after not competing for so long.”

 

Barbara Galiza is a journalist from Rio de Janeiro and was the Brasil Open  as media in São Paulo for Tennis Panorama. She likes tennis and writing. Sometimes she blogs, most of the time she tweets. – @fiercetennis. Follow her São Paulo updates on @TennisNewsTPN.

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Nadal Says São Paulo Clay Courts are Much Faster Than U.S. Open and Australian Open

 

Nadal 2 16 2013 Brasil Open William Lucas Inovafoto

By Barbara Galiza

(February 16, 2013) São Paulo – Before this week, Martin Alund had never won an ATP-tour level match before, but today he managed to take a slow Rafael Nadal to a third set. The former number one took two hours to beat the Argentinean and advance to the São Paulo final. After his win, Nadal complained about the conditions, that are too fast for his taste.

 

“The conditions are not good for me and my game style. I don’t have the feeling of (ball) control or that I can attack. Today, my knee hurt more than it did in the other days”, said Nadal, who recently came back from a seven-month injury lay-off.

 

Since the beginning of the week, the Spaniard has been very critical of the balls used in the indoor clay tournament. After his win over Alund, Nadal said the conditions in São Paulo were too fast to be considered clay:

 

“The surface is here is much faster than any hardcourt. It’s much faster than the U.S. Open, much faster than the Australian Open. It’s a court that can’t be considered clay, that’s the truth. The altitude and specially the balls (make it very fast).” São Paulo’s average sea level height is of 760m.

 

In the final, the world number five will play another Argentinean, David Nalbandian. The two had paired together this week to play the doubles draw, before Nadal pulled out citing “knee overuse”.

 

“I am physically prepared for the match tomorrow, I don’t know if my knee is,” said Nadal, who he will be trying to win his 51st title.

 

Barbara Galiza is a journalist from Rio de Janeiro covering the Brasil Open  as media in São Paulo for Tennis Panorama. She likes tennis and writing. Sometimes she blogs, most of the time she tweets. – @fiercetennis. Follow her São Paulo updates on @TennisNewsTPN.

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São Paulo Oversells Arena and Fans Watch Semis From the Stairs

Brasil Centre Court 2 16 2013

By Barbara Galiza

(February 16, 2013) São Paulo – The courts may have been the biggest aim of complains by the players, but now the ATP 250 São Paulo has got something new to worry about: the fans. In the semifinals, there were 9,300 available seats for spectators, but at least 300 had to resort to the stairs to rest, blocking the passage and emergency exits.

 

The tournament organizers couldn’t inform the exact number of tickets sold, that cost between US$51 and US$102. The Ibirapuera arena, where the competition is being held, has full capacity of 10,000 – but a part of those seats were reserved to press, TV equipment and guests. Eventually, the press area had to be shared with some of spectators.

 

Fans also had to endure severe heat in the complex. São Paulo’s temperature went as high as 91ºF (33ºc)  on Saturday and the multi-use arena isn’t equipped with air conditioning.

 

Barbara Galiza is a journalist from Rio de Janeiro covering the Brasil Open  as media in São Paulo for Tennis Panorama. She likes tennis and writing. Sometimes she blogs, most of the time she tweets. – @fiercetennis. Follow her São Paulo updates on @TennisNewsTPN.

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Nadal Struggles Against Berlocq, But Gets Through in a Tough Three-Setter

182424_295688_rafael_nadal_esp__x_carlos_berlocq_arg__wc_010

 

By Barbara Galiza

(February 15, 2013) São Paulo – In an unexpected struggle, Rafael Nadal took two hours and 24 minutes to beat Carlos Berlocq, the 78th ranked player in the world, on clay. To the delight of the Brazilian crowd, the number one seed in ATP 250 São Paulo came back to beat the Argentinean in three sets, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.

 

“Today all wins are important for me, specially after six months without playing. This is the first match I win in three sets since my return. It helps me feeling physically better and having a little more confidence in my body. I am very happy for surviving”, he said.

 

The Spaniard had an injury scare in the first set, serving at 3-4. Nadal was sliding on clay – that has been the aim of criticism by players during the week – at break point when his foot got stuck. He was broken and play was stopped right after, at 5-3, for the court to be fixed.

 

After the win, Nadal complained about the enforcement of the “25 seconds to serve” rule yet again:

 

“I believe it’s an unfair rule. I believe it harms the show, 25 seconds it’s not enough to play point after point after point. It seems like an error from the ATP. I hope it will be changed soon.”

 

In the semifinals, the world number five will play the lucky loser Martin Alund.

 

Barbara Galiza is a journalist from Rio de Janeiro covering the Brasil Open  as media in São Paulo for Tennis Panorama. She likes tennis and writing. Sometimes she blogs, most of the time she tweets. – @fiercetennis. Follow her São Paulo updates on @TennisNewsTPN.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nadal Blames ATP for São Paulo Tournament Conditions

 

Rafael Nadal photo by William Lucas/Inovafoto

Rafael Nadal photo by William Lucas/Inovafoto

By Barbara Galiza

(February 14, 2013) São Paulo – During the week, players and coaches complained about the indoor clay courts in the  ATP World Tour 250 event in São Paulo, but Rafael Nadal doesn’t think they are in a bad state. The Spaniard, that got through the second round Thursday night, admitted the playing conditions are complicated, but believes the tennis balls are to blame.

 

“The balls are very fast and with very little hair, it’s hard to control. The problem isn’t the courts, it’s the ball”, said Nadal after beating Brazilian João Souza in two sets 6-4, 6-4. “It’s the ATP’s fault, not the tournament’s. The ATP doesn’t have the capacity and infrastructure to choose balls before the start of the tournament.”

 

Nadal’s quarterfinal match will be played Friday at 8pm local time. The world No. 5 faces Carlos Berlocq, from Argentina, the 78th ranked player.

Barbara Galiza is a journalist from Rio de Janeiro covering the Brasil Open  as media in São Paulo for Tennis Panorama. She likes tennis and writing. Sometimes she blogs, most of the time she tweets. – @fiercetennis. Follow her São Paulo updates on @TennisNewsTPN.

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Bellucci Loses to Volandri in São Paulo and Gets Booed Out

Thomaz Bellucci photo by Gaspar Nóbrega/Inovafoto

Thomaz Bellucci photo by Gaspar Nóbrega/Inovafoto

By Barbara Galiza

(February 14, 2013) São Paulo – Brazil’s biggest hope of a home winner ended today, after the country’s No. 1, Thomaz Bellucci, was upset by Filippo Volandri, in two sets. In a match full of errors, the fifth seed of the ATP 250 São Paulo fell in the second round to the Italian, 6-3, 6-2, and the crowd wasn’t happy. The 8,000 fans present booed their local man off of the court.

 

“It’s very sad getting booed in your country. This has never happened to me in my career before. It’s hard knowing people don’t appreciate our sport here”, said the 35th player in the rankings. “It’s never easy for me to play in Brazil. I’m always extra nervous here.”

 

“Here in Brazil, the mentality is different, people don’t appreciate athletes like they do in Europe or America,” complained Bellucci, that, in 2010, had a career high of 21. “It’s hard for the crowd to understand that I have bad days. People come here to watch good tennis and if I don’t play good tennis, they boo. ”

 

In his first round victory over countryman Guilherme Clézar, the fans present also cheered against Bellucci. After the win, he stated he understood the choice: “I am not the most charismatic player.”

 

Last year, Bellucci and Volandri met in the semifinals. The Italian also won, but in three sets. In the quarterfinals of São Paulo, Volandri, 88th, will play the lucky loser Martin Allund, from Argentina.

 

Barbara Galiza is a journalist from Rio de Janeiro covering the Brasil Open  as media in São Paulo for Tennis Panorama. She likes tennis and writing. Sometimes she blogs, most of the time she tweets. – @fiercetennis. Follow her São Paulo updates on @TennisNewsTPN.

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São Paulo: What To Do Other Than Watch Nadal

 182199_295159_gn_nadal_120213016_web_

By Barbara Galiza

(February 13, 2013) São Paulo – If you’ve seen the video of Rafael Nadal’s entrance in São Paulo Tuesday night (posted on his Facebook), you probably got excited about the tournament. Very few ATP 250 events can proud themselves into bringing a 10,000 crowd for a doubles first round at 11pm. Sure the tournament is currently far from perfect – hot arena, court complaints – but the major city has much to offer.

On Sunday, the final (that could include the Argentine Juan Monaco,  the Spaniard Nicolas Almagro or even the local Thomaz Bellucci) will make the Ibirapuera arena boil. So why not relax first in the biggest park in São Paulo, that goes by the same name, right on the corner of the grounds? To find out what are the best things to do in the city, I had a chat with two press room neighbors: Sheila Vieira and Felipe Priante, from Tênis Brasil. They shared what are the must-do things in São Paulo.

Ciclofaixa

Where Rio de Janeiro is famous for the cities, “paulistas” got to rely on their parks to enjoy the Brazilian Summer. On Sundays, the streets around and connecting the three biggest parks (Ibirapuera, Villa-Lobos and Parque do Povo) close, giving cyclists over 10km of free space.

Federer in Brazil

Mercado Municipal Paulistano

Opened in 1933, this is the place to find cheap things in São Paulo. Shopping is the city’s middle name and in the Municipal Market, you can buy fruits, vegetables, meats, spices and still eat the traditional “mortadela sandwich”. It is always absolutely packed but it was visited by Roger Federer last month, during his South American exhibition tour. If Federer can survive the masses, so you can you.

MASP

The São Paulo Modern Art Museum is not only a beautiful concrete and glass structure built in 1968, but it’s also located in the busiest street in the city, Avenida Paulista. Their collection includes a handful of Degas, Van Goghs, Cézannes and more. They also have a few exhibitions going on at a time, check out before you go

Bairro da Liberdade

Brazil is the biggest home outside Japan for Japanese people and they’re mostly located in São Paulo. Bairro da Liberdade is the Japanese neighborhood in the city. Expect to find there the best sushi places, food fairs that sell gyoza in the streets, traditional clothes shops and other Asian hard-to-find products.

Museu do Futebol

If you’re at the country of football, you might as well learn something about the most popular sport in the world. Located in the Pacaembú Stadium, home of Corinthians.

Vila Madalena

The neighborhood with the coolest bars. It has rich people and normal people, everyone having a drink. If you’re still hung up on the Football Museum, check out São Cristóvão – a bar football-themed where they sell vintage jerseys.

Even when Rafa isn’t playing, São Paulo is still full of sights and touristic attractions. If you’re looking for more things to do, the historic Casa das Rosas and the famous shopping streets, like Oscar Freire, are all good places to see before or after the tennis.

Barbara Galiza is a journalist from Rio de Janeiro covering the Brasil Open  as media in São Paulo for Tennis Panorama. She likes tennis and writing. Sometimes she blogs, most of the time she tweets. – @fiercetennis. Follow her São Paulo updates on @TennisNewsTPN.

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Nadal: “The 25-Second Rule Will Harm the Fans”

 

Rafael Nadal photo by Gaspar Nóbrega/Inovafoto

Rafael Nadal photo by Gaspar Nóbrega/Inovafoto

By Barbara Galiza

(February 12, 2013) São Paulo - Returning to Brazil for the first time since 2005, Rafael Nadal will play the ATP 250 São Paulo this week. In his pre-tournament news conference, the world No. 5 commented on the improvements on his health and the new enforcement of the “25 seconds between serves” rule.

 

“People want to see long matches, competitive rallies and amazing shots. For me to play in a high level for four hours, I need more than 25 seconds,” said the Spaniard, famous for taking long between serves. ”I don’t think players are happy with the new rule. The umpire will have to decide when it’s up to follow it or not. Because if it’s something mathematical, it will harm the fans.”

 

Nadal returned to competition last week, in Chile, after being away from tour for seven months because of a knee injury. He was the runner up in Viña Del Mar, losing to the Horacio Zeballos, ranked 73th.

 

“I’m not ready to think about titles, I’m thinking about playing day by day”, he said. “I’m not worried whether this (the injury) is going to be a problem for the future, I’m worried about the time it will take (to be 100%). Last week was a positive result. There are days my knee limits me physically, but there are days it’s better. Every week, I have less bad days.”

 

To Nadal, part of the blame for his injury is the length of the hardcourt season. The surface isn’t ideal to the body.

 

“I find hardcourts the worst for the body. You don’t see footballers playing on hard fields, or any other sports with aggressive moments (being practiced on the same surface). They’re the most harming for articulations, knees, backs.”

 

“I don’t think a change to more clay and grass tournaments will be possible in my generation. The ATP needs to be more careful to prolong their player’s careers. I want to be able to still practice sports after I retire. Tennis careers are very important, but life is more,” said the 26-year-old player.

 

Even though he said to be taking tournaments day by day, the Spaniard admitted that the next Olympic Games is something in his mind:

 

“Being in Rio 2016 is a big goal of mine. I want to be there in condition to compete and also win what could be my last Olympics.”

 

Nadal also reaffirmed his stance on public records of the anti-doping controls held by the ITF. To him, if blood tests and urine tests are kept private, tennis is at risk.

 

“We need to know the person on the other side of the net is in the same condition as you are. Sport needs to be example to kids and an example of hard work. Everyone needs to know how many blood test and urine tests we go through or we will have the same problem as cycling”, he said.

 

Barbara Galiza is a journalist from Rio de Janeiro covering the Brasil Open  as media in São Paulo for Tennis Panorama. She likes tennis and writing. Sometimes she blogs, most of the time she tweets. – @fiercetennis. Follow her São Paulo updates on @TennisNewsTPN.

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Bellucci to Play Up-and-Coming Compatriot in São Paulo’s First Round

 

Thomaz Bellucci

Thomaz Bellucci

By Barbara Galiza

(February 11, 2013) São Paulo -Thomaz Bellucci, Brazil’s highest ranked player at number 35 in the world, will face a young compatriot in his first round match at ATP 250 São Paulo: Guilherme Clezar. Last year, Clezar made a splash on the tour, becoming the top player on the under-19 ATP rankings. At 20 years old, he is the youngest player in Brasil Open’s main draw.

“He must be confident at the moment and seems to be very solid from the baseline. I think he will be really strong, really wanting the victory,” said Bellucci ahead of their match-up. Clezar already has three wins under his belt in the Brasil Open, since he got through the qualifying rounds this afternoon.

On Tuesday the Brazilians will clash at 7 pm local time. Afterwards, Rafael Nadal will make his debut in the tournament, alongside David Nalbandian in the doubles.

Barbara Galiza is a journalist from Rio de Janeiro covering the Brasil Open in São Paulo for Tennis Panorama. She likes tennis and writing. Sometimes she blogs, most of the time she tweets. – @fiercetennis. Follow her São Paulo updates on @TennisNewsTPN.
RESULTS – MONDAY, 11 FEBRUARY, 2013

Singles – First Round
[7] P Andujar (ESP) d S Giraldo (COL) 64 76(5)
*[LL] M Alund (ARG) d [WC] R Mello (BRA) 64 64
S Bolelli (ITA) d [WC] T Robredo (ESP) 62 64

*[LL] M Alund (ARG) replaced L Mayer (ARG) – back

SCHEDULE – TUESDAY, 12 FEBRUARY, 2013

COURT CENTRE start 12:00 noon
[6] F Fognini (ITA) vs G Pella (ARG)

Not Before 2:30 PM
G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) vs [8] A Ramos (ESP)

Not Before 5:00 PM
D Gimeno-Traver (ESP) vs F Volandri (ITA)

Not Before 7:00 PM
[Q] G Clezar (BRA) vs [5] T Bellucci (BRA)
R Nadal (ESP) / D Nalbandian (ARG) vs P Andujar (ESP) / G Garcia-Lopez (ESP)

COURT 2 start 2:00 PM

Not Before 2:00 PM
A Kuznetsov (RUS) vs C Berlocq (ARG)
[3] F Cermak (CZE) / M Mertinak (SVK) vs [PR] L Arnold Ker (ARG) / J Monaco (ARG)
[PR] R Ramirez Hidalgo (ESP) / T Robredo (ESP) vs [2] A Peya (AUT) / B Soares (BRA)
O Marach (AUT) / H Zeballos (ARG) vs [4] L Dlouhy (CZE) / A Sa (BRA)

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