Hewitt Captures Kooyong Classic Over Del Potro


(January 12, 2013) Lleyton Hewitt goes into his 17th Australian Open with a victory at the Kooyong classic invitational exhibition tennis tournament in Melbourne. Hewitt defeated Juan Martin del  Potro a 6-1, 6-4 on Saturday for the crown.

The win over No. 7 del Potro, ended a week of victories over top players including Tomas Berdych and Milos Raonic.


“I felt like every match I got better and better and more confident” and “against Berdych and even more so today I felt like I hit the ball as clean as I have in a long time,” Hewitt said.


The 31-year-old former No. 1 moves on to Melbourne to compete in the Australian Open  and has a very challenging first-round match against No. 8 seed Janko Tipsarevic on Monday night.


Hewitt Tops Raonic at Kooyong Classic


(January 9, 2013) Former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt gave his home country a thrill when the Australian overcame the big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (4) at the Kooyong Classic on Wednesday, which sets up a semifinal clash against Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic.

“It’s really tough, you know, with the wind,” said Hewitt, “so a lot of it’s sort of playing percentage tennis out there, but also yes, you’ve got to hit your shots and good movement and mental toughness, I guess, as well. For me mentally there’s no stress or extra pressure about my body at the moment which just leaves me with a clear mind.”

Kooyong is an invitational warm-up event for the Australian Open, the first major of the season.

Berdych won over Croatia’s Ivan Dodig 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. Dodig was a late replacement for the injured Kei Nishikori.

Juan Martin del Potro defeated Paul-Henri Mathieu of France 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (3)and will play his semifinal against Marcos Baghdatis, who was leading Janko Tipsarevic 6-1, 1-0 when the Serbian retired with a right wrist tendon injury.

Schedule of Play for January 10, 203

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Followed by:

Followed by:
PAUL-HENRI MATHIEU (FRA) v SIMONE BOLLELLI (ITA) replacement for Janko Tipsarevic


Djokovic Retains Abu Dhabi Crown

Djokovic in press 10072012

By Abigail Hinto

(December 29, 2012) ABU DHABI – In the end, after the withdrawal of Rafael Nadal and the early loss of Andy Murray, Nicolas Almagro proved himself a worthy replacement player to Nadal as he, along with Novak Djokovic treated the fans in Abu Dhabi to the best match of the tournament.

It was an exciting and tight final that both players played with an even mix of light bantering and competitive seriousness.

Djokovic defends his Mubadala World Tennis Championship title 7-6 (4) 6-3 6-4. He now heads to Perth for the Hopman Cup in his continuing preparation for the Australian Open very satisfied with his game and with confidence, surprised after his semifinal match that he’s already at the level he feels he needs to be.

“Nico played an amazing game, ” Djokovic said. “He was hitting strong from the baseline and he wasn’t giving me much time. We had a lot of fun on court but we both wanted to win. Maybe if I had made a break in the first set it may have been different and we may have not played for so. He is always a dangerous player to have on court and he is a complete player. It was a close win match and I am very satisfied with how I played.”

“This is a top level event and we all want to see where we are in readiness for the season. This isn’t your standard tournament. We are all in playing to win and prepare for the season ahead but we can still have fun and smiles. I love Abu Dhabi and the fans. Hopefully I’ll be back to defend my title.”

For Almagro, the replacement player, he heads back to Spain to continue his interrupted vacation before finally starting his new season. But despite the interruption, he was very happy and satisfied to have come to Abu Dhabi, happy with the matches he’s played. His main goal now for next year is to qualify for ATP World Tour Finals after just barely missing out this year.

“I played a really good match so I am very happy but at the end of the day he is the winner, he is number one,” noted Almagro. “I try to improve every time I go on court, today was a great test. If I play the same as today throughout the season, I can start thinking big but I will take it step by step. I’m working on my serve. If you serve well you have a good chance and today my serve was better than I expected.”

“I feel so happy I got invited and hopefully the organizers are pleased also. I think it was a great final and a great tournament. Hopefully I’ll have a longer stay in Abu Dhabi if I’m invited back again. But I’m happy and really enjoyed the match with Novak.”



Janko Tipsarevic said after his win over Andy Murray on Thursday at the Mubadala World Tennis Championships that the future of men’s tennis is about being able to transition from defense to offense. According to him, now, even tall players like Berdych, Tsonga and del Potro are very good at defense, where before, big guys were mostly purely offensive players.


On Saturday, Tipsarevic wasn’t playing a tall player, in fact one of the shorter players on tour, but definitely someone who has mastered the art of transitioning from defense to offense. One of the best defenders in the men’s game today, David Ferrer, in his rise to the top and in his consistency to stay there for over five years now, has also been able to add considerable weapons to his game. He can defend, and dictate the rallies with his forehand.


In the third place match, Tipsarevic, for the entire first set was going toe to toe with Ferrer in punishing baseline rallies mixing offense with defense. It was a very tight first set which ended in a tiebreak which Ferrer won 7-4.


The third game in the second set showed what Tipsarevic was talking about regarding transition. Ferrer, scrambling hard, as he usually does, managed to turn a point around to set himself up to put away a winning volley to earn a breakpoint on Tipsarevic’s serve. He eventually converts it for a 2-1 lead when a finally frustrated Tipsarevic went for a backhand down the line winner that landed wide. It was then one-way traffic for Ferrer who seals his semifinal win over Tipsarevic 7-6 (4), 6-2.

Ferrer now heads to Doha for his first official match of the new season very happy with the game he’s played here in Abu Dhabi.

“It was a very close match and I am playing a great player,” Ferrer said. “When I play with Janko it’s always a close battle. It know it’s only early season but for me I try to focus as if it’s a major championship and I’m happy with my performance this weekend.”

Abigail Hinto was covering the Mubadala World Tennis Championships in Abu Dhabi, UAE as media for Tennis Panorama News.


Djokovic Dismisses Ferrer To Gain Abu Dhabi Final


By Abigail Hinto

(December 28, 2012) ABU DHABI – David Ferrer could do no wrong on Thursday in his straightforward win against Tomas Berdych in his first match at the Mubadala World Tennis Championships. Today, he’s feeling what Berdych must have felt in yesterday’s first set as he was on the receiving end of an onslaught of Novak Djokovic‘s groundstrokes to lose the first set 0-6 in their semifinal match. While Ferrer was dictating rallies yesterday, he now found himself scrambling behind his baseline as Djokovic kept hitting his returns, forehands and backhands deep. There was no place Ferrer could go, that even an attempt to get to the net sees himself lobbed with a winner. What could have been an easy hold for a more respectable 5-1 score saw Ferrer let a 40-0 lead slip away to get broken and eventually lose the first set 6-0 in 28 minutes.


Was Djokovic just fooling with us when he told us in his pre-tournament news conference that he wasn’t at his top level yet? Except for one service game he lost where he broke himself more than the other way around, there didn’t look to be any signs of rust from Djokovic from the off-season break. He gets the lead in the second set with a break in the 6th game to eventually win the match 6-0, 6-3 in 1 hour and 10 minutes.


As if Djokovic needed any more confidence boost, this was the perfect start he was hoping for the new season. As he said in his post-match interview, it was a great performance and a great confidence-boost for him, where confidence is easier to lose than to gain.


It was a flawless start to the new season for Djokovic. With the lessons he’s learned from last year trying to defend all those points from 2011, no doubt he’ll be in a much better place mentally now as he begins his campaign to collect more grand slams, his main goal for 2013.

“This is a great surface when preparing for Australia,”Djokovic said of the exhibition tournament. “We love it here. We come days before to practice and to enjoy the beautiful weather. ”

“Novak is playing very consistent, he is in a very good moment now, very confident,” Ferrer said.

Djokovic will face Nico Almagro in Saturday’s final. The Spaniard rallied to defeat Janko Tipsarevic 6-2, 7-6 (3), 6-2.


Tennis Clinics

What’s unique about the Mubadala Tennis Championships is that all the tennis players get to participate in tennis clinics held throughout the three-day event. Not just the kids, but even adults get to participate in a coaching clinic as well.

It’s a welcome sight to see these top players do what they do best but in a much more relaxed atmosphere. You get to see Andy Murray smile with the kids, Novak Djokovic in his element hamming it up, David Ferrer, still giving his best to make sure the kids get the most out of their participation in the event. No doubt not every aspiring young tennis player could get a chance to hit with the best of the best, and the opportunity the Mubadala Tennis Championships give these participants is very much welcomed by the local tennis community.

Abigail Hinto is covering the Mubadala World Tennis Championships in Abu Dhabi, UAE as media for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her updates on twitter at @TennisNewsTPN.



Tipsarevic Tops Murray, Ferrer Over Berdych in Abu Dhabi

 Janko Tipsarevic

(December 27, 2012) ABU DHABI – No. 9 Janko Tipsarevic and No. 5 David Ferrer began the Mubadala World Tennis Championship on Thursday  with straight set victories on opening night at Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi.

In the first match of the three-day tournament, Tipsarevic, making his debut at the exhibition event, stopped the reigning US Open and Olympic champion Andy Murray 6-3 6-4.

Tipsarevic secured a break in the fourth game of the opening set clinging to the baseline with long rallies.

Tipsarevic kept the momentum going in the second set taking a 3-1 lead and never looking back

“It’s not every day that you get to play a grand slam champion and an Olympic gold medalist, “the Serbian said. “ I know it’s an early season tournament but I can tell you that the six of us take this very seriously. I knew I could beat Andy as I have beaten him before. He’s a totally different animal now as he won a grand slam and Olympic gold so beating him here has given me confidence. Both of us have very similar games so it’s great to come out on top and I’m looking forward to playing Nicolas tomorrow. We’ve only played once so it should be interesting.”

The second match of the evening saw a rematch of the 4th rubber of the Davis Cup Final with the same result – No. 5 David Ferrer of Spain topped No. 6 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-4.

Ferrer zoomed to a 5-0 opening set lead and never looked back.

“I played well today and I was surprised as it has been a long time without playing a competition,“ said Ferrer. “It’s a fast court and this was the first time I played at night but I played a good game. I will enjoy a victory for now but tomorrow I will have to play my best against Novak (Djokovic).”

Friday’s play will feature two semi-finals both featuring a Serbian versus Spaniard match-up – No. 1 Novak Djokovic will face Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro will take on Tipsarevic.

“I managed to have the best year of my career in 2011 and I knew that it was going to be difficult in 2012 to maintain No. 1 of the world and play consistently, “ Djokovic said to media. “ I did and so this year was an even more successful year from a psychological aspect. Right now I can approach the new season with a lot of confidence because I won the last big tournament of the year in London and I hope that I can continue playing well. Ambitions are always high and I want to win every Grand Slam and major tournament I play and this year is no different.”

All photos by Abigail Hinto.

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News


No. 1 Djokovic is Looking Back, Looking Forward To 2013

Novak Djokovic Abu Dhabi

By Abigail Hinto

(December 27, 2012) ABU DHABI – Coming off one of the most successful seasons a player has ever had on tour in 2011, the question for Novak Djokovic for 2012 was how much would a letdown 2012 be? It’s hard to expect a player to repeat the kind of peak performance Djokovic achieved in 2011, but suffice to say, 2012 was not a disappointing year for him. He defended his Australian Open title, won the ATP World Tour Finals,  three Masters 1000 events and ended the year as world No. 1 again.

In a way, it was impressive the way he was able to maintain his consistency, hold off plenty of challengers, and defend as many points as he did to reclaim the No. 1 position he lost in the middle of the year. Despite the bumps and losses along the way, Djokovic’s mentality through 2012 was most impressive. In fact, in the pre-tournament interview he gave today at the Mubadala World Tennis Championships, he regards his 2012 year as the more successful year psychologically. “I had to face many circumstances on and off court that were not easy. I overcomed [sic] it and right now, I feel relieved in a way because I got another good year,” assessed Djokovic. And ending the year strongly, winning the World Tour Finals, cementing his world No. 1 status, brings an ever-confident Djokovic to the new year.

Djokovic has been working hard in his pre-season training the past three weeks already, where he started with fitness training before gradually increasing the hours spent on the tennis court. Though he feels he’s still not at a 100% the way he was at the end of the season, he knows he’s slowly getting there. Choosing to play two exhibition tournaments, here in Abu Dhabi and later the Hopman Cup is also all part of the plan to get to the Australian Open in peak form. Explaining his decision not to enter any ATP tournaments at the start of the year, Djokovic said he didn’t want to face right away the stress of winning every single match he plays. He wants to take his time working on his game, a luxury they don’t get during the rest of the year. “I feel very fit right now,” adds Djokovic, and just a couple more weeks and he feels he’ll reach his top fitness level and tennis game again. Just in time for his Australian Open title defense.
Abigail Hinto is covering the Mubadala World Tennis Championships in Abu Dhabi, UAE as media for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her updates on twitter at @TennisNewsTPN.
All photos by Abigail Hinto for Tennis Panorama

Berdych Helps to Launch Mubadala Tennis Initiatives

(October, 15, 20012) Czech Tomas Berdych has officially launched this year’s Mubadala Tennis in Schools and Mubadala Community Cup initiatives at the Zayed Sports City, as excitement builds up across the UAE for the fifth Mubadala World Tennis Championship this New Year.

Having been announced to play in this year’s Mubadala World Tennis Championship alongside Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, David Ferrer, and Janko Tipsarevic, Tomas Berdych, the current world No. 6, hosted a series of interactive clinics to share his skills, experience and passion directly with children and PE teachers from schools across the country.

Speaking in Abu Dhabi at the launch of the Mubadala Community initiatives Tomas Berdych said:

“I’m really excited to be back in Abu Dhabi. Thanks to the Mubadala World Tennis Championship the sport is growing so quickly and it’s great to be a small part of that. I love to see young players inspired to pick up a racket for the first time and the younger they are introduced to the game, the better. Through the tournament and Mubadala’s ongoing commitment to developing tennis in the UAE every ingredient is in place to foster local talent as well as promote an active lifestyle to future generations. Sport is all about having fun and staying healthy and that is exactly what these youngsters have been doing today.”

“I can’t wait to get back on court in Abu Dhabi for the tournament from the 27th December and to also see how these kids have progressed. The atmosphere, weather and player line-up are all world-class so I’m sure it will be great for the players and the fans.”

Berdych’s special appearance in Abu Dhabi kick-started the expanded Mubadala Tennis in Schools program, a unique community initiative developed by the tournament organizers and supported by Mubadala to introduce tennis to children of all ages. The program provides expert coaching and free Wilson mini-tennis equipment while promoting the importance of regular exercise and a healthy diet.

Amina Taher, Head of Community Engagement at Mubadala explained:

“These community initiatives are at the very heart of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship and having a player of Tomas’s caliber with us today demonstrates our ongoing commitment to grow tennis. Last year 14,000 children were introduced to tennis for the very first time. This year we plan to expand on this, not only in terms of more opportunities for children to play through the introduction of new after schools sessions but also through the use of inspirational figures such as Tomas.”

“Regardless of skill, age or ambition Mubadala wants to help all children make the most of their talents and make sport an enjoyable part of their daily life. We believe that by sharing time with someone like Tomas today the experience will go far beyond expert tennis tuition and inspire Abu Dhabi’s children to live healthy and active lives.”

This year’s launch saw Berdych also conduct an interactive coaching clinic for PE teachers from schools across the country, designed to help younger children grasp the basic techniques from the very start. A further new addition this year is the introduction of six consecutive ‘After School Sessions’ for all children participating in the program. The free sessions at Zayed Sports City aim to give children a chance to build on their tennis skills outside of school.

Speaking at the launch, John Lickrish, FLASH Entertainment said:

“Today a new generation of tennis players in Abu Dhabi took their first steps in the game alongside an ideal role model, Tomas Berdych. There is no other tournament in the world that gives youngsters the opportunity to learn, play and enjoy tennis with their heroes. Everyone has enjoyed spending time with Tomas I’ve no doubt when he returns to Centre Court for our tournament he’ll have a few more young fans supporting him.”

Having coached kids and teachers from the Mubadala Tennis in Schools Program, Berdych completed an action packed day in Abu Dhabi on court with eight lucky winners of an early ticket competition, further proving the unrivalled access some fans and young players can experience at the tournament.

The visit of Berdych also kick started the Mubadala Community Cup, a series of local tournaments that gives local tennis fanatics the chance to experience the thrill of a competitive tournament with an exclusive spot in a tennis clinic up for grabs. Registration for this year’s Mubadala Community Cup is now open, so all tennis fans eight years and over are encouraged to sign up now at www.mubadalawtc.com to avoid disappointment. Entry is free and the champions of each age group will win a once in a lifetime opportunity to join an exclusive tennis clinic hosted by a tennis superstar at this year’s tournament.

Six of the world’s top ten players will compete for the title in Abu Dhabi with latest Grand Slam winner and No.  3 Andy Murray joined by Mubadala World Tennis Championship defending champion and world No. 2 Novak Djokovic, No. 4 Rafael Nadal, No. 5 David Ferrer and No. 6 Tomas Berdych alongside a debut appearance from No.  9 Janko Tipsarevic.

The Mubadala World Tennis Championship runs from 27th December to 29st December 2012 and tickets are available at www.thinkflash.ae .


Sampras versus Raonic in “The Face-Off” Exhibition in November



Pete Sampras will play Milos Raonic in an exhibition called “The Face-Off” presented by SAP at the Air Canada Centre, Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 7 p.m.


Raonic  will be joined by WTA star Aleksandra Wozniak and the No. 4 ranked junior in the world Eugénie Bouchard.


“Playing in front of my hometown against my hero growing up is a dream come true,” said Raonic, Canada’s highest ranked male singles player ever.  “I’m also really excited about playing the first ever tennis event at the Air Canada Centre with Pete, Aleks, and Eugénie and I know tennis fans in Toronto and surrounding provinces will pack the arena to see how I match up with one of the best of all time”.

“I am looking forward to playing in Canada once again,” said Sampras. “I have great memories playing in the tournaments in Toronto and Montreal during my professional career and playing against Milos will certainly bring out that same competitive fire.  I am anxious to show Milos and the fans that I can still play with the best at the highest level”.

“SAP has a proud and longstanding relationship with tennis and we are excited to extend this to be the presenting partner of The Face-Off event,” said Mark Aboud – Managing Director, SAP Canada.  We are thrilled to support Milos, an SAP Ambassador, through all stages of his career and see tremendous value in bringing this unique family event to the community”.

The format for the evening is scheduled to consist of three parts: 1) Mixed Doubles –Sampras, Raonic, Wozniak and Bouchard join local celebrities, athletes and/or prominent members of the community in a fan-friendly doubles competition. 2) Women’s Singles – Wozniak vs. Bouchard, a competitive singles match showcasing Canadian women’s tennis. 3) Men’s Singles–Sampras vs. Raonic, Hero vs. Prodigy; one of the greatest tennis players of all-time takes on one of the game’s rising stars.

The evening will be emceed by Wayne Bryan, father of the Bryan Brothers.


Venus Williams, Wilander and Lendl at Caesars Tennis Classic News Conference

Listen to the Venus Williams, Mats Wilander, and Ivan Lendl News Conference
from the Caesars Tennis Classic.

(WMA file)