2014/08/27

Novak Djokovic Moves into the Fourth Round of Wimbledon

(June 27, 2014) WIMBLEDON – No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic has moved into the fourth round of Wimbledon with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 Centre Court win over Frenchman Gilles Simon.

 

The match provided some drama in the sixth game of the third set, the Serb slipped and fell on the grass injuring his left shoulder. After he called a medical time out was called, he was examined and still appeared in pain afterwards. He continued to play on and won the match.

“It was obviously a scary fall,” Djokovic said in a news conference.

“It was obviously a scary fall.  And, you know, I talked with Boris.  We obviously need to work on my diving volleys, learning how to fall down on the court.  I’m not very skillful in that.” He said with a smile.

I tried to land on my left arm.  I basically had a strong impact on the shoulder.  When I stood up, you know, I felt that click or pop, whatever you call it.  I feared, you know, maybe it might be a dislocated shoulder or something like that, or joint problem.

But luckily for me it was only an impact that had a minor effect on the joint and the muscles around, but no damage, significant, that can cause a bigger problem.

I just came from the doctor’s office, ultrasound.  It’s all looking good.

Djokovic will face off against 14th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga next.

No. 11 seed Grigor Dimitrov, of Bulgaria won in five sets over Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov. He’ll play Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer in his debut in the fourth round at Wimbledon.

Djokovic hit seven aces with a total of 31 winners with 23 unforced errors. He was seven for 14 in break point conversions.

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Players React to the Heat at the Australian Open

 

(January 14, 2014) Temperatures topped 42C (108F) at the Australian Open on Tuesday while similar temperatures are expected to continue until Friday. Officials still did not invoke the “Extreme Heat Policy.” Here is the official statement from the Australian Open:

AUSTRALIAN OPEN STATEMENT

The top temperature at Melbourne Park today was 42.2 degrees Celsius, at 5.45pm.

Statement from Wayne McKewen, Referee:

While conditions were hot and uncomfortable, the relatively low level of humidity ensured that conditions never deteriorated to a point where it was necessary to invoke the extreme heat policy. Stages one and two of the heat policy were implemented.

Dr Tim Wood, Chief Medical Officer:

The majority of matches today were completed without any court calls from the medical team. Of course there were a few players who experienced heat related illness or discomfort, but none required significant medical intervention after they had completed their match.

 

Most of the matches today didn’t go for much longer than a couple of hours and generally the playing group coped extremely well.

 

Players reacted to the scorching temperatures in their news conferences. Here is a compilation of what the some of players said to press in response the heat:

Wozniacki frustrated

Q.  Could you give us a sense of the conditions and how you felt you coped with that today.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI:  It was a little warm out there today.  But the first set I thought I managed to keep my head cool.  Every time in the changeovers, ice bags, ice towels, everything; and then in the second set I could feel they were starting to heat up even more.

I put the bottle down on the court and it started melting a little bit underneath, the plastic, so you knew it was warm.

But it was warm for both of us, and it was great that I managed to finish it off in two sets and it wasn’t too long.

Yeah, just had an ice bath now.  Yeah, I could go out and play another two sets now (smiling).

Victoria Azarenka

Q.  Any tricks of the trade to the heat?  Do you get an ice bath after that kind of heat?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I’m going to go probably after.  Just using ice, you know, hydrate.  It’s simple things, but you just have to be very disciplined about it.  Ball kids make a great job just bringing the ice towels right there.

 

Q.  Did you have a cold shower before you went out to hit the ball again, or is it a process that you go through to try and sort of bring your body temperature back down?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  No, I just went out straight to go hit.  Actually put on a long sleeved shirt.  It wasn’t probably the smartest thing to do, but I’m fine.

 

Q.  Should the roof have been closed for your match?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I don’t know.  I would love it, but, you know, I think my opponent would also enjoy that.  But it’s fine, you know.

I think, you know, we’re all in the same conditions.  It’s much hotter out there right now than when I was playing.

 

Q.  Caroline said she put a plastic water bottle down on the court and she thought that it started melting a bit.  Is it that hot out there?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I don’t know.  It’s pretty hot.  I don’t know, when I went out on the court I was just curious what was the temperature.  Because even though it was windy, the wind was like hot wind.  Like I said, Just don’t blow it, because it’s like even hotter.  Just stop.

But you normally expect a little bit of, I don’t know, some freshness, I don’t know what, but it just didn’t come.  From anywhere (smiling).

 

Q.  The soles of your shoes weren’t burning, were they?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  It felt pretty hot, like you’re dancing in a frying pan or something like that.

 

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova

Q.  Not a bad first start.  What was it like playing in that sort of heat in the middle of the night?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, I knew I had a tough opponent ahead of me.  You know, the conditions were tough for everyone.  I think we got the least today, considering how late we played.  But it was still pretty warm out there.  Warm enough to have to use some ice vests.

But, you know, looking at her results in the last, you know, couple of weeks and last year and the matches that I’ve played against her, I knew that it was going to be a tough match.

No matter what I had to do, I wanted to get through it, and I think that’s what it was about today.

Q.  How did you like the vest?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  It’s cool.  Feels good.  Makes you a little wet, but that’s okay.

Q.  Did you feel sorry in any way for some of the players in the heat?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, I noticed their facial expressions.  I’m sure it was very difficult for everyone.  I think everyone, except the meteorologists and the doctors, seemed to have the same opinion about the whether, so…

 

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Q.  Everyone’s talking about the heat.  How hot did it feel out there on court?  Some of the hottest conditions you played in?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA:  Yeah, I think it’s maybe the hottest condition I played in.  I remember a match I played against Nishikori a few years ago which was also tough.  We knew before it’s gonna be difficult today, and it was, so it’s good to finish that and look for the next round.

Q.  You seem to be having trouble with your shoes, with getting grip out there.  Was that just the heat?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA:  Yeah, because of the heat, you know, the material of the shoes, you know, it’s really becomes, you know, not really hard.  Like, I don’t know how to say it in English.

But anyway, it’s not good for our shoes when it’s hot like this.

 

Federer 1

Q.  Much obviously today has been made of the conditions.  How would you describe them and how it affected your play, if any, today?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I thought it was very dry, just hot, you know, stinging sort of sun.

I guess also it depends on who you play, if you’re playing a big server, clearly faster conditions.  If you’re getting into rallies, I guess you’ll feel the heat a bit more.

Depending on where you come from it has a bigger effect on you, this type of heat, than maybe humid heat.  So it’s very personal, and it can become just a very mental thing, you know, and you just can’t accept that it’s hot.

Just deal with it, because it’s the same for both.  That’s basically it.

 

Q.  You spoke before the tournament about how hard you trained in the offseason.  Does that help you if the weather stays like this to cope well?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I didn’t practice in 40 degree heat because that’s hard to find, you know, around the world.  I did that after the US Open.  In Dubai we had 42, 43, so that was warm then.

But like I said, it’s just a mental thing.  If you’ve trained hard enough your entire life or the last few weeks and you believe you can do it and come through it, there’s no reason.

If you can’t deal with it, you throw in the towel.  But that’s for me.

Q.  From your perspective, should the roof be closed on Rod Laver when the heat gets this bad?
ROGER FEDERER:  No.  I think it should always stay open, honestly.  That’s my opinion.

 

Kei Nishikori

Q.  How was it today?

KEI NISHIKORI:  I’m happy to win, I mean, first of all.  You know, it was not easy condition with the heat and with the wind.

Yeah, it’s always tough to play, you know, first round.  You get tight and, you know, anything can happen.

But I’m happy to win in fifth set.

Q.  Was there any point in the match where you had some problems with the heat?  Because you played five sets, three and a half hours, I think, 3:40.

KEI NISHIKORI:  Actually, not really.  Brisbane was much tougher.  It was no wind and humidity was high.  Here it’s, you know, with the wind and it’s dry, so it wasn’t too bad, actually.

 

Q.  I think it’s still 41 degrees outside.  How do you deal with the heat?
NICK KYRGIOS:  I think it suits my game pretty well.  It will suit my serving a lot.  The more aggressive you are, I think it helps a lot.

Obviously it’s affecting everyone out there.  It’s pretty tough.  You got to stay hydrated.  You got to be smart with nutrition, as well.

Yeah, tough conditions out there, for sure.

Juan Martin Del Potro

Q.  How did you find the conditions today in the heat?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO:  Was terrible for play.  I mean, it was for both player, but is tough to play long rallies, to manage the weather conditions.  And it’s tough to play in these kind of conditions.

I mean, you are thinking about a lot more things than the tennis match.  You are trying to drink a lot and always thinking about your body, your physic, and not about the game.

I know tomorrow and after tomorrow it’s going to be worst, so I will try to be ready for the weather conditions, too.

Andy Murray 8202013

Q.  Do you think the conditions were safe out there?  A couple players collapsed.  A ball boy collapsed.
ANDY MURRAY:  Yeah, it’s definitely something that you maybe have to look at a little bit.  As much as it’s easy to say the conditions are safe   you know, a few people said there’s doctors and stuff saying it’s fine   it only takes one bad thing to happen.  And it looks terrible for the whole sport when people are collapsing, ball kids are collapsing, people in the stands are collapsing.  That’s obviously not great.

And I know when I went out to hit before the match, the conditions like at 2:30, 3:00 were very, very, very tough conditions.  Anyone’s going to struggle in that heat.

Whether it’s safe or not, I don’t know.  You just got to be very careful these days.  There’s been some issues in other sports with, you know, players having heart attacks.  I don’t know exactly why that is.  Or collapsing.

In this heat, that’s when you’re really pushing it to your limits.  You don’t want to see anything bad happen to anyone.

 

Q.  Were you surprised the heat rule wasn’t implemented today?
ANDY MURRAY:  I don’t know what the heat rule is, so…

Q.  Nobody does.
ANDY MURRAY:  Exactly.

Q.  Bearing in mind how hot it was this afternoon, you could have had a roof and air conditioning.
ANDY MURRAY:  Apparently it wasn’t that humid today.  That’s why it wasn’t implemented.  There’s different rules for the men and women.  I don’t know why.  I don’t understand what the difference is in the two rules.

If I’m told to play, I play; if not, then we don’t.

 

Q.  What’s the talk in the locker room?  Are people unhappy about it?
ANDY MURRAY:  I don’t know.  I mean, I didn’t sit down and discuss whether the guys are happy with the rules or not.

But every single person that I saw coming in from practice or going out to play a match or coming back from a match, everyone just said like, It’s really hot today.  That was what they said (smiling).

SloaneStephens

Q.  Has there been much chatter in the locker room today about the heat and wind, especially out on Court 6, the outer courts?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, no, I saw it this morning at breakfast.  I was like, Can’t be windy outside.  I just expected it would be hot.

But, I mean, I kept looking at my phone.  Mine is in Fahrenheit.  I’m like 108 Fahrenheit, why is that happening?  Then I kind of like Googled 45 Centigrade like just to see what’s happening.

I think the heat was more in my mind than anything.  When I got there it wasn’t that bad for me.  Obviously I played later, so it was okay.

 

Q.  We don’t have to ask Siri about the Celsius conversion?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, just ask me, because I’ve been looking at it all day (smiling).

GillesSimonTasteofTennis-600x450

Q.  So the conditions helped you?
GILLES SIMON:  Yeah.  If I feel ready and I want to fight from the baseline, then he a tough opponent because I will just look for rhythm in the match and finally the condition will be helpful for this.  He will serve fast, with the wind, with the heat; you don’t control anything.

But today it was the other way.  I just wanted it to be as short as possible with no reason.  I wanted him to feel bad, to get tight, and I managed to do that.

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Gilles Simon Stops Jo-Wilfried Tsonga Three-Peat with Metz Victory

 

 

 

 

Gilles Simon

Gilles Simon

(September 22, 2013) In an all-French final Gilles Simon prevented Jo-Wilfred Tsonga from winning his third straight Open de Moselle with a 6-4, 6-3 win.

For Simon the win comes, 13 days after the birth of his second son, Valentin.

“I was fighting a lot today,” Simon said. ”I saw that I had a chance and I managed to win. I’m very happy about that.”

“I cannot become a father every week. It’s a beautiful story for sure. Unfortunately my wife and children couldn’t be here today. It was a great moment for me because I missed the birth of our first child and this time I was able to be there. I was very happy about that.”

“I’m sad about losing the final today, but I’m happy with my week,” said Tsonga. “Gilles was just better than me today. He’s a great player and he was very solid during the whole match. That shows the few imperfections that I still have in my game.”

“I didn’t have enough energy to make the difference against Gilles. But that’s normal. I’m just coming back and I still need some time. I’m happy that I got some matches under my belt this week and it was great playing doubles together with Nicolas Mahut.”

 

It’s Simon’s second Metz title and the 11th title of his career. The 28-year-old improved his winning streak in Metz to 9-0 after losing in the opening round in his first four appearances. He did not lose a set this week and was only broken twice all tournament.

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Feliciano Lopez Wins Eastbourne Title

Felicano Lopez

By Ros Satar

(June 22, 2013) EASTBOURNE, England -

Feliciano Lopez def. Gilles Simon 7-6(2), 6-7(5), 6-0

Unseeded Feliciano Lopez won his first career grass court title, beating Gilles Simon in three sets.

The first two sets had been evenly matched, decided by two tiebreaks.

But in the third set, Lopez dominated Simon, with two match points, with Simon saving both and forcing the game to deuce.

Lopez won with a volley that hit the net cord, flying over Simon’s head – it was all he could do to get a racquet to it as he forced it out of court.

So keen was Lopez to get his hands on the trophy, he pretty much presented it to himself.

The weather was, as with the women’s final, a tricky factor to overcome.

“Sometimes was about pushing and putting the ball on the other side of the court,” he said.

“Especially when we were serving, it was almost impossible sometimes.”

Despite the conditions, Lopez received a time violation warning on his serve.

Lopez was happy to win his first grass title, especially as he felt that grass was his best surface.

“I think grass is my best surface, and to have at least one title on grass is very nice feeling.”

Looking ahead to his first round at Wimbledon, where he faces Simon again, it was difficult to gauge what to expect.

“Today in these conditions it’s tough to get any feedback from the match, to be honest.

“It’s tough to take something, you know, for the match on Tuesday.”

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Thursday’s Roundup at Eastbourne

By Ros Satar

(June 20, 2013) EASTBOURNE, England – The playing conditions on Thursday started in the murk of a mist coming in off the sea, a complete contrast to the hot sunny conditions the day before.

 

No sooner had the first players made their way out and finished knocking up, a persistent bout of rain saw play suspended for over an hour.

 

When play did resume, it was in a backdrop of mist or, as we learned, a sea-fret [a wet mist or haze coming inland from the sea].

 

Either way, visibility was poor for the first set or so, causing issues in the early matches.

feliciano-lopez-tennis-panorama-300x450

Feliciano Lopez def. Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 7-6(6)

Verdasco had not been happy about the restart even before the match started, complaining to ATP tour supervisor Tom Barnes.

 

The conditions better suited Lopez, who dialed into his serve well today, taking advantage of the muggier conditions to put his slice to effective use.

 

Verdasco was less than pleased with the decisions made after the match, claiming: “(If) I was Rafael Nadal, I can say, I don’t play, and I’m pretty sure that the ATP will say, Okay, we wait till the court is good.

 

“But because I’m not Nadal or Federer or any of these guys, I need to do what the ATP wants, because if I said, I go, the tournament will not say, we wait.

 

“Then I will get a fine from the ATP because I didn’t want to play in the bad conditions.”

 

Verdasco went on to describe the close friendship that he shares with Lopez, and how he was able to joke about hating him (not to mention a description that would send the elderly of Eastbourne to an early grave).

 

Lopez agreed that conditions today had been difficult with the humidity but took Verdasco’s comments at the end in good humor.

 

Lopez will face Ivan Dodig in the semifinals.

 

Jamie Hampton def. Lucie Safarova 3-6, 7-6(1), 6-4

Another player who had to contend with the unusual weather was Jamie Hampton who took a couple of tumbles on her way to winning a taut three-setter against Safarova.

 

The haze over Court 1 was quite considerable when they resumed play, as Hampton explained.

 

“We were basically playing in a cloud.  There was so much moisture in the air, and the court was slick so I was having a hard time with my footing and my movements.”

 

Hampton will become the No. 3 American on Monday when the new rankings come out, behind Serena Williams and Sloane Stephens.

 

Elena Vesnina

Elena Vesnina

Elena Vesnina def. Li Na 7-6(4), 6-3

Another top seed was heading up to SW19 early, as Li Na headed out of Eastbourne, care of Vesnina.

 

By her own admission, the match had been a little in and out for her: “Sometimes I can play well, but sometimes I think I lose concentration on the court.

 

“Of course I would like to do more matches [and] still looking forward for Wimbledon.”

Caroline Wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki def. Ekaterina Makarova 4-6, 6-0, 6-3

Caroline Wozniacki made sure a lines-judge felt her wrath after being called on a foot fault in the second set.

 

First arguing with the umpire, then demonstrating to the judge in question how her heel bone was connected to the anklebone, or at the very least explaining the rules.

 

Finally the umpire had to intervene and redirect Wozniacki’s focus back to playing the match.

 

Whatever the issue was, it irked here enough to rip through the second set without dropping a game, leaving Makarova looking stunned at the changeover before losing the deciding the set.

 

Wozniacki was unrepentant in her press conference about perhaps the lines judge wanting to feel “important”:

 

“I don’t see a reason other than that why you wanted to call a foot fault on a second serve that isn’t a foot fault.”

 

Wozniacki is the sole surviving seed, and faces Jamie Hampton in the semi final.

GilliesSimonTasteofTennis

Gilles Simon def. Bernard Tomic 7-6(8), 6-3

The last match of the day saw France’s Gilles Simon advance to the semifinals over Bernard Tomic.

 

Tomic seemed to have lost heart after losing a tight tie-break, down 1-4 after a brief rain shower but managed to regroup a little.

 

Rounding out the singles action, Yanina Wickmayer knocked out the sixth seed Maria Kirilenko 6-2, 1-6, 7-5.

 

Ros Satar is a British Journalist – an IT journalist by day, and a sports journalist in all the gaps in between. She’s covering the AEGON International this week as media for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her tournament updates on twitter @TennisNewsTPN. She is the co-founder of Britwatch Sports (britwatchsports.com). Follow her personal twitter at @rfsatar.

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Federer Survives Fall and Simon to Gain 36th Straight Grand Slam Quarterfinal

Roger Federer

(June 2, 2013) Roger Federer was pushed to five sets on Sunday and had to recover from a fall on the clay, as well as a loss of focus in rallying to defeat Frenchman Gilles Simon, 6-1, 4-6, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 in the fourth round of the French Open.

“I didn’t hurt myself or anything,” said the Swiss about his fall at 3-2 in the second set in which he appeared to have twisted his ankle while stretching for a backhand.  “But maybe I did lose, you know, that touch of confidence for a little bit, and then I was out of the match there for a bit.

“But, I mean, I think more credit to him, because I wasn’t bothered by the fall in any way, actually.  If anything, mentally, or maybe gave him a mental boost.  Who knows what it was, you know.

“So maybe it was little things like that, but, yes, it was ‑‑ first, it was up to him to figure things out after the first set, and then the beginning of the second was tough for him, as well.”

“And then, well, then he came in on the next two, and then it was up to me again to figure things out.  And I’m happy I found a way and took the right decisions and was able to sort of tidy up my play a little bit, not spray that many unforced errors, even though I don’t think it was that bad.  You’re always going to hit some against Gilles because he does a great job retrieving.

“But, yeah, overall I’m very happy.  Stayed calm under pressure, and it’s always fun being part of matches like this.”

In the middle of the match, Simon won 10 of 13 games to take a two sets to one lead.

“When I was beating him, I got involved in the rhythm.  And I played as quickly as I could so he couldn’t have any rhythm,“ Simon said.

“I saw him fall, but this coincided with the time things were improving for me, because I was good on that particular rally.  And, you know, I had to really push things to make him fall.  But I wasn’t waiting to fall to turn things around.

“And then I don’t know whether it had a serious impact on his game.  All I know is that at that point in the match I was releasing my shots, and I found a simpler pattern with my serve.  I attacked with my serve.  And that proved fruitful.”

Federer put together a run of his own to recover from a two sets to on deficit. The No. 2 seed and 17-time major winner captured 12 of the last 15 games to win the match.

The victory gave the second seed Federer his 36th consecutive quarterfinal at a major tennis event as well as his 900 career victory on the ATP World Tour. Federer is fourth in victories behind Jimmy Connors (1156), Ivan Lendl (1068) and Guillermo Vilas (940).

“It’s been an amazing run, and I’m happy I’m still on it,” Federer said.

“The number is unbelievable.  I probably would have been happy with one at one point in my career, when I was younger and eventually you raise the bar and say, Okay, hopefully I can reach my first semifinals, like in 2003 at Wimbledon.  I went on to win the tournament, and the rest we know.”

It was also Federer’s 58th win in his French Open career, equaling the record shared by Guillermo Vilas and Nicola Pietrangeli.

“I knew 900 was on the line, Federer commented.  “I didn’t know about the Vilas one, but I’m just happy I have been able to win a lot of matches throughout my career, really.  Give myself an opportunity over and over again.  I love this game.”

Federer will play another Frenchman, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga in the quarterfinals.

“I’m looking forward to the match against Jo‑Willy,” Federer said.  “I mean, obviously it’s a big challenge playing him here in Paris.  He’s a great friend of mine.  We had a great tour together in South America on a couple of the events, and we know each other well.  I think we’re both looking forward to this match.”

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Murray Cruises at Australian Open, Meets Chardy in Quarterfinal

Murray at Olympics

By Jaclyn Stacey

(January 21, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia - Andy Murray cruised into his ninth consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal appearance after defeating a drained Gilles Simon 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 on Monday at the Australian Open.

 

Simon played a marathon five set match against compatriot Gael Monfils in the third round and came to the court already vanquished physically. The third round battle lasted an epic four hours and 43 minutes on Saturday night, while Murray had spent just five hours and 30 minutes in total on court coming into the match. Murray played to the tired legs of Simon, pushing him from side to side and wearing him into defeat.

 

Murray won the first two sets 6-3, 6-1 and midway through the third set his opponent began to cramp and appeared to lose all interest in sticking the match out. Simon picked up his service however, holding easy to trail Murray 3-4. Murray put the foot down in the next game to hold to love and broke Simon for a second time in the set to take out the match.

 

“I felt after the first few games, because he wasn’t serving hard at all, you know, his forehand side wasn’t moving that well either.  It was just about trying to finish the match as quickly as I could and then getting ready for the next one.”

 

Jeremy Chardy continued his career best run at a Grand Slam as he defeated Andreas Seppi in four sets 5-7, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 to move through to his first quarterfinal against Murray on Wednesday.

 

Chardy won the last previous meeting between the two in Cincinnati last year but Murray leads their head-to-head 4-1.

 

“The Cincinnati match was disappointing from my side.  I normally play quite well against him.  But he’s playing good tennis.  I mean, he’s had some big wins this week.  He serves well.  He’s very aggressive off his forehand.  His backhand is his weaker side, for sure.  He hits a lot of slice, doesn’t come over it too much.  He likes to come forward.”

 

“He can be erratic.  But when his game is on, like it’s been the last few rounds, he’s a very tough player to play because he doesn’t give you too much rhythm.  And, yeah, he really goes for it.”

 

Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.

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Simon Defends Stance to Media: Sharapova, Serena Williams React

WIMBLEDON –Thirteenth ranked Gilles Simon has caused some controversy this week with his stance against equal pay for men and women in tennis. The Frenchman met the media after his straight set loss to Xavier Malisse of Belgium at Wimbledon on Thursday.

In his own words:

Gilles Simon: “I never thought it was a good idea for women to play five sets.  It was not my point of view.  My point of view was just about ‑ it’s a difficult topic ‑ but it was just about the entertainment.  If you just watch how it is working in every other, like, sport, but even for the singers, for everything, you’re just paid by the public directly.

“My point was that I have the feeling that men’s tennis is actually more interesting than women’s tennis.  As in any business or anything, you just have to be paid just about that.  It’s not because we play five sets and they are playing three.”

 

“I am well aware of the struggle.  This is a fair fight.  Actually, I’m just for it in life.  But it just doesn’t working in the entertainment, because entertainment is not about being a man or woman.  It’s just about, as I said, public coming to watch you or not.

“It’s not about how hard you work.  You can work hard and be a very famous singer.  You can work hard and just sing in your bathroom.  That’s the way it works.  It’s maybe sad, but this is the way it works.

“It has nothing to do with men and women.  In life in general, of course, I’m for it.  Tomorrow, if we can answer, if women’s tennis is more interesting than men’s tennis, if the price of the woman’s final is higher than the price of the men’s final, they will deserve to win more money than us.  That’s just the way it works.  This is nothing new.

“Just feel like it’s fair.  Just to say it has to be equal because there is a struggle in life in general, I’m not sure it’s a very good argument.  My point of view still.”

 

“Well, I’m pretty sure they’re thinking the same way as me (ATP players).  Maybe they can’t say it; maybe they won’t; maybe they will lose, I don’t know, $2 million on the contracts if they say that.  I don’t know everything.

“In the conversation ‑ for sure I had it in the locker room ‑ and for sure they agree with me.  Trust me.”

 

Maria Sharapova was asked to comment on Simon’s remarks in her post-match news conference:

Maria Sharapova: ” Yeah, I mean, look, we women have fought so long to get equal prize money.  It was a big challenge and nobody really supported us.  It’s been a few years since we’ve gotten that.  We’re all really proud of it, and we continue to build the sport and make it bigger.

“No matter what anyone says, or the criticisms that we get, despite everything else, I mean, I’m sure there are a few more people that watch my matches than his, so…”

 

In her post-match, Serena Williams was asked to react to Simon and Sharapova’s comments about the issue:

Serena Williams: “Oh, my gosh.  Why do you put me ‑‑ you know I can’t bite my tongue.

“Yeah, I mean, definitely a lot more people are watching Maria than Simon.  She’s way hotter than he is.  Women’s tennis I think is really awesome.

“It’s a great fight.  We fought for years with Billie Jean King, and Venus as well, really set the pattern on what we should do.

“You know, I started playing tennis at two years old.  I’m sure he started when he was two years old, as well.  I worked just as hard as he did.  I’m sure he continues to work hard as I work hard, as well as everyone that’s on a professional level.  We are all very professional and all work hard.

“With that being said, everybody is entitled to his opinion.  If that’s his opinion, he’s allowed to have one.  I think that’s an opinion, so…”

 

Andy Roddick: “You’re going to have your work cut out for you because 64 of them have gone home.  It’s going to be tough to track them down.

“Listen, let’s not make this a gender issue.  I don’t know what numbers are.  I don’t know what we’re dealing with.  I’ve gone about my business.

I’m sure there’s a way to figure out who people are coming to watch.  I’m sure there’s TV ratings to look at.  I’m sure there are ample numbers out there to dissect.

“As any business goes, you look at those numbers and then decide where it goes from there.

“I don’t know what they are, but I’m sure as journalists they’re out there.  If this is an important story, I’m sure you guys can figure it out.

“It doesn’t matter who has an opinion, because I guarantee you, both sides, men and women, we’re going to be extremely biased towards our own product.  So I’m sure there are better ways to look at it from an unbiased perspective.”

 

Petra Kvitova: “Oh, I think what we can do as a female tennis player is go on the court and try our best tennis, and I hope that the people enjoy it.  I don’t think it’s about the length, but about equality.  I think women deserve in all walks of life, not in just the tennis.

“I hope that the people enjoy it.  That’s it.”

Simon Says No to Equal Prize Money

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Simon Says No to Equal Prize Money

Frenchman Gilles Simon  seeded 13th at Wimbledon told French media he did not think the women should get equal prize money in tennis.

“I think that men’s tennis is really ahead of women’s tennis at this stage,” Simon told French-language radio after his first round match at Wimbledon on Monday. “Once more, the men spent surely twice as much time on court as the women at the French Open. We often talk about salary equality. I don’t think it’s something that works in sport. I think we are the only sport that has parity with the women in terms of prize money. Meanwhile, men’s tennis remains more attractive than women’s tennis at this moment.”

Since his statements, it’s been the hot topic of discussion of the tennis world at Wimbledon. Simon is a newly elected member of the ATP Player Council.

Women have been receiving equal prize money at Wimbledon since 2007, the last of the majors to do so.  The  US Open was the first to offer pay equity in 1973.

The WTA sent the following statement to Tennis Panorama News:

“Tennis, including the Grand Slams, is aligned with our modern, progressive society when it comes to the principle of equality.  I can’t believe in this day and age that anyone can still think otherwise.  This type of thinking is exactly why the WTA was founded and we will always fight for what’s right,” said Stacey Allaster WTA Chairman and CEO.

 

Here is what some of the players had to say about it in their post-match news conferences.

Roger Federer: “I don’t know.  Is this the first time I’ve heard this or is this an ongoing subject for years?  I mean, I don’t know what to tell you.

“I hope it doesn’t become a big issue during Wimbledon.  It’s obviously a debate that’s out there ever since I guess the slams have made equal prize money.  There’s nothing you can do anyway about it.

“It’s just a matter of who believes what, and then that is an endless debate.  So whatever you believe.”

 

 

Ana Ivanovic: “Yeah, it’s always been talked about, but we are different physiques, as well.  I think we earn our money, as well.

I mean, I was two and a half hours out there today (laughter).”

 

Heather Watson: “Oh, I haven’t really thought about that.  I don’t really have much of an opinion on it.  Whatever it is it is, I guess.

I think it is tough for the guys, especially at Wimbledon because it’s five sets.  At all the other tournaments it should be the same.  We play the same amount of sets and have to work just as hard.”

Samantha Stosur: “I actually hadn’t heard any of that.

“No, I think everyone’s going to have their opinion.  For some reason it comes up every single year.  Men think this, women think that, and then you’ve got people in between.  I think it’s a debate that’s never gonna finish.

“I think we deserve it.  I think people come out and watch us play because they want to watch us play.  I think there are a bunch of men’s matches that go five that are pretty boring to watch, as well.  It’s not like a best‑of‑five match is better than a best‑of‑three, I don’t think.”

(In reference to Simon saying he remembered Rome Women’s final when only 20 people showed up)  “I’m sure it’s not because 20 people showed up for one final.  Again, it’s an opinion that some people are going to have and others aren’t going to agree.”

“I think it’s a little bit unfair.  Like I said, I think people come out and they want to watch a women’s match or they want to watch a men’s match.  If it’s a hour and a half match, great; if it’s a five‑hour match, great.

“I don’t think the duration means it’s better.  You want good quality.  Like I said, not all men’s matches are fun to watch either.  Of course there are some women’s matches that go pretty short, too.

“That’s where we’re at.  I don’t think it’s necessary to play best‑of‑five.”

 

Sloane Stephens : “I don’t care what he says about anything. He hit me with a ball the first time I was a ballkid. He hit me in the chest, because he lost a point and lost the set. He turned around and slammed the ball with his racket and hit me … and I’ve never spoken to him since then.”

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Gasquet Stuns Murray in Rome

Andy Murray

By Enrico Maria Riva

ROME – Matches usually tell two different stories: Andy Murray versus Richard Gasquet was no exception on Thursday at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. While the Frenchman managed a great victory 6-7(1), 6-3, 6-2, helping him to gear up for the French Open, the Scot showed that he is still struggling on clay. Without coach Ivan Lendl anywhere in sight, Murray played a very confusing match, failing to hold his serve easily most of the time, and spending huge amount of energy battling Gasquet from the baseline.

 

Murray has an excuse, as his back seemed to bother him throughout the match an issue which he admits he has been dealing with since December, but most of all he has to blame himself for the attitude towards the whole match. He reportedly shouted “I hate this game, I hate it!” on one of the too many occasions where he had to deal with repeatedly having to save break points. Murray never found his inner peace during the match, failed to close the first set while up a break at 5-3. Somehow he won the tiebreak but didn’t manage to bring the momentum to his side and let Gasquet dictate the game.

 

Gasquet has been playing very well lately, reaching the final in Estoril and now this Murray victory confirms his progress. The fact that coach Riccardo Piatti is now traveling with him 100%, after Ivan Ljubicic’s retirement, it has given Gasquet more confidence and more stability. Friday he will have to play at his best considering that David Ferrer is in great shape. The early start at Noon doesn’t help either as Gasquet didn’t fail to mention his anger about the scheduling during his news conference”.

 

Big emotions in Rome with Italy’s Andreas Seppi who managed to win another epic match, this time against Stanislas Wawrinka, saving six match points and closing  the match 6-7(1), 7-6(6), 7-6(6) after three hours and 20 minutes. The Italian will now face Roger Federer who took out Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-2, 5-7, 6-1.

 

Another surprise was avoided on Thursday when Novak Djokovic managed to come back from a set down against Juan Monaco 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. The Argentinian showed that he has fully recovered from the Monte Carlo injury and he will be a serious threat in the Roland Garros. Rafael Nadal had no problem whatsoever in dismissing Marcel Granollers with a double 6-1 and David Ferrer prevented Gilles Simon from winning his first set ever on clay against him when he secured the second set tiebreak (6-0, 7-6). Tomas Berdych beat Nicolas Almagro 7-6, 6-3. There was an incident during a match at the Australian Open where the Spaniard involuntarily hit the Czech while volleying at the net. Yet the funniest episode involved the man who watered the court at the end of the set and an unlucky linesman who was soaked during the process.

In the night session Juan Martin Del Potro didn’t put much effort in the match he lost 6-4, 6-1 to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after having been up a break in the first set. Del Potro appeared to be dealing with knee pain.  The Argentinian didn’t appreciate the humidity and the match went quickly. Roger Federer struggled a bit to get rid of Juan Carlos Ferrrero but eventually won 6-2, 5-7, 6-1.

 

In the women’s draw Petra Kvitova needed three sets to beat Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 although she looked relaxed during the vastly deserted news conference. Venus Williams made a giant leap towards the Olympics with her win against Stosur 6-4, 6-3 and Serena Williams secured a big match against Flavia Pennetta disposing of Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-3, 6-1. The Italian is the last local woman remaining thanks to her stunning performance against Petra Cetkovska 6-0, 6-1. Roland Garros champion Na Li won against Chanelle Scheepers 7-6, 6-2 and will face Dominika Cibulkova who received a walkover on Wednesday  when Victoria Azarenka withdrew from the tournament with a  shoulder injury. A solid win for Maria Sharapova who trailed early during the match against Ana Ivanovic, saving set points yet still managed to prevail 7-6, 6-3.

 

Enrico Maria Riva is in Rome covering the Internazionali BNL D’Italia for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his twitter updates on @TennisNewsTPN and his personal twitter @EnricoMariaRiva.

Enrico Maria Riva is the tennis columnist for the Italian online newspaper Il Post and also writes for the Matchpoint magazine and for the websites Spaziotennis.com and Thetennisspace.com.

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