2014/07/25

Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic Move into Wimbledon Quarterfinals

 

 

(June 30, 2014) WIMBLEDON -Top seed Novak Djokovic and third seed Andy Murray are getting closer to a semifinal clash as both men reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals on Monday at the All England Club.

Defending champion Murray reached his seventh straight Wimbledon quarterfinal after beating Kevin Anderson of South Africa 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (6) under a closed roof on Centre Court, after a rain delay in the second set forced the roof to be shut.

For the Scot Murray it’s his 17 straight match win at the All England club dating back to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

The Serb Djokovic beat France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for the 11th consecutive time with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (5) win.

“I was just happy that I won the match,” Murray said.  “I was a bit disappointed with how I started under the roof.  The beginning, like I said, I was a little bit tentative.  Apart from that, that sort of three or four games when we came back out, I played well.

“I created many chances, gave him a few opportunities.  That’s what you need to do on grass court tennis.  You don’t always break.  But if you keep putting them under enough pressure, you’re going to get through in the end.”

“I knew I was going to get tested, you know, at some stage,” the Scot added.  “And, yeah, today I was pushed, especially in the middle part of that second set, then obviously later on in the third there were some tight moments.

“But I handled them fairly well.  It was a good match.”

“I think he was moving great,” Anderson said of Murray’s play.  “That’s a big part of his game.  I think especially on the grass I think that’s a big contributor to why he’s had so much success on this surface.”

Murray will face No. 11. Grigor Dimitrov in his quarterfinal. Dimitrov defeated Leonardo Mayer 6-4, 7-6 (6), 6-2.

“It’s a step up because it’s one round further, and the guys that are in the quarterfinals are going to be playing top tennis,” Murray said about his encounter with the Bulgarian.  “He obviously won Queen’s a couple weeks ago.  He likes the grass courts.

“Yeah, it’s a big opportunity for him, as well, playing on the Centre Court, the courts at Wimbledon for the first time.

“Yeah, it’s a great opportunity for him.  Hopefully we can play a good match.”

 

“I’m happy that I’m in the quarterfinal match,” Dimitrov said.  “Just going to give credit to myself for that.  But my job isn’t over yet.

“So I’m excited to get on the court tomorrow.  Just go through my regular routines, through all the gears, you know, come on Wednesday.”

 

“I’m just going to play my game,” Dimitrov added.  “I’m not going to step back.  I just want to come out with my big game and play my aggressive tennis.”

 

“I was aware of his qualities, especially on this surface,” Djokvic said of his match with Tsonga.  “He looked, before the match, very determined to play his best and very focused.

“I think I did really well from the start to the end, especially in the third set where I thought he elevated his level of game and he started serving very high percentage first serve, very strong, all angles.

“It was difficult to get the return back in play, but managed to save a couple break points, crucial ones, get myself in the tiebreak and wait for the opportunity to be presented.

“We both served very well in the tiebreak, and the only opportunity I had was on second serve on 6-5, and I used it.  I went for the shot.

“Yeah, I’m just glad that I didn’t allow him to go into the fourth set, because he started to use obviously the crowd support.  And, you know, I knew that he’s going to do that because he’s the kind of player that feeds off the energy, so it was very important for me to get this done in straight sets.”

Djokovic will play Marin Cilic for a place in the semifinals.

“I will try to stick to the kind of a game plan that I had against Marin in the previous occasions,” Djokovic said.

“I am aware of the fact, as well, that since he started working with Goran Ivanesevic that he has improved, especially in his service department, where for his height I thought that he didn’t use his full potential up to now work with Goran, where it’s evident that it works well for him.

“Especially on the grass it serves as a great weapon.  He won here in straight sets against Chardy and Berdych and some very good players.

“So it says enough about his quality play in this tournament.”

Stan Wawrinka was finally able to complete his third round match on Monday. Rain on Saturday delayed his chance to play.

The No. 1 Swiss will face 19th seed Feliciano Lopez in the fourth round. Lopez dismissed the last American man in the singles draw, Ninth seed John Isner, 6-7 (8), 7-6 (6), 7-6 (3), 7-5, despite the American hitting 52 aces.

“Tough match to play,” Lopez said.

“As I said before, I knew it’s going to be like this.  I knew we going to play a lot of tiebreaks, so this is the match I was excepting to play.

“Luckily I made it.  I’m very happy to went through.  It was a very difficult one for me today.”

With Isner beaten and Madison Keys withdrawing from the tournament with an injury, it’s the first time since 1911 that no Americans have reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon.

Asked about this fact, Isner said, “Didn’t know that. Don’t really care either.”

Keys was forced to pull out of the tournament with a left adductor injury.

On the women’s side of the draw, the conqueror of Serena Williams has been knocked out of Wimbledon.

Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard, the 13th seed defeated Alize Cornet 7-6 (5), 7-5 to reach the quarterfinals.

“I think we played some good tennis today, “Bouchard said.  “You know, we had some tough points.  She has good wheels.  So I had to really try and finish off the point.

“You know, I think it made for some really tough, physical points.  So that’s definitely the most physical match I’ve played I think this tournament.

“But I’m proud that I really, really fought till the end.  She’s a good fighter, too.  We were really just battling.”

“This is what I’ve worked so hard for, to be in the quarters at Wimbledon,” Bouchard said. “But I want to go another step. I want to keep going.”

Bouchard will play the winner of the fourth round match between Maria Sharapova and Angelique Kerber.

Bouchard spoke briefly about playing both of these women:

“I think she’s a great player,” Bouchard said of Sharapova.  “She, you know, tries to be aggressive like I try to be aggressive as well.  So I think, you know, I’m going to go in and try to battle and go for my shots.  We had a tough match recently at the French Open.  But that’s the past.  So it’s a new match.  If I were to play her, I would just be very excited and really try to go for it.”

“Kerber I played at the French as well.  I played both opponents recently.  Of course with her she’s a lefty so you keep that in mind with tactics.  I played well last time against her because I was really trying to go for it.  Whenever I had an opening, I would really go for it.  I would keep my basic game against both players.”

Three players from the Cazech Republic are among the women’s quarterfinalists – 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, Lucie Safarova and unseeded Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.

Zahlavova Strycova, who beat No. 2 Li Na, defeated No. 16 Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 7-5 to reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinal. Back in April 2013, she completed serving a a six-month doping ban after testing positive for the stimulant sibutramine.

“I can’t believe it for right now,” Zahlavova Strycova sid about the win and reaching the quarterfinals.  “It’s great.  I mean, it was a tough match obviously, and I had to make a fifth match point.

“I’m really, really happy that I could win today.”

She spoke about the six month ban to press: “First of all, I didn’t wanted to play again because I felt like it’s a little bit unfair.  Everything was kind of against.

“So first two months I didn’t want to come back.  Then I missed it.  I missed the feeling of working out, the feeling of winning matches, and being on tour.

“It was tough, but on the other hand, it also brings me some positive things.  Like I say, I am seeing the sport a little bit different now.

“And here I am.”

Last year’s finalist Sabine Lisicki ousted 11th seed Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 to reach the fourth round in a match carried over from Saturday.

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Nick Kyrgios Saves 9 Match Points in Win over Richard Gasquet

(June 26, 2014) WIMBLEDON – Nineteen year-old Australian, Nick Kyrgios saved nine match points before beating No. 13 Richard Gasquet 3-6, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-5, 10-8 at Wimbledon on Thursday. For the wild card, he has reached the third round of a major tournament for the first time in his young career. He is the youngest player in the draw.

“It was an unbelievable match out there,” said the Australian.  “My first ever two sets love down, coming back and winning.  It’s an amazing feeling.  So proud of yourself the way you hung in and fought it out.

“I played some unbelievable tennis today.  He was coming up with some really good shots as well.  I think I saved nine match points.  There’s plenty of opportunities he could have taken.  I came out on top, I’m really happy.”

For the young Australian beating Gasquet represents the biggest win of his budding pro career, his first against a top 20 player.

So what was Kyrgios thinking about as he was facing match points against him?

“I was just thinking I just need a big serve every time,” he said.  “That’s what I was thinking.

“You know, a couple times where I missed my first serve.  Obviously the challenge kept me in it.  I was just thinking about going through my routine, coming up with something, going after it, playing aggressive.

The match lasted almost four hours and ended when the Aussie hit his 21st ace of the match.

“My goal is to become the No. 1 player in the world,” Kyrgios said.

Kyrgios will face another youngster in Jiri Vesely in the third round. Vesely took out Frenchman seeded 24, Gael Monfils in five sets 7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-7 (1), 6-7 (3), 6-4.

“He had a massive win today, winning in five sets,” Kyrgios said of his next challenger.  “He’s also young.  He’s on the rise.  He’s got a really aggressive game, big serve.  Big hitter as well.

“I think the grass is suiting him nicely.  Well done to him, as well.”

“He is a very talented player and today he was a beast,” Gasquet said in his post match news conference.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga completed his match suspended by darkness on Wednesday night and broke Sam Querrey’s service in the 25th game of the final set to win the match 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-7 (4), 6-3, 14-12 at Wimbledon on Thursday.

 

Karen Pestaina at Wimbledon

 

Related article:

“The Journey Starts Today” An Interview with Nick Kyrgios

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Novak Djokovic Dominates Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Paris

 

 

(June 1, 2014) No. 2 Novak Djokovic thoroughly dominated 13th-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 in only 90 minutes on Sunday at the French Open to reach the quarterfinals for his 20th straight major tournament in a row.

Djokovic broke Tsonga seven times as Tsonga hit 38 unforced errors.

“I didn’t go through happy moments today,” Tsonga told press. “It was not fun for me. It was tough. I didn’t have time to go for my shots. I didn’t get off to a good start. Then against this type of player, things started to deteriorate. He played better and better.”

Djokovic raised his record over Tsonga to 12-5 overall, winning the last 10 encounters.

The Serb will face No. 8 Milos Raonic of Canada in the quarterfinals. The Canadian beat Marcel Granollers of Spain 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.

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Ernests Gulbis Keeps Record in Finals Perfect with Win Over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Ernests Gulbis by Maria Noble

(February 23, 2014) Ernest Gulbis extended his perfect record in finals to 5-0 when he beat defending champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (5), 6-4 to win the Open 13 title in Marseille.

The third seed Gulbis upset top seed Richard Gasquet in the semifinals going on to win his first ATP title since the St. Petersburg Open this past October.

Gulbis kept the pressure on Tsonga by playing aggressively, coming to the net. The Latvian hit 14 aces with 41 winners against the Frenchman.

For his efforts this week, the current world 23 will move into the top 20.

“My long-term goal in tennis isn’t to be Top 20” Gulbis said. “It’s to be No. 1. Anything less than that wouldn’t make me fully satisfied. I don’t want to get to 30 years old, look back on my career and say I didn’t make something of it. Everybody’s looking for satisfaction in life and my joy and happiness is based on my tennis career.

“I think [the top players] feel threatened by my game, because they know if I serve well and I’m aggressive, then it’s tough to play against me. I don’t feel I’m in the same league as the [Top 4] yet, I need to prove it. Game-wise, I think that I can be.

“It’s a really nice small record for me. 5-0 is really good. I remember when I used to play Futures and Challengers, I think I lost maybe one or two finals. When I get into finals I really have good form and good confidence and play my best tennis. Today I was serving really well and in the tie-break I was feeling really, really confident.

“I’m very happy right now, but the reality is that you’re back on court in two days. I want to keep both feet on the ground. There’s a couple of big tournaments coming up. It’s been a great week, but I want to build on it.”

For the favorite Tsonga who was seeking a third Open 13 championship, said he had a good week. “It was a high quality match today and I have no regrets. He was very solid and took a lot of risks. It was a positive week for me. It was important to get some matches under my belt. This is important for the confidence. Ernests has a great game and can beat the best players in the world.”

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Roger Federer Beats Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to Reach Australian Open Quarterfinals

Federer 3

By Alana Mitchelson

(January 20, 2014) MELBOURNE – Without having dropped even a single set on his road to the quarterfinals, Roger Federer has set up yet another clash with old rival Andy Murray this Wednesday after defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4, on Monday night.

 

The crowd roared in anticipation of the first true high-profile match of the tournament. From the get-go, Federer was focused in the moment, reading the motion of the ball and setting up opportunities to approach the net for cross-court winner volleys. The serve and volley tactics, reminiscent of his earlier days in the field, became a theme of his service games and saw him to hold each and every one of his serves.

 

Tsonga began attacking Federer’s backhand which was perhaps not at its strongest that evening. But with the exception of seizing a couple of break point opportunities here and there, Tsonga did not come close to backing up such chances at crucial moments or breaking ahead to a comfortable position on the scoreboard.

 

The former world No. 1 exhibited elegant shot-making of astounding precision and it was refreshing to watch him mix in the occasional net play rather than remain baseline bound for which he has become known in more recent times.

 

While Tsonga hit some breathtaking winners, he was shockingly inconsistent, claiming only about half of the points upon his second serve, and he failed to play anywhere near aggressively enough to pose any threat to the great Roger Federer.

 

“Don’t think I got broken today. That, against a great player. So I’m extremely happy with how things went for me tonight. I was able to play my game, offensive, mix it up, come to the net,” Federer said.

 

“I was good at net. I was consistent. I was solid. I was quick. I had the right mindset. I think the plan definitely worked out well for me tonight.

 

“I definitely felt like momentum was on my side, no doubt. I started the match well.”

 

This rising momentum worked against the Frenchman as the crowd often began to applaud a would-be-winner of Tsonga’s only to disband into a thrill of cheers as Federer would somehow manage to hit the ball back over the net.

 

Federer, however, identified some aspects of his game he could indeed improve on moving forward.

“I had some missed opportunities midway through the second set. I think I twice had 0-30, so I thought I could have done a bit better. But Jo did well to hang around and serve well when he had to.”

 

Reaching the quarterfinal round at the Australian Open for the eleventh year straight, the Swiss will contest Murray for a position in the semifinals. Federer is eagerly awaiting the challenge.

 

​”I think we’re both coming into this match with a good feeling. We’re both coming into this match, though, with some doubts slightly. I don’t know how he’s feeling. I haven’t seen him play much, to be quite honest.

 

“​It will be interesting because we both had an interesting year last year with some ups and downs. It’s a good start to the season for both of us already.”

 

Alana Mitchelson is a Melbourne-based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her tournament updates on Twitter @TennisNewsTPN and read her personal website.

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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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An Evening with Roger Federer and Friends

12.11.2013

By James A. Crabtree

(January 8, 2014) MELBOURNE PARK – A normal evening at a friend’s house might include the usual pleasantries. You would likely arrive promptly with a bottle of red, before being shown to the living room whilst your friend finishes up the cooking, agreeable smells wafting in from the kitchen.

 

During this time you would probably mooch round the living room, investigate photos on the wall; check out the DVD collection, feel envious of their flat screen TV or perhaps just cringe at their horrid couch.

 

Alas, the evening with Roger Federer didn’t include a meal lovingly cooked by Mrs. Mirka Federer, a bad couch or giggles over a glass of red.

 

At this particular evening with Roger you were rewarded with a LED key ring upon entry and a ticket that hid Federer as a silhouette thanks to its hologram capabilities. Quickly the new toy became a poor man’s light saber by every child and geek wishing to kill time before Federer’s arrival.

 

And we had to wait…

 

Old rival Lleyton Hewitt showed up in a suit (yes that wasn’t a typo) for a chat as did former Federer coach Tony Roche (not in a suit). A very tanned Pat Rafter (in more than just his Bonds jocks) followed for a quick hit up with Jo-Wilfred Tsonga. Federer then hit up with a very spritely seventy-five years young Rod Laver (wearing Wimbledon whites) – yes that wasn’t a typo either….

Hold on a minute…yes you heard correctly…Two time Grand Slam champion Rod Laver hitting in his own Rod Laver Arena. Where do you put that on the list of accomplishments?

 

Federer and Tsonga then had a hit of their own before getting down to business for a very serious exhibition that felt more like an extension of their five set thriller from a year before.

 

Federer had a nervous start before finding his rhythm then dictating for a 3-1 lead. Tsonga rebounded to go 4-3 up as some wisecrack in the stand screamed out ‘C’mon Rafa’ earning a smile from Roger. The games went back on serve to a concluding tie-break that Tsonga took, disappointment the majority.

 

The seriousness eased for the beginning of the second set as both players paraded their array of skills for the sort of rallies club players’ dream of. Federer started swinging easy, his smile masking his competitive intentions, and raced ahead to snatch the important points and the set 6-3 like a thief in the night.

 

Tsonga changed his shirt to wolf whistles from the crowd at the beginning of the third set, and also his fortune, racing to a 4-2 lead. Federer responded winning the next three games, including a hard fought break on Tsonga’s serve that included the most implausible hawk-eye challenge that had everybody grinning. Federer ruined his chance to serve it out before Tsonga showed signs of fatigue after levelling at 5-5. Federer broke again quickly before controlling the outcome with a final point that included a bevy of smashes.

 

The LED lights were back in force for the final interview as lighters once did for rock ballads. Federer indulged the crowd with a light-hearted chat, telling the crowd he would choose Leonardo DiCaprio to play himself in a movie, and giggling that Serena or Novak would be a good name for his next child (if chosen to name after a current tennis player).

 

The Roger Federer charity event watched globally and attended by a capacity of fifteen thousand enthralled ‘Federer Tragics’, as one women referred to herself as, not only entertained those who watched it but ultimately benefited, inspired and educated the recipients of his foundation.

 

So far the Roger Federer Foundation has helped over 86,000 children, the majority being in Southern Africa, with the primary focus on improving education. The foundation plans to reach a million children by 2018 and nights like tonight will only make that process quicker. The event raised over one millions dollars.

 

There are not too many bad things you can say about Roger Federer. In truth, if you were to scratch your head deep in thought you might not think of any. Simply, there is no better ambassador for tennis, or for sport in general. Every day Federer goes out of his way to add to his already compelling resume of achievements, highlighted by triumphs on the court, but decorated by his exploits for humanity.

 

James Crabtree is a journalist living in Melbourne. Follow him on twitter @JamesACrabtree

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Roger Federer to host “A night with Roger Federer and Friends” at Rod Laver Arena

federercharity

(November 11, 2013) Roger Federer is set to appear in Rod Laver Arena for a gala charity exhibition match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga January 8, 2014.

 

“It’s going to be called “A night with Roger Federer and Friends”, it’s going to be very entertaining, and it would be great if you could be part of it,” Roger Federer said as he announced the event in a news release.

 

“Good acts, entertainment, music, light-show, clearly the match – I hope that’s what you’re coming for, to see me play against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. We’ve had some great exhibitions in the past where we really light up the crowd. I know I’m going to be playing good tennis and it’s a great way to kick off the Australian Open.

 

“I’m celebrating ten years since my first victory in Australia, and I’m celebrating ten years of the Roger Federer Foundation. I spoke with Tennis Australia to see if we could do something a bit fun, a bit different as well, and I hope that’s why people are going to join in the action.

 

“I hope it’s going to be a sell-out night and we will raise awareness and raise a lot of money if possible and just have a good time. That was the idea behind it and it is all coming true. I’m looking forward to the day that I step on to Rod Laver Arena and do it.

 

“You can get involved by going to get a ticket … they are on sale this Thursday. I hope there are still some left because they’re very hot and very exclusive,” Federer joked.

“The foundation is very personal to me clearly. We are celebrating the tenth year of the Roger Federer Foundation on the 23 December, I can’t believe it’s actually been ten years, but we try to help kids, particularly in  Southern Africa to have a quality education and so far we’ve been able to help 50,000 over the course of the last ten years … we have big goals for the future to hopefully help one million kids by 2018 so it’s really something I’m looking forward to, to try and help as many kids as possible have a quality education in the future.

 

“My Mum’s from South Africa so I was in touch with poverty quite early and I saw also other great athletes, inspirational people, do many great things for other people.

 

“As I was quite young when I had success on the tennis tour I wanted to start [charity work] early, because I remember a quote, I think it was from Andre Agassi, he always said “I wish I would have started earlier”, so you know what, I said I want to start really early, learn a lot about it, I’m still not done learning, I learn something every single day when it comes to the foundation and even from tennis, but it’s something that’s very important to me, it’s very personal, and it’s hopefully going to follow me for many, many years to come.”

 

A night with Roger Federer and Friends is presented by Rolex, a major supporter of the Roger Federer Foundation.

 

The event will take place at Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne Park, on Wednesday 8 January 2014.

 

Ticket prices start at $64.90 and a variety of packages, including courtside seating and hospitality options, are also available.

 

Tickets go on sale at 12:00 noon (AEDST) on Thursday 14 November at www.ticketek.com.au or telephone 132 849.

 

Proceeds from the event will go to the Roger Federer Foundation and the Australian Tennis Foundation.

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Friday in Vienna

Centre Court-001

By Florian Heer

 

(October 18, 2013) VIENNA, Austria – It is the 39th edition of an ATP World Tour event in Vienna this year and tennis has a big tradition in the capital of Austria. The event takes place in the Stadthalle of Vienna, with a capacity of more than 8.000 seats, one of the biggest sports arenas in Europe. The stadium also celebrates its 55th anniversary this year and with Lleyton Hewitt the twentieth “World No. 1player” took part here this week.

 

Quarterfinals Friday at the Erste Bank Open began on Centre Court with the first meeting on the ATP World Tour between eighth-seeded Czech Lukas Rosol and Belgian qualifier Ruben Bemelmans. They met once before on the ITF Futures Tour in Germany four years ago when the Czech won in three sets. By reaching the quarterfinals both players have already achieved their best result in Vienna. Both served ten aces throughout the match in which Rosol had the better ending winning the encounter 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 in eighty minutes.

 

Next on court was the second meeting between Fabio Fognini and Robin Haase. The Italian has had a great season so far, already recorded his 40th match win this season on Thursday and took two titles on the ATP World Tour winning in Stuttgart and Hamburg. However, it is the Dutchman who won the only previous meeting in straight sets at the ATP Masters 1000 in Monte Carlo last year. Haase also seems to be a force on Austrian soil winning both of his only two ATP career titles in the mountains in Kitzbühel. The first set was dominated by the service games with no break points until the eleventh game in which Haase gained his first chance to break serve. The third-seeded Italian however saved it, held his service game and consequently the tie-break had to decide. Fognini eventually took an even decider winning the first set after forty minutes. In the following frame, things changed quickly and it was the Dutch, who capitalized on his first break point to gain an early 2-0 lead and finally took the set in only twenty minutes by 6-1. The match went the distance and it was Haase again, who gained the early advantage breaking Fognini’s service in the third game. Through a double fault by the Italian in the seventh game, Haase gained a second break winning the encounter 7-6, 1-6, 6-1 after 84 minutes. “The key to success today seemed to be the fact that I was totally focused on my game and I didn’t distract myself from the often unconventional style Fognini was playing in the final set,” the Dutchman explained after the match and advanced into his fourth semi-final of the season.

Haas-001

In the third quarterfinal of the day Radek Stepanek took on Tommy Haas. It was the seventh meeting of the two veterans, where the series was tied 3-3 before the encounter. On Thursday the 35-year-old German defeated qualifier Miloslav Mecir in straight sets to reach the stage of the last eight for the third consecutive year. In today’s match, Haas broke the attacking Czech’s service in the twelfth game through a nice passing shot but couldn’t serve out in the following. In the tie-break with a couple of hawk-eye-decisions and great rallies, Haas had the better ending winning 12-10 after 63 minutes. The second-seeded German gained the decisive break in the fifth game of the second set and served the match out in the ninth game winning 7-6, 6-3 in one hour and 44 minutes to face Lukas Rosol in the semis. “Lukas is an attacking opponent, playing very aggressively with a huge serve,” Haas said about his next task. “If he (Rosol) feels good, he will be a very dangerous player – and it seems to be that he does as he reached the semis here – so I expect a hard match tomorrow,” the German stated. Haas also mentioned that he is not worried about the future in men’s tennis as he thinks that the game of many of the youngsters like Dimitrov, Tomic or even Thiem is very attractive to watch.

 

It was the local wild card Dominic Thiem, who was last on Centre Court facing top-seed and 2011 champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Of course this was the match most people in Vienna were waiting for. The 20-year-old has reached his second career quarterfinal on the ATP World Tour after being one of the last eight in Kitzbühel earlier this year. In September Thiem reached his first ATP Challenger final in Como, three weeks later he took his first title in Kenitra and today he faced the world number eight in front of about 7.700 spectators on Centre Court. It was an even affair until the ninth game of the first set when the French broke Thiem’s service and took the frame in the following. The atmosphere was great as the Austrian crowd backed their player as much as they could but Tsonga seemed to remain on the winning track. Although the world number 149 had a couple of break point chances throughout the match, so far in the decisive moments, Tsonga’s service has worked perfectly; until the eighth game of the second set when the Austrian was able to capitalize on his eighth break point. Thiem stayed cool and served out in the following to equal sets after 78 minutes. The Austrian youngster also kept calm in the tenth game of the final set when he had to save match point and he took the encounter to the distance. Tsonga needed all of his experience and some unforced errors by Thiem in the tie-break to finally seal victory after two hours and fourteen minutes winning 6-4, 3-6, 7-6. Therewith the French extended his match record in Vienna to 6-0 and remains unbeaten. “Dominic played well today. He didn’t have anything to lose, so it’s always difficult to face a player like him,” Tsonga commented the Austrian’s performance. “My baseline game was really poor today but I served well. I’m still a top-ten player, I played many matches like this and that’s what I think made the difference in the end,” the French reflected on his own game.

 

Thiem on the other hand was understandably disappointed. “It was a match on highest level and it was also very exhausting. Nonetheless I really enjoyed playing here today in front of the almost fully packed arena. It was like Davis Cup atmosphere. Unfortunately in the end it didn’t work out for me but he served big and I will take today’s positive things into my next matches,” the Austrian said after the match.

 

The day ended well for Dominic Thiem when he advanced into the doubles semifinals together with his partner Maximilian Neuchrist, beating fourth-seeded team of Jamie Murray and John Peers 6-3, 6-4.

Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit. He’s in Vienna covering the Erste Bank Open as media. His special interest is in Spanish tennis and you can follow his twitter account @armadadetenis.

 

 
RESULTS – FRIDAY, 18 OCTOBER, 2013

Singles – Quarter-finals
[1] J Tsonga (FRA) d [WC] D Thiem (AUT) 64 36 76(3)
[2] T Haas (GER) d [5] R Stepanek (CZE) 76(10) 63
R Haase (NED) d [3] F Fognini (ITA) 67(4) 61 61
[8] L Rosol (CZE) d [Q] R Bemelmans (BEL) 63 16 63

Doubles – Quarter-finals
F Mergea (ROU) / L Rosol (CZE) d [1] A Peya (AUT) / B Soares (BRA) 75 36 10-8
[WC] M Neuchrist (AUT) / D Thiem (AUT) d [4] J Murray (GBR) / J Peers (AUS) 63 64

SCHEDULE – SATURDAY, 19 OCTOBER, 2013

CENTRE COURT start 2:00 pm
[8] L Rosol (CZE) vs [2] T Haas (GER)

Not Before 3:00 pm
[1] J Tsonga (FRA) vs R Haase (NED)
F Mergea (ROU) / L Rosol (CZE) vs [WC] M Neuchrist (AUT) / D Thiem (AUT)
[3] J Knowle (AUT) / D Nestor (CAN) vs [PR] J Levinsky (CZE) / M Pavic (CRO)

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Teams Named for 2014 Hopman Cup

 

(October 8, 2013) The official draw, teams and provisional schedule have been set for the mixed teams event,  the Hyundai Hopman Cup in Perth, Australia. The event will be held from December 28, 2013 through January 4, 2014.

 

     

 

   
  Schedule Time Matches
  Saturday 28 December 10:00 am Poland v Italy
    5:30 pm Canada v Australia
  Sunday 29 December 10:00 am Czech Republic v Spain
    5:30 pm Poland v Canada
  Monday 30 December 10:00 am USA v Spain
    5:30 pm France v Czech Republic
  Tuesday 31 December 10:00 am Italy v Australia
  Wednesday 1 January 5:30 pm USA v France
  Thursday 2 January 10:00 am Italy v Canada
    5:30 pm Poland v Australia
  Friday 3 January 10:00 am France v Spain
    5:30 pm Czech Republic v USA
  Saturday 4 January 5:30 pm Winner Group A v Winner Group B

 

 

Poland                                [15] Jerzy Janowicz and [4] Agnieszka Radwanska

USA                                     [13] John Isner and [12] Sloane Stephens

France                                [9] Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and [27] Alize Cornet

Canada                               [11] Milos Raonic and [35] Eugenie Bouchard

Czech Republic                [39] Radek Stepanek and [7] Petra Kvitova

Italy                                     [22] Andreas Seppi and [31] Flavia Pennetta

Australia                             [51] Bernard Tomic and [20] Sam Stosur

Spain                                   [19] Tommy Robredo and [98] Anabel Medina Garrigues

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