2014/04/19

In a Battle of Thirty-Somethings, Mikhail Youzhny Beats Lleyron Hewitt in Five Sets

Youzhny

(September 3, 2013) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – In a battle of tennis thirty-somethings, 31-year-old Mikhail Youzhny of Russia within two points of defeat came back against 32-year-old Australian Lleyton Hewitt to win 6-3, 3-6, 6-7 (3), 6-4, 7-5 in the fourth round of the US Open on Tuesday.

“I’m happy now, and it was really tough match,” said the Russian.  “Of course I’m happy because I play many matches against Lleyton, and I beat him only once in the Tokyo.

“I know that he’s great player and he’s great fighting player, I mean, who is fighting every point, every match.

“For me, this way what I beat him today, it’s really important actually.”

The 21st seed Youzhny’s best performances in majors have come at the US Open, making the semifinals in both 2006 and 2010.

Hewitt, a former No. 1 won the US Open back in 2002. He is currently ranked 66th in the world due to a series of injuries.

The match swayed back and forth, the Russian went up a set and a break and then momentum swung Hewitt’s way as he went up two sets to one.

Hewitt went up 3-0 and 4-1 in the fourth set but Youzhny bounced back with a run of six straight games.

In the fifth set both men exchanged breaks, with Hewitt gaining an additional break of serve moving to 5-2 lead and was two points away from taking the match. Hewitt served for the match at 5-3, but Youzhny broke him to make it 5-4 and won the next three games to seal the match.

In the end Hewitt won more points than his opponent during the match 146-145.

“Obviously could have gone either way,” Hewitt said.  “There was a lot of momentum changes, yeah, right from the start.

“Yeah, he had a lot of different swings out there where we both played better at certain stages for three or four games.  You know, it was hard for both of us to hold our serves at times as well out there.

“You know, in the end, he played the big games when he needed to.  He didn’t give me too many cheap errors.”

“When you’re on court you just try to continue to play every match, “the Russia said in regard to the momentum swings.  “Never know what happens in the match like today.  Sometimes Lleyton help me, sometimes I play well, so it looks like 4‑1 down, but it was just one break.

“Of course we have a lot of breaks today, and you understand maybe you have chance next game or just try to be focus and continue to fight.”

“It was tough match, and sometime ‑‑ it was many times during the match when I won the many games in the row and I lost many games in the row,” he continued.  “The same like I won many points in a row then lost like many more ten points in the row.

“So it was good rally some.  It was some good points, and just try to best what you can.”

Youzhny will play No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals.

“I have to play well,” Youzhny said. “First of all,” Youzhny continued, “I have to recover after this match.”

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Lleyton Hewitt Stuns Juan Martin Del Poto in Five Sets at US Open

LleytonHewittHOF

(August 30, 2013) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Twelve years ago Australian Lleyton Hewitt won the US Open title. At 32-years-old the veteran and former No. 1, came back to upset sixth seed and 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin Del Poto Potro 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 7-6 (2), 6-1 in four hours and three minutes, to move into the third round of the US Open.

“It was unbelievable atmosphere,” Hewitt said. “I just kept fighting and putting it out there.  You know, I kept coming at him the whole night.  Felt like I was seeing the ball well.  Felt like I played a good game plan for most of the night as well.

“Yeah, through the fourth set I felt like even though I was down on the scoreboard two sets to one, I felt like I was getting in more of his service games, holding a little bit more comfortable.  Possibly he was getting that half a step slower through that fourth set.”

“A couple years ago, when I had a couple foot surgeries, I didn’t know if I was going to play tennis again,” Hewitt said.

“For me to be out here competing, it’s a … lot of fun. I cherish every match I get out there. This is why I still play, to have moments like this.”

The difference in the match came in the unforced errors department. Del Potro made 70 errors with most of them coming on his backhand side.

“He’s a great champion, a great fighter, and for the second round, he’s a very difficult player to play,” Del Potro said.

”I wish all the best.  I like when he’s winning and when he’s doing well, he’s healthy.  He play like he has a chance to go far in this tournament.

”Of course, I wish all the best to him.  I have a good relationship.  He’s a very good player to play, and that’s it.”

 

Hewitt will play 102nd-ranked Evgeny Donskoy of Russia in the third round.

“I hit with him a couple of days ago,” Hewitt said. “First time I’d ever seen him.”

“We practiced the day before my first‑round match.  Yeah, his coach just came up and asked.  I didn’t really know the guy at all.  It was only because we both had Wednesday starts that we hit together.

“Yeah, he’s a typical sort of Russian/Czech kind of player.  Good double‑handed backhand.  Very good across the baseline with both his groundstrokes.  Hits the ball pretty flat.  He’s kind of a Davydenko kind of player.

“He’s not going to be easy by no means.  I think he beat Youzhny at the Aussie Open this year and had some decent wins.

“I’ll enjoy the win tonight, recovery tomorrow, and start focusing on that.”

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Tennis Legends Gather At ‘No. 1 Celebration’ To Commemorate 40 Years Of Emirates ATP Rankings

 

From the ATP World Tour – AUGUST 24, 2013 -NEW YORK — ATP World Tour No. 1s past and present gathered to mark the 40th anniversary of the Emirates ATP Rankings at the ‘No. 1 Celebration’, Friday night at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.

Ilie Nastase, who became the first ATP World No. 1 on 23 August 1973, was present to be honoured on the night, along with successors John Newcombe, Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl, Mats Wilander, Stefan Edberg, Jim Courier, Marcelo Rios, Carlos Moya, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Gustavo Kuerten, Lleyton Hewitt, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Andy Roddick, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

The legends each took part in an on-stage Q&A with Justin Gimelstob and Guy Forget, sharing their experiences of reaching the summit of world tennis, before posing for a group photo with the ATP World Tour No. 1 trophy. Each year-end No. 1 received an engraved replica of the trophy.

No. 1 Celebration  Nadal, Federer

“It’s definitely an ultimate goal for any athlete, not just tennis players,” said current World No. 1 Djokovic. “Growing up, in early childhood, you are inspired to show that love and appreciation and passion towards the sport, and of course there is this big drive – waking up every morning, working so hard, developing skills to be No. 1 in the world. Not many players have achieved that and to sit with fellow champions, it’s an incredible feeling… I’m really honoured to be here.”

Watch Highlights Of No. 1 Celebration

Federer, who held the No. 1 ranking for a record 302 weeks, spoke about sharing the stage with the players who inspired him. “It was very important for me to have someone to look up to. Stefan was one of them, so it’s nice to see you here tonight and all the others players… We’ve put such huge effort in the game, and that’s a platform we can enjoy today. So it’s unbelievable. Thanks for being an inspiration Stefan, all of you here today.”

On a lighter note, a self-deprecating Roddick said, “It is an honour to be the worst player in the room.” Fellow American Courier added, “It’s a great honour to be here among friends. I dreamed of being in this arena, and to be part of this group is mind-blowing.”

Year-End No. 1s  McEnroe, Djokovic

The evening, part of the broader ATP Heritage programme, also included a tribute to former ATP Executive Chairman and President Brad Drewett, who passed away in May following a battle with Motor Neurone Disease. Drewett founded the ATP Heritage programme earlier this year.

“Brad cherished the history of the ATP and men’s professional tennis in general,” said Mark Young, CEO ATP Americas. “Tonight’s celebration is a reflection of that. It was his vision to see all the No. 1 players gathered together as we honoured their achievements.”

The ATP Heritage programme, with the support of its founding partner Rolex, will continue to serve as a platform to celebrate the rich history of the ATP and the remarkable achievements of the world’s greatest players throughout history.

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Mahut Tops Hewitt for Newport Title and Also Wins Doubles

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(July 15, 2013) Nicolas Mahut won four matches at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships over the past two days to claim both the singles and doubles titles at the tournament Newport. Monday morning, he paired with Edouard Roger-Vasselin to claim their fourth title as a team, coming back to beat the American pairing of Tim Smyczek and Rhyne Williams, 6-7(4), 6-2, 10-5. Sunday Mahut defeated Lleyton Hewitt in the singles final for his second career title, his first coming last month at ‘s-Hertogenbosch.

 

“First to win the singles is a big accomplishment,” said Mahut. “To win both in the same week, singles and doubles, it’s amazing. When I look back a month ago, I was ranked 240, then I played the French Open final in doubles, won two titles, won another one in doubles, it’s just a great achievement. I just don’t think I even realize it all yet.”

 

Due to rain over the weekend, the tournament semifinals were moved from Saturday to Sunday. Mahut played three matches on Sunday – singles and doubles semifinals, and singles final, as well as this morning’s doubles final. In 2010, Mahut competed in the longest match in tennis history, when he and John Isner played for 11 hours and 5 minutes at 2010 Wimbledon before Isner won 70-68 in the fifth set.

 

Mahut is the first player on the ATP World Tour to win both singles and doubles titles at the same event this season. He is the third player in the history of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships to do so (Rajeev Ram in 2009 and Dan Goldie in 1987).

 

 

“When you want to win a final, everything can happen. I just can’t believe it’s true,” Mahut said of winning the singles crown.

“A month ago I was playing to make the cut for the qualies at the US Open, I was [ranked] 240 with some points to defend. I told my coach, I have to play great on grass to make the cut for the qualies. A month later I have two titles.”

“It’s always easier to come back onto court after wins. You know I can play a long time, I can stay a long time on the court.”

 

As for winning the doubles, Mahut said: “I wasn’t feeling 100 per cent at the beginning, but in the end, I played good at the right time and Edouard played really well.”

“First to win the singles is a big accomplishment. To win the same week, singles and doubles, it is the first time it has happened to me in my career, and it’s amazing. When I look back a month ago, I was ranked 240, then I played the French Open in doubles, won two titles, won another one in doubles. It’s just a great achievement. I don’t think I even realise it all yet. It’s incredible what has happened to me in the past month.”

“I was maybe going to stop playing singles because my [ATP] Ranking was too low only a month ago, so I was thinking to play maybe just doubles, and a month later I’m back in the Top 100. It’s just unbelievable.”

By winning the singles title, Mahut has moved up 52 spots to in the ATP Rankings to World No. 75.

 

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Brown Dusts Off Hewitt to Move into Wimbledon Third Round

Dustin Brown

(June 26, 2013) Just a few years Dustin Brown traveled through Europe in a camper van. On Wednesday he camped out on Wimbledon’s  Court No. 2 to complete the biggest win of his career by stunning former Wimbledon champion Lleyton Hewitt 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-2.

“I still have the van,” Brown said.  “It’s parked in Germany at my parents’ place.”

“I haven’t been doing that since 2009.  It just doesn’t work, playing the challengers and tour events.  In doubles I was 43 already.  Just going from tournament to tournament, you can’t do it.  It’s too far around.”

Brown was born to a Jamaican father and a German mother. He switched his nationality from Jamaican to German back in 2010.

“I have two passports,” Brown said.  “I have a German passport and Jamaica passport.  Everybody knows there’s a lot of trouble with the Jamaican Federation.  I couldn’t be bothered with that.  I tried for 15 years.  I’m playing for Germany now.  There’s no looking to change anything.”

Ranked 196th in the world, he gained entrance into the main draw as a qualifier. His game is that of the old-school serve and volley style. He came to the net 87 times and had 74 winners.

“Today in the tiebreak I was up 3‑1, I thought,” Brown said. “This is a pretty good chance.  Hit a good first serve.  Lleyton returns unbelievable.  In that tiebreak he came up with three very good returns.

“I guess it helped that I’m playing Lleyton Hewitt there.  I’m like, Okay, what can I do?  I just got to keep playing maximum two more sets.  Win or lose, just go with it, just keep playing, try your best.”

“Just happy and emotional and everything,” Brown said of the win.  “I have a lot of friends here, my coach is here, my girlfriend is here.  I’m very happy about everything.  Yeah, just been a very long way.  Just happy that I actually got through the match.”

After the win Brown admitted that he cried “like a girl.”

Hewitt was frustrated during the match.

“Just couldn’t really get my teeth into the match,” Hewitt said.  “I didn’t serve great.  You know, I was just off balance a lot of times out there.

Yeah, he played well, though.  He’s very unpredictable out there.  He served well, especially when he needed to, on breakpoints.  You know, 15‑30, 30‑All points.  You know, I didn’t quite get a look in.  When I did, went up that early break in the second set, couldn’t quite keep that break and keep some pressure on him.”

Brown will play France’s Adrian Mannarino for place in the fourth round.

Related article:

 Jamaica’s Dustin Brown Continuing a Career season

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Murray Off to a Running Start at Wimbledon, Hewitt Stuns Wawrinka

Andy Murray © Tennis Panorama

(June 24, 2013) Andy Murray began his quest a Wimbledon title with a straightforward 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 win over Benjamin Becker.

“It was a good start.  He’s a tough player.  I thought it was a pretty high‑standard match, apart from a few games in the middle of the first set.

“But, yeah, we had a lot of good rallies.  He served well for the first couple of sets.”

Last year Murray was the Wimbledon runner-up to Roger Federer, but a month later Murray won the Olympic gold medal besting Federer in straight sets.

LleytonHewittHOF

2002 Wimbledon champion Lleyton Hewitt upset 11th seed Stanislas Wawrinka 6-4, 7-5, 6-3. No. 70 Hewitt had seen his ranking fall to No. 233 due to various injuries.

Hewitt is playing in his 15th straight Wimbledon and 57th major of his career.

Hewitt spoke about his emotions during the match:

“I guess I had so many things going through my mind.  Obviously, I just wanted to try to wrap it up in straight sets.  It was getting dark out there.  I was up two sets and a break.  I was fighting so hard to keep holding serve, weathering the storm out there throughout the whole third set.  I felt so close yet so far away from it there for a while.

“It was just sort of a matter of battling down.  Obviously, everything I’ve been through as well.  The last two years I’ve come here and I’ve competed, but, yeah, last year I don’t think I was even close to 50% physically.

Yeah, you just enjoy the moment.”

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Notes and Quotes From Day One at the 2013 French Open

 

(May 26, 2013) A few of the quotes from the news conferences from Day 1 at the French Open.

Venus Williams

Asked about her preparation for Roland Garros:

“Extremely unideal.

“Definitely, you know ‑‑ definitely been struggling.  Just wanted to come here and try to ‑‑ you know, try to play.  I mean, I think my movement is awesome, but I just haven’t played any matches and just haven’t hit any serves, and it’s just hard to be perfect in the first match.

“I think there were periods where, you know, I found some rhythm and there were periods where I didn’t.  I tried very hard, but my opponent just played a little better.”

 

Venus admitted that problems with her back prevented her from serving with more speed:

“I can’t really serve very hard.  It’s painful when I do that.  But I’m getting better.  I just, you know, ran out of time to get better for this tournament.

“My strategy was more or less to put the ball in, and that’s very difficult for me, too, because that’s not who I am.  But that’s all I had.  So that was challenging to, you know, be conservative on the serve and then go to be aggressive during the point.  It’s like, you know, you have to, you know, suddenly change your mindset.  That’s a little challenging.

“So I’m just, you know, obviously going to try to, you know ‑‑ I want my serve back.  I’m going to try to get it back for Wimbledon.”

“Sometimes you can just play yourself into the tournaments, and maybe if I was able to win that match maybe I could have continued to play better off the ground.  I’m not sure how much better I could play off the serve.

“That’s sometimes how it works in tennis, but it’s just been a very challenging injury for me.”

Serena Williams

 

Asked about her rivalry with Martina Hingis and if her role as coach is a good thing for women’s tennis.

“I don’t know if it’s good for women’s tennis, but it’s exciting to see Martina around and see her wisdom going to another player.  And Pavlyuchenkova, I know she had a really good win today.  Tough win.  It was good for her.

“I have seen improvements already.  I think they make a great team.  They get along well.  They seem to have so much fun.  I think it’s really nice.

 

 

Pablo Carreno Busta

After his loss to Roger Federer, Carreno Busta was asked about the difference between playing the futures and challenger events versus the ATP Tour.

“Yeah, in futures the players plays good, but maybe the level was really different.  Roger is No. 2 of the world and was maybe the best in the history, so I think that it’s impossible compare the level in futures with the level of Roger.

“I think I play eight futures this year and I play really good.  I won seven, and it was very, very good for my confidence and for my level in tennis.

“But I think now for me the best time to be better is playing these matches and with these opponents.”

 

Roger Federer

 

Federer shared his opinion about the Sunday starts at the French Open:

“Well, I mean, yeah, I mean, I remember they sort of forced me to play on Sunday years back to promote their Sunday thing.  I was against it just because I felt like the way they got the Sunday, you know, first was maybe, oh, let’s try it out.  Next thing you know like they have it for a lifetime or what?  Is that how it works?

“So I didn’t agree with how things went along.  From that standpoint today, you know, it is what it is, but it is the only Grand Slam that has it.  Wimbledon does it in 13 days and the French does it in 15.

“So it doesn’t make sense, but I do understand that a weekend for tennis is very important for the people who can show up instead of ‑‑ it anyway is very odd that we do start the tournament week on a Monday where everybody goes back to work.  Doesn’t really work.

“But, anyway, it’s how we are.  So I get the Sunday start, but it’s always something that’s a debate, you know, within the ATP and the French Open.

“But I’m happy this time around.  I told them if they wanted me to play Sunday, whatever, I’m fine with it.  They took that opportunity right away, so… (He said smiling)”

Sara Errani

Last year’s losing finalist gave her thoughts about returning to the finals this year:

” I’m not thinking about that.  It’s a new tournament for me.  Also last year was unbelievable tournament, best tournament of my life, how you say.

“I don’t want to think about that.  I just want to come here and play another tournament, a new tournament like I do other week, try to think that it’s important tournament, but is only one more tournament.

“So I try to be like that, try to concentrate on my tennis, not too much about last year or what I defend and these things.”

 

Xavier Malisse

 

After his loss to Milos Raonic,Malise gave his houghts on playing Roland Garros next year:

“Perhaps I will come back, but not necessarily in the top ranks.  I don’t know.  It’s difficult really to say.  After last year I felt as though I was really done so I don’t know if I could have come back, but of course here I am.  Who knows what’s going to happen now.

“But I would like to play one more year.  It’s nice playing here because it’s all very special here because everybody is here and the Belgians are here.

“But you never know.  You never know what the future will hold.”

 

Mallory Burdette

Asked about how comfortable she felt playing on clay:

“It’s definitely a bit of a different game, but it’s nothing that we can’t adjust to.  I can’t really speak for the other players, but it’s a bit of a challenge.  You have to change up your strategy a little bit, especially if you’re a big hitter.

“It takes a little bit of effort, but it’s fun and it’s a good challenge.

 

Stanford grad Burdette was asked what advice would she give high school seniors deciding whether or not to go to college.

“I think one of the biggest things is to realize that everybody is different.  So your path may be very different from someone else’s.

“When it comes to assessing your game, I would say get a lot of opinions from other coaches, hear what they have to say.

“Also, what are you comfortable with right now?  Do you feel like you’re in a position mentally and emotionally where you can grow and develop while you’re on your own on the tour?  Then go for it.  You have a good support system, financially everything is in line.

“If you feel like you can’t do that, then school is a great option.  It’s a place where you can grow and develop and go through some tough times.  You have a team there to support you and coaches with you at all times; whereas on the tour you’re a little bit more on your own.

“So it depends on the individual.  You really just have to lok at what will work for you.”

 

Milos Raonic

 

Raonic who is now working with former pro Ivan Ljubicic commented on the difference between working with his old coach and now Ljubicic.

 

“I don’t think there is really too much difference.  I think just since it’s a new start with something, you just sort of go forward with it, with the game plan, and you sort of just lay that trust there.

“And just part of it is to be a bit more aggressive, to be quite a bit more aggressive and try to make the opponent more and more comfortable and not really settle for rally shots, trying to have more purpose on every shot, trying to sort of get that rather than waiting for my opponent to give it to me.  Sort of reaching out there and trying to take it for myself.

“Ivan is helping me out as a friend at the moment.”

 

Gilles Simon

What was going on in Simon’s mind when Hewitt evened the fifth set at 5-5:

“Well, I knew in the game I had to play against him, but unfortunately I just didn’t manage to do it at the beginning.  That’s the least I can say.

“I was feeling bad.  I didn’t have a good rhythm on the court.  It takes me a long time to find it.  Then it was better, a lot better.  I was in control.

“But unfortunately at the end he played one more time great tennis.  And it’s never easy to finish when you see the guy coming back 5‑1, 5‑2, 5‑3 after a few match points.

“So I’m just happy that I managed to win this one.  I think it was a very difficult match today for me, and I just hope I’m going to be better on the next round.”

 

Lleyton Hewitt

“It was more just blisters on my toe.  You know, it was uncomfortable but you can play through it.  He obviously stepped up his game from the start of the third set.  I was able to hang in there.  I had small opportunities.

“Broke back and got on serve at 3‑All and couldn’t quite ‑‑ if I could have kept in front in the third set and put a bit more pressure on him towards the end of the set I might have had a bit of a chance.”

“You know, would have liked to have been on the other end of it.  Yeah, disappointing, but, yeah, I didn’t obviously come here with massive expectations.”

Sam Querrey

On only his second win at Roland Garros:

“Yeah, feels great to get a win.  My other win was on this court, too, so that’s the only court I can win on here.

“The clay season has been a little rough.  Pulled out of Houston, and the Masters Series, I played well in both of them, but took two losses.  And then Nice was a little disappointing.

“I just focused on my attitude out here today and played the best match I’ve played all year on any surface.”

Shelby Rogers

 

My first Grand Slam main draw win.  And especially against a French player.  I was expecting the crowd to be against me.  I was ready for a battle.  She’s a good player and has got a lot of power.  Great serve.

“So I was ready for a battle; things turned out in my favor today.”

 

Michael Llodra

 

On whether or not he’ll retire after this year:

“I made my decision.  Because it’s still great pleasure.  So it’s going to be another year where I’ll have to play on the tournaments on which I feel good.

“But I made that decision.  I have too much fun on the court.  I’m in good shape.  And it’s always pleasant to have people supporting you, saying, Well, you’re one of the last ones playing with the kind of game you have.

“So I will probably have a lighter schedule.  But there are tournaments I like playing on, and I will continue.”

 

David Ferrer

Ferrer on his admiration of Lleyton Hewitt:

“Well, I saw what he did during his match, Hewitt, yeah.  He’s a player whom I admire.  He was like a benchmark for me from the very first day when I started playing tennis, because he’s such an excellent player.

“But, you know, at the end of the day everybody does their best, and experience counts a lot.  But the most important thing is that you have to love tennis.  Lleyton was No. 1.  Well, today he’s not got his best ranking, but he’s still fighting.

“And we, the younger generations ‑‑ or, rather, when we were young and for younger players, it’s a reference.  He should be considered as a reference.  They should look at him and see that he always reacts in a positive way.  Even though sometimes you’re down, your scores are awful, you do your best.  And this is something I admire from Lleyton.”

 

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News

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International Premier Tennis League Launched

Paris, France (May 24th, 2013) – Mahesh Bhupathi, Boris Becker and Justin Gimelstob announced the launch of the IPTL - International Premier Tennis League on Friday.

The IPTL  is a city/country based franchise led league involving not only the current Men’s and Women’s players but also the Legends of the game.

The Franchises in the League will be city based across Asia. The first season of the IPTL will witness participation of 6 teams. Additional teams will be added in the 2nd and 3rd seasons of the League.

Each match will consist of 5 sets with no-ad scoring: Men’s Singles, Women’s Singles, Men’s Doubles, Mixed Doubles and Legends Singles (Men)

The IPTL will be held in December 2014 as the Player Auction will be organized in Melbourne in January 2014. IPTL has confirmed player participation from Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka, Li Na, Thomas Berdych, Janko Tipsarevic, Lleyton Hewitt, John Isner, Caroline Wozniacki, Pete Sampras and Carlos Moya.

 

“I believe the future consumer wants to belong to something – and having a team they can support will be what motivates them to become a consumer of tennis. We have put together the ingredients to create something exciting that will activate the entire tennis industry,” said league founder and ATP doubles player Mahesh Bhupathi.

 

Former World No. 1 Boris Becker and Founding Partner of the league said, “This is what the sport needs, the best players in the world playing in a new time sensitive format that would get TV networks excited. Hopefully this can grow into a worldwide property with multiple team owners.”

 

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic said that it’s a revolutionary idea: “It will change the image of the sport and help its popularity. I really look forward to be part of that competition and play.”

 

“It’s like a dream come true to play with Legends. Playing on a team is fun and really kind of cool. I like it.” said world No.1 Serena Williams.

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Bernard Tomic Excited for Davis Cup Return

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By Amy Fetherolf

(March 23, 2013) MIAMI - I spoke with Bernard Tomic, who recently revealed that Australia’s Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter has asked him to play in their next tie against Uzbekistan, ending a dramatic standoff between Tomic and Tennis Australia.

Amy Fetherolf: Who approached whom during the talks to get you back in the Davis Cup fold? Did you talk to Pat Rafter or did he approach you?

Bernard Tomic: It was a decision we were going to meet at the Australian Open. I said to him very clear I’ll be ready to play and I’ll be available. I was told that I wasn’t going to play the second one. Was a whole lot of nonsense I think, because at the end of the day I said, “Possibly, we’ll see.” When I had a chat with him, everything was fine. The last thing I want do is not play Davis Cup. It’s a huge thing for me, and everybody on the team is ready to go now. Like I said, I’m happy to get this chance to play. Wherever it is, I’m going to try very hard, and hopefully we can win as a team.

AF: What was the rationale behind Rafter inviting you to play again? You’ve talked a lot about working harder lately. Was it a result of your improved work ethic, or was it something else?

BT: I think obviously my results the last two months have been really good. Obviously, Pat had to make a decision whether to pick me, and we had a chat. I’m happy he did pick me, and I’m ready to play. It’s amazing for me to play Davis Cup. In the future, I never want to miss a tie. Davis Cup for me is huge. I’m ready to go and to get back on a roll playing for Australia.

AF: So you and Lleyton are preparing to possibly play doubles in Davis Cup? [The pair is scheduled to play doubles together in Miami.]

BT: Yeah, we are. This is the first time. It was a dream for me growing up to meet Lleyton. Now to play with him for the first time in an actual tournament, today’s a very, very cool day for me. I’m going to use it as much as I can to play Lleyton. I learn so much every time I practice with him and when I’m with him. He’s an amazing guy, hopefully we can win some doubles.

AF: You two have been practicing together a lot lately, and Lleyton said that you spent a great deal of time together during the Olympics. Has the relationship between you two warmed up?

BT: The relationship’s fine. He’s an amazing guy. I’ve come to learn the last few years what impact he’s had for tennis, not just for me, but for a lot of people and kids around the world. To spend time with him and learn a lot from a person like that who was a former champion, if you can learn from that, you only do yourself good.

Amy Fetherolf‏ is covering the Sony Open as media for Tennis Panorama News (@TennisNewsTPN). She is a co-founder of The Changeover. Follow her on Twitter at @AmyFetherolf.

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Lleyton Hewitt Sony Open News Conference – March 20, 2013

LleytonHewittHOF

 

L. HEWITT/J. Sousa

6-1, 7-6

An interview with:

LLEYTON HEWITT

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Can you just talk a little bit about being back here and just what it means to be back at the Sony and be able to open up the way you did today?
LLEYTON HEWITT:  Yeah, well, it’s always good to be back at tournaments where you’ve played well in the past, big tournaments, as well, that I have enjoyed playing at.
Yeah, when you’re out injured and just had surgery and rehab, feels like a long way away to getting back out there and playing the big tournaments again.
Yeah, you probably enjoy it a little bit more when you’re able to come back and bounce back from, yeah, injuries, to be back competing at these tournaments.  You know, it’s nice to be back out there on center court today, too.

Q.  Can you comment on today’s match?  A couple of opportunities to close it out, and then he came up with some good stuff at those moments.
LLEYTON HEWITT:  Yeah, I never really had seen him play.  I watched a little bit of footage of him at the Australian Open this year, but apart from that I didn’t really know how he played.
He played way better every time he was behind in the match.  Whenever he’d get back on serve in the second set he actually played worse; when he was behind he sort of just went for it a lot more.  That was tough because he sort of had nothing to lose, I guess.
You know, the conditions with the wind as well playing up the end that you walk in, it was definitely, you know, into the breeze a lot more, so trying to close out that game at 6 5 wasn’t easy.
And to my credit, though, I bounced back early in the tiebreak and got the advantage.

Q.  Comment on the conditions.  The conditions at Indian Wells compared to here are just so opposite.  What do you prefer playing in?
LLEYTON HEWITT:  Me, probably Indian Wells suits my game probably a little bit better, I’d say.
These are very heavy conditions here. Balls get a lot heavier quicker. Obviously the humidity as well makes it a heavier feeling out there; whereas the ball flies a lot more in Indian Wells.

Q. You touched on the topic of the injuries and everything you have had to endure. Have you thought about calling it quits, or is this still just a passion for you here?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Obviously when you have surgeries    the last surgery I had, you know, if I didn’t have it done I would have had to retire anyway. People still thought I wouldn’t be able to come back and play tennis anyway when I had the surgery.
Yeah, definitely goes to through your mind before any operation. Nothing is 100%. You know, I just did all the rehab and everything that, you know, I possibly could. And, you know, for me, if you miss it when you are doing rehab and getting back, then you obviously know your motivation is still there.
That’s the toughest thing is coming back from the surgeries.

Q. You had a big win in Indian Wells knocking out a top 20 player in John Isner. What did it mean to get a huge win against a player on home soil and confidence coming here to Miami?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, it gives me confidence for the rest of the year, really. Isner on those courts and Indian Wells, he’s not easy for anyone, as you saw last year him making the finals.
The way his serve bounces, you know, I felt my game matched up with him pretty well last week. I played a smart match, and then, yeah, I didn’t play terrible against with Wawrinka. He was just too good on the night.

Q. On the line of the surgery and somebody suggesting you wouldn’t be able to come back and couldn’t, how much of your return was to prove others wrong but also to prove to yourself that you still had it very much in you?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It’s not so much to prove others wrong. You know, I tried to get the best advice possible.
The thing was the surgery that I had, there is really no other athletes that have had it done and then tried to come back and play. Normally it’s someone probably 60, 70 years old that’s had it done.
That was the tough thing, trying to find    no one could give me 100% guarantee it was going to work and that I’d be able to come back playing. If you look at the dynamics of it, yeah, a lot of the surgeons are probably right. Technically I probably shouldn’t be able to keep running around the court.
Yeah, I have always been one to obviously try 100% and do things out there and do it the hard way, and, yeah, probably made me a little bit more determined.

Q. And what about Simon in the next round?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I have never beaten him. He’s a different player. He obviously plays with a bit of finesse out there; moves the ball around extremely well. Obviously his movement is a big part of his game, as well. He can pull the trigger when he wants to on his first serve, but also on the baseline.
So, yeah, I lost to him here a few years ago pretty comfortably, so I look forward to it.

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