2014/04/24

Serena Williams Wins WTA Player of the Year Award

(November 29, 2012) Serena Williams has been named Player of the Year for 2012 by the WTA.

The American woman who went 48-2 in the last 7 months of the season, won Wimbledon, the US Open and the singles and doubles gold medals at the London Olympics.

For Williams, this is her fourth time claiming the award voted on by international tennis media. She won previously in 2002, 2008 and 2009. She is one of three players who has captured the award more than twice – Steffi Graf won it 8 times while Martina Navratilova accomplished the feat 7 times.

Williams ended the season at No. 3 in the world.

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Montreal Welcomes Back its Legends

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin

 

MONTREAL – On Monday night, the 2012 Women’s Rogers Cup in Montreal was launched with some impressive guests. In its annual Legends matches, now moved to the opening night for the first time, the local crowd cheered on Michael Chang, Jim Courier, Martina Hingis and Martina Navratilova as they exchanged groundstrokes and jokes at Uniprix Stadium.

 

While the four players received a large welcome, you could feel a sense of disappointment as Andre Agassi, the obvious star of the event, had to withdraw earlier this week due to a back injury. The American, always popular in Canada with his three titles in the 90s, had last been seen on this court in 2005 when he lost a close final to Rafael Nadal. “No one is more disappointed than me and I promise you that I will be back the first opportunity I have!”, Agassi mentioned in a statement.“ I want to extend my personal “best of luck” to one of the greatest tournaments in the world and some of tennis’ greatest fans!”

 

His substitute, Michael Chang did a great job in amusing the crowd, mixing his impressive defensive game with punchy serves and comments.  The former French Open champion overpowered his fellow countryman Courier throughout their singles set, which he won 8-6. The two were then joined by Hingis and Navratilova in an entertaining mixed doubles match, which combined on the same court an impressive total of 79 Grand Slam trophies.

 

Courier and Hingis had previously just been introduced to the Rogers Cup Hall of Fame, which recognized their contribution to the Canadian event.  They joined their popular colleague Navratilova, as well as other tennis greats such as Agassi, Seles, Courier, Sanchez-Vicario and Connors. Hingis, winner of the Rogers Cup in 1999 and 2000, revealed that the Rogers Cup was one of her favorite stops on the tour. ‘’It is an honor to be inducted in the Rogers Cup Hall of Fame!”, she said in flawless French to the impressed crowd. “This city loves its tennis and I always felt welcome in Montreal.”

 

The Legends were preceded on court by an exhibition match featuring local player Stephanie Dubois, who will be participating in her 8th consecutive Rogers Cup main draw, Vancouver 2010 Olympics medalists Alexandre Bilodeau (moguls, gold) and Joannie Rochette (figure skating, bronze), as well as numerous comedians, athletes and actors.

 

This night was the official start of this 2012 edition. Main draw matches will start on Tuesday morning, while the sixteen seeds will come in action starting Wednesday.
Charles David Mathieu-Poulin blogs for WtaQuebec www.wtaquebec.com, a website promoting local Quebec players. He is covering the Rogers Cup in Montreal for Tennis Panorama News. Follow him on twitter @earthstroke, follow his Montreal coverage on @TennnisNewsTPN.

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Martina Navratilova presented Hall of Fame ring during Tennis Channel’s Wimbledon coverage

Having captured 59 Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles, the great Martina Navratilova truly earned her place as one of the most impressive and important figures in women’s tennis. She won a title at Wimbledon 20 times, a record shared with Billie Jean King, and she is one of just three women to have achieved a Grand Slam boxed set– meaning she won all four majors in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles. Today, Navratilova serves as a tennis commentator for Tennis Channel and she remains one of the most highly regarded and respected authorities on the sport. In recognition of all of her achievements, in the year 2000, Navratilova was presented the highest honor in tennis– induction to the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Today, this important achievement was celebrated once again, when Navratilova was presented her official Hall of Fame ring. The presentation, which was a surprise for Navratilova, was done in the Tennis Channel’s Wimbledon broadcast booth, and it will air tonight on Wimbledon Primetime. The ring was presented by Hall of Fame Chairman Christopher Clouser, who had some help from a special guest, Navratilova’s good friend and a fellow Hall of Famer, Chris Evert. Also participating in the presentation was Tennis Channel’s Bill Macatee who works alongside Navratilova on the network.

 

“Martina Navratilova is one of the most dedicated women in tennis. She is an inspiration to so many, and is truly a legend of our sport,” said Clouser. “Today, we are pleased to be able to recognize her achievements with this special ring, which only the most successful individuals in tennis will have the honor of wearing. We extend our appreciation to Tennis Channel for supporting this well-deserved recognition.”

Martina Navratilova Hall of Fame ring
Tennis Channel’s Bill Macatee, Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, ITHF Chairman Christopher Clouser.
Photo by Fred Mullane/camerawork usa

 

Navratilova’s extraordinary tennis career spanned three decades. She won her first professional title in 1975 and her last in 2006, accumulating 167 singles titles and 177 doubles titles over the years-more than any other woman in the Open Era. Navratilova won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, 31 major doubles titles (an all-time record), and 10 major mixed doubles titles. Her success at Wimbledon was unmatched, as she reached the Wimbledon singles final 12 times, including nine consecutive years from 1982 through 1990, and won the women’s singles title at Wimbledon a record nine times, in addition to winning seven doubles titles and four mixed doubles titles. In 1984, Navratilova partnered with Pam Shriver for a Grand Slam, winning all four majors in doubles. In addition she won the season ending WTA Tour Championships a record 8 times. Since retiring, Navratilova become a commentator for Tennis Channel and is a staple of their on-air team. She is also a national spokesperson and the Health and Fitness Ambassador for AARP.

 

The Hall of Fame rings were introduced last year and are being presented to Hall of Famers at tennis events around the world over the next few years as a special symbol of their induction. Hall of Fame ring ceremonies have been hosted recently at La Grande Nuit de Tennis at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, where Frankie Durr, Ilie Nastase, Nicola Pietrangeli, and Gianni Clerici were honored, the SAP Open in San Jose, where Stan Smith received his ring, and at the Copa Claro tournament in Buenos Aires, where Gabriela Sabatini was presented her ring. The ring presentations have offered a platform for tennis fans to re-connect with some of the greatest champions of the sport at venues and events that have significant meaning to the Hall of Famers and their fans.

 

Hall of Famer ringThe personalized rings bear a green stone set in gold, to complement the Hall of Fame’s brand colors. In addition, the rings are etched with each honoree’s name and the Hall of Fame logo crest. The rings have been generously underwritten by The Bruce T. Halle Family of Scottsdale, Arizona.

 

Since 1955, 220 of the greatest champions and contributors to the sport have been inducted to the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Presently, there are 84 Hall of Famers living in 16 different countries, a testament to the global reach of the game. Located in Newport, Rhode Island, the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is a non-profit institution dedicated to preserving the history of tennis and honoring the game’s greatest heroes. In addition, the Hall of Fame provides a landmark for tennis enthusiasts, offering an extensive museum that chronicles the history of the sport and its stars, historic grass tennis courts that date back to 1880 and are open to the public, an ATP World Tour tournament and the annual Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in July, and numerous public events year-round. To learn more, visit tennisfame.com.

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Evert, Graf, Navratilova and Late Wheelchair Star Randy Snow to be Part of Charitable Initiative “Avenue of Aces” at US Open

 

USTA Serves, the National Charitable Foundation of the United States Tennis Association, announced on Tuesday that it will complement its donor-supported Avenue of Aces by adding new “neighborhoods” honoring US Open singles champions Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Stefanie Graf, and the late wheelchair tennis pioneer Randy Snow. They join tennis legends Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe and Billie Jean King in lending their names to the Avenue of Aces charitable initiative, which allows the public to order their own personalized pavers.

 

The Avenue of Aces provides an opportunity for supporters of USTA Serves to create a lasting legacy by ordering personalized pavers on the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center—the home of the US Open. Since its inception in 2005, the Avenue of Aces initiative has raised more than $1.5 million to support programs that benefit people with disabilities and children in underserved communities with opportunities to play tennis, fight obesity, improve academics, and apply for college scholarships.

 

“USTA Serves is honored to have the support of these great champions to help make a difference in the lives of America’s youth,” said Mary Carillo, President, USTA Serves. “Through the Avenue of Aces Neighborhood initiative, USTA Serves will be able to expand tennis and educational opportunities in underserved communities across the nation.”

 

USTA Serves has granted more than $10 million to fund 226 programs in 43 states, including $600,000 to adaptive tennis programs for people with special needs. In addition, USTA Serves has awarded more than $4 million in college scholarships and player incentive awards to more than 770 middle school students and high school seniors. To date, USTA Serves has awarded more than $14 million in grants and scholarships to people and programs throughout the country in order to provide the underserved youth with greater opportunities to realize success.

 

“I’m honored to have a neighborhood on the Avenue of Aces, to be a part of US Open history and to be moving in with other champions,” said Navratilova. “I support USTA Serves’ efforts to use the powerful combination of tennis and education to make our youth healthy, fit and academically strong.”

 

Those wishing to order a paver in the neighborhood of their favorite champion may do so by visiting www.ustaserves.com/paver or by calling (914) 696-7223.

 

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Tennis News Net Notes Podcast for February 28, 2012

A brief look at the news headlines of the day in the tennis world.

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Family Circle Cup to Hold 40th Anniversary Celebration

The Family Circle Cup announces 40Love: A Night of Empowerment Celebrating 40 Years of the Family Circle Cup, a special evening presented by Dove, featuring a reunion of the Original 9, including Billie Jean King and first-ever Family Circle Cup Champion Rosie Casals. Honorary coaches Billie Jean King and Virginia Wade will lead a star-studded World TeamTennis-style exhibition with former Family Circle Cup champions Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Tracy Austin, Martina Hingis and Rennae Stubbs, along with tennis legend Jimmy Connors and American standout Aaron Krickstein.

 

40Love: A Night of Empowerment Celebrating 40 Years of the Family Circle Cup presented by Dove begins promptly at 7:00pm on Saturday, April 7th, 2012. Tickets for this event are on-sale now, with seating options available throughout Family Circle Stadium.  Pricing begins at $20 in the Grandstand, $35 for Terrace Level, and $65 for Box Seats.

 

“This commemoration is designed to celebrate our 40th year in professional tennis, and honor the incredible women who made it all possible with their courage and steadfast determination for equality,” said Bob Moran, Tournament Director, Family Circle Cup. “The Original 9 served as a catalyst for change in not only women’s tennis, but helped shift our country’s attitude toward equality as a whole. I truly believe that this is an evening that should be experienced by every generation from daughter to grandmother.”

 

”We are thrilled to partner with Dove on this extraordinary celebration and recognition of these incredible women,” says Nancy Weber, EVP/Chief Marketing Officer, Meredith Corporation. “Over the past four decades, The Family Circle Cup has played a critical role in supporting their mission, and we are excited to have the opportunity to mark this historic occasion.”

 

Nikki Haley, Governor, South Carolina, Stacey Allaster, CEO, Women’s Tennis Association, and several representatives from Dove will be present to recognize the Family Circle Cup and the Original 9.

 

In September 1970, the birth of women’s professional tennis was launched when nine female tennis players signed $1 contracts with World Tennis publications publisher Gladys Heldman to compete in what would become the Virginia Slims Series. The Original 9, as they were called, included Billie Jean King, Rosie Casals, Nancy Richey, Kerry Melville, Peaches Bartkowicz, Kristy Pigeon, Judy Dalton, Valerie Ziegenfuss and Julie Heldman.  They have previously reunited in 1980 (US Open, NYC), 1986 (Virginia Slims Championships, NYC), and 1989 (Slims of Houston, TX).

 

Additional 40Love honorees will include Fern Lee “Peachy” Kellmeyer, the first employee and director of the WTA in 1973, a direct contributor to the creation of the Title IX amendment, and International Tennis Hall of Fame inductee.  Kellmeyer currently serves as WTA Operations Executive Consultant. She is also a member of the ITF Fed Cup Committee and oversees the WTA’s alumni program to ensure that past players and tournament directors remain engaged with the WTA that they helped build.  During Kellmeyer’s tenure, prize money on the WTA has increased from $309,000 in 1973 to more than $90,000,000 in 2012, and the number of WTA events has increased from 23 domestic tournaments to 53 events in 33 different countries.

 

“The WTA has been extremely fortunate to have the Family Circle Cup as its partner for 40 years and I congratulate them on running one of our most prestigious events,” said Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO of the WTA.  “We are excited to celebrate Family Circle Cup’s landmark anniversary along with the reunion of our Original 9 trailblazers. These amazing champions helped shape women’s professional tennis into the number one professional sport for women and it is wonderful to bring them all back together to celebrate the historic achievements of the past 40 years at the Family Circle Cup.”

 

“Women’s tennis is about more than serving up exciting match play,” said Rob Candelino, Vice President, Brand Building, for Unilever Skincare.  “Dove® believes that when girls see positive female role models in action at the Family Circle Cup, it helps expand their definition of beauty and builds their self-esteem to better equip them to become future leaders.  Our brand and the Family Circle Cup have a shared commitment to helping women and girls reach their full potential, on and off the court.”
About The Family Circle Cup

The Family Circle Tennis Center, home of the Family Circle Cup and World TeamTennis Finals Weekend, is a public facility owned by the City of Charleston and operated by Meredith Corporation that also hosts a variety of additional events including concerts, festivals, tennis tournaments and other activities throughout the year.  The Tennis Center features a 10,200 seat stadium, Grand Lawn, 17 tennis courts lighted for night play, Pro Shop, and a full service event management staff capable of handling all aspects of an event including ticketing, operations, sales, marketing, public relations, and food & beverage.  Charleston, South Carolina was named was named the “No. 1 tourist destination in America” in the 2011 Condé Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards, and Charleston was also voted the “Best Tennis Town in America” in a 2010 USTA contest.

 

The Family Circle Cup is the largest women’s only tennis tournament in the world, and Family Circle is the longest running title sponsor of a sporting event in the United States, as well as in all of professional tennis, world-wide.  With over 21 million readers, Family Circle is one of the most widely read monthly magazines in America and is one of 14 leading subscription magazines owned by Meredith Corporation, which speaks to 80 million women nationwide.  The Family Circle Cup receives four days of live broadcast domestically on ESPN2, and is viewed internationally in over 25 countries, featuring over 200 hours of live and delayed global broadcast time, reaching 8.54 million viewers worldwide.

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Navratilova Speaks to the Media in Australia

MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – Martina Navratilova met with the media on Monday to answer questions. This is the transcript from the news conference courtesy of ASAPSports and AustralianOpen.com

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA:  Should I just start?  I got my first win over Martina Hingis in the senior event yesterday.  Played really well.  God it was hot.  Geez, I don’t know how they do it.  I’ve just been practicing indoors, and it was brutal.

It wasn’t hot enough for them to close the roof.  I’m like, Bloody hell.  Glad I’m not playing anymore.  I don’t know how they do it.

 

Q.  How is it to be back at Melbourne Park? 

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA:  Well, I’ve been here every year, so it’s just nice to play again.

 

Q.  This is the first time the Women’s Legends has been… 

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA:  Well, that’s true.  They had mixed doubles here in like, I don’t know, 2003, 2004.  They had some mixed doubles, but no women’s doubles.

Then they stopped completely for the women.  I was badgering Steve Wood for a couple of years, and now they got a tryout with six women, three doubles teams.  Hopefully we’ll have more next year.  I think it went well.  We had a packed house yesterday, so the interest is definitely there.

I think the more of these you do the more the top players will want to play.  Arantxa Sanchez and Amélie Mauresmo are here, but they’re not playing I think we’ll get some really good fields, and it’s great to be playing again of in front of a very appreciative crowd, a very forgiving crowd.

 

Q.  I don’t know if you just watched Petra play… 

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA:  I did.

 

Q.  What do you think of her play this week?  What specifically in her game makes her such a threat?  

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA:  You don’t watch Tennis Channel, see.  Because the book on Petra is power everywhere.  She can change the direction of the ball really well on both sides.  Usually players it’s just maybe the backhand or the forehand, but she can do it on both sides.  Great serving and she mixes it up well.

Today she was all over the service box, meaning mixed it up almost 50% forehand, backhand.  She’s got the big serve out wide as well, so have to guard against the slice.

But she’s got the flat down the T in the ad court or out wide in the deuce court.  She’s got the kick serve on the second as well as the slice, so huge variety on the serve.

And her attitude is fantastic.  She’s really fired up from the getgo.  Today she hit a whiff on the overhead  embarrassed as heck.  Shanked like six balls in a row, but got it together, held serve.  30All comes up with a big serve.

In years past and even last year she would lose those matches or lose her concentration.  But now she gets it back together.  She’s tough.  I’m glad I’m not the on the other side of the net.

 

Q.  Do you see her as the next big thing for women’s tennis, and do you think women’s tennis need a sort of standout star? 

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA:  Well, we do.  Clearly nobody feels that Wozniacki is a true No. 1.  If we still had the same ranking system we were using six years ago when they were giving bonus points for beating players, Kvitova would have ended up No. 1 because she had beaten more top players than Wozniacki.

Wozniacki doesn’t even have that great of a record in her career or the last four years over the top 10 or against the top 5; whereas Petra you feel really imposes herself on the match and any player.

With the absence of Serena playing enough, we need some superstars that you really feel like they’re holding their own.  I think Petra has that possibility.  Azarenka is coming up as well.  She’s playing good ball.  Can’t be overlooked.  Although she’s never been to a Grand Slam final, but she’s looking the part more and more.

So, yeah.  But that takes time to develop that kind of rivalry as well as personality.  She’s there.

 

Q.  Do you feel that Caroline deserves the No. 1? 

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA:  It’s not about deserve.  She’s No. 1 because that’s how they set up the computer ranking.

But, again, if you had the system from six years ago she wouldn’t be; if we had the system from 15 years ago she wouldn’t be.

But she is the way it is.  It weighs too much on quantity and not enough on quality.

 

Q.  Let’s put it another way:  Should she be No. 1 without a slam? 

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA:  That’s irrelevant.  I think if you won 15 tournaments and not slams, you’re No. 1 because you have the best record of anybody.  So I don’t think the asterisk is not having won a slam.

The year before she was No. 1 because she had by far the best record, period.  Never mind the slams.  This last year it was even with Petra, but had two majors with the seasonend Championships and Wimbledon, of course.

Fed Cup doesn’t count.  In Davis Cup the matches count and in Fed Cup they don’t.  So it’s like, you know she was penalized every single step of the way.

So, you know, Caroline doesn’t need to explain why she was No. 1, it’s the WTA that needs to explain that.

 

Q.  Does the system need to go back where it was?  

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA:  Well, I would just like for it to be weighted in that it’s a better  I don’t think that’s a true reflection of how a player is playing right now because too many tournaments don’t count and great wins don’t count.

They both get to a semis and one player beats No. 1 player and No. 3 player to get to the semis and the other one gets qualifiers and they get the same amount of points.  It doesn’t make any sense.

 

Q.  Your voice is not heard when you talk about this to the WTA? 

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA:  My voice is not heard?  I guess I don’t know.  Maybe they will hear it now.  But I asked are they changing the system, and they have no intention to.  I think it’s a mistake.

 

Q.  First they should change the stats, because there are so many bad.  For instance, you’re supposed to have won Canadian Open in 1980 where you won Montréal 1980.  So there are a lot of…  

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA:  So I won two tournaments then?  (Laughter.)  I think John Dolan has got all those numbers.  Talk to him.

 

Q.  What are your thoughts on the unrest with the ATP players about sharing of the Grand Slam money? 

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA:  Well, I think the Grand Slams are making a lot more than they’re sharing with the players.  I think that’s a fact.  When the players try to talk to them, the Grand Slam are like, Oh, well.  Get lost.  Too bad.

So I mean, if the men and women got together I think the Grand Slams would listen.  When they’re separated they can do what they want, which is what they’ve been doing.

I mean, the players made the slams big and the slams made the players big.  It’s a very symbiotic relationship, but the slams are ruling the roost.  They dictate everything to the players:  what you have to play, the points, the size of the logos.

I think tennis is really missing out on that.  When you see golf the logos are much bigger in golf.  I think a lot more money would be made if the rules were a little more reasonable on that.

The Grand Slams are dictating, and they’ll keep dictating as long as the men and women are separated.

 

Q.  Do you think the players are underpaid?  

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA:  Underpaid at the slams?  Well, compared to what the slams are making, yes.  Compared to what a teacher is a making, we are grossly overpaid.  Compared to what the slams are grossing or netting I should say, they are underpaid.  And it’s two weeks, not one week.

I was just doing an interview for the Australian Open for their official film, and I think I won $6,000 when I got to the finals here in ’74.  So, you know…

 

Q.  Do you have any ambivalence about your court assignment yesterday? 

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA:  Which I needed to make so I could pay the airline ticket back to the States.  The Czech Federation cut me off at that point I became a professional.

And playing on Margaret Court Arena, it’s an honor, as always, to be on that court.  You know, it’s not  it’s a personal issue.  Clearly Margaret Court’s views that she has expressed on samesex marriage, samegender marriage, I think are outdated.

But it’s not about any one person.  It’s not about religious rights, it’s about human rights.  It’s a secular view, not a religious view.

She’s only seeing it from one viewpoint.  The biggest concern I have there is opponents of samesex marriage keep saying, Well, children should have a father and a mother.  Well, they don’t.  What are you going to do about the kids?

Anyway, that’s another issue.  I think it goes outside of tennis.

 

Q.  Have you spoken to her? 

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA:  I have not seen her.  I have spoken to her years ago, but, you know, she was all about Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.  She repeated that about four or five times, so I just felt I couldn’t get through to her.  Maybe she thought she could get through to me.  Anyway…

 

Q.  Wozniacki said last night that Kim has to play her best to beat her.  Just wondering, watching Caroline at this tournament, if you’ve seen enough real improvements from her that you might share the same view? 

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA:  Wozniacki?

 

Q.  Yeah. 

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA:  Yeah, she’s playing better.  She’s going for her shots a little more.  Solid as ever, but she is a little more adventurous out there.  I still feel she can go for the shots more.

If you watch tapes from her four, five years ago she was going for broke a lot more.  Then she just get into this defensive mode.

But it’s going to be a fascinating match really, because they both play so similar.  But Kim may be going for a little more if she can move.  We’ll see what the ankle is doing after the match yesterday.

But she’ll have the crowd on her side and nothing to lose, because she’s playing on borrowed time big time after yesterday.

 

Q.  Azarenka you mentioned her before.  She’s had good firstweek runs in slams before and reached her first semi last year in Wimbledon.  What are you looking for her to do?  

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA:  Yeah, I think she’s never looked as good a she does now.  Just consistent throughout, and mentally I think she’s gotten better.  Like she almost had a meltdown when she ran out of challenges the other day.  She didn’t manage the challenges very well and she learned a lesson there.

But she kept it together enough to still win the match and not selfdestruct.  I think she’s mentally tougher than she’s been.

Apparently she had kind of an AhHa moment when she was feeling sorry for herself and burned out, life is so difficult, this and that.  Her grandmother said, Listen Darling, I worked three jobs.  So that put it in perspective, and she’s been a different person since then.

So I think she’s maturing nicely.  We keep talking about is this is her breakthrough and this is the best she’s looked and her best chance to get to a Grand Slam final.

Once she gets to the final she’s going to be tough to beat because she’s really, really motivated.  You can say that about everybody else out there.

 

Q.  Who do like from the women’s side? 

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA:  Azarenka to get to the finals.  And on the bottom, I think it’ll be a battle between Serena and Kvitova in the semis.  I think I just give a slight edge to Petra because she’s played more matches and has got a big game.  Serena hasn’t really been tested.

But playing best tennis, if Serena plays her best tennis against anybody, she’s the best player.  Just a matter of whether she can bring it.  I don’t know if she’s got the mobility; she certainly has the willpower.

 

Q.  What other similarities you see between and you Kvitova when you were young and had more kilos than now?  Do you think she can improve her fitness condition?  

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA:  She has more kilos than me now.  (Laughter.)  She always had more kilos than me because she’s so much taller.  She’s very fit.  She’s extremely fit.  She had an amazing offseason program, and it’s paying off.

Her footwork is so much better than it was a year ago, and she wants it badly.  She’s not worried about the ranking.  She just wants to be the best tennis player she can be, and that’s a great attitude.

 

Q.  Delicate question.  How do you explain that sometimes men are heterosexual at the beginning and they become gay during their life?  Doesn’t happen the opposite with women when they turn to be homosexual?  

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA:  You don’t turn.  Do you turn straight?  No, you didn’t.  You don’t turn gay.

No, I think you don’t know enough about the issue when you frame a question like that.  You don’t just turn.  You either are or not.

 

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

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Tennis Channel Experts Pick Top Matches of 2011

As Tennis Channel prepares for its annual viewer countdown of the network’s best matches of the year in December, three members of its on-air talent team have weighed in with their own favorite matches of 2011. Primary Grand Slam commentator Martina Navratilova, US Open analyst Jim Courier, and US Open Tonight host and network analyst Lindsay Davenport revealed their top competitions of 2011, three memorable, different Grand Slam moments in a year that proved to be historic.

 

In early November Tennis Channel asked its viewers to visit www.tennischannel.com and vote for their favorite matches of the past tennis season. The result is LOVE 30: 30 Matches in 30 Days, encore presentations of the top 30 matches of 2011, counted down from No. 30 on Thursday, Dec. 1 to No. 1 on Friday, Dec. 30. Each night at 8 p.m. ET Tennis Channel will air the match of the day, according to where it ranked with viewers, a month of top-caliber competition during the holiday season.

 

When asked about her favorite match of 2011, Hall of Famer Navratilova picked the US Open women’s final, in which Australian Sam Stosur pulled off a surprising win over American Serena Williams. Courier’s preference, on the other hand, was the French Open semifinal between Serbia’s Novak Djokovic and Switzerland’s Roger Federer, with the former’s year-long undefeated streak on the line. Davenport noted the first Wimbledon crown for Czech Petra Kvitova against Russian Maria Sharapova, known as one of the toughest competitors in the professional circuit. (Quotes about these matches from Tennis Channel talent follow, below.)

 

Tennis Channel is also treating clay-court, grass-court and hard-court fans to surface-related theme weeks throughout December, running the best matches based on a particular court surface every day from 6 a.m. through 5 p.m. ET. The theme weeks are: Outdoor Hard Court – Dec. 5-11, Clay Court – Dec. 12-18, Grass Court – Dec. 19-25 and Indoor Hard Court – Dec. 26-Jan 1.

 

In addition to voting for their favorite matches on Tennis Channel this year, online visitors had the opportunity to weigh in on the Biggest Storyline of 2011 as well. More than half of the participants voted Djokovic’s accomplishment (his early winning streak, advance to the No. 1 singles ranking and collection of three Grand Slam singles titles) as the top event, with 50.55 percent of the respondents favoring the Serb’s history-making season. Voters also ranked these events as part of the top five this year (percentage of viewers who ranked the event first in parentheses):

 

Roger Federer does not win a Grand Slam title for the first time since 2002 (36.6 percent)

Li Na becomes the first Chinese player to win a Grand Slam singles title (6 percent)

Serena Williams has an angry meltdown at the US Open (3.66 percent)

Mardy Fish passes Andy Roddick as the top-ranked American singles player (3.19 percent)

 

 

TENNIS CHANNEL TALENT’S FAVORITE MATCHES OF 2011:

 

“I think my favorite match is the US Open final between Sam Stosur and Serena Williams. Williams was a heavy favorite and frankly we were just hoping for a close match. Stosur came out with a solid game plan and was able to execute it. While Stosur faltered at the French two years ago where she was the favorite, she stood toe to toe with Williams. Serena had a brief resurgence when she got fired up after an altercation with the umpire at the beginning of the second set, but again Stosur held her ground and ended up winning in, to me, the biggest surprise of the year. By the way, Kvitova’s win was great but not as much of a surprise.”

- Martina Navratilova

 

“My favorite match of the year would be the French Open semifinals when Djokovic was playing for the No. 1 ranking, he was playing to tie McEnroe’s streak and playing for his first French Open, and Federer knocked him off in a brilliantly played match, in a high-intensity match. So that was one that I thoroughly enjoyed. I was there in the crowd, I wasn’t working it, I wasn’t calling it for television, I was just sitting there enjoying the match and just astonished by the level of tennis that those guys played. It was breathtaking at times.”

- Jim Courier

 

“My favorite match was the Wimbledon final between Petra Kvitova and Maria Sharapova. I really had no idea what to expect of this final. It’s not easy for most players to play their best (or near their best) in their first Slam final, and Maria really had a ton of momentum going into the match. But it was apparent early on that Kvitova was ready to ascend to the top. This was one of the few matches that I’ve been able to just sit and watch live… and it was a treat. The sound of Kvitova’s ground strokes was unlike any I had heard; very clean, very strong. It was so apparent she had become the best ball striker now in women’s tennis. After watching and playing against Maria for years, I know the strategy: try and take the play out of her hands by striking early in the rally, but it is not easy to do. Kvitova had no problem doing this throughout the match. Hard, heavy ground strokes, huge returns and a big serving day. It was an honor to see this shy Czech lady come out of her shell on the biggest stage.”

 

- Lindsay Davenport

 

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Net Notes For April 13, 2011

In the news:

Andy Murray‘s losing streak is now history. The Scot stopped Radek Stepanek in Monte-Carlo 6-1, 6-4 to break a four-match losing streak dating back tot he final of the Australian Open.

 

Vania King will replace Bethanie Mattek-Sands on the US Fed Cup team against Germany this weekend. Mattek-Sands is suffering from Hip and back injuries.

Vania King to Replace Injured Bethanie Mattek-Sands on US Fed Cup Team for World Group Playoff Against Germany

Fed Cup: U.S. Notes and Quotes from Pre Draw News Conference

 

Martina Navratilova Honored at Ellis Island

Martina Naratilova (AP Photo/The Statue of Liberty)

The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation honored Martina Navratilova at the 10th annual Ellis Island Family Heritage Awards, Wednesday, April 13, 2011, at Ellis Island in New York. Navratilova, who was born in communist Czechoslovakia in 1956 and defected at the U.S. Open at the age of 18, was presented with the B.C. Forbes Peopling of America Award – which honors immigrants who arrived after the Ellis Island era.

 

Wayne Odesnik talks about getting his career back on track in an article by Douglas Robson in USA Today.

 

Fernando Verdasco

Fernando Verdasco

Fernando Verdasco‘s upset in Monte-Carlo on Wednesday at the hands of fellow Spaniard Tommy Robredo means that he’ll fall out of the top ten.

 

Ana Ivanovic is on the cover of the Latin American magazine Vanidades

 

 

RESULTS - WEDNESDAY, 13 APRIL, 2011

Singles - Second Round
[1] R Nadal (ESP) d J Nieminen (FIN) 62 62
[3] [WC] A Murray (GBR) d [WC] R Stepanek (CZE) 61 64
[4] D Ferrer (ESP) d F Lopez (ESP) 62 60
T Robredo (ESP) d [6] F Verdasco (ESP) 64 63
[7] J Melzer (AUT) d R Haase (NED) 36 61 62
[8] G Monfils (FRA) d D Gimeno-Traver (ESP) 75 62
[9] N Almagro (ESP) d [Q] M Gonzalez (ARG) 67(6) 75 76(10) – saved 4 M.P.
[11] V Troicki (SRB) d F Fognini (ITA) 63 46 64
[13] R Gasquet (FRA) d G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) 62 61
[15] M Cilic (CRO) d [Q] P Riba (ESP) 52 ret. (right knee)
[16] G Simon (FRA) d A Montanes (ESP) 63 64
[Q] F Gil (POR) d F Mayer (GER) 75 61

Doubles - Second Round
[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) d E Gulbis (LAT) / V Troicki (SRB) 63 61
[2] M Mirnyi (BLR) / D Nestor (CAN) d R Gasquet (FRA) / I Ljubicic (CRO) 62 75
[4] L Kubot (POL) / O Marach (AUT) d [WC] J Benneteau (FRA) / J Chardy (FRA) 76(5) 46 12-10
J Chela (ARG) / B Soares (BRA) d [8] R Lindstedt (SWE) / H Tecau (ROU) 62 64

Doubles - First Round
G Monfils (FRA) / J Tsonga (FRA) d L Dlouhy (CZE) / J Tipsarevic (SRB) 64 75
E Butorac (USA) / J Rojer (AHO) d G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) / A Montanes (ESP) 46 64 10-8

ORDER OF PLAY – THURSDAY, 14 APRIL, 2011

COURT CENTRAL start 10:30 am
M Raonic (CAN) vs [4] D Ferrer (ESP)

Not Before 11:30 AM
[1] R Nadal (ESP) vs [13] R Gasquet (FRA)

Not Before 1:30 PM
[15] M Cilic (CRO) vs [2] R Federer (SUI)
[3] [WC] A Murray (GBR) vs [16] G Simon (FRA)
G Monfils (FRA) / J Tsonga (FRA) vs [5] M Fyrstenberg (POL) / M Matkowski (POL)

COURT DES PRINCES start 10:30 am
I Ljubicic (CRO) vs [5] [WC] T Berdych (CZE)
T Robredo (ESP) vs [11] V Troicki (SRB)
[Q] F Gil (POR) vs [8] G Monfils (FRA)
[7] J Melzer (AUT) vs [9] N Almagro (ESP)

COURT 2 start 12:00 noon
[6] R Bopanna (IND) / A Qureshi (PAK) vs E Butorac (USA) / J Rojer (AHO)

Not Before 2:00 PM
[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) vs M Granollers (ESP) / T Robredo (ESP) – After Suitable Rest

COURT 9 start 12:00 noon
J Chela (ARG) / B Soares (BRA) vs S Stakhovsky (UKR) / M Youzhny (RUS)


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“Hello Chris from Florida”

Tennis Channel aired No. 1 singles player Caroline Wozniacki’s third-round victory at the Australian Open Thursday night.  During the prime-time match, announcer Bill Macatee fielded a viewer text question from a “Chris in Florida,” who wondered if the top-ranked Danish player “feels like the No. 1 player in the world, never having won a Grand Slam?”

Sideline reporter Lindsay Davenport, herself a former No. 1 (first time: Oct. 12, 1998), chimed in with, “That wouldn’t be the Chris from Florida who is a Grand Slam winner herself, would it?”

Turns out it was: former No. 1 Chris Evert (Nov. 3, 1975), who was watching the match on television at home.

In the booth next to Macatee, lead analyst and former No. 1 Martina Navratilova (July 10, 1978) agreed that Chris’ point has become an issue for Wozniacki because she is starting to get asked about it more and more.  As for Davenport, she admitted that upon reclaiming the top ranking at one point in her career she didn’t feel like No. 1 since she had not won a Slam in awhile.

Evert, Navratilova and Davenport all won Australian Open singles titles in their playing days.

Australian Open Coverage Schedules for Tennis Channel, ESPN2 and ESPN3.com


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