2014/12/17

Murray Gets on Court Late But Wins Quickly on a Rainy Wednesday at US Open

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(August 28, 2013) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Defending US Open champ Andy Murray had to wait until Wednesday to play his opening match at the US Open and due to the constant rain delays during the day session his night match did not start until 9:55 p.m.

The Scot had an easy match against Michael Llodra, dominating the Frenchman 6-2, 6-4, 6-3.

The start time of 9:55 p.m. for the Andy Murray vs. Michael Llodra match is the third-latest start for a US Open Night Session in recorded history.

The latest start took place in 2009 when a match between James Blake and Tommy Robredo began at 10:25 p.m.

“Playing at that time for your first round is not ideal,” Murray said to media.

“We were told on Saturday, `Would you like to play on Tuesday or Wednesday?’ We said, `Tuesday.’ They then told us the next day, `It’s looking like it’s going to be Wednesday. It will be during the day on Wednesday,'” Murray said “Yesterday, as we were leaving,  we were told, `It’s looking like you’re going to be playing in the evening.'”

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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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Davis Cup in Monte Carlo, Day 3: Isner – The New Closer

By Guillaume Willecoq

“Before, it was Andy Roddick the biggest closer of the US team, maybe I can do as well.” For the first time, John Isner clinched a Davis Cup for the US team, after an amazing match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. “I was pissed off to have to admire the way he was playing” said Guy Forget, fair play. The US boy from Greensboro, NC ended Guy Forget’s run as French Captain.  Forget led the French Davis Cup team since 1999. The new captain won’t be named before September. For the US team, they will face Spain again in semifinals, as in 2008, “I assume on clay, laughs Isner, but we will be ready to go!”

4th rubber : John Isner d. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 7-6, 5-7, 6-3 in 3h20

First serve: 66% / 71%

Aces: 16 / 5

Double faults: 4 / 4

Winners: 56 / 43

Forced and unforced errors: 86 / 88

Break points: 2/9 / 1/7

Net points won: 37 / 29

The French team at their news conference :

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: “John has played a huge match. I wasn’t in a great day. John was better than I was. He played better the important points, and played more aggressively… It’s not a surprise he can perform at this level. But I was surprised he could keep this level through the whole tie.”

“Guy was the only captain I knew, and every time he made me like this competition, and tennis even more. He shared his love of the game. It’s the most beautiful thing to me.”

Guy Forget: “The deception is a little easier to accept since it comes from the hands of Jim Courier, a really good guy. Jim was a role model, and his players are just like him. This US team and mine have many values in common.”

“Tonight I have mixed emotions. It’s the end of 14 years as a captain, but my story with story with Davis Cup is longer than that: it started in the USSR in 1983 or 1984. It’s weird it’s over.”

The US team at their new conference :

John Isner: “I believe in myself : if I can play like I play this week I can beat a lot of people in the next Roland-Garros. Beating Gilles and beating Jo are two very good wins, I played very well, if I can keep this level up I’m gonna be tough to beat.”

“Jim definitely helped me in that first tie in Switzerland. I had a very good win against Roger and he helped this week. It’s been a gradual thing for me, my coach back home put the majority of my working, but when I came here, Jim kinds of make me ready. Captain Courier is a guy that I’m very comfortable on the bench, so that helps.”

Jim Courier: “The quality of today’s match was exceptional, I thought better even than on Friday. John is definitely continuing to improve even from the last tie. I think he played better this one. It is impressive.”

“Against Spain, we probably lose it on paper but they don’t play them on paper. We have to play it out there and we have players who are capable and passionate and hungry. We are definitely going to be the underdog once again but we will be ready to play.”

-          The special guests section:

Spotted today at the Monte Carlo Country Club: Novak Djokovic, the World N°1, and his girlfriend curiously at home in Monaco and not in Belgrade to support his teammates against Czech Republic; Ricardo Piatti and Ivan Ljubicic, for the last tournament of Ljubi’s career, next week in Monte Carlo; Eric Winogradsky, former Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s coach ; Alain Boghossian, former soccer player, World champion in 1998 with the French squad; the little group of the Net Heads, trying to make as much noise as the French crowd; and a bonus, Alexandre Vinokourov, the cyclist champion, training with three Astana’s teammates on the roads of Monaco.

End of the week in Monaco for Guillaume and MarieJ. It’s been a pleasure to share with you the coverage of this France / USA tie, in one of the most beautiful places for tennis. We are French, but we were really drawn in by this US team. See you next time and good luck in Spain!

Guillaume Willecoq was at the Monte Carlo Country Club covering the US versus France quarterfinal Davis Cup tie as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Guillaume Willecoq also manages and contributes to the French language tennis website http://www.15-lovetennis.com, follow them on twitter on @15lovetennis.

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Davis Cup in Monte Carlo: Isner and Tsonga are the Bosses on Day 1

By Guillaume Willecoq

MONTE CARLO COUNTRY CLUB – It’s finally Friday, almost after a week of training, Davis Cup begins in earnest with the official presentation of the teams at Noon as France plays host to the United States in a quarterfinal tie. The stands are not yet fully packed yet, and you can spot a few American flags. For the French team, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga earns the biggest cheers. On the other hand, for the USA, there is a big ovation for  Captain Jim Courier former French Open winner as he looks classy in his suit !

First match : Jo-Wilfried Tsonga d. Ryan Harrison 7-5, 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 in 3 hours.

– First service : 57% / 63%

– Aces : 5 / 6

– Double faults : 4 / 10

– Winners : 60 / 24

– Unforced errors : 53 / 35

– Break points : 7/13 / 4/13

– Net points won : 33 / 11

Ryan Harrison at his news conference :

“I didn’t play very well the break points. Jo made the big points, and was playing a bit better than me in the fourth. He gave me no chance to break him back.”

“To play less passive was most part of the conversations with Jim. We have a great communication, we both see things very similar.”

“It was a good fight. I’m always fired up. Jim’s role was to channelling my energy, and helps me to play the right style.”

“It was a fun and exciting match. Every match in Davis Cup is very intense, they take a lot of energy… There is some frustration, but also some excitement, like in the third set.”

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at his news conference:

“I didn’t play my best, neither Ryan, but the most important thing was to win. I’m happy with that. I’m glad for me and the team. It was important to win this first point.”

“When you entered on the court for the first time in Davis Cup, you leave a lot of mental energy. That’s what makes difficult the first match in this competition. In my case, I have enough experience now to handle it.”

“I knew Ryan would get frustrated. It’s his main flaw : he’s very nervous. I knew that if I was patient it will turn on my side. When he brakes his racquet and makes two double faults in the second set, I know it’s the moment to move better, get more aggressive on the forehand and take advantage of this.”

“Where I can get better ? I can be more comfortable on my baseline, and be more patient too. But Ryan and John are two players completely different and on Sunday the game plan won’t be the same.”

Second match : John Isner d. Gilles Simon 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 in 2 hours.

– First service : 51% / 48%

– Aces : 9 / 2

– Double faults : 8 / 1

– Winners : 53 / 15

– Unforced errors : 32 / 13

– Break points : 4/8 / 0/5

– Net points won : 22 / 1

Gilles Simon at his news conference:

“John is difficult to play on any surface. Today I should have taken his serve : if I had break him in each set it would have been quite different match.”

“I’m frustrated with my backhand today. He has a very annoying forehand : he never seems to hit that harder, less than Jo for example, but most of the times I found myself having to play a deep shot with a high bounce… he hides pretty well when he’s going to go for a flatter shot.”

“If on Sunday we are levelled at 2-2, it will be one of the first times I will enter the court as the favourite. I would prefer to get the 3-1 win, but I’ll be happy anyway if there’s a 5th rubber.”

John Isner at his news conference :

“I felt it was going to be a good day, for me and the team. I played the way I needed to.”

“I had a good week of practice. And I knew as I would go into the match I would get even better.”

“Adjusting to the clay, I didn’t think I would have any problem. I took the court very confident no matter what.”

“I’m very pleased with the way my forehand worked today. I didn’t serve that well today, but my forehand was there on the next shot. I slicked to the game plan set with Jim : try to go for winners in two or three shots.”

-          The special guests section :

Spotted today at the Monte Carlo Country Club : Albert II, the prince of Monaco, great fan of sport; Zeljko Franulovic, director of the Monte Carlo Master 1000 and Roland-Garros finalist in 1970; Victoria Azarenka, in great discussion at the restaurant with Sam Sumyk and Amélie Mauresmo; the former Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson, who would like to recruit Ryan Harrison in his Stockholm Open; Nicolas Escudé, captain of the Fed Cup French team; and Arnaud Clément, come to support his buddies and engaged in the qualies of the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, next week.

-          Order of play of Saturday :

The doubles begin at 2pm CET : Bob and Mike Bryan vs Michaël Llodra and Julien Benneteau.

Guillaume Willecoq is at the Monte Carlo Country Club covering the US versus France quarterfinal Davis Cup tie as media for Tennis Panorama News. Follow updates here and on the twitter account @TennisNewsTPN and in French on @15lovetennis.

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Davis Cup: Looking Back at US vs France in 2008 in Winston-Salem

Tennis Panorama News will be covering the Davis Cup quarterfinal tie this weekend between the United States and France being held at the Monte Carlo Country Club. We’re taking a look back at  past ties between the two countries.

By Guillaume Willecoq

2008 Davis Cup quarterfinals in Winston-Salem (April, 11-13) : USA d. France 4/1.

 

It’s the 15th match between USA and France in the Davis Cup history. The last tie between the two teams was in 2002, when France beat the USA on the clay of Roland-Garros. This time, the match takes place in the United States, at Winston-Salem. It’s the third time the US team makes the choice to play at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum, after India in 2001 (4/1) and Spain in 2007 (4/1).

 

The players:

USA: For the 10th consecutive tie, the team is made up of Andy Roddick (6th) and James Blake (8th) in singles, and Bob and Mike Bryan, world N°1 in doubles. Mardy Fish (42th) acts as the sparring. With this competitive group, the USA won the Davis Cup a few months before, beating Russia in final (4/1). Against France, Patrick McEnroe and his boys received on a very fast indoor at Winston-Salem.

 

France: Richard Gasquet (10th) is the team France leader. But the new star in this group is Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (13th), who recently reached the Australian Open final. They both should play in singles, whereas Michael Llodra and Arnaud Clément, current champions of Wimbledon, will face the Bryan brothers. But nothing goes as predicted: first, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is walk-over due to a knee injury and the captain picks Paul-Henri Mathieu and Michaël Llodra for the first rubbers. Then, Richard Gasquet doesn’t feel like playing Andy Roddick and refuses to go on the court on the Sunday. Drained by his match against Blake, Paul-Henri Mathieu loses in straight sets the decisive rubber.

 

The tie :

Roddick d. Llodra 6/4 7/6 7/6

Blake d. Mathieu 7/6 6/7 6/3 3/6 7/5

Clément / Llodra d. Bryan / Bryan 6/7 7/5 6/3 6/4

Roddick d. Mathieu 6/2 6/3 6/2

Blake d. Gasquet 6/7 6/4 6/4

 

The quotes :

Andy Roddick: “It’s nice to get rewarded for all the rough losses that we had, and I’ve been a part of a lot of big losses for us in Davis Cup. You’ve got to try to keep an even keel when things are going your way, but obviously it’s been fun having won the last six….”

 

Paul-Henri Mathieu: “I think I deserved to win the match against James. In the end, it could have gone either way. I played the right way till the end, but James came up with big shots to take the match, credit to him… And against Andy, I probably faced the best player in the world on the surface… I’m tired and disappointed because I gave it all during this week-end. I tried my best. As far as I am concerned, I can look at myself in the mirror. And be proud.”

 

James Blake: “Against Paul-Henri, I never want to feel like I’m out of it. He had been serving really well, but funny things can happen when you’re serving for a match, especially in Davis Cup. And so I did my best to put the pressure back on him and make sure he knew he wasn’t going to get a free game out of it.”

 

Michaël Llodra: “We knew we had to make a great match against Bob and Mike. It’s maybe the reason why we had a great record against them. Today, another time, we could raise our level. Arnaud and me are close friends inside and outside the court, it helps us a lot. We had a lot of fun. It’s for those kind of matches, in front of 15 000 people, that we play. And with your best buddy, it’s fabulous.”

 

Guy Forget: “I’m not there to analyse Richard’s problems. I spoke with him. Richard is going through a difficult time. He had some nagging injuries and didn’t win a lot of matches. I support the players, and what we said to each other stays between us. Richard is different, you have to deal with it. This week-end his mind was on other things.”

 

After that :

Concerning the French team, for the first time it’s obvious that Guy Forget is struggling with his young players. Since then, Richard Gasquet has been a second choice in the French team, behind Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gaël Monfils, only playing twice in singles. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, missing the group in Winston-Salem, is a big factor on the winning chances for the team : step by step, he has become the boss. Since he plays in Davis Cup, his single loss came to Rafael Nadal on clay, in 2011! He wasn’t there against Serbia for the 2010 final, and left the team with fewer options to win the title.

 

For the US team, the defense of the title lasted until the semifinals, when Spain stopped them on clay, in Madrid. Since then, the USA has travelled for far away ties, all of them on clay. This week at Monaco, it will be their 6th tie on clay in the last 8… They learned how to beat the Swiss on clay, against all odds, can they repeat the feature against France ?

 

Tennis Panorama News is covering the Davis Cup between the United States and France this week taking place at the Monte Carlo Country Club from April 6-8.  Look out for updates here and on twitter @TennisNewsTPN.

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Davis Cup in Monte Carlo: First News Conferences

The Monte Carlo Country Club just meets with all your expectations. Cliffs hanging above the Mediterranean, bright blue sky around; it’s the perfect scenery to host the Davis Cup tie between  France and USA.

This morning between two training sessions, both teams came to the traditional first news conference of the tie. The US team was present in full: Captain Jim Courier, John Isner, Ryan Harrison and the Bryan Brothers.

Jim Courier:  “No, we were not surprised.  We thought there was a pretty good chance that either Simon or Gasquet would be involved at some point.”

On choosing Ryan Harrison: “Ryan was the best man for the job, that’s why he’s here.”

Ryan Harrison: “Obviously Jo is a great player and he’s a very established player on the Tour, but I think that especially in a Davis Cup situation where you’re playing for your country every match is very important.

I’m just excited for the opportunity.  It’s going to be a fun match.”

“I love to play on clay.  Where I grew up in Louisiana I had 12 clay courts, and I grew up playing, so I’m very comfortable sliding and I like playing on it.  It’s going to be something that helps my game.”

John Isner on being the top player of the team : “It doesn’t change anything being number 1 or 2. All matches will be tough to play.”

“The court is fine, no bad bounces,  the conditions of play suit my game. It’s one of the nicest courts I’ve seen on clay.”

Bob and Mike Bryan : “ We’ve played Mika (Llodra) at least 20 times. He has beaten us a bunch, and we have beaten him a bunch, so we have to play well. We like playing here. We are pretty comfortable; we have been playing here for 10 years.” (they are the current champions of Monte Carlo tournament).

The French team followed, minus Gilles Simon trapped in his last minute trip from Paris.

Guy Forget : “I was a bit surprised to see Harrison on the team. I expected more Querrey or Roddick. But if Harrison is here, that’s because Jim trusts him.”

“I know there are a lot of questions about my team selection. First, Gilles is better ranked than Richard. Then, I spoke with both, and also with their doctor, before making up my mind. Richard has an elbow injury, and can’t really serve. On the other hand, Gilles’s back is much better. I didn’ t even  have to make a choice, it was obvious. There is absolutely no problem with Richard about is non-selection.”

“My doubles team, Mika and Julien (Llodra and Benneteau), gives me some other options than Jim can have with the Bryans. I told them, thay have to be ready to play in singles.”

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Michaël LLodra: “Harrison is a young player on the rise. He is a warrior on court, even if he’s bit temperamental. I’m sure he’ll get better on that. We’ll watch out.”

Guillaume Willecoq is at the Monte Carlo Country Club covering the US versus France quarterfinal Davis Cup tie as media for Tennis Panorama News. Follow updates here and on the twitter account @TennisNewsTPN.

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Davis Cup: Looking Back at US vs France in 2002 at Roland Garros

Tennis Panorama News will be covering the Davis Cup quarterfinal tie this weekend between the United States and France being held at the Monte Carlo Country Club. We’re taking a look back at  past ties between the two countries.

 

2002 US Davis Cup Team (L-R Todd Martin, James Blake, Mardy Fish, Andy Roddick and Captain Patrick McEnroe)

By Guillaume Willecoq

 

2002, Davis Cup semifinals in Roland-Garros  (September 20-22) : France d. USA 3/2.

The French Tennis Federation pays tribute to the Musketeers hosting the tie in Roland-Garros. In the beginning, the French stadium was built in 1928 to receive the United States after the Musketeers won their first Davis Cup in Philadelphia. Seventy-five years later, France and USA face each other again at Roland-Garros.

 

The players:

France: The team built by Guy Forget is the current champion, and the captain brings the best line up possible: Sébastien Grosjean, 9th, as the leader, followed by Arnaud Clément, 42nd. The doubles team is a young Michaël Llodra with the almost veteran Fabrice Santoro. On clay, French players are the favorites of this tie.

 

USA: Since his arrival at the head of the US team, in 2000, Patrick McEnroe makes the choice of bringing new blood to the team. For this tie against France, he lines up three young guns: Andy Roddick (11th), James Blake (27th) and Mardy Fish (88th). The last guy is Todd Martin (still 51th), veteran of the glorious 90’s for the US tennis. The view from France – Roddick and Blake are a scary duo, with loads of potential! In seven matches, Roddick is still undefeated in Davis Cup.…

 

The tie :

Clément d. Roddick 4/6 7/6 7/6 6/1

Grosjean d. Blake 6/4 6/1 6/7 7/5

Blake - Martin d. Santoro – Llodra 2/6 7/6 2/6 6/4 6/4

Grosjean b. Roddick 6/4 3/6 6/3 6/4

Blake b. Clément 6/4 6/3

 

The quotes :

Sébastien Grosjean : “Before, I was struggling to give my best in Davis cup. I wanted to do too well for all the team and I didn”t play my best tennis. This time, I think this tie between France and USA was my best performance. I tried to play for myself on court, and only after I shared my joy with the rest of the team. It helps me to focus on myself on the court.”

Andy Roddick: “It hurts me. I’ve lived so many things not very funny this week, new sensations for me, and I will have to learn from it. Now, I think I will be better prepared to play difficult matches in Davis Cup… But the atmosphere here was absolutely fantastic. I hope some day I will live that with the US team !”

Arnaud Clément: “There is nothing more exciting than playing this match against Andy. I knew that if could run well, I would neutralize him on the baseline, and eventually drive him nuts !”

James Blake: ”It”s the biggest deception of my life. Really, losing a match in Davis Cup breaks your heart, particularly because I had my chances. I never felt so bad, but now I’m going home and try to forget. I look forward to do something well in this team in the future. It’s when I lose like this that I really want to go back to work harder. I’m going to do the gym.…It will look less painful than before.” 

Fabrice Santoro: “I would say that those kind of matches are the ones I enjoy the most. I really had fun during this doubles, even if we lost. You enter the Central of Roland-Garros, your team leads 2/0, the Central is packed from the start… There is something in the air!”

Michaël Llodra : “This loss against the Americans in doubles really hurt me a lot. The press said it was my fault if we lost, that maybe I shouldn’t have play, that I lacked experience. I took everything in the face and it took me sometime to get over it. But I bounced back… Since 2003, I was never out the team. It”s Davis Cup! There is a lot of pressure. It has made me stronger. “

 

Todd Martin – The End: Does he know? Probably. This France/USA tie is the last selection of the long career of Todd Martin. The American, who won the Davis Cup in 1995, is here to bring his experience for his young fellows. I did the perfect job during the doubles, with James Blake. The veteran made a strong impression about his knowledge and tennis culture in his news conferences, citing Decugis, Lacoste and Cochet as legends of the French tennis.

 

After that :

In December, in Bercy, the French will lose the final against the Russians. The end of a great period for that team: Guy Forget gets his first critics about the selection of young Paul-Henri Mathieu for the last rubber; the French captain splits with Fabrice Santoro a few months later; and, little by little, Escudé, Grosjean and Clément step down from the team during the following campaigns, to let young Richard Gasquet, Gael Monfils and then Jo-Wilfried Tsonga take over. Three time finalist in four years between 1999 and 2002, it will take 8 years for the French team to reach another final.

On the other hand, this tie starts a new chapter for the US team. Roddick and Blake take the lead of the group, joined by Bob and Mike Bryans in 2003. They will be the hard core team for almost ten years, occasionally joined by Mardy Fish. They will reach the final in 2004, and most of all win the title in 2007.

Tennis Panorama News is covering the Davis Cup between the United States and France this week taking place at the Monte Carlo Country Club from April 6-8.  Look out for updates here and on twitter @TennisNewsTPN.

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‘Oz and Ends’ – Frenchmen, SI Swimsuit Issue and Free Time

 

Lovable Llodra

Andy Murray has defeated 11 Frenchman in a row with his win over Michael Llodra on Saturday.  From Llodra’s post match news conference after falling to Andy Murray.

Q.  Do you think it might have helped if you had head‑butted him?

MICHAEL LLODRA:  Yeah, probably can happen.

 

Q.  He’s doing some damage to the French.

MICHAEL LLODRA:  Yeah, yeah.  Like always.  F**k.

Q.  You know that word in English?

MICHAEL LLODRA:  Yeah (smiling).

 

Serena Smurf

Q.  You won 6‑1, 6‑1 tonight.  Before the match you said you were Jokey Smurf.  What would the Serious Smurf’s scoreline look like?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, there’s no Serious Smurf.  There’s Grouchy Smurf, there’s Brainy Smurf, there’s Papa Smurf.  I’d say he’s the most scary Smurf.  Smurfette.  Greedy Smurf.  So, yeah, I don’t know (smiling).

No coach – no problem says Tsonga

Q. And after the match, you mentioned that you had been worked with Agassi last year.

JO‑WILFRIED TSONGA:  No, no.  Last year I went to Las Vegas have to some practice with the adidas team and he was there.  He give me some advice.  We talk together.

But it was just an answer to the guy on the court who asked me why I don’t have coach and how I do.  It was just an example.

Q.  Do you find it different at a Grand Slam without a coach, working on your own?

JO‑WILFRIED TSONGA:  I mean, it’s not the first one, so I feel, you know, good.  I’m okay.  (Smiling.  I don’t know, you can improve your game by yourself also.  It’s not since I’m kid I have a coach, and I improve a lot.

I’m here maybe because I had coach, but now I feel like I have to follow my opinion maybe a bit more.

Q.  Do you plan to continue without a coach for a long time then?

JO‑WILFRIED TSONGA:  Yeah.  I don’t know.  We’ll see.  (Smiling.)

If I still improve my game, you know, why I have to change?

 

Djokovic in the SI Swimsuit edition?

Q.  A lot of women, female tennis players, get to pose in their swimsuits for the Sports Illustrated magazine.  Do you think that men should have the same opportunity?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Okay.  I will choose my next words very carefully (laughter).

Well, I don’t know.  I guess, yes.  We should all have equal rights.  But I am not thinking about that too much.  I guess, you know, women are more attractive than we are.  They have a lot more to show, I guess.

 

Q.  You’ve been in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.  Do you think the male players should do stuff like that, like Novak Djokovic or someone?

ANA IVANOVIC:  Well, I don’t know.  I mean, yeah, they should try, see how they go.

Q.  Anyone in particular you think should give modeling a go?

ANA IVANOVIC:  I don’t know.  You tell me which one would you like to see (laughter).

 

What do you do on your days off?

Q.  Is it possible to enjoy your in‑between days at the slams?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, I enjoy my afternoon naps (smiling).  I love them.

 

Q. What are you doing during your off days?  Maria is napping and reading.

SERENA WILLIAMS:  I am doing treatment, a lot of treatment.  I’m not reading.  School starts on the 23rd, so I kind of texted one of my professors to tell him I was in Australia, and I don’t know if I can make the first assignment in time.  He was like, It’s fine.  I was wondering if it was really you (laughter).

I was like, okay, just really nervous about school starting.  He’s like, Don’t worry about it.

Q.  What course is this?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  I’m taking a kinesiology course.  I’m also taking a management course.

Q.  Two?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yes.  I haven’t been able to reach my kinesiology teacher.  Hopefully she will understand that I am going to get those assignments in.  But I’m a wee bit busy, so we’ll see.

Q.  What sparked your interest in kinesiology?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  All my injuries, to be honest.  Like every time I go to the doctor, I can pinpoint and tell him exactly what’s wrong with me.  I know more about my injury than they do at the time.

The communication that I have is really great.  I’ve always thought if I could just learn about my body and keep learning about physiology, sciences, stuff like that, just for the future I thought it would be really cool.  You never stop learning about your body.

Q.  Have you just started the course?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  It starts on Monday the 23rd.  But I had to write a paper, an introduction for my management class.  So I kind of did that already.  I was like, I’m going to get that over with.  Trying not to send a picture of me that was so obvious.

Q.  Do you use a lot of holistic kind of therapies?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  I do.  I’ve really gotten into a lot of holistic lately.  I hate medicines.  I hate having to take, you know ‑ what’s the word ‑ medicine that’s manmade and stuff like that.  So I like the holistic.

It’s better on your system.  It takes longer.  But overall the effects of synthetic things are longer term and not really so good for you.  I’m looking forward to those courses.

Q.  Do you use acupuncture?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  I do.  I use that.  I think it’s really cool.  I actually wanted to take an acupuncture class.  Hopefully I can do that.  But I have to be there.  I can’t do that one online.  I would never get any clients (laughter).

Q.  You had acupuncture on your feet, knees?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  I’ve had it before.  I think there’s a lot of results.  I just like it.  I think it’s pretty cool.  You just have to be patient.  I think it’s important to find a good one, though, because a lot of people do it.  To do it really the Eastern way I think is right now the best way to do it, so…  I have to learn by like a Japanese master, which is where one guy learned.  Hopefully I can do that one day.  But that would have to be after my career.

Q.  As people become more aware of these types of treatment, is it becoming more common in the locker room?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  Uhm, I don’t know actually.  I don’t think it’s really common really in sport yet, you know.  I mean, I’m on synthetic medication now for my leg.  When it’s an acute injury, you have to take something that can take away the pain.

Q.  Have you tried meditation or Yoga?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I actually really like Yoga.  I don’t like it for the spiritual reasons.  I don’t like all that stuff.  I like it to stretch and to be flexible, but I don’t like to get involved into all the other stuff that’s involved with it.

Meditation, I’ve heard is really good for you.  I haven’t been able to do that yet.  I have always wanted to take 10 or 15 minutes out of a day and clear your mind.  Hopefully I will do that one day.

Q.  It sounds like it’s important to you to keep your mind active.  Talk about that.

SERENA WILLIAMS:  If I’m thinking too much, I’m thinking too much about my job, which is tennis.  Then I can start thinking about too much what to do.  I try to keep my mind as far away from that.

When I’m here, I keep my mind so on it that I’m like crazy.  But then when I’m away from it, I just try to relax.

Q.  How do you put all those outside interests together?  In your next career, a nail salon and acupuncture as well?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  That’s a good idea.  I hope you won’t want a royalty on that (laughter).

Yeah, the whole object is to get a business degree.  I’m working towards that.  That way I can just kind of fit everything in.  Maybe I’ll be my own agent one day.

Q.  Are you done with acting?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  No, not at all.  I actually have a gig in a week or two.  I’m excited about it.

Q.  TV, movie?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  TV.

Q.  Can you tell us about it?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  I haven’t read the script or anything.  It’s a pretty big show in the United States, so I look forward to it.  It’s fun.

Q.  You don’t want to say the same?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  No, not yet.  No.  But it’s cool.  I’m excited.

Q.  You’re not going to punch anyone like you did in the Showtime one?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  No, no.  I wasn’t good at that, so…  But I actually am, so I’m excited about that.  Hopefully I can build on that, too.  It would be cool.

Q.  How about your interests in fashion?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I was just emailing new inspirations, gosh, just yesterday about what I’m going to do next, confirming some different designs, colors and stuff.  That’s fun.  I’m educated in that.

So I’m kind of easier doing that for me as opposed to like the school.  It’s kind of new.  But the fashion, I’ve been educated in that, so it’s cool.

Q.  In TVs and movies, who would you like to act with most?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  I don’t know.  I would start out with someone that’s like maybe more into action, you know, try to see.  I don’t know, I’ve never thought about that actually.  So I don’t know.

 

Transcript excerpts from ASAPsports

 

‘Oz and Ends’ – Bugs and Broken Racquets

 

Karen Pestaina is the founder and editor of Tennis Panorama News. She is in Melbourne, Australia covering the Australian Open as a member of the media.  Follow her throughout the Australian Open on twitter at @TennisNewsTPN. She freelances for various media outlets and has worked for many a broadcast news entity. She witnessed her first live tennis match as a young child at Forest Hills when Guillermo Vilas upset Jimmy Connors to win the 1977 US Open. This branded her as a Vilas fan for life.

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Murray Drubs Llodra for Round of 16 Spot

MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – Andy Murray secured a spot in the fourth round of the Ausralian Open on Saturday dominating serve and volley Frenchman Michael Llodra 6-4, 6-2, 6-0. The Scot’s ownership of the Frenchman has extended to 11 match wins in a row and 25 out of the last 26 matches.

Murray spoke about his match to media, “Yeah, it was good.  I mean, it was tough for a set and a half.  A tough match.  I mean, he put a lot of pressure on my serve.  He came to the net a lot.  Saved quite a few games where he had breakpoints or 30‑All games.

“Once I got up a double break in the second, we played a lot of entertaining rallies, fun points.

“My movement was way better than the first two matches.  I moved great tonight.  That’s a good sign for me ’cause when I move well, the rest of my game goes well.  That was the most pleasing thing for me about tonight.

 

“But, yeah, I mean, I need to keep improving, do things a bit better each round.  Tonight I did a lot of things better, so I look forward to the next one.

Next up for Murray is Mikhail Kukushkin who upset an ailing Gaël Monfils in five-sets.

“When I played him in Brisbane,” said Murray, “the first six games he was unbelievable.  He hardly missed a ball.  He was hitting the ball huge, going pretty much down the line on every shot and cleaning lines.

“I mean, to me it’s not that unexpected.  I saw a little bit of the match today.  I didn’t quite know what was happening with Gaël.  But, yeah, he’s won a couple of long five‑setters.  He’s obviously in good shape.  Yeah, when I played him in Brisbane, he was hitting the ball very well.”

 

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News

 

 

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Michael Llodra – The Last of the Serve and Volleyers

MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – In an age which players bang away from the baseline, France’s Michael Llodra is a man who stands alone – at the net. He remains one of the last pure serve and volley players on the ATP World Tour.

 

When I asked him about this in a news conference, Llodra replied, “I am the last one, no?”

 

“I learned tennis, I play like this, my idol was (Stephan) Edberg and (Henri) Leconte. For me it’s too difficult to play from the baseline. It’s boring.”  Does he think serve and volley will ever make a comeback:”I don’t know it’s difficult,” said the 6’3″ Frenchman, “because now all the surfaces are slow.”

 

“So when when you want to play good you have to serve well. And also you have to be good because serve and volley over five sets. It’s getting difficult to do serve and volley” says the 31-year-old left hander who reached a career high rank in singles of 21 in September 2011.

 

On Thursday the 46th-ranked Llodra survived being broken four times in the fifth set to upset the No. 32 seed and new Russian Alex Bogomolov Jr 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 5-7, 6-4.  “I stayed positive and I fight,” said Llodra.

 

Next match-up for Llodra on Saturday will be World No.4 Andy Murray. “I have nothing to lose. Everybody is going to think that Murrray is going to destroy me, so we’ll see on the court.”

 

“Nothing change for me when I play my game.”

 

The last time Llordra played Murray was back in 2008 at the US Open when Murray won in a fifth-set tiebreak in the second round. “It’s tough to play against him, slow fast, he can do whatever he wants. I have to play my game,” noted Llodra.

 

When asked if serve and volley is a  good tactic to play against Murray, Llodra quipped,”that’s my only option.”

 

Murray has a current winning streak against French players at 10 in a row and 37-3 since January of 2008, “but he never beat me in doubles,” bragged the Frenchman.

 

“Have to attack and put pressure on him. He’s good at the baseline, he’s also good at the net.”

Murray was asked about playing Llodra after his win over Roger‑Vasselin 6‑1, 6‑4, 6‑4 to advance to the third round on Thursday.  “He’s got one way of playing, and he’ll keep playing that way up at the net.

“He’s very good at it as well.  He’s been a great doubles player, been very good at singles for a long time.  He’s got a lot of experience.  He makes it difficult because of the way he plays.

 

“You don’t see guys playing like that much nowadays.  When you do play against them, it normally takes a little while to adjust.

 

“It’s going to be tough.  But I’ve always enjoyed playing guys that come forward in the past.  Hopefully I can play a good match against him.”

 

Llodra is also a rarity in the fact that he plays both singles and doubles. Llodra has won five career ATP World Tour singles titles and 22 doubles crowns.   Some days he’s playing both singles and doubles matches within hours of each other such as he did on Thursday when he played a total of seven sets – five in singles and two in doubles. To do this “have to enjoy being on the court,” laughs Llodra. When asked about what is more important to him, singles or doubles he replied “both of them.”

 

 

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News

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