2014/07/24

Serbia’s Nenad Zimonjic Honored with Davis Cup Award of Excellence

 

zimo

(November 16, 2013) – Longtime Serbian Davis Cup team member Nenad Zimonjic has been honored with the 2013 Davis Cup Award of Excellence. The award was presented during a special on-court ceremony at the 2013 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Final between Serbia and the Czech Republic in Belgrade, Serbia on Saturday, November 16. It was presented by ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti and Serbian tennis great Slobodan Zivojinovic, a past recipient of the award.

The annual award is given jointly by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and it recognizes a Davis Cup player, past or present, who demonstrates a strong commitment to the spirit of the competition.

“Nenad has been a key component of Serbia’s Davis Cup team for 19 years and an inspirational team member,” said ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti. “We are pleased to recognize Nenad’s contributions to the competition here in front of his hometown fans by honoring him with the 2013 Davis Cup Award of Excellence.”

Zimonjic has been part of the Serbian Davis Cup team for nearly two decades, with his first nomination in 1995. In 2007, he helped Serbia qualify for the World Group for the first time, partnering with Novak Djokovic for a doubles victory in the play-offs against Australia. In 2010, Zimonjic was a member of the Serbian team that clinched its first-ever Davis Cup title, defeating France 3-2 in a home final before enthusiastic fans at Belgrade Arena.

This year, Zimonjic has played a major part in Serbia’s second entry into the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Final. In April, he partnered with Ilija Bozoljac to win an intense five-set match versus the No. 1-ranked Bryan Brothers, 7-6(5) 7-6(1) 5-7 4-6 15-13. The win clinched the victory for Serbia over the United States, and sent the team into the semifinals, where they defeated Canada.

Zimonjic has played a record 45 ties for his country, with an overall winning record of 40-22, including 13 singles victories and 27 doubles victories.

On the ATP World Tour, Zimonjic has won 49 doubles titles including three this season. He is a seven-time Grand Slam champion, having won two Wimbledon doubles titles, one French Open doubles title, and two mixed doubles titles each at the Australian Open and the French Open. Zimonjic has achieved the world No. 1 ranking in doubles, and has held a season-ending ranking in the top-20 every year for the past nine seasons, highlighted by season-ending rankings in the world top-10 every year from 2007-2011.

The Davis Cup Award of Excellence was developed to recognize and honor an individual who best represents the ideals of the competition’s founder, Dwight Davis. Each year the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the ITF present the award to a past or present Davis Cup team member who is from the country or region where the final is held.

The Davis Cup Award of Excellence was inaugurated in 2001 by the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the ITF. Past recipients include 2012 recipient Ivan Lendl, an integral Czechoslovakian Davis Cup team member; Emilio Sanchez of Spain in 2011; Slobodan Zivojinovic of Serbia in 2010; Manuel Orantes of Spain in 2009; Guillermo Vilas of Argentina in 2008; Stan Smith of the United States in 2007; Alex Metreveli of Russia in 2006; Miloslav Mecir of Slovak Republic and Goran Ivanisevic of Croatia in 2005; Manolo Santana of Spain in 2004; John Newcombe of Australia in 2003; Pierre Darmon of France in 2002; and Neale Fraser of Australia in 2001.

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Djokovic Heads list of Recipients for Davis Cup Commitment Award

Djokovic wins 89

(September 12, 2013) World No. 1 Novak Djokovic will be one of 27 players to receive the Davis Cup Commitment Award during this weekend’s Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group and zone group ties on Saturday 14 September.  The presentations are being made by the ITF through its National Associations.

 

This new award was conceived as part of the ITF’s 2013 Centenary celebrations, and will be presented to Davis Cup players who have shown long-standing dedication to representing their country in this prestigious competition. Each award recipient will have competed in a minimum of 20 home-and-away ties or 50 ties at any level of the competition (including week-long zone group events) over their career.

 

The ITF presented the first seven trophies to players in an on-court presentation at the 100th Davis Cup Final in Prague last November. Among those presented with awards at last year’s final were Italy’s Nicola Pietrangeli, who heads the elite list of players having played 66 home or away ties for his country, and San Marino’s Domenico Vicini, who holds the record for the most ties played in all levels of the competition with a total of 89.

 

This weekend presentations will be made to the following players at their respective Davis Cup home ties before the doubles rubber on Saturday 14 September:

 

Belgium* - Patrick Hombergen

Croatia** – Boro Jovanovic

Dominican Republic - Victor Estrella

Germany - Jurgen Fassbender

Latvia – Andis Juska, Deniss Pavlovs

Netherlands – Paul Haarhuis

Philippines – Felicisimo Ampon (posthumous), Johnny Arcilla, Raymundo Deyro, Juan Johnson Jose

Serbia – Novak Djokovic, Janko Tipsarevic, Nenad Zimonjic, Slobodan Zivojinovic

Slovak Republic – Dominik Hrbaty, Karol Kucera

Slovenia – Marko Tkalec, Grega Zemlja

Switzerland – Heinz Gunthardt, Jakob Hlasek, Marc Rosset

United Arab Emirates – Esam Abdulaal (BRN), Sultan Khalfan Al Alawi (QAT), Omar Al Awadhy (UAE), Mahmoud Nader Alblooshi (UAE), Khalid Al Nabhani (OMA)

 

A total of 305 players have already qualified to receive the award, of whom 258 are still alive. Presentations have been made to award winners at Davis Cup home ties throughout 2013. The Commitment Award trophies are based on the design of the current Davis Cup trophy. All recipients will also be recognised on an honours board at the ITF headquarters in London and in a dedicated section on the official Davis Cup website. A full list of award winners can be viewed here

 

ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “The Davis Cup Commitment Award reflects the dedication by players for more than a century to represent their country in this prestigious competition. These players have continued to rise to the unique challenge of competing in a team environment in front of their home fans, and we believe that it is fitting to recognise their efforts in our centenary year.”

 

 

*presentation to be made on Friday 13 September

**presentation to be made on Thursday 12 September

 

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Serbia Holds Off Bryans in Five-Set Thriller

 

 

By Junior Williams

DAVIS CUP: SERBIA HOLDS OFF BRYANS IN THRILLER

Takes 2-1 lead after Zimonjic, Bozoljac win in five-set marathon.

 

(April 6, 2013) BOISE, Idaho – Serbia Davis Cup captain Bogdan Obradovic is probably saying, “I told you so.”

 

He stuck with No. 335th ranked Ilija Bozoljac instead of replacing him with world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.

 

The payoff: Bozoljac and Nenad Zimonjic defeated top-ranked Americans Bob and Mike Bryan 7-6 (5), 7-6 (1), 5-7, 4-6, 15-13 in a thrilling 4 hour 21- minute doubles match in the Davis Cup World Group Quarterfinals at Taco Bell Arena, giving Serbia a 2-1 lead heading into Sunday’s rubbers and an opportunity for Djokovic to clinch the tie in his singles match.

 

Bozoljac’s powerful serves — many of them rockets at around 135 miles per hour — helped to neutralize the Bryans. Together, Bozoljac and Zimonjic served up 36 aces to the Americans’ twelve.

 

The 27-year old Bozoljac also came through with a number of backhand winners down the line. his play, combined with the experience of former world number one doubles player Zimonjic, came in handy for the Serbs.

 

Both teams broke each other midway through the first set, but it was Serbia that struck first by winning the tiebreak on a Zimonjic second serve ace, followed by a winner that clipped the baseline.

 

The second tiebreak also went to Serbia, helped by a minibreak due to a net cord and a strong service game resulting in three aces.

 

But the world’s No. 1 doubles team refused to give up. The Americans began their comeback by breaking Bozoljac’s serve in the final game of the third set, as Zimonjic’s block of a Mike Bryan shot sailed beyond the baseline.

 

The Bryans repeated the feat in the fourth set, as Zimonjic — who was serving this game — knocked a return from the Americans in to the net, knotting up the match at two sets apiece.

 

In the fifth set, each team managed to hold serve while escaping danger at times, until the 27th game of the set, when Bozoljac’s backhad stab return was sent wide by the Americans to give Serbia a break and a chance to serve out the match.

 

But there was more drama, as Zimonjic double faulted to give the Bryans two break points and a chance to tie the set at 14-14. That’s when Zimonjic blasted two aces to tie the game at deuce.

 

After the Bryans staved off one match point on a lob the Serbs couldn’t convert, Zimonjic served out the next two points, ending with an ace to seal the victory for Serbia. The winners hugged each other on the court as their supporters cheered wildly. Despite their disappointment, those rooting for the home team applauded the quality play of both the Serbians and the Americans.

 

Just how close was the match? Each team scored 217 points.

 

“For sure, it’s the biggest win in the Davis Cup doubles for me,” said Zimonjic. “We were playing very good.

 

“This was definitely a great, great performance and great match from me.”

 

“Anybody who was supposed to play with Nenad was supposed to be the underdog against the Bryans,” Bozoljac said. “We won and I just can’t believe it happened.

“For me, it definitely means a lot because this is my best performance in Davis Cup so far. I knew if I give my 100 percent for one match I could play on a really high level.”

 

“Have to tip our hats to those guys, obviously,” said a disappointed Bob Bryan.  “Thought they played really well all day.  36 aces, didn’t give us much opportunity, in the fifth especially.
“Just one of those things.  Obviously disappointed we let the team down.”

 

He’s a guy we haven’t seen too much of on the tour,” Mike Bryan said about journeyman Bozoljac.  “Asked a few questions of guys that have seen him play.  Gave us a few things.  But he served great all day.  He actually was a stronger returner.  There at the end he didn’t show any nerves, came up with the goods, especially on some of those 30‑All points.”

 

US Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier was asked about if Bozoljac’s is a testament to the spirit of Davis Cup “I think inspiration is pretty easy to come by when you’re playing for the colors on your back, US.  We’ve seen a lot of people in this competition rise up.  You look at the numbers next to the guy’s career, you see the performance today, something doesn’t add up.  You clearly see there was some inspiration, chemistry with Nenad on the court, and you say, Too good.”

 

It was the second consecutive Davis Cup defeat for the Bryans, who back in February lost in the World Group First Round to Brazil’s Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares. The winningest doubles team in U.S. Davis Cup history is now 20-4 when playing together.

 

Now the U.S. faces a tall task in tomorrow’s reverse singles, with Djokovic set to take on Sam Querrey in the first match. If Querrey pulls off the upset, it’ll be left to American John Isner and Serb Viktor Troicki to settle the tie.

 

Junior Williams is a long-time journalist and tennis fan. At a moment’s notice he can give you a list of all the Davis Cup match-ups that would give the US home ties. He is in Boise, Idaho covering the Davis Cup quarterfinal World Group tie between the United States and Serbia for Tennis Panorama News.

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Davis Cup: US, Serbia Deadlocked at 1-1; Djokovic, Querrey Victorious in World Group Quarterfinals

DAVIS CUP: U.S., SERBIA DEADLOCKED AT 1-1

Djokovic, Querrey victorious in World Group Quarterfinals

By Junior Williams

Sam Querrey

Sam Querrey

(April 5, 2013) BOISE, Idaho – Sam Querrey rebounded from a two sets to one deficit to defeat Viktor Troicki 7-6 (1), 3-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, drawing the United States even with Serbia at one match apiece in the Davis Cup World Group Quarterfinals at a loud Taco Bell Arena on the Boise State University campus.

In the first match, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic dispatched American John Isner in straight sets 7-6 (5), 6-2, 7-5.

 

Isner got off to a fast start by breaking Djokovic early in the first set, but the Greensboro, North Carolina native failed to hold on to his advantage and went on to lose the first-set tiebreak, courtesy of a Djokovic change-of-pace serve that handcuffed the number 23-ranked player in the world.

 

From then on it was all Djokovic. He did his best impersonation of a backboard, neutralizing Isner’s powerful serves with solid returns and defense. The Serb wrapped up the match in two hours.

 

On court in a post-match interview, Djokovic was asked about how he executed his game plan against Isner.

 

His response: “I executed perfectly.”

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

 

Djokovic elaborated further in the news conference. “I guess one of the tactics — crucial points — was to get as many balls back on the return games and try to use my serve very efficiently and not give him any opportunities to atack my second serve. So I had a very high percentage of first serves in. That helped my confidence, and I could play with less pressure in his service games.”

 

Isner agreed with Djokovic that the Australian Open champion’s ability to break back in the first set was the turning point the match.

 

“I let him back in it,” said the American. “Granted, he played a good game, but I didn’t make many first serves that game. Doing that against this guy is not a good recipe.

“You want to make first serves, and I didn’t do in that one game in the first set. That was critical because I think he became a lot more comfortable at that point.”

 

Isner had seventeen aces in the match, but his first serve percentage was 54%, compared with 77% for Djokovic.

 

The Serb’s win set up another Davis Cup pressure cooker for Querrey, the top-ranked American and world No. 20. In the World Group First Round back in February, the Californian ousted Brazil’s Thiago Alves in a fifth and deciding rubber to send the U.S. into the quarterfinals.

 

Querrey and Troicki battled for 3 hours and 20 minutes in a match marked by long rallies, powerful serves and lots of unforced errors: Querrey had 82, Troicki 62.  Querrey was going for his shots, while Troicki – like Djokovic – appeared to be returning everything in sight.

crowd

The crowd erupted in the fifth set, when Querrey broke the world’s 44th-ranked player to go up 5-4, on a Troicki shot that hit the net cord but stayed on the Serbian’s side of the court. The American went on to hold serve in the next and final game.

 

Querrey said finding his groove in the fourth set was key: “I stayed positive and kept with the game plan and played aggressive. That fourth set served extremely well and was fortunate to get two breaks and that gave me a lot of momentum going into the fifth set.”

 

Troicki said he began to tire in the fourth set:

 

“I get a bit tired mentally and also physically my legs were not 100 percent and got a little bit slower. I could say fourth set I just like wasn’t there.”

 

But Troicki added both he and Querrey played well in the fifth set, and that it just came down to who seized the opportunities.

 

“I had some chances early in the fifth,” said Troicki. “I had some chances early in the fifth.  I had some break points; didn’t use them.  He used his chances when he had a break point in a crucial moment for me. So I could say I was unlucky to lose this serve and also, yeah, to lose the match.  But that’s tennis.”

 

Next up: A crucial Saturday doubles match with Americans Bob and Mike Bryan — the number one team in the world – scheduled to play Serbian doubles specialist Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac. But Novak Djokovic says he’s “still in the option” for doubles.

 

Whether Djokovic plays or not, U.S. Davis Cup captain Jim Courier says Saturday’s match is “not a must‑win.  We won’t be eliminated, nor will Serbia no matter what happens tomorrow.”

“We certainly want to win.  There is no doubt about that.  It’s an important match for both squads.  We’ll have two singles players ready to fire on Sunday.”

 

Junior Williams is a long-time journalist and tennis fan. At a moment’s notice he can give you a list of all the Davis Cup match-ups that would give the US home ties. He is in Boise, Idaho covering the Davis Cup quarterfinal World Group tie between the United States and Serbia for Tennis Panorama News.

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Isner to Face Djokovic in Opening Match of Davis Cup in Boise

davis cup poster boise efe

(April 4, 2013) No. 23 John Isner will play No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the first match Friday of the Davis Cup World Group quarterfinal between the United States and Serbia in Boise, Idaho at the Taco Bell Arena. Djokovic leads in their head-to-head record 2-1.

No. 1 American Sam Querrey, ranked No. 20, will play No. 44 Viktor Troicki in the second match. Troicki has a 2-1 record against the American.

The Saturday doubles rubber will see the top-ranked doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan against Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac.

In reverse singles on Sunday, the No.1’s Querrey and Djokovic will play the first match followed by Isner and Troicki.

Both teams met on Thursday for a news conference after the draw was made to the weekend.

Djokovic was asked about playing in high altitudes such as Boise which is 2,842 feet above sea level. “I played in high altitude before in my life, but not matches. I think in the tour we have Madrid that’s maybe 600, 700 meters, but this is the highest that I’m going to play ever in my life,” Djokovic said.

“And it makes a difference, you know. It makes a difference. You have to put I think an extra effort in the adjustment on the court. You have to try to serve well. It’s tough to control.

“You can’t expect maybe too many long points because the ball travels through the air much faster than in normal conditions.”

The altitude is sure to help the big-serving Americans.

“Well, I can’t serve bigger than John (Isner),” Djokovic said, “so I will try to concentrate on the efficiency of my serve and the second shot also, and of course try to get as many returns back in the court as I can. He relies on his serve. That’s his biggest weapon.”

“I have to play very well, Isner said of playing Djokovic first on Friday. “ If I don’t, chances are it may not turn out so good for me. He’s the No. 1 player in the world.

“Everyone has to play well if they want to have a chance to beat him. Simple as that. Got to go out there and look to play well and aggressively.”

“It’s important. You want to go out there, and just as Novak does, I want to put our team, our country, up 1-0. In these Davis Cup ties, there are five possible points, so every point is so critical.

“I’m not placing any extra importance on the first one. It would be nice to have for sure.

“Just as every point would be. So I’m not treating it any differently. I know I want to go out there and put our team up 1-0. That’s what Novak wants to do as well.

“Our guys are feeling good and have been practicing well,” said US Davis Captain Jim Courier. “Going up a team as accomplished as the Serbs is a big challenge and we look forward to that challenge.

“We’re going to have to play our best tennis, no holds bar, to get through this weekend from the first ball to the last ball.”

The Serbian team leads the US 1-0 in Davis Cup ties, defeating the US back in 2010 in Belgrade in the first round on the way to their first Davis Cup title.

Tennis Channel will air live daily coverage. Friday’s singles matches will air live at 3:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. MT, Saturday’s doubles match will air at 3:00 p.m. ET/1:00 p.m. MT, and Sunday’s singles matches will air live at 2:00 p.m. ET/12:00 p.m. MT.

Schedule

Friday, 1:00 p.m.

Singles A: John Isner (USA) vs. Novak Djokovic (SRB)

Singles B: Sam Querrey (USA) vs. Viktor Troicki (SRB)

Saturday, 12:30 p.m.

Doubles: Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan (USA) vs. Ilija Bozoljac/Nenad Zimonjic (SRB)

Sunday, 11:30 a.m.

Singles C: Sam Querrey (USA) vs. Novak Djokovic (SRB)

Singles D: John Isner (USA) vs. Viktor Troicki (SRB)

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US Plays Host to Serbia in Davis Cup Quarterfinal This Weekend

QuerreyIsnerDavisCup2010lo_res

Sam Querrey and John Isner

(April 2, 2013) The United States hosts world No. 1 Novak Djokovic this weekend as they take on Serbia in the quarterfinal round of Davis Cup in Boise, Idaho on an indoor hard court at the Taco Bell Arena on the Boise State University campus.

 

The US team will consist of Sam Querrey, John Isner, Bob and Mike Bryan. In addition to Djokovic, Serbia sends Viktor Troicki, Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac.

 

This will be the second time that the US has played Serbia in Davis Cup competition. Serbia topped the US  3-2 in the 2010 first round in Belgrade.

 

“I think we like our chances,“ Querrey said at a a pre-draw news conference on Tuesday. “I think if we play aggressive and play well, we can win this tie.

 

“Sam and I are going to both lay it all out there and see how it goes,” Isner said.
“I think we’re certainly not scared.  We’re going to take the court believing we can win.  I think that’s the most important part more than anything else.  If you take the court with that belief, it could go a long way.”

 

Djokovic said the the tie is not all about him. “Team effort is a priority here, ” he said.  “Even if I win my both matches, it’s not going to be enough to win the tie.  So we need to win the 3 points.
“That’s what we came here for.  We are very glad to be in quarterfinals again.  Of course, USA is the most successful nation in this competition.  They have a lot of good players.  As you mentioned, Sam and John are the leaders of this team.  And, of course, Bryan brothers which are the all‑time best doubles pair.
“They are very strong.  They have chosen these conditions because they believe it’s going to go in their favor.  They have a strong serve.  With this altitude, it helps the serve more.
“But we played in these conditions before.  I played Sam and John, you know, in previous years few times.  I know their styles of the game.  This competition is very unique because you get to rely on the home support.  So it’s going to be quite different.  Obviously we going to have an extra motivation to play and win for our country.”

 

The winner of this tie will face either Canada or Italy in the World Group semifinals. Should the US beat Serbia, it will host Canada or travel to Italy. Although the US hosted the last tie against Canada in 1965, choice of ground was decided by lot if the previous meeting between the two nations was prior to 1970.

 

Schedule

All times Mountain Time

Friday, April 5, 2013 1:30 p.m.

Singles A: U.S. No. 1 vs. SRB No. 2 (or SRB No. 1 vs. U.S. No. 2)

Singles B: Opposite pairing of Singles A

 

Saturday, April 6, 2013 1:00 p.m.

Doubles

 

Sunday, April 7, 2013 12:00 p.m.

Singles C: U.S. No. 1 vs. SRB No. 1

Singles D: U.S. No. 2 vs. SRB No. 2

 

In the United States, the tie will air live on Tennis Channel.

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Tennis Players and Chefs Serve Up a Feast for Charity at Taste of Tennis

 

Taste of Tennis1

By Jaclyn Stacey

(January 10, 2013) MELBOURNE, Australia – A service game of a different kind was on the menu for the tennis stars who attended the 4th Annual Melbourne Swisse Taste of Tennis event held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on Thursday night.

 

Players joined with chefs from Melbourne’s top restaurants to serve up gourmet treats to A-list guests in the name of charity.

 

Many top 20 ATP and WTA players featured among the guests at the event which raised money for Diabetes Australia and the National Institute of Integrative Medicine. Top ten players Janko Tipsarevic and Richard Gasquet graced the red carpet, along with other notable players including Marion Bartoli, Marin Cilic, Kevin Anderson, Lucie Safarova, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Ivo Karlovic.

 

Former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt paired with celebrity chef George Colombaris to kick off the evening with a special presentation on stage before chefs and players combined to act as food servers, handing out small gourmet delights throughout the night.

 

Celebrities and chefs began arriving at the venue from 6.30pm sporting a wide variety of outfits based on the ‘elegantly casual’ dress theme. Many of the men came smartly dressed in jeans, while Marion Bartoli and the Rodionova sisters glammed up the red carpet in sky high heels and sleek dresses.

 

British Fed Cup captain Judy Murray is known to tweet her love of desserts to her 49,000 plus twitter following, and expressed her delight at the event’s offerings. She said “we’ve had a great time because to be able to go around and try small amounts of lots of different things is great. I think the trick is to pace yourself so that you have enough room left for desserts.”

 

Murray also spoke of her hope for the British girls at the Australian Open starting on Monday and said she is hopeful for a good run from Heather Watson and Laura Robson who have both recently broken into the top 50 singles rankings for the first time.

 

Swedish doubles specialist Robert Lindstedt enjoyed the social aspect of the evening and said it’s a welcome break from the day to day. “It’s great. It’s nice for the people to turn out where most of the guests are not players so it’s quite nice.” He said that on tour “we enjoy good food. We always try to find maybe not always the nicest restaurants because they’re a bit expensive but we always try to eat well so food like this is what we look for.”

 

Serbia’s Nenad Zimonjic said he loves eating out at restaurants. “It’s something that I enjoy doing and also traveling around the world I have the chance to try different cuisines. But when I’m at home I like a home cooked meal and I’m really lucky that my wife cooks really well so I enjoy that as well.”

 

Silent auctions were held throughout the night to raise money for the elected charities. Items up for auction included signed memorabilia of international sporting stars such as Tiger Woods, Sebastian Vettel and Cristiano Ronaldo, as well as experiences including dining packages and the opportunity to have a personal chef serve you at your home.

 

The Norman Brookes Challenge Cup and the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup were also a popular attraction on the night, with guests lining up for the chance to hold and have a photo taken with the Australian Open championship trophies.

Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her persona @JackattackAU.
All photos by Melinda Samson who runs the site Grand Slam Gal. Follow her on twitter @Grandslamgal.
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Around the Grounds at the BNP Paribas Open – Friday, March 9, 2012

 

By Jennifer Knapp

INDIAN WELLS, California- First full day on site  – so many matches (and practices) to see but so little time.   Armed with a fresh camera battery, 8gb memory card and fully charged iPhone, I plotted my plan of attack.   I have a love/hate relationship with the early rounds.  I love the fact that there are so many matches to see any one time but I hate having to make the often times difficult prioritization decisions.  Okay, so I’ll admit that when I think about what I just said, I realize that I am quite lucky to have such a predicament but it really can be quite stressful!   Here it goes!

 

A few minutes after I got settled in the media room, word spread that Feliciano Lopez, David Ferrer and Fernando Verdasco were on the practice courts so I quickly grabbed my camera and headed downstairs.  Before I could get very far, I saw a huge crowd looked up and realized it was Juan Martin Del Potro.  Took a few (blurry) photos and headed over to the grassy area just in time to see Feliciano Lopez kicking around a soccer ball.  More photos.  I spotted Ferrer and Verdasco practicing on the far court and Caroline Wozniacki on the court closest to me. More photos.  Practicing nearby on separate courts were Victoria Azarenka and Janko Tipsarevic. Even more photos before I finally made it to Court 8 for Tommy Haas versus Jarko Nieminen.

 

Tommy Haas

Haas seemed to be in control in the first set but ended up winning it in a tie break – one that he came very close to losing.  He eventually won the match but he cracked at least a few rackets along the way.  Haas has long since been a desert favorite and he didn’t disappoint.  And yes, I took more pictures.

 

Next up was the Novak Djokovic/Viktor Troicki versus Feliciano Lopez/Marcel Granollers match on Stadium One.  It was a very entertaining match but I think the primarily pro-Djokovic/Troicki crowd was quite shocked to see Lopez/Granollers win in straight sets.  No pictures for this one as I was sitting up too high – in the shade – but after a few hours in the direct sun, it was a welcomed relief.

 

Juan Monaco and Rafael Nadal

I made my way back to the practice courts in time to see a huge crowd watching Rafael Nadal and Juan Monaco.  Very little chance of finding any free space, I opted to take photos from the other side and relied on my zoom to make them look much closer than I actually was. 

Also on the practice courts at the same time was Bernard Tomic who was tucked far away from the fans.   I think this might have been his first time in Indian Wells and unfortunately, it was a brief visit as he ended up losing in 3 sets to Gilles Muller.

 

My next destination was Court 2 to watch David Nalbandian and Potito Starace.  It was extremely hot sitting courtside so I took a bunch of photos and headed up to the top of the stands where you have a much better chance of catching a breeze.  The first set was a tight one with Nalbandian taking in in a tiebreak but it seemed like Starace gave up pretty early in the second set and eventually was bageled. Ouch.

 

My Twitter timeline let me know that Victoria Azarenka was in trouble on Stadium 1 so I hightailed it back over there.  The idea the #1 player in the world, riding an unbeaten streak in 2012, could crash out in the first round seemed unthinkable but it came way too close to happening.  Total crowd thriller though and what a match for Mona Barthel.

 

Andy Roddick

Took a quick break to freshen up and got myself situated (in the cafeteria) for the Andy Roddick/Mardy Fish versus Florian Mayer/Jarkko Nieminen match.  Wanted to catch some of the Gael Monfils/Philipp Kohlschreiber doubles but I knew it was going to conflict so I made one of those judgement calls.  Mayer/Nieminen started off with a bang and jumped to an early lead but Roddick/Fish fought back to take the second set and come within only a few points of winning the match. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.   Managed to catch the last few minutes of Roddick’s news conference and heard him answering questions about his radio show and the Olympics.  

 

Last but not least was the highly anticipated doubles match between Rafael Nadal/Marc Lopez and Nenad Zimonjic/Michael Llodra.  Sat in the photo pit for this one and it was quite a view.  Nadal and Lopez were clearly fired up and seem to play some of their best doubles matches in Indian Wells.  Tonight was no exception as they beat the No. 3 seeds in straight sets.  During the on court interview, Nadal “encouraged” Lopez to speak to the crowd in English but Lopez opted to stick to Spanish.  Great way to end the evening!

 

My next and final task for the day was to complete this write up which I am now finishing after 11:00pm  – 13 hours after my “tennis” day began.  It was an amazing day and Saturday promises to be equally exciting so stay tuned!

Jennifer Knapp is covering the BNP Paribas Open as media for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her updates on twitter @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @Jusbjen.

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Llodra and Zimonjic Upset Bryan Brothers for Rogers Cup Title

 

 

MONTREAL,  Canada – Fourth Seeded pair Michael Llodra and Nenad Zimonjic won the Rogers Cup title doubles title, upsetting defending champions and No. 1 Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan 6-4, 6-7(5), 10-5. This marks the eighth win in a row for Llodra and Zimonjic who captured the Legg Mason Tennis Classic last weekend. Llodra and Zimonjic spoke to the media after their victory.

 

Video by Jennifer Knapp.

Jennifer Knapp is in Montreal covering the Rogers Cup for Tennis Panorama News. She has been following professional tennis for 15+ years and has attended dozens of tournaments around the world. She completed her own personal “Grand Slam” after attending her 1st US Open in 2002 and next on her tennis bucket list is the 2012 Olympics in London. Follow her Montreal twitter coverage this week  on @GVTennisNews. Her personal twitter is @jusbjen.

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