2015/05/27

New Season, New Goals

Andy Murray 12 26 Abu Dhabi

By Abigail Hinto

(December 26, 2012) ABU DHABI – Six of the top eleven players in the world,  are gathered in Abu Dhabi to start their season at the Mubadala World Tennis Championships (MWTC). Three of the players, namely Janko Tipsarevic, Tomas Berdych and Andy Murray showed up on Tuesday for their pre-tournament news conferences.  No. 11 Nicolas Almagro replaced Rafael Nadal, who withdrew from the event with a stomach virus.

Despite all three belonging in the top 10, and despite the small gap in their rankings, these three players are in vastly different stages in their careers with varying expectations, pressures and goals. And the goals they’ve set for themselves for the new season give an interesting insight to how they see their careers, where they’re at now and what they feel they should be able to accomplish.
Tipsarevic, the relative newcomer in the top 10 has set his sights on qualifying for the World Tour Finals in London. And with his best showing at a grand slam only consisting of two quarterfinal appearances, both at the US Open this year and last, he aims to have deeper runs at the slams this year. His tight quarterfinal loss against David Ferrer at this year’s US Open has shown him that though he’s not quite there yet in the level he needs to challenge the top players, he’s getting close.
Tomas Berdych meanwhile has already made finals and a couple of semifinals at the majors. His goal now, is to hold that trophy. Saying that he was happy for Andy Murray finally winning his slam, noting that it’s good that someone had once again broken the stranglehold Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic had on winning the majors, could acknowledging Murray’s breakthrough give Berdych the inspiration to try to win one for himself as well? Davis Cup this year, a grand slam next year?
As for Andy Murray, after finally winning that major he’s been working so hard for and been pressured on winning since he was first considered a contender in 2008, how does he re-set his goals? Murray is a short-term goal-setter which he says he’s always been with his career. So, it’s one major at a time for him, now focusing solely on the Australian Open trophy. Asked if reaching no.1 is a top priority, Murray answers that it’s not, as that ranking only comes with the results from every tournament he plays.
And as the Mubadala World Tennis Championships starts on Wednesday, we’ll get to see these three players finally begin their first step towards their goals.
Abigail Hinto is covering the Mubadala World Tennis Championships in Abu Dhabi, UAE as media for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her updates on twitter at @TennisNewsTPN.
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All photos by Abigail Hinto for Tennis Panorama
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Almagro Stops Roddick to Win Miami Tennis Cup Exhibition Tournament

(December 2, 2012) No. 11 Nicolas Almagro stopped the recently retired Andy Roddick 6-4, 7-5 on Sunday at the Miami Tennis Cup exhibition event held at Crandon Park, the home of the Sony Open.

The win marked the first time Almagro had never take a set off of Roddick. While Roddick was on the pro tour he was 2-0 versus the Spaniard going 4-0 in sets.

“I think it was a really good match, and he’s a very good player,” Almagro said. “I’m really happy with my game, although I think I can do better, but it’s the end of the season, and I’m a little bit tired. I’m happy to be the first champion of the Miami Tennis Cup and I think it’s a fun and enjoyable tournament. I hope to be back next year”

In between the hard-hitting rallies, the players mixed in some “hit and giggle” tennis which entertained the fans.

“I enjoy playing tennis still, and it was never about me not enjoying tennis,” Roddick said after the match. “It was about me not being able to commit to being a professional tennis player.”

“I enjoyed myself and it’s nice for me to come back in a competitive atmosphere. I’ve been happy with how I played and I’m glad they had me here. I think the crowd have enjoyed the tennis they’ve seen.”

So what’s next for the 30-year-old American? No training certainly for Roddick  but more golf. He’s back to full husband duties following his wife model-actress Brooklyn Decker around.

“The tables have turned.”

 

© MiamiTennisNews.com

 

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Spain Takes a Commanding 2-0 Lead Over US in Davis Cup Semifinals

Spain is a win away from advancing to the Davis Cup final for the fourth time in five years. In Gijon, Spain’s  David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro gave Spain at 2-0 lead on day 1 versus the United States in the Davis Cup World Group semifinals on Friday.

No. 5 Ferrer, days removed from the US Open, where he lost to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals, moved past No. 26 Sam Querrey 4-6 6-2 6-2 6-4.

“It’s never easy to adapt from hard court to clay, and with only three to four days even less,” said Ferrer. “I didn’t feel too bad, but I didn’t play perfect tennis, either.”

Querrey failed to convert on 12 break point chances. “On a couple of them, I should have been more aggressive but he played good points,” said Querrey. “I feel if I get one of those breaks, it could be a different game.”

“It was a very tough match throughout, he didn’t make it easy for me,” Ferrer said to Spanish television.

In the second rubber on the day, Almagro braved 25 aces from the racquet John Isner to complete a perfect day for Spain 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.

The doubles rubber takes place on Saturday with brothers Mike and Bob Bryan taking on Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez. Reverse singles will take place on Sunday.

Only once has the US ever rallied from an 0-2 deficit, back in 1934 against Australia. Spain is a perfect 37-0 after winning both opening singles matches, since World Group play began.

“Nothing is impossible, said US Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier about coming back from an 0-2 deficit on the road. “Our sport doesn’t have a clock; you have to win the last point. Spain will do everything it can to win the last point, as will the United States, but nothing is impossible,”

“Proud of both these guys. They both went out there and laid it on the line and fought hard. They were two great battles, and all of us on the team are very proud of what these guys did today.”

The winner of the tie will face either Argentina or the Czech Republic in the Davis Cup final in November.

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Berdych downs Almagro and will Face Federer in Quarterfinals

 

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Czech Tomas Berdych marched into his first US Open quarterfinal defeating Spaniard Nicolas Almagro in straight sets – 7-6, 6-4, 6-1 in two hours.

“It was really close, especially in the first set,” Berdych said of the two hour match. “It was a fight for every point. It was a tough match.”

This is his 10th US Open. He joins elite company – he along with Ivan Lendl and Petr Korda are the only Czech men in the Open Era to have reached the quarterfinals in all four majors.

“I’m very happy that I can compete in all Grand Slams at least in quarter-finals. It helps my confidence,” said Berdych.

Almagro and Berdych had a disagreement at the most recent Australian Open. The Czech accused the Spaniard of hitting a ball at his face when he was at net, the ball hit his arm..

Berdych refused to shake Almagro’s hand after the match. Berdych dismissed the incident saying this week calling it “nothing at all.” Both men did shake hands at the net.

Berdych will face off against Roger Federer for a spot in the semifinals. The Czech is 3-3 against the Swiss in there last six matches against each other

“Our last actually six matches we played it’s 3-all, so it’s quite nice statistics,” said Berdych. “But, you know, this is another one. We didn’t play in a couple of months.

“In that time, I mean, he played some incredible tennis again. You know, he won another Grand Slam, become No. 1 again.”

Berdych said, “I’m there, so I will try to do my best.”

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Blue Clay Blues – Part Two

Monday’s player quotes about the blue clay courts being used at this year’s Madrid Open:

Serena Williams

I don’t think that there is a big difference between the blue and the red. I think it is the same except for the fact that it is a different colour and that you don’t get as dirty, which I love. But I don’t find too many differences. There is definitely a difference between European clay and US clay.

Novak Djokovic

 

Well, I think the tournament has done a great job in the past couple of years in making the players feel good. They invested a lot in this whole new complex. It was an indoor event a couple of years ago. 2009 was the first year we had the clay court tournament in Madrid. It’s a very interesting venue and the players feel good here. We have good conditions, good facilities, great food and that’s what matters the most – it’s a very beautiful city. This year is quite different from any other tournament. We have the blue clay court for the first time in the history of our sport. It is definitely interesting for everybody to see what’s going to happen throughout this week. In my opinion, it’s different. There are certain differences between blue clay and red clay. We can talk about this for a long time but I try to keep its as short as possible now that we have blue clay in front of us for this year. I tried to prepare for it as best I can and it’s obviously the same for everybody. The only thing that is a little bit disappointing from a player’s standpoint is that this was decided without the players agreeing on it. So that’s the most disappointing thing really. I haven’t tested the courts and as far as I know most of the top players have not tried blue clay. If you don’t have especially the top players testing the court and agreeing on this change, that should mean something. There should be a value in what they say but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. I’m not blaming the tournament because the tournament is fighting for their own interest. The ATP should have done a better job in representing the player’s rights and protecting what they want and what they say. This is what we have now, this is the situation. I just hope for the players we will not have any injuries and that we can have a decent week of tennis here.

 

Carla Suarez Navarro

Well it’s true, the blue court, I feel is a little bit different. I feel it’s a little bit quicker too. The clay is very powdery, in some places it’s a bit more slippery than normal clay but I could see quite well. Sometimes the bounce of the ball is not that good but I think that the referees did a really good job on the court. I think that for the spectator the change is good. I think it’s something quite positive.

 

Nicolas Almagro

 

The courts are sliding a lot. It’s a different, unique surface that isn’t used in any other tournament. Being so close to Roland Garros, we would prefer to play on red clay. This surface isn’t in the best of conditions. It is very slippery and I hope there aren’t any injuries.

 

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On the Green Carpet – Photos from the BNP Paribas Open Players’ Party

 

INDIAN WELLS, California (March 8, 2012) – The BNP Paribas Open held their players’ party at the IW club on Thursday night. Driving up to the “Green Carpet” in classic cars included the likes of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Victoria Azarenka, Petra Kvitova, Andy Murray, Ana Ivanovic, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, John Isner, Agnieszka Radwanska, Jelena Jankovic, David Ferrer, Feliciano Lopez and a host of others.

Photos by Curt Janka and Jennifer Knapp.  Follow Tennis Panorama News’ BNP Paribas Open coverage here an on our twitter @TennisNewsTPN.

 

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Sony Ericsson Open Players Party – Welcome to the Oscars


View the slideshow

by Craig Hickman

Tuesday night, the players chose their fashion-forward best for the “Oscars” of the player party circuit. Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, and Ana Kournikova were the biggest stars of the tennis world in attendance, as well as world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, Fernando Verdasco, and pretty boy Feliciano Lopez, who made one of the photographers weak-kneed.

Robin Soderling
, along with his girlfriend, were among the first to show up and they were already walking out when we arrived. Tomas Berdych and Lucie Safarova were the last to arrive on the red (blue) carpet. An adorable couple close up, their chemistry was palpable. Tomas has always had the look of an angel and Lucie’s baby-doll face was all aglow. I was thrilled to see Anastasia Myskina who arrived with the self-proclaimed “Russian Mob,” led by Svetlana Kuznetsova in another one of her head-scratching get ups.

Mixed in with the players were a few actors, a couple professional gamers, some well-known local DJ’s, and a few mystery men.

Venus Williams arrived about midway through and when Serena Williams wasn’t far behind, it was clear the superstar wasn’t coming. Also noticeably absent was Andy Roddick, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and Kim Clijsters.

Tweeting the photos was a stroke of genius suggested by photographer  JD Blom. I was all set to tweet my best descriptions of the outfits when he looked over my shoulder and said, “Just snap a photo.” Ah, technology. I’m not a wizard with the latest toys, so I had no clue you could do such a thing. Once I got the hang of it, it was all over. Would love to do that again someday.

Right before the paparazzi packed up equipment to leave, one of the Getty photographers asked my to identify most of the players he’d just captured for he only recognized a few big names. Who knew?

More photos from the live tweets – here.

On the Red (Blue) Carpet of the Sony Ericsson Open Players Party

Craig Hickman is founder and editor of Craig Hickman’s Tennis Blog He is covering the Sony Ericsson Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow him on twitter @CraigHickman.  Find his Sony Ericsson Open tweets on @GVTennisNews.

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On the Red (Blue) Carpet of the Sony Ericsson Open Players Party

The Sony Ericsson Open Players Party took place at the Paris Theater in Miami Beach. Here are a few photos from the event held on March 22, 2011.

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More photos from the live tweets – here.

Sony Ericsson Open Players Party – Welcome to the Oscars

Craig Hickman is founder and editor of Craig Hickman’s Tennis Blog He is covering the Sony Ericsson Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow him on twitter @CraigHickman.  Find his Sony Ericsson Open tweets on @GVTennisNews.

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