2014/10/25

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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Notes and Quotes from Day 11 of the 2012 French Open

MARIA SHARAPOVA

On people watching:

It’s the best here.  So eclectic.  Maybe Tokyo is up there, too.  I love people watching in Tokyo.  It’s pretty unique.  Paris is another level.  I wish I could take everyone’s style and put it in so many cities around the world we visit.

I love the way that people go about their lives and the way they sit at cafes like a few centimeters from the cars going by.  It’s like, is that really nice or not?  They seem to enjoy it.  Everyone sits close to each other.  You’re listening or eavesdropping into their conversations.

Yeah, very different, which I enjoy.

 

Who wouldn’t want that lifestyle?  It’s great to me.  I could eat at L’Avenue every single day, have the escargot and the little strawberries they have for dessert, gain like 20 pounds.

But that’s all right.  They walk everywhere and they bike.  That would help.

 

 

 

DAVID FERRER

 

Q.  Can you help us think about the headline for my newspaper tomorrow?

Well, I’m not the appropriate person to think about the headlines of your newspaper.  The only thing I can say is that I’m very happy.  This is a very important tournament for me.  I made it.  At last I made it to the semifinals, whether in Australia or during the US Open I’ve never made it.  But I can make it on my favorite surface.

 

Yes, Rafa is always difficult to play.  Even more so on clay.

As I said and I will say again:  I will try and play a beautiful match, my best tennis.  I have great ambitions, and I’m quite certain this is going to be a very physical match.

 

I knew I was capable of making it to the semifinals.  I played the quarterfinals twice, and this time I made it.  I arrived here in a pretty good shape, both physically and mentally, and this is a big relief.

I feel relieved.  I’ll have this opportunity of playing a semifinal.

 

Winning a match against Rafa is almost impossible.  He is in such good shape.

 

 

It’s just a tennis match.  We both want to win it, so I’m going to do everything I can.  Then we can play with our PlayStations together, no problem.

 

 

 

ANDY MURRAY

 

 

Yeah, I feel okay.  I’ll need to put some good work in before Wimbledon, that’s for sure.  I was sort of getting a little bit out of breath after some of the longer rallies.

I need to make sure I get a solid base in before Wimbledon.

 

Like I said, I’m not really, really disappointed.  Yeah, I mean, it was a decent tournament.  I mean, coming in, like I said, I didn’t feel as good as last year, but after the match in the second round, yeah, I mean, if I’m looking at the positives, it was good to get into this position.

You know, I was playing some good tennis towards the end.  Just made a few more mistakes than I would have liked to.

The original one?  You mean before the tournament?  We’ll see how it feels over the next few months.  But again, I’m sure I’ll have to answer it many times over the next few months.

Every player has niggles.  Everybody has problems from time to time.  Everyone has to find ways of dealing with them.

I think the grass will probably help a bit.  You’re not having to generate as much power because the ball is coming into you a little bit more and doesn’t get up as high as it does on the clay.  I think the grass will help.

 

I’ll do what’s best for my preparation for Wimbledon, back or not.  Like I said, I need to get some good physical work done.  That’s going to be important.

So, you know, when I can get that done, whether it’s over the next five, six days before I play at Queen’s or the four or five days I would have after Queen’s before the tournament obviously at Wimbledon, I mean, it’s not a disaster if I can’t play a tournament beforehand.

Novak didn’t play before Australia this year; I don’t believe he played before Wimbledon last year.  Many times Roger has not played an event before.

It happens all the time.  You just need to make sure you’re comfortable on the courts and the surface you’re playing on before you start the tournament.

 

RAFAEL NADAL

So I saw the Tsonga and Djokovic one, and was a good match to see.  My opinion Tsonga played fantastic for moments.  He was a little bit unlucky, that’s the true.  But in my opinion, he had two mistakes in two match points, important ones.  The first was a passing shot with his backhand.  He hit the ball probably in the worst place to hit, against the forehand volley of the opponent.

So his chances was volley and backhand, not forehand, in my opinion, but is very difficult in that moment, no.  After, he hit the ball to the net with his forehand with another match point.  It probably wasn’t the right ball to hit.  He had to wait a little bit for another one.

But that’s the game.  That’s the sport.  Both players deserve to win.  Djokovic saved a lot, fighted a lot, and he maintained his focus.

So anyone would be the right winner, but finally it was no Novak.  Well done.

I’m an amateur at fishing.  When I go, I go with friends who really knows what to do.  When I am able to have time and holiday and go, I go.

But, you know, the problem with fishing is, one, you have to go early in the morning.  It’s not because I don’t like to go early in the morning.  I love to wake up early and go for fishing, but I practice in the morning.  That’s the thing, no?

My uncle will not be very happy if I tell him that today I going to practice in the afternoon because I go for fishing.  That’s the problem, no?

NICOLAS ALMAGRO

 

The one who’s no longer favorite to win the tournament is me.  At the moment, you have Djokovic, Federer, Rafa, and then later Ferrer or Murray.

I wish the final is 100% Spanish so we’re certain we have the winner, but the four or five left are huge players.

 

Well, if I dropped the gloves in a quarterfinals in Roland Garros, I deserve to go back to school.

But at one stage the balls were very heavy and he was playing incredible angles.  You know, when Rafa starts attacking he’s an excellent player.  When he’s dominating, he knows the game perfectly.

But me dropping the gloves?  No way.  At no stage.  I tried to fight at all times.  I was down 6‑2, and then I came back 5‑3.  It was 6‑2.  During the third set I had a few opportunities to win a break, but I couldn’t.

So when you say hanging my gloves, that’s not the kind of expression you want to use.  But I want to congratulate Rafa.

 

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Nadal Dismisses Almagro, Ferrer Ousts Murray at French Open

 

Rafael Nadal is just two wins away from claiming a seventh French Open title with his quarterfinal victory over fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro 7-6 (4), 6-2, 6-3 on Wednesday at Roland Garros. Nadal will meet another countryman in the semifinals as  David Ferrer stopped Great Britain’s Andy Murray 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-2 . This will be Ferrer’s first trip to the French Open semifinals.

Nadal fended off four break points against his countryman and after winning the tiebreak in the first set, it was smooth sailing for the World No.2.

“Just try to wait for my moment,” Nadal said of the match. “ That’s true that I was a little bit ‑‑ he had chances in the third.  He had a few very good moments hitting the ball very hard.  But I had ‑‑ with 1‑0 I had a few deuce; with 3‑2 I had a break point; with the 4‑3 I finally had the break, no.

“So I had my chances too.  It’s true that he had a few chances, important ones.  But my serve worked really well, and he had one mistake, one important mistake with the forehand.

“He had the control of the point in that moment, but wasn’t very easy to hit that forehand.  He tried to hit, in my opinion, not the right ball.  He had the mistake.

“My thoughts in that moment just I am two sets up; wait for my moment; try to play aggressive when I have the chance.  Because was very difficult to play aggressive against a player who, from the first ball, hit the ball that fast, no, and with that power.

“I tried when I had the chance, and I played well mentally in the third.  My serve was important, sure.”

“I think I played one of the best matches I can play against Rafa, but he’s the No. 1 of the world in this surface,” Almagro said.  “I’m very happy with my tennis.

“The only thing I can say to you I’m going to work a lot for the next time.

“It’s a real opportunity to play against the best player in the world on clay.  It’s wonderful fighting against someone at such a high level.

“He served really well out there at the important moment of the match.”

 

Nadal will face countryman David Ferrer who took more than three hours to top Andy Murray.

“It will be tough against him because he’s the best player on clay in history,” Ferrer said in regard to playing Nadal for a place in the final.

“Roland Garros is very special for me, because I remember when won here Sergi Bruguera, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Carlos Moya.  This tournament I think is very special for all the Spanish players and also for me.”

Andy Murray spoke to media after the loss to Ferrer:

“I thought I played some good tennis tonight.  I just didn’t convert.  I mean, I had a lot of chances in the last couple of sets on his serve and I lost a lot of really long games on my serve, which didn’t help.

“Against him, you know, he is so solid, so consistent, you know, that if you’re not converting your opportunities, it turns to many long games and then the pressure can build on your serve.

“He obviously broke me a lot times the last couple of sets.  I had chances to break him and didn’t convert them like he did.”

The last time Ferrer made the semifinals of a major was back in 2011 at the Australian Open when he took out Nadal in the quarterfinals.

As for his chances against Nadal Ferrer said, “we both want to win it, so I’m going to do everything I can.  Then we can play with our PlayStations together, no problem.”

The French Open men’s semifinals will take place on Friday when No. Novak Djokovic faces Roger Federer, while Nadal plays Ferrer.

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Notes and Quotes from Day 9 of the 2012 French Open

MARIA SHARAPOVA

 

On the controversial umpire calls:

The first one was the most questionable one, I guess, because she couldn’t find the mark.  I mean, I don’t know how to  like, she said that to me.  What do you say to that?  You can’t find the mark?  I mean, it was like, Well, isn’t that your job, is to find the mark?  I mean, we’re on clay courts.  Usually when there is no mark, it means it’s on the line.  Obviously that wasn’t her theory.

And then she said  I asked her to  I asked the line judge where the mark was.  She said, Well, I walked around that area; I might have stepped on the mark.

So I don’t know what to say to that, either.  She had an answer for everything out there.

Yeah, and then the second one, that was I don’t know.  I’d have to see the replay.  I don’t remember if I made a gesture that it was out or not.  Maybe that was the right call.  But in the moment it seemed like I was correct in both situations.

 

Glamour and diva.  Hmmm.  Yeah, that’s me.  (Smiling.)

I think a lot of it is perception, and the visual that people have of  it’s understandable, because what the outside world sees is you playing and doing press conferences.  And being on the red carpet and everything is just so glam and beautiful.

But at the end of the day, it’s all big one illusion, and then reality sets in.  And, you know, I don’t go to sleep with my makeup on or don’t wear makeup on the court.

I’m sure divas do that, right?  (Smiling).

 

What she did with car she won in Stuttgart: 

What do I do with it?  I pick a car.  Well, yeah, I guess I ship it to wherever they can ship it to.  Hopefully they can ship it to the States.  No, they said they would.

It might take a little bit longer, but, yeah, I’m excited about it.  Excited for a change.  I like my car, but maybe I’ll be driving another one, even though my dad sounds like he might steal it.

 

Asked about her “game plan” and who is in control of it: 

I’m useless with game plans.  That’s probably the one thing he just gets so frustrated with me about.  I don’t know.  I go out there and I do my own thing, and then he’s like, after the match, like, Really?  What’s the point?  I mean, what’s the point of having me?

But I apologized when I hired him in advance, so he’s okay.

 

YAROSLAVA SHVEDOVA

 

Yeah, after I did the quarters here in 2010, I had not success year of the singles.  But then I was focusing a lot on doubles, because then we qualified with Vania for Championships.

In the beginning of 2011 and after my first match, I had injury and I had surgery right after Australia.  After surgery I was recovering very long and I come back and my knee was bothering me for half year.

And then my coach left, and I had some tough periods mentally, as well, and I was very down and lonely.  Playing again doubles and couldn’t  like lost all my singles points.

Since like September I got a new coach, and he helped me out a lot.  For this year we set a goal to get my ranking back, and I was working hard.  I had a great team around me and working with psychologist and everything, fitness coaches, and I am very thankful to my team.  It’s not only my work, it’s teamwork.

 

 

No, I had the same plan.  It’s just it didn’t work in the first set.  She was playing very good.  I was very nervous and like making mistakes and, yeah, it’s like played a bit wrong.

But then I figure out it and change my game, and she like start to attack more.

And I knew also before the match she’s defending champion, and she have a pressure to hold.  I was relaxed.  I was from the equally and it was my seventh match singles.  So it was just come to enjoy and try my best.

Yeah, it’s the  for now the most incredible win, I think, for me.  I always have nice matches against top players, because it’s easier, as I said, because I have no pressure, and I always come to beat them.  I don’t need to defend something like if I play with lower‑ranked players.

 

Yeah, I felt she (Li Na)was nervous a little bit.  She didn’t play maybe like she was playing last year.  She was doing some mistakes.  But I don’t know.  Maybe she was thinking a lot or maybe she’s not in the best shape.  Like I cannot tell for her.  Like you have to ask her.

LI NA

 

Nothing wrong the second set.  I mean, this is tennis.

I mean, I really want to say I was a professional tennis player.  This, I mean, only I can answer.

The weather for me is nothing special.  The weather couldn’t killing me.

I will find the why.  I will find out.  But not ..not in today.  Otherwise for sure I can win the match.

On the court, I can’t find why.  I couldn’t put the ball back on the court.

I mean, just like normal.  Tennis, only two player on the court.  Only win or is lose.  For me is nothing special.  If today I lose the match, lose.  If I win, just win.  If I lose the match, I have to find the reason why I lose the match.  I have to try working hard next day and even come working hard next week.

I mean, you say I win last year.  I mean, is already last year.  So one year already.

Is one year already.  How can against for today, I mean, I don’t know why.  I just lose one match.  So don’t try to push me down.

 

I mean, of course I have to take off.  Right now I feeling  especially after losing match, I mean, I can’t pick up the racquet next day to training harder as I can.

So of course I will take some days off to totally forget tennis.  Then try to come back in next week.

The next tournament for me is Wimbledon.

 

Hopes for Wimbledon:

Wish better than last year.  I mean, this is only I can think right now, because of course I was sad when I lose the match.  I mean, of course after losing match, I couldn’t think about what I should do in the next day.

For me, right now, I want totally relax, and the mind and body, as well, because I think I didn’t play bad in the clay court season.

I need some time to recover.  I’m not machine.  So, yeah.

RAFAEL NADAL

 

Yeah, I feel good, no?  After the beginning I started, when I had the first break, I started to play very well.

Before I didn’t play fantastic, but it’s true that he started the match playing aggressive, having good shots.

In my opinion, he was unlucky, unlucky in the first set.  That’s my feeling, no?  6‑2 was too much.

Later, sure, very happy the way I played.  I feel very, very sorry for him.  I think he’s playing probably the best tennis of his career, but probably not today after, especially the last set, no, when he start to miss, you know.  I saw him a little bit, you know, suffering a little bit on court at the end.

He’s one of my best friends on tour.  I feel very sorry for him.  But same time, you know, he’s playing great.  He’s having fantastic results.  He’s No. 14 or 15 in the world today.

I wish him all the best for the rest.  If he continues like this, he will have good chances to keep going.

 

Well, I think that now he’s in the locker rooms.  I’m very sorry for him.  What can I say?  Well, I would tell him, Don’t you worry.  It’s going to be better afterwards.  You’ll feel better afterwards.

For me, a seventh Roland Garros win is not more important than No. 2, No. 3, or No. 4.  What really is important is what it brings me personally.  If I win this one, and it’s the seventh one, is it more important than 2006 or 2005?  I don’t know.

It’s a personal feeling, a personal sensation, and, you know, records are all very important.  But that’s when you’ve finished playing tennis.  When you finished that, you’ll think about this.

But, otherwise, when you’re playing, you think about what you have to do daily.

RICHARD GASQUET

 

 

I start better than the finish, for sure, the finish.  6-2, not incredible, but, yeah, I start well.  I played well.  It was tense.  Yeah, I start well, I start well.

But after I think the key was the second set.  Playing good.  I was feeling confident.  No, he’s a big player.  Some points he can turn the match, because he’s doing everything good.  You have to work on every point.

He’s serving well, returning well, he’s clear in the court.  That’s the problem.

If I’m not lucky in the second set, I have two break points, he’s playing well, and I’m not lucky with this game, even the same at 5-4.  But I think I can play better in the start of the third.

But after I start when he’s feeling confident, he has a lot of experience, and so after he play very well.

Well, I wanted to do more, so I’m disappointed to stop now, round of 16.  Last year it was closer than with Djokovic last year, so, okay, disappointed, I usually stop there, the round of 16, when it’s a Grand Slam.  It’s been many, many times, but each time I play against very tough players, and they last long, they have long rallies, they don’t make many mistakes, they have a lot of experience.  It’s difficult.  It’s up to me to continue.

You know, I played several good matches here.  It was not easy to reach the round of 16, so I’m happy; yet disappointed, disappointed because I have to stop now.

I started well.  I thought I could do better than this.

 

KAIA KANEPI

 

 

Asked if she can beat Maria Sharapova in her next match:

If I play well, of course.  Why not?  But I have to play really well.

 

I think she is a very good player of course and a great fighter and she hits really hard.

I just have to be ready.

 

I don’t know her as a person.

ANDY MURRAY

 

Yeah, I think that was always going to be important today.  He obviously started the match well, but, yeah, I started to use the energy from the crowd in a positive way and obviously turned it around and played very well the last few sets.

I wouldn’t say it got too much.  I mean, yeah, it’s almost like playing a sort of a football match.  And I like football.  I enjoyed  I mean, I enjoyed myself on the court today.

It’s the most fun I’ve had on the court in a while, so I wasn’t so sort of shying away from the fact that the crowd wanted me to lose.

Everything.  It wasn’t I mean, I think some of the shots at the end, there was a lot of really good rallies.  I played some really nice tennis the last few sets.  And then, yeah, I mean, I haven’t really played in an atmosphere like that before in terms of I played Davis Cup a few times away from home, but that was probably one of the most hostile that I’ve played in.

 

 

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JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO

 

 

No, but I’m really glad to go through, to play quarters again.  I’m not thinking about my knee, as I want to play the best I can.  I’m looking forward for the next match.

Well, when I came to this tournament, the only thing that mattered was to play  well, forget about my knee.  And in the first round, I had to give it all.

Obviously I wanted to refrain from thinking about my injury or anything that had to do with my knee.

Now, this is the second week.  We have only eight players left.  Very good players.  All of them.

Obviously the level is very high.  But in spite of everything, maybe I will get a chance to play a beautiful match with Federer.  I’m going to prepare the best I can and seize every single opportunity.

 

 

Thoughts on playing Federer:

We play fantastic match three years ago.  It was close to him, but tomorrow is gonna be a different match.  He’s playing really well, and he’s looking to win again here.  So the match is gonna be really difficult for me.

But I will try to play aggressive, like every match, and trying to  if I have a little chance to win, trying to be ready for taking.

 

I play an unbelievable match, try to take my opportunities, serve 100%, trying to play winners with my forehand, with my backhand, and put him to raise his game.  I don’t like to run too much, so I will try to be more aggressive than his game and looking at unbelievable shots.

Well, when I came to this tournament, the only thing that mattered was to play  well, forget about my knee.  And in the first round, I had to give it all.

Obviously I wanted to refrain from thinking about my injury or anything that had to do with my knee.

Now, this is the second week.  We have only eight players left.  Very good players.  All of them.

Obviously the level is very high.  But in spite of everything, maybe I will get a chance to play a beautiful match with Federer.  I’m going to prepare the best I can and seize every single opportunity.

 

No, every match is a new match, and whether I win or lose for matters regarding tennis, that’s fine.  But I don’t want my knee to be a hindrance.  And it is not a hindrance.  It doesn’t bother me.  I cannot say I lost this match because of my knee.  Not at all.

I’m going to walk onto the court tomorrow prepared to play my best tennis.  And if everything goes well, all the better.  If it doesn’t, well, it means my opponent played better than I did.

 

Jo-Wilfred Tsonga at 2011 Sony Ericsson Open Players Party

JO-WILFRED TSONGA

Yeah, yesterday was tough.  It was dark at the end and tough to continue, so the umpire decide to play today.  I don’t know if it was great for me or not, but anyway, it was like that.

Today I came on the court with the good spirit.  You know, I had a good night.  I slept well.

This morning, you know, I was ready to play again.

Q.  I read just before the tournament that you said there’s no chance that a Frenchman could win the French Open this year.  What do you think now?

I mean, it’s still the same.  I mean, I just did maybe 30% of the way.  You know, the most difficult is coming.

Before the tournament, you know, I said, For the moment, nobody’s able to win this one for the moment because we never win a Tournament 1000 on clay.  That’s why I say that.

For the moment we’re not able to do that, but maybe one day it will happen, for sure.  (Smiling.)

 

On playing Novak Djokovic in next round:

You know, what is good in tennis, it’s always different.  You know, every match is different.  You never know how your opponent will feel.  You never know how you will feel.

I think, you know, it’s gonna be different because I will be in front of my crowd.  It’s three sets to win.  That’s it.

I think for him it’s tougher.  Yeah, for him it’s tougher, because he need to win.  Me, for the moment, you know, I did my best results for the moment, so for me, it’s everything’s gonna be positive now.

Of course, I will be free on the court because I have nothing to lose against this player who is No. 1 in the world.  And anyway, the pressure will be on him.

 

 

TOMAS BERDYCH

Even here you can play quite late.  We were finishing 9:30, and this is not usual that you can play that late.

Actually it’s definitely not about the scheduling, but it’s definitely about to do something with this place.  You know, as you see everyplace you have at least lights.

Okay, we don’t to have play like a night session, but at least to have decent lights that you can finish the match.  That would be all right.

JANKO TIPSAREVIC

I think the only change which I possibly see on this event is having lights on showcourt.  But I think 11:00 is also pretty early.  I had to wake up today at 7:00 a.m. in order to have breakfast and everything and get ready for the match.  So definitely not earlier.

I don’t think they should shorten referees are trying to be strict, but I mean, it’s long rallies.  It’s clay court.  The ball is not going anywhere.  It’s best‑of‑five, so it’s not really fair that the referees are speeding up the game too much.

If there is a possible change, maybe putting lights on showcourt.

 

NICOLAS ALMAGRO

 

Yes, of course I’m very happy.  I think I played great tennis today.  The day was a little bit cloudy, but now it’s really sunny for me.  (Smiling.)

Now that win is one of the best moments of my career, and I want to enjoy and I’m very happy with my tennis.

Do you think Nadal is even stronger and more impressive than four years ago, even two years ago?

I am stronger, too, than four years ago.  Is different.  It’s another match, and I’m ready to fight.

On falling into the flowers during the match:

Well, yes, I fell almost into the flowers.  I fell on my bottom, but I’ve got a big bottom so nothing happened.  (Laughter.)

It’s a slight thing.  You know, I’m sitting now, so no problem, no concern whatsoever.  It didn’t really hurt me.

Well, I wouldn’t say that I enjoyed this moment when I landed in the flowers, but nothing serious.

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Gasquet Stuns Murray in Rome

Andy Murray

By Enrico Maria Riva

ROME – Matches usually tell two different stories: Andy Murray versus Richard Gasquet was no exception on Thursday at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. While the Frenchman managed a great victory 6-7(1), 6-3, 6-2, helping him to gear up for the French Open, the Scot showed that he is still struggling on clay. Without coach Ivan Lendl anywhere in sight, Murray played a very confusing match, failing to hold his serve easily most of the time, and spending huge amount of energy battling Gasquet from the baseline.

 

Murray has an excuse, as his back seemed to bother him throughout the match an issue which he admits he has been dealing with since December, but most of all he has to blame himself for the attitude towards the whole match. He reportedly shouted “I hate this game, I hate it!” on one of the too many occasions where he had to deal with repeatedly having to save break points. Murray never found his inner peace during the match, failed to close the first set while up a break at 5-3. Somehow he won the tiebreak but didn’t manage to bring the momentum to his side and let Gasquet dictate the game.

 

Gasquet has been playing very well lately, reaching the final in Estoril and now this Murray victory confirms his progress. The fact that coach Riccardo Piatti is now traveling with him 100%, after Ivan Ljubicic’s retirement, it has given Gasquet more confidence and more stability. Friday he will have to play at his best considering that David Ferrer is in great shape. The early start at Noon doesn’t help either as Gasquet didn’t fail to mention his anger about the scheduling during his news conference”.

 

Big emotions in Rome with Italy’s Andreas Seppi who managed to win another epic match, this time against Stanislas Wawrinka, saving six match points and closing  the match 6-7(1), 7-6(6), 7-6(6) after three hours and 20 minutes. The Italian will now face Roger Federer who took out Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-2, 5-7, 6-1.

 

Another surprise was avoided on Thursday when Novak Djokovic managed to come back from a set down against Juan Monaco 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. The Argentinian showed that he has fully recovered from the Monte Carlo injury and he will be a serious threat in the Roland Garros. Rafael Nadal had no problem whatsoever in dismissing Marcel Granollers with a double 6-1 and David Ferrer prevented Gilles Simon from winning his first set ever on clay against him when he secured the second set tiebreak (6-0, 7-6). Tomas Berdych beat Nicolas Almagro 7-6, 6-3. There was an incident during a match at the Australian Open where the Spaniard involuntarily hit the Czech while volleying at the net. Yet the funniest episode involved the man who watered the court at the end of the set and an unlucky linesman who was soaked during the process.

In the night session Juan Martin Del Potro didn’t put much effort in the match he lost 6-4, 6-1 to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after having been up a break in the first set. Del Potro appeared to be dealing with knee pain.  The Argentinian didn’t appreciate the humidity and the match went quickly. Roger Federer struggled a bit to get rid of Juan Carlos Ferrrero but eventually won 6-2, 5-7, 6-1.

 

In the women’s draw Petra Kvitova needed three sets to beat Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 although she looked relaxed during the vastly deserted news conference. Venus Williams made a giant leap towards the Olympics with her win against Stosur 6-4, 6-3 and Serena Williams secured a big match against Flavia Pennetta disposing of Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-3, 6-1. The Italian is the last local woman remaining thanks to her stunning performance against Petra Cetkovska 6-0, 6-1. Roland Garros champion Na Li won against Chanelle Scheepers 7-6, 6-2 and will face Dominika Cibulkova who received a walkover on Wednesday  when Victoria Azarenka withdrew from the tournament with a  shoulder injury. A solid win for Maria Sharapova who trailed early during the match against Ana Ivanovic, saving set points yet still managed to prevail 7-6, 6-3.

 

Enrico Maria Riva is in Rome covering the Internazionali BNL D’Italia for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his twitter updates on @TennisNewsTPN and his personal twitter @EnricoMariaRiva.

Enrico Maria Riva is the tennis columnist for the Italian online newspaper Il Post and also writes for the Matchpoint magazine and for the websites Spaziotennis.com and Thetennisspace.com.

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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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