2014/04/18

Djokovic Eases into Third Round of Monte Carlo

(April 15, 2015)Defending Monte Carlo Rolex Masters Champion Novak Djokovic needed only 45 minutes to dismiss Albert Montanes 6-1, 6-0 in the second round on Tuesday.

“For the first match on clay, it was great,” said Djokovic to press. “I lost only one game, so there were not too many flaws in my game that I could recall. On the other side, I’ve had an opponent who is a specialist on this surface, but he hasn’t played even close to his highest level. He was making a lot of unforced errors.

“I was just trying to use the court well, not allow him to get into a rhythm. I was changing the angles. I was coming to the net, being aggressive. Just very good first match.”

Djokovic was wearing some tape on his left wrist. He said in his post-match news conference that his wrist has been taped for the past week. He’s happy that the short match is giving it some time to heal and hopes that it will be even better for the next match.

RESULTS – TUESDAY, 15 APRIL 2014

Singles – Second Round
[2] N Djokovic (SRB) d [Q] A Montanes (ESP) 61 60
[5] T Berdych (CZE) d D Tursunov (RUS) 75 64
[6] D Ferrer (ESP) d J Chardy (FRA) 63 60
[9] J Tsonga (FRA) d P Kohlschreiber (GER) 64 16 64

Singles – First Round
[12] G Dimitrov (BUL) d M Granollers (ESP) 62 46 62
A Seppi (ITA) d [13] M Youzhny (RUS) 63 76(4)
G Monfils (FRA) d [14] K Anderson (RSA) 64 76(4)
[15] N Almagro (ESP) d [Q] P Mathieu (FRA) 63 62
[Q] M Llodra (FRA) d [16] J Janowicz (POL) 64 62
[Q] T Gabashvili (RUS) d G Simon (FRA) 46 64 64
M Cilic (CRO) d [LL] M Matosevic (AUS) 61 36 62
J Benneteau (FRA) d J Melzer (AUT) 64 36 64
Y Lu (TPE) d F Delbonis (ARG) 76(5) 61
G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) d [WC] B Balleret (MON) 75 62
[LL] P Carreno Busta (ESP) d I Dodig (CRO) 63 63

*[LL] M Matosevic (AUS) replaces F Verdasco (ESP) – right groin strain
** [LL] P Carreno Busta (ESP) replaces R Gasquet (FRA) – lumber pain

Doubles – First Round
J Cabal (COL) / R Farah (COL) d E Gulbis (LAT) / M Raonic (CAN) 64 64
M Fyrstenberg (POL) / M Matkowski (POL) d M Granollers (ESP) / M Lopez (ESP) 63 64
R Bopanna (IND) / A Qureshi (PAK) d J Knowle (AUT) / V Pospisil (CAN) 76(2) 64
[PR] S Bolelli (ITA) / F Fognini (ITA) d T Huey (PHI) / D Inglot (GBR) 62 36 10-7

SCHEDULE – WEDNESDAY, 16 APRIL 2014

COURT CENTRAL start 10:30 am
R Bautista Agut (ESP) vs [10] F Fognini (ITA)
R Stepanek (CZE) vs [4] [WC] R Federer (SUI)
[1] R Nadal (ESP) vs [Q] T Gabashvili (RUS)
[3] S Wawrinka (SUI) vs M Cilic (CRO)

COURT DES PRINCES start 10:30 am
Y Lu (TPE) vs [8] M Raonic (CAN)
[11] T Robredo (ESP) vs J Benneteau (FRA)
[12] G Dimitrov (BUL) vs [Q] A Ramos (ESP)
G Monfils (FRA) vs [LL] P Carreno Busta (ESP)

COURT 2 start 10:30 am
[Q] M Llodra (FRA) vs L Rosol (CZE)
P Andujar (ESP) vs A Seppi (ITA)
N Mahut (FRA) vs [15] N Almagro (ESP)
G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) vs [17] A Dolgopolov (UKR)

COURT 9 start 2:00 pm
J Rojer (NED) / H Tecau (ROU) vs [WC] R Arneodo (MON) / B Balleret (MON)

Not Before 4:00 pm
After Suitable Rest – [1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) vs L Rosol (CZE) / R Stepanek (CZE)

COURT 11 start 2:00 pm
[7] L Kubot (POL) / R Lindstedt (SWE) vs R Bopanna (IND) / A Qureshi (PAK)
[WC] J Chardy (FRA) / G Simon (FRA) vs [3] I Dodig (CRO) / M Melo (BRA)

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Djokovic Handily Defeats Nadal at Sony Open For A Second Indian Wells-Miami Double

By Kevin Ware

(March 30, 2014) KEY BISCAYNE – In a result that few expected, Novak Djokovic handily beat Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-3 in the Sony Open men’s final for his fourth title in Miami (2007, 2011, 2012, 2014). This win is also his fourth Masters Series title win in a row (Shanghai, Paris, Indian Wells, Miami), and his second Indian Wells-Miami double.

More importantly, it was his third straight win over his Spanish rival before the start of the clay season, which could make for interesting drama in run up to the French Open.

Sunday’s match between Djokovic and Nadal was the 40th meeting in what has become the most prolific rivalry in ATP history. Many expected Sunday’s match to provide an encore to their epic 2011 final. But after fending off his only break point in his first service game of the match, Novak eventually settled into a ground game for which Nadal had few answers.

For Nadal, the key to winning this match was threefold: serve well, vary his ground game, and defend the Djokovic “down the line” backhand with aggressive hitting on his own backhand. There were early signs, however, that Nadal’s weaponry was misfiring.

He struggled to find the necessary depth on his crosscourt forehand, his backhand often sailed long, and Djokovic rarely allowed him to tee off on his preferred inside-out forehand. Conversely, once Djokovic found his range on his backhand and forehand shots, Nadal was on constant defense with little chance to assert his game on his Serbian opponent.

The crucial break in the first set came at 3-2 on the Nadal serve. Struggling to find his first serve, Nadal quickly sank to Love-30 with the help of a Djokovic touch volley winner and an untouchable crosscourt backhand winner. A timely unreturnable serve gave Nadal a glimmer of hope, but was quickly snuffed out by an amazing baseline-kissing Djokovic forehand followed by a Nadal backhand unforced error.

That one break was all that Djokovic needed to close out the first set in 39 minutes.

Nadal’s usually reliable serve let him down badly in the final. His first serve percentage of 59% wasn’t great, but his 47% second serve percentage was major a liability. Nadal’s lacking offensive game stemmed from an inability to defend second serves that were often 80-90 mph. Then again, it’s difficult to defend that speed at the top of the men’s game, even with perfect placement.

There was concern that perhaps a flair-up of his earlier back issues was affecting his serve speed. Nadal, always reluctant to talk about injury issues, gave a curt, “I am fine.  Thank you very much” when asked about this in post-match press.

The second set continued as the first ended, with Nadal struggling on offense, and Djokovic confidently hitting every shot in his repertoire. There were moments when Nadal’s offensive game surfaced, only to be muted by one of his many unforced errors on the next point. Nadal fought as best he could, but couldn’t stop the inevitable as Djokovic ended the long championship point rally with a volley into open court.

Nadal ended the match with 15 winners against 20 unforced errors. Djokovic’s numbers were significantly better at 22 winners against 14 unforced errors. In matches that are determined by a handful of points, it’s hard to overcome this type of deficit.

For Nadal, however, the primary cause for Sunday’s final failures was the superior play of his opponent. Djokovic is one of the few players who can hurt Nadal when he’s playing his best tennis. He can hurt Nadal in many ways, and with few defensive options.

“So playing against him is the worst thing that can happen for me, because in general, talking about the first two shots, he has a better return than my one, he has a better serve than my one in this surface, especially.”

“Today Novak played at very high level in my opinion and was better than me.”

In sharp contrast to the relief displayed by Djokovic after his win over Roger Federer at Indian Wells, the newly-crowned Miami champion came into Sunday’s post-match news conference smiling, happy, and obviously looking forward to continuing his momentum as the tour moves to European clay. He credited the confidence from that Federer win for much his strong play in Miami.

“That was a great confidence boost for me that I carried on in this week, and this tournament has been perfect from the beginning to the end.  The matches that I have played I played really well, and I elevated my game as the tournament progressed.  The best performance of the tournament came in the right moment on Sunday against the biggest rival (Nadal).”

When asked if he was glad that Djokovic existed to offer him a challenge”, Nadal quickly (and jokingly) said, “No.  I like challenges, but I am not stupid.”

In a telling reversal, Novak offered a very different viewpoint on the challenge of playing his rivals. “I think challenges, big challenges that I had in my career changed me in a positive way as a player. Because of Rafa and because of Roger I am what I am today…”

“Obviously it’s not easy when you’re playing a top rival at the finals of any tournament, but if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best, you know.  You have to win against the best players in the world. That’s the biggest challenge you can have.”

Nadal’s loss in Sunday’s final continued a disappointing trend for Spaniards in Miami. No Spanish men have won the title in the tournament’s 30-year history, and are 0-7 in the Miami final. Nadal lost in four of those finals, and is joined by David Ferrer (2013), Carlos Moya (2003), and Sergi Brugera (1997).

Kevin Ware was in Key Biscayne covering the Sony Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his personal twitter @SFTennisFreak.

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Novak Djokovic Moves into Sony Open Final After Kei Nishikori Withdraws with Left Groin Injury

 

Kei Nishikori withdrawal

(March 28, 2014) A little over an hour before he was to play his semifinal against Novak Djokovic, Kei Nishikori pulled out of the Sony Open citing a left groin injury. Nishikori just scored back-to-back three-set wins over No. 4 David Ferrer in the fourth round and No. 5 Roger Federer in the quarterfinals.

For Djokovic, who automatically advances to the final against the winner of the Rafael Nadal – Tomas Berdych match, it’s his second walkover her received in Miami this year. Florian Mayer was forced to pull out before his match in the third round.

Nishkori announced his withdrawal on Facebook and Twitter:

 

“I really felt the last match against Roger, the quarterfinal,” Nishikori told media. “I had it before Indian Wells, and I hurt it in Delray. It wasn’t 100% yet.

“Yeah, it’s really sad, of course, semifinal in a big tournament. Was really playing well and beating Dimitrov, David, and Roger. I was really excited to play here the semis.

“But, you know, unfortunately I couldn’t moving side to side. Just tried to warm up today, but I couldn’t move.”

“I’m going to go back to see a doctor in Japan and see how bad it is.  And I don’t know if I can play or not, but I will try.”

“t was a great run for me to beat two top 10 guys,” Nishikori said.  “And Dimitrov was also playing well this year.  And four good players to beat, it was a good week for me.

“So I have a lot of confidence, and it’s pretty unfortunate to get injured, but this was a very exciting and positive week for me.”

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Kei Nishikori Rallies to Upset Roger Federer at Sony Open

Kei Nishikori

Kei Nishikori

(March 26, 2014) No. 5 Roger Federer let a set and a break lead slip and a game Kei Nishikori came back for the upset win 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 on Wednesday night to reach the semis of the Sony Open. For Japan’s Nishikori, it’s his second straight day with a victory over a top five player as he won a match against No. 4 David Ferrer on Tuesday after saving four match points. It’s his second straight win over Federer, over whom he now has a 2-1 record against.

He has also snapped Federer’s semifinal run streak at seven straight tournaments in stopping him in Wednesday’s quarterfinal.

No. 21 Nishikori has now advanced to his second ATP Masters 1000 semifinal.

In fact Federer was up a break twice in the second set but couldn’t close out the win.  Federer had his serve broken for the first time in the tournament by Nishikori who broke it four more times. Federer committed 39 unforced errors during the match versus 29 winners.

“Just couldn’t find my rhythm on the serve today, which was surprising, especially after how well I’ve played and served, especially this week, but I think it didn’t take off the way it did during the daytime,” Federer said after the match.  “You could expect that, but then plus the temperature drop had something to do with that.

Roger Federer

Roger Federer

“In the dark, for some reason, I just ‑‑ you know, I haven’t played many matches this year, or maybe lately.  Only one against Tommy Haas in Indian Wells and maybe the switch didn’t work that well for me.

“But still, you know, I had the set and a break, and then another break again, so it’s a bit frustrating.  But I think Kei did well to stay with me and then, you know, not allow me to get that, you know ‑‑ that I could hold my serve and then maybe feel comfortable.

“He right away made me feel uncomfortable and stayed with me, so he was more consistent in the second and third, and those are the ones he won.  At the end it’s his credit, of course, as well.”

“Feeling good, of course, you know, to beat Roger, and it’s second time to beat him,” the 24-year-old said.  “It was different conditions.  It was, you know, tough to play on the court, both of us.

“But I thought I really played well, especially in the third.  I was hitting both deep and striking well.  Everything was going well.  You know, there was couple of tough moments, but, you know, I was fighting through and happy to win today.

“He (Federer) wasn’t making a lot of first serves today,” Nishikori explained.  “I don’t know.  Maybe because the wind.  I don’t know.

“So I was trying, you know, to step in his second serve, and my return was going well.  That was the key for the game today.”

Federer said that she sees a bright future for the Japanese player.

“I think Kei does really well controlling the ball,” said the 32-year-old. “He has great technique, especially on the backhand, very simple, very short back swings, so he does a really nice job of having good timing.

“Then the forehand can be sometimes a bit off, but I think he does a good job, you know, with his feet.  He’s a quick mover.  Same with the his serve.  I think he’s done a good job using that to his advantage now.

“I think he’s serving better this year, and I see him moving up the rankings.  Clearly, I mean, with this tournament anyway but also in the future.  I predict he’s going to be top 10 in a short while.”

Nishikori will play Novak Djokovic on Friday for a spot in Sunday’s final.

Federer will go home and prepare for Davis Cup in Geneva the weekend of April 4-6.

 

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Djokovic Fends Off a Strong Murray Challenge to Reach Miami Semis

 

By Kevin Ware

(March 26, 2014) Wednesday’s quarterfinal match between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray was undoubtedly going to provide a good test for both heading into the clay season. For Djokovic, it would provide a test of his newfound confidence after winning Indian Wells. For Murray, it would provide a much-needed gauge for the status of his game as well as his fitness.

In the end, Djokovic won in straight sets 7-5, 6-3. But it would be safe to say that each player got what they needed from this encounter.

Conditions were windy at the start of the match, and picked up slightly throughout the match. Djokovic initially handled the conditions best, hitting cleanly with depth from both sides. and effectively his serve. Conversely, Murray started loosely with shanks on his forehand wing and backhands into the net.

Fortunately for Murray, his stellar defense was on full display, saving him in many of the longer rallies. And any questions of fitness after his back issues in the R16 were answered as Murray sprinted from sideline to sideline in pursuit of Djokovic’s shots: with no sign of his signature grabbing at his back or legs.

The first real signs of trouble for Murray came in the fourth game. His only double fault of the first set gave Djokovic his first break point of the match. Murray fended off that break point, and then another, before winning the game with a spectacular forehand crosscourt shot that the replay showed kissed the outside of the line.

Djokovic faced his first break point of the match in the eleventh game after back-to-back double faults. The break was saved by an untimely forehand unforced error from Murray: one of his 29 unforced errors on the day. Novak held with an ace, forcing Murray to hold to force the tiebreak.

Controversy followed, however, in the twelfth game when a strong Djokovic return on the Murray serve set up an easy volley at the net. Replays on the stadium’s monitors showed Djokovic reaching over the net. Murray, who’d initially questioned the chair, saw his suspicions confirmed. He argued for the point, but to no avail.

Djokovic came to the net with Murray, and admitted reaching over to hit the volley. He wasn’t aware of any rule against doing so, and thought he’d won the point. “I thought that it’s allowed, to cross, you know, the racquet on his side without touching the net. That’s why I thought I won the point. I did not know that the rule is that I’m not allowed to cross the net.”

Murray, who was clearly distracted by the chair’s refusal to grant him the point, lost the next three points to lose the service game at love and with it, the set. “He (the umpire) said, yes, he was over the net, but he was in line with the net, so I didn’t understand really.”

In spite of the controversy, Murray acknowledged that it was only one game. He declined to give it any more credit than due, focusing instead on his missed chances in the second set. “I mean, it maybe had a slight bearing on that game, but I was still up a break in the second set.”

That break came in the fifth game when, in spite of two well-placed aces, Djokovic was broken for the first time in the match. Instead of making the most of this opportunity, Murray played a loose game and was broken again to level at 3-all. Novak played well enough, but Murray was hurt by two ill-timed double faults (five in total) and few more unforced errors.

After leveling the set, Djokovic wasted little time in closing out the match. He won the final three games at love, sealing the win with a forehand down the line passing shot. It wasn’t his best tennis, but Djokovic certainly forced Murray to play at the highest level from the very first point.

“I expected him to play well, to be a little bit more aggressive. I watched him play against (Jo-Wilfried) Tsonga, and he was stepping in on the second serve, coming to the net. He did that few times successfully today.”

“Winning the first set, obviously it gave me the certain kind of relief and confidence, and then in the second, even when I was broken, I felt like I still have chances and I still, you know, believe that I could win in straight sets.”

For his part, Murray was pleased about his performance. “I think my game is just about there. It’s not far off. I had many opportunities today like 30-All games and Love-30 (games) on his serve, and I didn’t serve so well when I went ahead in the second set.”

Even with the first-set controversy, there were positives Murray could take from this loss. “I would have liked to have done that better, but I was hitting the ball better from the back of the court. I was playing aggressive. I was taking the ball early. I was trying to come forward a bit. My game is not far from where I want it to be.”

Kevin Ware is in Key Biscayne covering the Sony Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his live updates on twitter @TennisNewsTPN.  Follow his personal twitter @SFTennisFreak.

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“Big Four,” Nadal, Djokovic, Federer and Murray Advance to Sony Open Quarters

 

(March 25, 2014) No. 1 Rafael Nadal, No. 2 Novak Djokovic, No. 5 Roger Federer and No. 6 Andy Murray all reached the Sony Open quarterfinals on Tuesday while No. 3 Stanislas Wawrinka and No. 4 David Ferrer were upset.

Nadal had no problems dismissing Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-2. Nadal only lost only three points during the match has dropped a total of only nine games in the three matches played so far at the Sony Open.

“First three matches I was able to find the right rhythm on court, playing aggressive, playing with no mistakes, so today was a little bit strange match,” Nadal said.

“I am sorry for Fabio.  I think he felt a little bit, I don’t know how to say, but he felt a little bit close to the hip, something from yesterday.  So was not easy for him to play that match.

“But anyway, I think I managed well the situation.  The wind, it was hard tonight, and I was manage to do well.  So I think I played the right match.”

Novak Djokovic pushed past Tommy Robredo 6-3, 7-5. In a bit of good sportsmanship, Djokovic gave back a point which was called out, which was indeed in.

“I mean, for me, it’s something as normal,” Djokovic said about giving the point back.  “I don’t want to talk about the nice gesture that I have done.  I don’t like to talk about myself, you know.  I let everybody else to judge.

“But for me that’s something that is absolutely normal if I am not able to ‑‑ if I judge that I couldn’t win the point, that I had no chance to get that ball back in the court, or if I see the ball is good, I’m going to tell him to challenge it or that it’s very close.

“For me it’s something that is part of the sport and fair play that, you know, I think I expect everybody else to do the same.  Of course, not everybody else is the same, but for me that’s something that’s normal, just a normal, natural reaction.”

Djokovic will play Andy Murray next in the quarterfinals. Murray beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 6-1.

“Andy is a defending champion,” Djokovic said of a potential match-up with Murray.  “He won a couple of Grand Slams, Olympic gold medal, and obviously he’s the player who can, you know, play big‑time tennis on a big stage.”

Murray who had back surgery last year, appeared to be some pain during his win over Tsonga, despite winning easily in 73 minutes.

“My game is getting there.  I mean, the last six sets I played have been very high‑level tennis.  Again, very few errors and aggressive tennis.  You know, coming forward, taking my opportunities to hit winners, and come to the net when I had the chance.

“Yeah, I’m playing better each match, and I hope that continues.  You know, last couple of weeks have been difficult for obvious reasons.  But, you know, hopefully I’m coming out the other side of that now and keep playing better.”

“It was sore, but I still moved well throughout the rest of the match, which is a good sign.  Was probably moving better at the end of the match than I was at the beginning, so that’s probably a good sign.”

Roger Federer only needed needing 49 minutes to defeat No. 9 seed Richard Gasquet 6-1, 6-2. Federer hit 25 winners during the match to Gasquet’s 8.

“I think I played well.” Federer said. “I served well.  I made my returns I had to and stayed aggressive, so I didn’t let him just make errors.  I forced him to do stuff.  It was a good match for me.”

Federer will play Kei Nishikori who saved 4 match points before upsetting fourth seed David Ferrer 7-6 (7), 2-6, 7-6 (9).

“He had obviously a very difficult match with Ferrer, but a great one which everybody watched in the locker room and the player restaurant,” Federer said.  It was one of those thrilling end to the matches, you know, into the tiebreaker with match points saved.  It had the whole drama.

“Either one could have won, but in tennis always one guy’s got to win.  Kei did a good job getting it done at the end.  I only played him twice but practiced with him many times, so we know each other well so there are no real secrets out there.

“Clearly I think it’s an advantage at this point now that I had a quick match today and he had a really brutal match against Ferrer.  Can I take advantage of it?  Can he recover quickly?  We will see tomorrow.

“But I’m sure we will see him out on the court, and he will give it everything he has.  He always has.”

In another upset on the day, No. 22 Alexandr Dolgopolov stopped three seed Stanislas Wawrinka 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 to reach the quarterfinals.

Also advancing to the quarterfinals were Milos Raonic and Tomas Berdych who eliminated the last American man, John Isner 6-3, 7-5

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Novak Djokovic Moves Into Sony Open Third Round

Djokovic on court 321-001

(March 21, 2014) Three-time former Sony Open champion Novak Djokovic defeated Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 6-3. The Serb converted on all three break points he had against Chardy.

“When I was supposed to play my best and come up with some good serves and good shots, that’s what I did in both sets,” Djokovic said.

Chardy hurt his right ankle in the eighth game of the second set.

“I assume it was quite bad,” Djokovic said.  “He twisted his ankle.  I talked with him after the match.  He’s still in physio room, so he says it’s not as bad as he thought.  But I wish him recovery.”

One of the keys to the world No. 2’s success has been the improvement of his footwork.

“Footwork is essential,” he said.  “If you want to hit the shot properly, you have to be in the right balance.

“To be in the right balance, you need to have the right footwork and you need to try to adjust to the ball.

Obviously variety of surfaces require variety of footwork and adjustment in the same element.

“I have been dedicating quite a lot of time on and off the court to that matter, and I have been fortunate with a team of people that I have.

I think they are experts in their fields, in their professions, and they are making sure I am, you know, developing that footwork, you know, regarding the place or the surface where I’m playing.

“So I think it’s very, very important, if not the most important thing.”

“I love this sport,” Djokovic said.  “I just love going out and I enjoy competing.  I enjoy, you know, playing the tournaments over and over again, you know, trying to win as many titles as possible, trying to, you know, strive for some kind of perfection, if there is a perfection in this sport, you know, always to get better.  We will see how far I can go.”

Djokovic will now get ready to play Florian Mayer in the third round.

In the last match on Stadium Court, defending champion Andy Murray, playing for the first time since he split with coach Ivan Lendl, rallied from a break down in the third set to beat Matthew Ebden 3-6, 6-0, 6-1.

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Roger Federer Returns to Sony Open with a Win Over Ivo Karlovic

Federer on court-001

(March 21, 2014) Roger Federer returned to the Sony Open on a winning note beating hard-serving, 6-foot-11 Ivo Karlovic 6-4, 7-6 (4) on Friday. Federer missed playing last year’s event in Key Biscayne and was entertained by a video tribute on the stadium scoreboard.

 

With a giggle and a laugh, the 17-time major champion told the crowd that it looked like a farewell video. “I miss one year, and you make me feel guilty,” he said.

 

Federer committed a mere 3 unforced errors during the match. In addition he won 49 of his 52 service points.

 

“I think I was able to play a very clean match on my service games throughout, make sure I had a lot of first serves in, make sure I stayed aggressive from the baseline, had an opportunity,” Federer said.

“I think it worked really well, hardly any unforced errors, I was playing with margin, was able to move Ivo around, and I was able to maintain that throughout the match, which was key.

“Like this I could focus a bit on returning while then holding serve, which is important against Ivo.”

“I’m very relieved and happy to be through,” Federer told media.

 

So what’s it like to play the big-serving Karlovic?

“Physically it’s super easy,” Federer said.  “There are no long rallies.  It’s just like more penalty shootout like in soccer.  I don’t want to say you pick sides, but it’s about quick reaction, not getting frustrated and feeling that the returner is the one who has got less pressure.

“I quite like it.  I enjoy it.  It’s just uncomfortable at times when it comes to the crunch of the sets and you have break points and you know like this is probably your only chance in the set or you know that probably next four or five games you won’t see any more break points, or even for the rest of the match.

“So it just can be quite difficult or overwhelming.  But if you’re in the right mindset mentally, it can also be enjoyable.  That’s how I approach the match, anyway.”

Federer last won the Key Biscayne tournament in 2006

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Fashion Statements in Notes and Quotes at the Sony Open

 

Fashion statements

 

(Match 20, 2014) On Thursday at the Sony Open some of the players were asked about their “fashion” and “style” on and off-court. Here is what some of them had to say.

Serena Williams

The world No. 1 sported Miami Dolphins colors on court on Thursday. The 17-time major champ is a co-owner of the NFL team.

Actually, we’re playing ‑‑ Nike and I wanted to pay homage to my team that I co‑own, so it was like, We should totally do the Dolphin colors.  Just have something really fun for Miami.  You know, Dolphins are great, so just, Go Dolphins, go Fins.

 

Djokovci inpress

Novak Djokovic

The World No. 2 was asked about his inspiration in designing his outfits.

You mentioned Andre Agassi.  I mean, he definitely revolutionalized the fashion in tennis.  He was the first one to dress differently and to have some kind of statement on the court.

Well, I have been through a process in my career, as well.  I had different dragons and wings on my shirts (smiling).

But I’m at a different stage right now.  Of course I’m very much involved in giving ‑‑ trying to give my input as much as I can to design my own clothes.  I’m fortunate to have a really good team of people and designers from Uniqlo Company who represents me the last two years.

There is various, I will say, inspirations behind the certain designs for different periods of the year depending on color of the surface, depending on the time of the year, depending where we go, color of Serbian flags, so forth and so forth.

So there are different sources of inspiration we are trying to put into the design and kind of create something that looks nice on the court.

 

Roger Federer

Roger Federer

The Swiss No. 2 and 17-time major champ had a question posted to him about his process of picking out colors and styles and if he had any fashion advice.

Well, normally, look, it’s great to see fans wearing the RF cap, you name it, or Nike in general.  It’s like a tag of approval maybe in a way that they enjoy what I’m wearing.  They feel like they’re connected to me, which I do feel is the case.

The hard part is deciding today what I’m going to wear for US Open next year.  It’s kind of hard, you know, sometimes to put myself in the right mind and mindset to know, Am I going to like, you know, stripes in one‑and‑a‑half years?  I’m not sure, you know.

Right now I maybe do, but maybe one‑and‑a‑half years maybe not so cool.  That’s the hard part when we work together with Nike.  But I really enjoy the process, and it’s nice to be part of it rather than just getting stuff and then not liking or loving stuff.

It has that element where you can be part of it.  My advice probably is you’ve got to make sure you wear the clothes and not the clothes wear you.  It’s quite simple in a, way but don’t wear something you totally feel uncomfortable with, but, you know, take some chances.  Play around a bit.

I felt very uncomfortable in suits when I was younger, so what I just started doing was wearing suits when I was going to dinner.  I used to overdress a little bit so I got used to wearing suits.  Now wearing a suit is like wearing a track suit for me.  So it’s all good.

 

Murray in press

Andy Murray

Andy Murray was asked how players showcase through fashion and individual styles.

This is a tough question for me.  I don’t really know how to answer it (smiling).

To be honest, I mean, I just like wearing on the court what’s comfortable.  So long as the products work well, then that’s the most important thing for me.

I mean, adidas, the way they work is they tend to have their ‑‑ they have their own colors, so all of the players wear a fairly similar kit; whereas some of the other companies, you know, it’s more sort of individual.

So you see that player’s sort of style or what they like a little bit more.

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A Healthy and Happy Federer Returns to the Top 5 in Miami

fed iw

(March 20, 2014) After a 2013 which saw him end the year at No. 6 dealing with back problems, and then fall to No. 8 at the end of January, Roger Federer is on his way back up. He’s currently No. 5 after falling in the BNP Paribas Open final last Sunday to Novak Djokovic in three sets.

In his pre-tournament news conference at the Sony Open on Thursday, Federer spoke about his resurgence since the beginning of 2014.

“It’s nice, but I’m more happy to be healthy again, and I’m playing good tennis,” said the Swiss No. 2.  “That then leads the ranking into the right direction.

“Yeah, I have been playing well now for the last seven tournaments.  Started at the end of last year, and now I feel I found a good level, a good form.  But as you know, you have to keep on working and keep on trying hard.

“It always resets.  Every tournament it starts from scratch.  I don’t get like the old wildcard into the semis or anything like that.  Doesn’t exist.  I have to put in the hard work and hope I’m going to have another successful tournament here in Miami.”

Even world No. 2 Novak Djokovic commented on Federer’s level this year:

“I think he’s playing in a high level this year.  He’s back to his normal level, you know, the level that he had for seven, eight years while he was so dominant in men’s tennis.  Obviously last season he was not as good for his standards.

“You know, but this year he started strong.  He won the title in Dubai and played semis of Australian Open.  I can feel that he’s striking the ball very cleanly.  He’s very confident on the court and he has improved his backhand I think.”

So how much better can Federer get this year?

The Swiss answered: “Well, I just think the confidence is going to make the difference maybe at this point, because my body is there.  Clearly will always be helpful to put in a training block where you are training very hard, can improve your potential a little bit, where your stamina is better, where your confidence and your endurance and explosivity is there.  You name it.  Your strength overall.

“I think at the end it comes down to confidence with most of the players.”

Federer and wife Mirka are expecting a child later this year, they are already the parents of twin girls born in July of 2009. Federer was pressed by a couple of members of the media to give the due date of the birth.

“Only my wife knows, I told you.  If I knew, I wouldn’t tell you,” Federer replied with a smile.

Federer will play his first match against Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic during Friday’s day session at the Sony Open.

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