2014/10/30

Nadal and Murray Tested as Federer and Wawrinka Also advance at the BNP Paribas Open

DSC_34450547rafa friday photo

(March 8, 2014) Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Roger Federer, and Stanislas Wawrinka all advanced to the third round of the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday.

Both Murray and Nadal were forced to rally for their victories. No. 1 Rafael Nadal was extended by Radek Stepanek 2-6, 6-4, 7-5 on Stadium 1 to lead off the night session.
“Happy to be through, because the start of the match, even if I felt at the beginning I didn’t play that bad, was very quick 4 1, and I felt I was not playing that bad, no?,” Nadal said.
“He is not the right player to play against in the first round. He’s not the right player because what you want to find in the first round is rhythm and against him every point is different. He goes quick to the net. They don’t give you that few games to find your rhythm, to find a way that you want to play.”
Nadal, who injured his back during the Australian Open final spoke about his concern for the past injury and how his serve was affected during the match. “With my serve I was doing nothing. When that happens, the opponent is able to play more aggressive, play more confident and in the end, eight double faults, I give him an opportunity to win a lot of free points,” Nadal said.
“You know, a little bit scared for the back, Nadal continued. “I am not feeling yet 100% confident with my serve. Even if my back is better than Rio in Rio I was feeling the back not very well.

“I am feeling the back better, but probably that match gonna help me to understand that I really can start to serve normal again, because I was serving with limitations, with, you know, no confidence, because I was scared to feel again the back, no?

“I think I can try to serve again at 100%, because I am feeling better. That match show me that I can try.”
Playing for the first time since the Australian Open Murray came back to beat Lukas Rosol 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
“Here I have always kind of struggled at the beginning of the tournament with, you know, I don’t know if it’s the conditions or, you know, whatever reason it is, but I have never really started this tournament that well,” Murray said.

“I have always struggled, especially in the first round. So, yeah, just have to try to find a way to get through.”
“I was a set and a break down,” Murray said. “I got broken three times in a row the end of the first set, beginning of the second. I just kind of kept going and found a way to win, which is always the most important thing.”

Seventh seed Federer defeated French qualifier Pail-Henri Mathieu 6-2, 7-6(5).

After his win over Ivo Karlovic, Wawrinka spoke about where he keeps his Australian Open trophy.

“The trophy is in Switzerland in a safe place,” Wawrinka said.

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Around the Grounds of the BNP Paribas Open in photos for March 8

(March 8, 2014) Photographer David Sweet (@DavidSweetPhoto) snapped photos all around the grounds  and n the interview room of the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday for Tennis Panorama News.

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Twizzles and Selfies in Notes and Quotes for Saturday at the BNP Paribas Open

 

(March 8, 2014) INDIAN WELLS, California – a quick at the more unusual player quotes from the BNP Paribas Open.

Maria Sharapova who was an NBC Olympic correspondent in Sochi was quizzed on the word “twizzle” after her straight sets win over Julia Goerges.

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Q.  Who is the coolest athlete you met, and do you know what a twizzle is?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  A twizzle?  Is that part of figure skating?  Right, right.  I don’t know if that was a trick question.

Who did I meet?  I met a lot of former athletes that were working for NBC, which was like Scott Hamilton.  I don’t know.  It was really bizarre just like having breakfast around each other like it was no big deal.  All these athletes getting together, not actually working on our sport, but that was special.

Q.  Did you and Johnny Weir hang out at all?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Unfortunately I missed him, but I was told we had a coat competition.  Yeah, we tried to upstage each other’s coats.  I brought 12 and he brought 25.  I mean, that’s pathetic.

Q.  Never going to win that battle?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, you never know.

Q.  Would you consult him for designing for Serena?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  That could be fun.  He could design for me, as well.

Serena Williams tweeted her approval for Sharapova’s dress. The Russian was quizzed about this and talked about tennis dresses and how she and Serena Williams could design one for each other.

Q.  I think Serena tweeted during your match that your outfit was totally cute.  She approved.

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Really?  Are those her exact words, Totally cute?

Q.  She said #approved.

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I think we have to exchange designs.  We have to design an outfit for each other.  That would be fun.  Without knowing…

Q.  Cat suit?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, I have to put an end to the cat suit on me (Laughter.)  I mean, I’m 26 already, so I think those days are over.

But that would be fun without telling each other what it is, just unveiling it.

Q.  You would trust each other to do that?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Oh, yeah.  That would be a lot of fun, don’t you think?  You guys would all show up for that, right?  (Laughter.)

We’re going to get great coverage.  Nike is going to be happy.  It’s all good.

Q.  What kind of ideas do you have for dressing up Serena then?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  It’s our secret.  Show up to the unveiling.

Q.  No hints?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  No hints.  I have a few things in mind, a few silhouettes.

 

 

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Roger Federer bested Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-2, 7-6(5). The Swiss who has been on twitter about a year was asked about taking “selfies,” as he has recently posted a couple on his twitter account.

Q.  On your year or so on Twitter, you have gotten very good at selfies.

ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, okay.

Q.  If you could take a selfie with anybody, who would it be?

ROGER FEDERER:  Nobody.  I mean, this is totally for the supporters of me, whoever follows me or a fan of me, whoever it is, the people who do, you know, follow me on Twitter or Facebook.  Just trying to make it fun and different.

Took me a long time to sort of warm up to social media, because I just didn’t know how it’s supposed to be used ‑ even though there is no rule to it.  But I find some people use it in a very funny way and some in a very strange way

First, for myself, I had to find out what was going to be my direction.  I saw it more as giving more sort of the extra, you know, sort of hints, sort of my angle, an extra angle to our life on tour.

So it’s actually become quite enjoyable.  The last thing I want to feel is pressure that I have to take pictures or have to is something.  If I don’t want to post anything for weeks, I have the right to do that and that needs to be the case.

But I must say it’s pretty funny, and it doesn’t stress me out.  You just can’t being sucked into it too crazy, otherwise all you start doing is spending time on the phone, and that’s not what I want to start happening to me.

 

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Li Na – no more doubles please.

 

Q.  We see a lot of the top players playing doubles at a tournament like this.  Why not you?

LI NA:  I think doubles court for me too small enough (Laughter.)  I don’t know.  Maybe last time I play doubles was 2007.  Or I play Olympics I think with a young girl.

When I was stand up the court I even didn’t know what I have to do.  Even I return, I was feeling the court so small.  Everywhere is people (smiling).  I cannot do it.

So for me, I really, how do you say, focus on my singles right now to see maybe I can, I even can improve a little bit.

Q.  Do you not like doubles?

LI NA:  Not really, no, because you have to, how do you say, talk to your opponent all the time.  Yeah.

Warinka in press

Stanislas Wawrinka and the boring questions.

Q.  Where have you placed the Australian Open trophy?  And when do you think it will start getting boring with all the questions and Australia and all the things you achieved over there?

STANISLAS WAWRINKA:  Well, I think I’m not going to get boring about those questions, you know.  It’s more about being Swiss No. 1 that’s annoying me.

But about winning Grand Slam, I think it’s great.  It’s positive.  So I can answer many few questions if you want.

The trophy is in Switzerland in a safe place

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Rafael Nadal Practice Session Photos at the Sony Ericsson Open

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All Photos © JD Blom for Tennis Panorama News.

 

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Maria Sharapova Enjoys ‘That Latin Flavor’

All Photos © JD Blom for Tennis Panorama News.
Article by Craig Hickman

 

Thursday night, I attended by first-ever night session on Stadium Court at the Sony Ericsson Open. Outside of the Slams, this is among my favorite tournaments. I’ve always considered it the fifth Slam, even though recently, I’ve heard Indian Wells referred to as such. What I love about this slam is the high-energy crowds that come out at support Central and South American players. When JD asked me what the biggest tournament in South America actually was, I drew a blank. In my mind, this is it.

Which is why I ought to have gotten out to Court 1 a lot earlier and watched the compelling drama unfold between Paul Capdeville of Chile and Frederico Gil of Portugal. By the time I arrived, the match was at a few points shy of the final set tiebreak, which Capdeville let 4-1 and 6-3, only have the match stolen from him by the tencacious “Fred” (his fans where chanting his name after almost every point) who struck two outrageous passing shots to save two of the four match, deflating the Argentine who was gutted after the match.

 

Back on Stadium Court, Maria Sharapova played her first match in Miami match in three years. After she cruised to victory 6-3, 6-2 over Croatia’s Petra Martic, I was the only writer, along with five photographers, who showed up for her news conference. Because it was late and she appeared to be a bit insulted by the empty room, joking that more children showed , I kept my one-on-one with the former No. 1 and face of the WTA succinct.

Craig Hickman for Tennis Panorama News: How are you feeling?

Maria Sharapova: Good. Great.

TPN: When was the last time you played in Miami?

MS: Three years ago.

TPN: That’s what I thought. How does it feel to be back?

MS: Way too long.

Feels really good. This is one of my favorite events. It’s crazy that I’ve missed it this many years because of injuries. So I’m just so happy to get back on that court today and just I love playing in front of the crowd. They’re so enthusiastic. They love their sports and have that Latin flavor about them. You know, it’s fun.

TPN: How is your shoulder?

MS: Doing good. Yeah, stable.

TPN: Are you healed?

MS: Healed? Tough to say an athlete is healed, but, yeah, I’m doing really well. Thank you.

TPN: You are pretty popular in Asia. Can you talk a little bit about how you felt when you heard about the Japan earthquake?

MS: Yeah, it was a tragedy. You know, you still see all the coverage in the papers and on video. It’s crazy to think that something like that could just happen so quickly and destroy so many lives, so many emotions.

Japan is one of my favorite places to visit, to go to. I’ve had incredible memories ever since I think I was maybe 13, 14 years old my first time I went there. I love so many things about it. I love the people. I love the food. I love the culture. I mean, I have been to so many different parts of it, as well, I’ve got to experience. I mean, you go to a different town, people live differently. It’s so unique there. I draw so much inspiration all my life from there and from those people. It’s devastating to know what they’re going through. Yeah, but I hope that it doesn’t continue and become worse.

TPN: Where do you see yourself in the game right now?

MS: Um, you know, I see myself building from what I can. You know, my goal this year is to consistently stay healthy and just really build on you know, last week I got to the semifinals. I was really happy, because I hadn’t played a tournament in a while. So just, you know, play a lot more tournament in a while. So just, you know, play a lot more tournaments, you know, play a lot more matches, and I feel like my form will get to where I want it to be when I do that.

Craig Hickman is founder and editor of Craig Hickman’s Tennis Blog He is covering the Sony Ericsson Open for Tennis Panorama News.

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Slideshow: GR8 Friends For Japan Fundraiser

By Craig Hickman

From what I hear, it’s not often media is invited to sit down for dinner at an event such as this. As another photographer said while cutting through her tender filet mignon, “I fully expect we’re going to get kicked out of here shortly.” But Natalie Mikolich, the publicity director for the event, made sure the media she invited got to enjoy a delicious three-course dinner featuring:

House Salad of Mesclun wrapped in Shaved Cucumber with Mandarin Oranges, Candied Walnuts, Cherry and Yellow Pear Yomatoes, and Dried Cranberries Drizzled with lemon oil

Surf and Turf featuring Filet Mignon in Red Wine Reduction, Seared Sea Bass, Mashed Potates, and Petite Vegetable Medley with Micro Greens

Chocolate Ganache Coated Three-Layer Cheesecake with Marzipan and Cocoa adorned with Fresh Raspberries

As for the rest of the event, the photos and videos speak for themselves, no?

For photos from the live tweets on the red carpet click here.

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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Andy Roddick Practice Session at the Sony Ericsson Open

Slideshow Andy Roddick practices with Ryan Harrison

Video by Craig Hickman and JD Blom

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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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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New Experience with Sharapova and the Hot Shots

Craig Hickman will be covering the Sony Ericsson Open for Tennis Panorama News. Before the tournament got underway, the action was already beginning in South Beach.

By Craig Hickman

Started the day at breakfast with Jarkko Nieminen and Andrea Petkovic, had a short hit with David Ferrer at Crandon Park on Key Biscayne, then toughed through the spring-break traffic to Miami Beach for the Xperia Hot Shots unveiling over at the Doubletree Surfcomber Hotel on Collins Ave.

Well, okay. I saw Nieminen and Petkovic at breakfast, watched Ferrer’s practice session with Fernando Verdasco before the event on Miami Beach. A bit overexcited attending my first Sony Ericsson Open, just seeing the players up close and personal made me feel as though we were all companions.


Maria Sharapova‘s celebrity appearance gave the event some sparkle after DJ Jazzy Jeff’s set and before Dominika Cibulkova, Sorana Cirstea, Alizé Cornet, Sabine Lisicki, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Heather Watson,were introduced as the WTA’s future superstars. The event felt like a big old party. Free flowing liquor at the open bar. Jazzy Jeff’s louder than loud music. Party goers from all walks of life decked out in various stages of undress, the beach only steps away. Paparazzi everywhere.

The turquoise ocean beneath a clear sky beckoned, but I stayed put. Well, not exactly.

Before the event got underway, I stole some moments in the hotel lobby with Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal who were on the big flat screen next to the bar beating each other up in the BNP Paribas Open final. More folks than I would have imagined stopped to take in a few points en route to their rooms or the beach or the party out back or the bigger party along the entire thoroughfare out front. Miami Beach during spring break is no joke. Back in the lobby, one young woman waiting for the elevator pointed at the battle on the flat screen, looked at her toddler boy and said, “Look. Tennis.” Seems as though as many people stopped to check the tennis score as they did the basketball score before the nice bartender allowed me the remote to change the channel.

Shortly after the event, Sharapova was escorted by security to the black SUV that swept her away while the photographer’s shutters clicked, clicked, clicked.

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

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