2014/08/02

Monday Dispatch from Atlanta – Withdrawals Provide Opportunities

BB&TAtlantaOpen

By Herman Wood

(July 21, 2014) ATLANTA- Qualifying wrapped up on Monday in Atlanta at the BB&T Open, with the weather finally cooperating. Qualifying dodged rain all weekend, with the second round ending up under the lights last night.  Unfortunately, the qualifying matches today were almost an afterthought with the main draw withdrawals.

Radek Stepanek withdrew due to an injury over the weekend.  He posted on his twitter account “Sad to pull out of the @BBTatlantaopen this week but had fun talking to the media here and signing some autographs :)” along with a picture of a young fan.  Gael Monfils and Richard Gasquet also withdrew, leaving the tournament in a bad spot.  Of the 24 players entered in qualifying, seven will make the main draw, apparently with one directly advancing to the second round.

There was some other ball played this afternoon, with Wimbledon doubles champ Jack Sock getting some basketball tips from Atlanta Hawk Demarre Carroll at a hoop set up by the team just off the USTA YouthTennis court.  Turned out Carroll got schooled in a game of HORSE.  Sock returned the favor with a tennis lesson for Carroll on the court afterwards and then had a press conference with his Wimbledon partner, Vasek Pospisil.  The two will be the top seed in the doubles draw.

Young Americans have quite an opportunity with the withdrawals.  Scheduled matches today feature world number 61 Sam Querrey playing number 64 Steve Johnson.  Official opening ceremonies will follow and lead into local Donald Young playing Dudi Sela.  Another local, Robby Ginepri, will team up with Rhyne Harrison to take on the British duo of Ken and Neal Skupski in the opening round of doubles once the singles match concludes.

 

Herman Wood is in Atlanta covering the BB&T Open action from around the grounds for Tennis Panorama News, follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/hermanewood.

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The US Open Series Begins this Weekend in Atlanta

 

BB&TAtlantaOpen

By Herman Wood

(July 17, 2014) ATLANTA – Preparation for the US Open is underway.  The BB&T Atlanta Open gets things started on Saturday, July 19th for the men.  Qualifying begins at 10 AM.  The BB&T Atlanta Open is an ATP 250 event, with a 28 player draw, four of which come from the qualifying tournament.  The qualifying field will have 32 players.  The doubles draw is a 16 team field.  Last year’s champ, John Isner, is returning, along with fellow Americans Sam Querrey, Wimbledon doubles champ Jack Sock, and Donald Young.  Gael Monfils, Richard Gasquet, Radek Stepanek, Ivo Karlovic, Ivan Dodig, Lleyton Hewitt, and the other half of the Wimbledon doubles championship team, Vasek Pospisil, are also expected in the tournament.  The tournament aspires to be a mini US Open, with the venue set among the skyscrapers of downtown Atlanta at Atlantic Station.  Atlantic Station is a community within downtown that provides homes for 10,000 people integrated with shopping, restaurants, and retailers that make it a hit with the players.  Besides the attractive venue, players will get a jump on the US Open Series Bonus Challenge, where nearly $40 million in prize money is up for grabs.  This is the third year the tournament has been held at Atlantic Station.

It is a familiar place for Americans, with Isner winning last year, Roddick in 2012, and Fish in 2011.  It has also been comfortable for big man tennis- last year Isner, at 6’10”, overcame Kevin Anderson at 6’8” in three tiebreaks.  Fans in the first couple of rows certainly had to pay attention with the huge serves coming their way.  It is especially familiar for Isner, who competed collegiately just an hour down the road for the University of Georgia Bulldogs, leading the team to a national championship and winning every possible team title in 2007.  He’s usually a fan favorite, with at least a couple of barks from Georgia fans in his favor at each match.  Isner may not be the only recipient of barks; University of Georgia player Austin Smith has accepted a wild card into the main draw. The sophomore from Cumming, Georgia excelled this season as the Bulldogs captured the 2014 SEC Championship. Smith finished with a 35-12 record, and went 9-1 in SEC matches. He has won four USTA Pro Circuit matches. A tournament qualifier in 2011, Smith will be playing his debut ATP main draw match.

Another American, Jack Sock, could very well get on a roll at this tournament.  After winning doubles with Pospisil at Wimbledon, he rolled into Newport and eliminated Isner in the Newport Hall of Fame event on grass just a week ago.  Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t able to keep that momentum and was eliminated by the veteran Lleyton Hewitt, who went on to win the tournament.  Hewitt’s feisty shouts of “C’mon!” have endeared him to the Atlanta fans in past years.  Fresh off his renewed success at Newport, he could very well win Atlanta.  The main draw was just rounded out with the addition of Ryan Harrison and Robby Ginepri.  “We’re ecstatic to welcome back two of our fan favorites in Ryan Harrison and Atlanta metro resident Robby Ginepri,” Tournament Director Eddie Gonzalez said. “One of our goals is to highlight American talent and both of these players are great examples of the fine players this country has produced.”  Harrison won the doubles last year, partnering with Matthew Ebden.  Ginepri appears for the fourth time, with a onetime ranking of fifteen.  He is a graduate of Wheeler High School, just a few miles north of Atlantic Station.  He currently resides in Kennesaw, another couple of miles north.

The draw will be finalized over this weekend with the completion of the qualifying tournament.  Promising American junior Francis Tiafoe has accepted his first tournament qualifying wild card. Tiafoe, 16, is a talented young prodigy who rose to No. 2 in the world junior rankings this spring. Georgia Tech’s Nathan Rakitt and Alabama’s Becker O’Shaughnessey have also accepted qualifying wild cards. Rakitt, a Marietta native and All-ACC selectee, is competing again for the second year. O’Shaughnessey of Macon, Ga., led the Crimson Tide in singles wins (22) this season.

Herman Wood is in Atlanta covering the BB&T Open action from around the grounds for Tennis Panorama News, follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/hermanewood.

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After the Clay, a Pain in the Grass

 

By Wendy M. Grossman

 

(June 13, 2014) LONDON – The most spectacular day of tennis every year is the first day of Queen’s Club. The day before is the French Open final, the culmination of months of looking at crushed-brick courts and players knocking the burnt-orangey dust out of the treads on their shoes. The next morning the courts are bright emerald-green and everything old is new again. It’s grass season.

 

The difficulty of the shift is underlined by the abrupt change in cast. All of a sudden, the tour is awash in tall, skinny beanpoles whopping down serves from the height of a basketball hoop. Physically, even the best-adapted grass-court player pays a price for the change.

 

“My back,” said Kevin Anderson, when asked what body part hurts the most. He explains: the ball stays definitely lower. At 6 foot 8, Anderson has to bend a lot anyway – but the need is more pronounced on grass, and he has to reach more and farther because of the way grass can skid a ball away from you. “I feel it more on grass.” Apparently he’s happy to help dish out the pain, naming the backhand slice, which notoriously stays low and skids off the grass, as the shot he most needs to get in gear for the grass season.

 

Andy Murray, coming off his third-round loss to Radek Stepanek, noted the “little pains” because of the change of surface (while not blaming them for the loss). You use different muscles, and you use them differently, he said, than on clay, where he finds that the sliding makes his quads hurt most. On grass, he says his lower back, butt, and hamstrings “can get a bit stiff”.

 

Stanislas Wawrinka said, “You have to be lower on your feet, and sometimes the knee or the back can be difficult. But this year was OK. I had time to adapt myself.”

 

Grigor Dimitrov, because of his early loss at the French Open, has also had more time to adjust than some of the others. He said he spent last week running 25 miles, which, he says, has added up: “the quads, the glutes”. In general, he says, “I think the part that really hurts the most on grass is the lower back, the glutes, and the adductors. I think those are the parts that always, even if you play the shortest two sets, the next day you’re gonna come back and feel a little funky.”

 

What seems to definitely help is experience. Radek Stepanek, who beat Murray in the third round and followed up by downing Anderson in the quarters, said “I know exactly which muscles are going to hurt me after the first two days on grass. I’m protecting them already before coming here with the prevention exercises.” The issue for him, he said, is glutes and lower back. Despite the preventive work he does, though, he said wryly, “It always comes anyway, but you know, I’m trying to adjust the level of pain, you know, as low as I can.”

 

Leave it to Dimitrov to put the whole thing in perspective: “[I] don’t really care any more, because with or without pain, it doesn’t really matter.”

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Andy Murray Falls to Radek Stepanek in Queen’s Club Third Round

 

 

 

By Wendy M. Grossman

(June 12, 2014) LONDON – “You can tell Andy’s playing, There’s no queue.” Yes: 4pm in London, tea set out with strawberries, cakes, and sandwiches, and no one in sight.

Andy Murray was indeed out playing on the Queen’s Club centre court on a sunny, hot-for-England day (a ball girl had to be led off court and given water). His opponent: Radek Stepanek, the sort of veteran Czech player whose sharp volleys and grass court sense you don’t want to face a few days after making the switch from clay.

In the first set, Stepanek led 5-4, fashioned a break point on the Murray serve, and lost it to a sharp Murray angle into his backhand corner. At 6-2, Murray, in the tiebreak, it seemed clear Murray was going to prevail. And then stuff happened: Murray got hesitant and stopped hitting quite so hard; Stepanek went on playing well. Murray had more set points, at 7-6, and 8-7 (netted the return), and 9-8 (Stepanek into Murray’s backhand corner), and 10-9 (return long). And then Murray sent up a beautiful lob at 10-10, and…well, it was beautiful until it landed long. Stepanek, offered a second set point of his own, promptly scored a nice angled volley winner. Game and first set.

Stepanek scored a break at the beginning of the second set, and never let go after that, eventually winning 7-6(10), 6-2.

“I thought the first set was a pretty high standard,” Murray said afterwards, adding that given the number of set points he’d had, “I’ve only got myself to blame.”

Stepanek called it “a great win for me”, adding that, “you always want to come out and play your best against the best players”.

There aren’t many players left with Stepanek’s serve and volley style. Stepanek would like to see more of it; Murray might too, given that he’s often been successful at using such players as easy targets to pass.

The upshot is that where last year Murray lost early at the French Open and had ten days of grass-court practice in England before the season started, this year he came into Queen’s with only two days to make the shift, and now will go into Wimbledon with only two grass-court matches played. He plans to take the next few days off, then begin again on Sunday with the “Rally for Bally” charity match to raise money in the memory of the late British player Elena Baltacha. He’ll start practicing in earnest Sunday evening, looking to improve his service return and get used to the lower-bouncing balls. “I was too upright on the court, especially when I was rushed,” he said.

 

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Top Seeds Advance in Melbourne Despite Extreme Heat Conditions

Nadal

(January 14, 2014) On a day which saw soaring temperatures, the Australian Open saw top seeds advance on day two of the tennis’ first major of the year. Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Roger Federer,  Juan Martin Del Potro, Maria Sharapova and defending champion Victoria Azarenka  moved into the second round despite temperatures which went over 42 Celsius (108 Fahrenheit).

In addition to the heat, the tournament was beset by retirements, not linked to the heat – six in all which included top American John Isner (ankle) the 13th seed, 12 seed Tommy Haas (shoulder) and 21st seed Philipp Kohlschreiber who withdrew before play, Radek Stepanek (neck).

Nadal was only on the court for a set up 6-4 when his opponent Australian Bernard Tomic retired with a groin injury.

“I know how tough is this situation, I had the same a few years ago at this tournament,” Nadal said. “Since the beginning, I saw a little bit he had some problems on the leg.”

“It was sad,” Tomic said.  It’s unfortunate.  You know, this opportunity I had to play against Rafa was huge for me.  Could have used a lot of it.

“Unfortunately, I couldn’t compete.  It was very difficult for me to say sorry to the crowd.  I don’t think they quite knew what was wrong with me.”

Federer began his record 57th consecutive major tournament with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 win over Australian wild-card James Duckworth.

Just over a week after beating Federer in Brisbane, Former Lleyton Hewitt fell in his home slam in five grueling sets to No. 24-seeded Andreas Seppi of Italy

Men’s seeds advancing included No. 10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, No. 11 Milos Raonic, No. 16 Kei Nishikori, No. 22 Grigor Dimitrov and No. 31 Fernando Verdasco.

On the women’s side No. 5 Agnieszka Radwanzka, No. 8 Jelena Jankovic, No. 10 Caroline Wozniacki, No. 11 Simona Halep,  No. 13 Sloane Stephens, No. 16 Carla Suarez Navarro, and No. 20 Dominika Cibulkova.

In the women’s upset of the day, No. 19 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova fell  6-3, 6-3 to Elina Svitolina.

Related Articles:

Players React to the Heat at the Australian Open

Nishikori Wins Five-Set Test Under Scorching Heat in Melbourne

Dimitrov Recovers form to best Klahn at Australian Open

One-on-One with American Tennis Player Tim Smyczek

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Top Seed Del Potro Pushed by Stepanek

Del Potro

By Dave Gertler

(January 9, 2014) We’re into the sharp end of the 2014 Apia International in Sydney, on a Thursday that features men’s quarterfinals and women’s semifinals matches on Ken Rosewall Arena, with a mix of singles and doubles matches being played on Grandstand Court.

The biggest drawcard of the men’s tournament, Juan Martin Del Potro, had to contend with consistent pressure from Radek Stepanek throughout their two hour and eight minute quarterfinal. After Del Potro served well to seal the first set 6-4, the Czech 35-year-old played high-risk tennis which seemed to affect Del Potro’s confidence and energy levels, particularly in the second set, during which Stepanek outplayed his opponent, ranked 40 places above him, to win it 6-3.

After being broken in the second set, Del Potro was visibly frustrated, and experienced a dip in energy, errors frequently coming off his racquet.

Post-match he described a moment when he almost smashed his racquet, saying, “Yeah, I was close, but I can’t do that yet. When I get eight or ten racquets, I will smash all of them. I will talk before with the chair umpire to don’t call me a code violation or something. I have to be allowed to do that after two years maybe.”

The third set provided some of the most entertaining tennis seen so far in the 2014 Apia International, when Del Potro lifted his game to match the swashbuckling net-rushing of the world No.45. Whereas in the second set, Del Potro had faced eight break points, saving only five, he proved the better player on all the big points, only allowing Stepanek one break point, which he saved. Del Potro’s break came early at one game all, and with the help of a small but vocal Argentinian contingent on Ken Rosewall Arena, was able to hold onto the advantage and take the match 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

Talking about his growing confidence toward the end of the match, he said, “I’m trying to be calm all the time.  I was positive every moment of the match.  Even Radek improve his game during the second set, I was positive, waiting for my chance, and I play a fantastic two pints in the third game of the third set to break his serve. Then I serve okay.  Just doing my job, and I was close the match really calm.”

In the second men’s quarterfinal, Dmitry Tursonov defeated Denis Istomin 7-6, 6-2. Del Potro and Tursonov will meet in Friday’s men’s semifinal.

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney covering the Australian summer of tennis for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his Twitter updates from the tournament @TennisNewsTPN, follow him on his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

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Friday in Vienna

Centre Court-001

By Florian Heer

 

(October 18, 2013) VIENNA, Austria – It is the 39th edition of an ATP World Tour event in Vienna this year and tennis has a big tradition in the capital of Austria. The event takes place in the Stadthalle of Vienna, with a capacity of more than 8.000 seats, one of the biggest sports arenas in Europe. The stadium also celebrates its 55th anniversary this year and with Lleyton Hewitt the twentieth “World No. 1player” took part here this week.

 

Quarterfinals Friday at the Erste Bank Open began on Centre Court with the first meeting on the ATP World Tour between eighth-seeded Czech Lukas Rosol and Belgian qualifier Ruben Bemelmans. They met once before on the ITF Futures Tour in Germany four years ago when the Czech won in three sets. By reaching the quarterfinals both players have already achieved their best result in Vienna. Both served ten aces throughout the match in which Rosol had the better ending winning the encounter 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 in eighty minutes.

 

Next on court was the second meeting between Fabio Fognini and Robin Haase. The Italian has had a great season so far, already recorded his 40th match win this season on Thursday and took two titles on the ATP World Tour winning in Stuttgart and Hamburg. However, it is the Dutchman who won the only previous meeting in straight sets at the ATP Masters 1000 in Monte Carlo last year. Haase also seems to be a force on Austrian soil winning both of his only two ATP career titles in the mountains in Kitzbühel. The first set was dominated by the service games with no break points until the eleventh game in which Haase gained his first chance to break serve. The third-seeded Italian however saved it, held his service game and consequently the tie-break had to decide. Fognini eventually took an even decider winning the first set after forty minutes. In the following frame, things changed quickly and it was the Dutch, who capitalized on his first break point to gain an early 2-0 lead and finally took the set in only twenty minutes by 6-1. The match went the distance and it was Haase again, who gained the early advantage breaking Fognini’s service in the third game. Through a double fault by the Italian in the seventh game, Haase gained a second break winning the encounter 7-6, 1-6, 6-1 after 84 minutes. “The key to success today seemed to be the fact that I was totally focused on my game and I didn’t distract myself from the often unconventional style Fognini was playing in the final set,” the Dutchman explained after the match and advanced into his fourth semi-final of the season.

Haas-001

In the third quarterfinal of the day Radek Stepanek took on Tommy Haas. It was the seventh meeting of the two veterans, where the series was tied 3-3 before the encounter. On Thursday the 35-year-old German defeated qualifier Miloslav Mecir in straight sets to reach the stage of the last eight for the third consecutive year. In today’s match, Haas broke the attacking Czech’s service in the twelfth game through a nice passing shot but couldn’t serve out in the following. In the tie-break with a couple of hawk-eye-decisions and great rallies, Haas had the better ending winning 12-10 after 63 minutes. The second-seeded German gained the decisive break in the fifth game of the second set and served the match out in the ninth game winning 7-6, 6-3 in one hour and 44 minutes to face Lukas Rosol in the semis. “Lukas is an attacking opponent, playing very aggressively with a huge serve,” Haas said about his next task. “If he (Rosol) feels good, he will be a very dangerous player – and it seems to be that he does as he reached the semis here – so I expect a hard match tomorrow,” the German stated. Haas also mentioned that he is not worried about the future in men’s tennis as he thinks that the game of many of the youngsters like Dimitrov, Tomic or even Thiem is very attractive to watch.

 

It was the local wild card Dominic Thiem, who was last on Centre Court facing top-seed and 2011 champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Of course this was the match most people in Vienna were waiting for. The 20-year-old has reached his second career quarterfinal on the ATP World Tour after being one of the last eight in Kitzbühel earlier this year. In September Thiem reached his first ATP Challenger final in Como, three weeks later he took his first title in Kenitra and today he faced the world number eight in front of about 7.700 spectators on Centre Court. It was an even affair until the ninth game of the first set when the French broke Thiem’s service and took the frame in the following. The atmosphere was great as the Austrian crowd backed their player as much as they could but Tsonga seemed to remain on the winning track. Although the world number 149 had a couple of break point chances throughout the match, so far in the decisive moments, Tsonga’s service has worked perfectly; until the eighth game of the second set when the Austrian was able to capitalize on his eighth break point. Thiem stayed cool and served out in the following to equal sets after 78 minutes. The Austrian youngster also kept calm in the tenth game of the final set when he had to save match point and he took the encounter to the distance. Tsonga needed all of his experience and some unforced errors by Thiem in the tie-break to finally seal victory after two hours and fourteen minutes winning 6-4, 3-6, 7-6. Therewith the French extended his match record in Vienna to 6-0 and remains unbeaten. “Dominic played well today. He didn’t have anything to lose, so it’s always difficult to face a player like him,” Tsonga commented the Austrian’s performance. “My baseline game was really poor today but I served well. I’m still a top-ten player, I played many matches like this and that’s what I think made the difference in the end,” the French reflected on his own game.

 

Thiem on the other hand was understandably disappointed. “It was a match on highest level and it was also very exhausting. Nonetheless I really enjoyed playing here today in front of the almost fully packed arena. It was like Davis Cup atmosphere. Unfortunately in the end it didn’t work out for me but he served big and I will take today’s positive things into my next matches,” the Austrian said after the match.

 

The day ended well for Dominic Thiem when he advanced into the doubles semifinals together with his partner Maximilian Neuchrist, beating fourth-seeded team of Jamie Murray and John Peers 6-3, 6-4.

Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit. He’s in Vienna covering the Erste Bank Open as media. His special interest is in Spanish tennis and you can follow his twitter account @armadadetenis.

 

 
RESULTS – FRIDAY, 18 OCTOBER, 2013

Singles – Quarter-finals
[1] J Tsonga (FRA) d [WC] D Thiem (AUT) 64 36 76(3)
[2] T Haas (GER) d [5] R Stepanek (CZE) 76(10) 63
R Haase (NED) d [3] F Fognini (ITA) 67(4) 61 61
[8] L Rosol (CZE) d [Q] R Bemelmans (BEL) 63 16 63

Doubles – Quarter-finals
F Mergea (ROU) / L Rosol (CZE) d [1] A Peya (AUT) / B Soares (BRA) 75 36 10-8
[WC] M Neuchrist (AUT) / D Thiem (AUT) d [4] J Murray (GBR) / J Peers (AUS) 63 64

SCHEDULE – SATURDAY, 19 OCTOBER, 2013

CENTRE COURT start 2:00 pm
[8] L Rosol (CZE) vs [2] T Haas (GER)

Not Before 3:00 pm
[1] J Tsonga (FRA) vs R Haase (NED)
F Mergea (ROU) / L Rosol (CZE) vs [WC] M Neuchrist (AUT) / D Thiem (AUT)
[3] J Knowle (AUT) / D Nestor (CAN) vs [PR] J Levinsky (CZE) / M Pavic (CRO)

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Teams Named for 2014 Hopman Cup

 

(October 8, 2013) The official draw, teams and provisional schedule have been set for the mixed teams event,  the Hyundai Hopman Cup in Perth, Australia. The event will be held from December 28, 2013 through January 4, 2014.

 

     

 

   
  Schedule Time Matches
  Saturday 28 December 10:00 am Poland v Italy
    5:30 pm Canada v Australia
  Sunday 29 December 10:00 am Czech Republic v Spain
    5:30 pm Poland v Canada
  Monday 30 December 10:00 am USA v Spain
    5:30 pm France v Czech Republic
  Tuesday 31 December 10:00 am Italy v Australia
  Wednesday 1 January 5:30 pm USA v France
  Thursday 2 January 10:00 am Italy v Canada
    5:30 pm Poland v Australia
  Friday 3 January 10:00 am France v Spain
    5:30 pm Czech Republic v USA
  Saturday 4 January 5:30 pm Winner Group A v Winner Group B

 

 

Poland                                [15] Jerzy Janowicz and [4] Agnieszka Radwanska

USA                                     [13] John Isner and [12] Sloane Stephens

France                                [9] Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and [27] Alize Cornet

Canada                               [11] Milos Raonic and [35] Eugenie Bouchard

Czech Republic                [39] Radek Stepanek and [7] Petra Kvitova

Italy                                     [22] Andreas Seppi and [31] Flavia Pennetta

Australia                             [51] Bernard Tomic and [20] Sam Stosur

Spain                                   [19] Tommy Robredo and [98] Anabel Medina Garrigues

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Grand Slam Dream Vanishes as Bryan Brothers Lose in US Open Semis

Bob and Mike Bryan

Bob and Mike Bryan

(September 5, 2013) The pursuit of a calendar Grand Slam is over for Bob and Mike Bryan. The Bryan bothers lost to Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the semifinals of the US open on Thursday afternoon in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The loss ended a 28 match winning streak at the majors for the Americans. Before today their last loss at a major was in the semifinals of last year’s Wimbledon to Jonathan Marray of Britain and Frederik Nielsen of Denmark.

The Australian team of Ken McGregor and Frank Sedgman in 1951 is still the only team to win all four tennis majors in a calendar year.

“We’re very disappointed,” said Bob Bryan.  “I mean, as competitors we hate to lose, and we knew what was riding on this match and the opportunity of what we could have accomplished.

“Got that.  And then in one sense it’s, you know, it’s a little bit of a relief where you get to kind of exhale for the first time in a few months.

You know, all this Grand Slam talk has been in the back of our head, and it’s been an honor to be a part of this run with Mike.  It’s been a great 12 months.

“You know, we would have never dreamed it would have been this sweet and we would have scraped out this many close matches.

“Today all that kind luck that’s been on our side went against us.  Those guys played a great match, and, you know, we wish them luck in the finals.  But, yeah, it’s a little bit of a relief.  You know, now we can move on and work on the next run.”

“I have tremendous respect for the boys,” said Paes.  “They are great champions, great ambassadors for the game.

“Just the record that they have even before this year shows how great they are as a team.  What they have done this year is something really special.

“In one context, going out there to play today we knew we were playing for our year.”

“I definitely don’t think this is top 10 toughest moments,” Bob Bryan said.  “The toughest moments have been Davis Cup losses when you know you’ve let your team down.

“I feel like, you know, we haven’t let anyone down.  I mean, I know there is a lot of people following us and a lot of people pulling for us.  Yeah, maybe we have disappointed a few people who wanted this to happen.

“But for us I feel like those Davis Cup losses have been the toughest.  You’re devastated you lost a pivotal point for your country.”

Last year it was the Bryan brothers who stopped Stepanek and Paes in last year’s US Open final.

“I can’t say enough about my partner,” Paes.  “We have got a little bit more work to do this week, but what he has been through this year, both him and I know.  For me that will come with me to my grave, and I will always be with him in his corner no matter where we go in our lives, no matter what we do.

“I think that’s what gives us strength on the court.  As some of you know in the media, Radek had an injury in the Australian Open, went through spinal surgery in his neck, and has got a few little battle wounds right now to show for it.

“He looks as tough as anybody, but the way he’s recovered, the way he’s done his rehab, the way he’s stayed with it, to me, along with some other adversities this year, shows off a great champion that he is.

“Beginning of the year when he got injured I got lots of phone calls to play with other guys, but that’s not what you do.  What you do is you stand by your partner.  I have tremendous belief in him, and he’s really shown that belief coming good.

“So like I said, we’ve got a little bit more work to do this week, but I’m very proud of the partner I share the court with.  He’s probably the best partner I have had.  I really enjoy playing with him.”

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Azarenka, Darcis, Isner, Tsonga and Cilic Out of Wimbledon with Injuries

Victoria-Azarenka-600x399

(June 26, 2013) Wednesday at Wimbledon saw multiple players withdraw or retire from matches at the All England Club due to injuries including No. 2 Victoria Azarenka, Rafael Nadal’s conqueror Steve Darcis, 18th seed John Isner, 10th seed Marin Cilic and veteran Radek Stepanek.

Azarenka pulled out before her scheduled match against Flavia Pennetta after hurting her right knee in her first round win over Maria Joao Koehler.

“Wimbledon is just a tournament I was looking so forward to,” Azarenka said.  “I love playing here.

“To not be able to kind of play just because of something with such a bad luck is very, very frustrating.  I couldn’t be more disappointed.”

“We tried to do everything as possible, but it was just very significant fall,” Azarenka  said. “To recover in two days after that seems impossible with the compensation on the entire body by finishing that match.”

Steve Darcis who had the upset of the fortnight by defeating two-time champion and No. 5 Rafael Nadal on Monday withdrew with a right shoulder injury which occurred during the first set of his match against Nadal.

“It happened against Rafa in the middle of the first set when I fell down,” Darcis said to media.  “I start to feel it a little bit.  Like it was warm, it was okay.  I had no pain.  After a few games, I was feeling great.

“After the match, a few hours after, I start to feel so much pain, I couldn’t sleep the night.  I saw the physio, the doctor, yesterday.  They did a good job.  It’s a little bit better today.

“But no chance I can play.  I mean, I cannot serve.  Even on the forehand side, I cannot hit a ball.  Make no sense to go on the court to withdraw after two games.”

John Isner retired from his match against against Adrian Mannarino after only two games with a left knee injury.

Isner described what happened:

“Third point of the match.  I didn’t do anything different.  I just go to serve, and I think it was as I landed.  You know, always serve and land on my left leg, like I have done 20 million times playing this game, and this is the first time I just felt this, like, sharp pain.  You know, it wasn’t like a pop.  Wasn’t, you know, like you hear athletes like, Oh, crap, I feel like I heard it pop.

“There wasn’t anything.  It didn’t pop.  It just grabbed like really badly, and I knew I was in serious trouble then.  I mean, I knew at that point it was not likely I was going to be able to play.”

Marin Cilic who pulled out of the tournament with a left knee injury said that he began to have problems with his knees at the Quens Club tournament two weeks ago.

“It was just big pain,” Cilic said in regard to his first round match.  “But sort of for the match, I was also feeling a little bit, but play through it.  Obviously little bit with playing the match and then three sets, and yesterday, I think I felt it much, much worse.

“It was difficult for me to put weight on my left leg, which is where the pain is.  So today I had basically no choice to.  I can also risk something bigger to play.”

Jo-Wilfred Tsonga had retire with a left knee injury during his match with Ernests Gulbis.

“I tried, but no chance for me to beat a guy like this without my legs,” Tsonga said after retiring down 6-3, 3-6, 3-6.

“I have a little problem with my tendon on my knee.  I have this since couple of day now.

“I had this like five, six days ago.  Was not really a good sign because I had already some problem with this tendon.  I know when it’s going worse and worse like this that it’s not really good for me to play on because I know I will do more damage, and after that I will stop for a while.

“So, yeah, for me it was I think better to stop.  I hope I didn’t play too much already.  I will do some image later tonight, and I will see what’s happen.”

Radek Stepanek retired from his match with a left hamstring injury.

 

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