2014/04/21

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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Players React to Lance Armstrong in Notes and Quotes

Players at the Australian Open were asked about Lance Amstrong in the January 18, 2013 news conferences.

 

Q.  There was a lot of talk today about the Lance Armstrong interview.  Did you catch any of it?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I saw a little bit of it, yeah.

Q.  Do you have any thoughts on his admission today, how he justified it as not cheating?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I think it’s just a really sad story, sad for that sport itself.  I’m happy that our sport is as clean as it can be and that we’re constantly tested.  You know, we give whereabouts of where we are every single day of the year.  Hopefully not on birthdays and Christmas Eve, that would be pretty tough.

Although they did show up on my birthday and I was very disappointed.  They did a couple of years ago.  I said, Unless you bring flowers, I’m okay with it.  But they came empty‑handed (laughter).

So as long as we’re getting tested, whatever it takes, urine, blood, we’re all here to make the sport as clean as it can be.

 

Q.  Do you feel tennis is pretty clean at this moment?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I do very much.  For the amount of times that we get tested throughout the year and as random as they are, definitely.

 

 

Q.  I’m not sure if you saw today, but Lance Armstrong admitted to playing performance enhancing drugs.  I was wondering if you thought tennis had a vigorous enough policy on anti doping?

JANKO TIPSAREVIC:  You know what, you’re probably asking the wrong guy.  You know, actually came to Kenya to test me.  I wasn’t going to Kenya to hide from anti doping.  I was actually doing my pre season there.

One morning a person was waking me up.  I was so shocked and afraid somebody was like robbing us.  I wasn’t sure.

But I think it’s not cool what he did, cheating the sport and cheating so many people in the sport and so many people around him, believing that what he did actually did it on a clean and regular way.  So that’s really not cool what he did.

In regards of tennis, I think they test me often enough, blood and urine.  So, sure, if they want to increase it, why not?  But we have a tough enough time with this WADA process of us telling them every single day of our life where we need to be.

So I don’t really see how can it be more strict than that.

 

Q.  How comfortable are you that drug testing in tennis is rigorous enough?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, in tennis, you know, at least from my perspective, it’s really good.  Anti doping regulations a little bit maybe more strict in sense that you have to fill the whereabouts documents and you have to basically give an hour or two in every day of your life in a whole year, where you are.

But on the other hand, it gives them an opportunity to test you.  And you know it is the same for the other players.  At least from that point of view it’s fair.  And I have nothing against, you know, the anti doping federation, association, testing me 10, 20, 30 times a year.

I think as long as I know as many numbers of testing for the other players, I’ll be happy.

 

Q.  How about blood testing?  The ITF records tell us in the whole of 2011 there was only 18 blood tests taken of the top players.  How often would you or Andy or Roger or Rafa be blood tested?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, I wasn’t tested with blood for last six, seven months.  It was more regularly in last two, three years ago.  I don’t know the reason why they stopped it.

As I said, I mean, as long as it’s fair, it’s clean, we’re trying to protect the identity of this sport.  I believe tennis players are one of the most cleanest athletes in the world and one of the most competitive sports.

So as long as we keep it that way, I have no complaints about testing.

 

Q.  Would you disagree with Darren Cahill who said today that he believes the Anti Doping Program in tennis is inadequate and it’s been going backwards in recent years?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  What is the reason for that?

 

Q.  That’s his opinion.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I mean, I don’t know.  There has to be a reason why he said that, backstory.

I know Darren.  He’s a great guy, somebody that knows tennis really well, so must be something why he said that.

But in my opinion, yeah, there has been a complaints from players in few years, last few years, about this whereabouts system.  Why do we need to write where we are every single day of our 365 days when most of the time we’re spending on the courts and so forth.

Maybe that is something that is, you know, questionable.  But on the other hand as many urine, as many blood sample tests they take, the better.  Then you’re aware that it’s a clean sport and everybody has the same treatment.

 

Q.  I think part of the issue is out of competition blood testing is expensive to carry out.  Do you think the ITF should make it more of a priority to spend more money on that?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I mean, it’s a question for them, I guess.  From my point, I mean, I was more than clear.  I have nothing against the blood tests, you know.

Even though I prefer urine more.  I don’t like the needles too much.  But, of course, I mean, you know, the money in that direction should be invested because, you know, it’s always let’s say a safeguard for our sport that they’re investing money in our sport that is going to protect our sport and players.

 

Q.  A lot of cycling fans have lost a lot of faith in that sport now.  Do you think tennis fans should be confidant that nothing like this…

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I lost a lot of faith in cycling.  I used to watch it.  All the big champions that were there, Marco Pantani, now Lance Armstrong.  Yeah, I don’t want to say all.  I really don’t know.  There has been so much controversy about that sport.

I’m sure that there are many cyclists in the world who are training very hard and trying to not use any enhancing drugs for their competition.

But I think it’s not acceptable that they have physically so much races in short period of the time.  I think basically every single day, day and a half, they have to go through 200 miles.  Uphill, downhill in Giro D’Italia, Tour de France, that’s inhuman effort.  As you can see, Lance Armstrong, many other big champions, had to use something to succeed.

 

Q.  Do you think tennis fans should have faith that that won’t happen the same way?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  The results are showing that.  In last few years there maybe has been one or two cases, but those players were more or less outside of the hundred.  We are keeping this sport clean.  We are working towards it.  There is awareness with the players and with the officials.  As long as is like that, we are in a good road.

 

Q.  Would you be in favor of like a biological passport program that they’re instituting in cycling for tennis?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I mean, you know, we can discuss about the options for a while.  But generally I believe that the present regulations about anti doping tests in tennis are good, in my views.  I don’t think there should be any major changes because, as you know, it’s official.  We have to write where we are every day of our lives so they have an opportunity to test us every day of 365 days in a year.

I think that doesn’t give anybody a chance to do something that is unsportsmanlike.

 

 

 

Q.  The Lance Armstrong interview today, I was wondering what your thoughts are on drug testing in tennis?

NICOLAS ALMAGRO:  I’m not going to say nothing because I didn’t see nothing about that.  I want to see before to speak.

I don’t know what happened.

Q.  My question is what about the authorities in tennis are doing.

NICOLAS ALMAGRO:  You need to ask to someone better than me because I not going to say nothing.  Sorry.  It’s a very important things, and I not going to talk.

I thinks our sport is clear, is fair, and I won’t believe that is the only thing I can say.

Q.  I’m not sure if you saw today, but Lance Armstrong admitted to playing performance‑enhancing drugs.  I was wondering if you thought tennis had a vigorous enough policy on anti‑doping?

JANKO TIPSAREVIC:  You know what, you’re probably asking the wrong guy.  You know, actually came to Kenya to test me.  I wasn’t going to Kenya to hide from anti‑doping.  I was actually doing my pre‑season there.

One morning a person was waking me up.  I was so shocked and afraid somebody was like robbing us.  I wasn’t sure.

But I think it’s not cool what he did, cheating the sport and cheating so many people in the sport and so many people around him, believing that what he did actually did it on a clean and regular way.  So that’s really not cool what he did.

In regards of tennis, I think they test me often enough, blood and urine.  So, sure, if they want to increase it, why not?  But we have a tough enough time with this WADA process of us telling them every single day of our life where we need to be.

So I don’t really see how can it be more strict than that.

 

Q.  On a non‑tennis note, did you watch any of Oprah’s interview with Lance Armstrong?

VENUS WILLIAMS:  No, I didn’t.

Q.  Is it something that players are talking about, his confession to doping?

VENUS WILLIAMS:  I think everyone is pretty much focused on the tennis.  Maybe other players are talking about it.  I have no idea.

Q.  Do you have any reaction?

VENUS WILLIAMS:  I can’t talk about anything I don’t know anything about, so I’m just going to keep my mouth shut.  I’m not an expert on that stuff.  That’s all I can say.

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Djokovic Wins 17th Straight in Melbourne; Comments on Lance Armstrong

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(January 18, 2013) Novak Djokovic won his 17th straight match at the Australian Open, defeating Radek Stepanek 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 in the third round on Friday.

Djokovic is the two-time defending champion at Melbourne Park is looking to become the first man in the Open Era began in 1968 to win three in a row.

The match with Stepanek  which took 2 hours and 22 minutes was an entertaining one with the Czech constantly making dashes to the net and keeping up with pace of Djokovic’s shots.

“I wasn’t expecting an easy match coming into the third round and playing a seeded player, “Djokovic said.  “Top 30 in the world.  Somebody that has a lot of experience playing on the tour.

“He loves the big stage.  You saw how much fun he had.  I also had a lot of fun playing.  It was a very entertaining match.  As I said on the court, he’s very skillful, comes to the net, never gives you the same ball twice.  That’s something that makes him a different player from most of the guys.”

With Lance Armstrong’s interview with Oprah Winfrey airing in the United States on Thursday night, Armstong admitted to doping  and Djokovic was asked his opinion about the cyclist.

“He cheated the sport,” said the Serb.  “He cheated many people around the world with his career, with his life story.  I think they should take all his titles away because it’s not fair towards any sportsman, any athlete.  It’s just not the way to be successful.  So I think he should suffer for his lies all these years.’

“I lost a lot of faith in cycling, “ Djokovic continued.  “I used to watch it.  All the big champions that were there, Marco Pantani, now Lance Armstrong.  Yeah, I don’t want to say all.  I really don’t know.  There has been so much controversy about that sport.

“I’m sure that there are many cyclists in the world who are training very hard and trying to not use any enhancing drugs for their competition.

“But I think it’s not acceptable that they have physically so much races in short period of the time.  I think basically every single day, day and a half, they have to go through 200 miles.  Uphill, downhill in Giro D’Italia, Tour de France, that’s inhuman effort.  As you can see, Lance Armstrong, many other big champions, had to use something to succeed.”

Djokovic was also asked about tennis’ anti-doping measures:

Well, in tennis, you know, at least from my perspective, it’s really good.  Anti doping regulations a little bit maybe more strict in sense that you have to fill the whereabouts documents and you have to basically give an hour or two in every day of your life in a whole year, where you are.

But on the other hand, it gives them an opportunity to test you.  And you know it is the same for the other players.  At least from that point of view it’s fair.  And I have nothing against, you know, the anti doping federation, association, testing me 10, 20, 30 times a year.

I think as long as I know as many numbers of testing for the other players, I’ll be happy.

I wasn’t tested with blood for last six, seven months.  It was more regularly in last two, three years ago.  I don’t know the reason why they stopped it.

As I said, I mean, as long as it’s fair, it’s clean, we’re trying to protect the identity of this sport.  I believe tennis players are one of the most cleanest athletes in the world and one of the most competitive sports.

So as long as we keep it that way, I have no complaints about testing.

 

But in my opinion, yeah, there has been a complaints from players in few years, last few years, about this whereabouts system.  Why do we need to write where we are every single day of our 365 days when most of the time we’re spending on the courts and so forth.

Maybe that is something that is, you know, questionable.  But on the other hand as many urine, as many blood sample tests they take, the better.  Then you’re aware that it’s a clean sport and everybody has the same treatment.

Djokovic will play the winner of the Sam Querrey – Stan Wawrinka match in the fourth round.

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Doubles Win Gives Czech Republic a 2-1 Lead In Davis Cup Final

(November 17, 2012) Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek paired on Saturday to give the Czech Republic a 2-1 lead in the Davis Cup final in Prague. The pair rallied to stop Spain’s team of Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez 3-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-3 to capture the doubles rubber.

The victory moves the Czech Republic to one win away from capturing its first Davis Cup title as an independent country since 1980 when they were part of Czechoslovakia which split in 1993.

The Spanish pair are fresh off of a title win at the ATP World Tour Finals.

Sunday’s matches will feature Spain’s David Ferrer against Berdych, followed by Nicolas Almagro versus Stepanek, if necessary. Ferrer holds a 5-3 career record against Berdych while Stepanek hold a 2-1 advantage over Almagro head-to-head.

Spain is hoping for its fourth Davis Cup crown in five years.

WORLD GROUP FINAL

CZECH REPUBLIC leads SPAIN 2-1

Venue: O2 Arena, Prague (hard – indoors)

David Ferrer (ESP) defeated Radek Stepanek (CZE) 63 64 64

Tomas Berdych (CZE) defeated Nicolas Almagro (ESP) 63 36 63 67(5) 63

Tomas Berdych/Radek Stepanek (CZE) defeated Marcel Granollers/Marc Lopez (ESP) 36 75 75 63

Tomas Berdych (CZE) versus David Ferrer (ESP)

Radek Stepanek (CZE) versus Nicolas Almagro (ESP)

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Murray Pushes Back Stepanek, Federer, Djokovic Roll into Shanghai Semis

 

SHANGHAI, China – Thirty-Four year-old veteran Radek Stepanek is not to be taken lightly. The Czech known for his crafty, diverse game had already dismissed two seeds earlier in this week’s Shanhai Rolex Masters – (8) John Isner and (11) Richard Gasquet. Stepanek gave two-time defending Shanghai champion No. 3 Andy Murray a battle on Friday, but the Scot prevailed 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 to move into the semifinals.

 

Stepanek controlled the first hitting 10 winners past Murray. The Scot rebounded in the second set breaking the Czech’s serve in the sixth game for a 4-2 lead. Murray dismissed two break points against him in the next game and broke Stepanek again in the eighth game to close the set.

Stepanek went up a break in the final set 2-1 and was a point away from 3-1 when Murray took 21 of the next 26 points to settle the match.

“It was quite a scrappy first couple of sets, but obviously the second set I managed to get a break, got a bit of momentum,” said Murray.  “[I] started going for my shots and dictated a majority of those at the end of the match. Obviously I needed to, because he was playing with a lot of variety, making it hard for me. I was a little bit tentative on some shots. [I] allowed him to come forward.”

Murray kept his record in Shanghai perfect at 11-0 and will face Roger Federer next for a place in the final.

 

No. 2 Novak Djokovic denied Tommy Haas his 600th career victory. The Serb stopped the German 6-3, 6-3 for an ATP World Tour leading 68th win of the year to reach the semifinals where he’ll play Tomas Berdych. Djokovic is 9-1 versus the Czech.

“I’ve been winning a lot of matches,” Djokovic said.  “So it’s something that is always welcome when you want to have confidence, when you want to feel good about yourself on the court. Winning matches is the ultimate goal for every athlete. My return games were exceptional. So it’s something that gave me a lot of confidence today.”

Haas had a good week taking down two seeds in Nicolas Almagro and Janko Tipsarevic.

 

No. 1 Roger Federer improved his record against Marin Cilic to 4-0, defeating the Croat 6-3, 6-4. He’ll face Andy Murray in a rematch of the 2010 final.

“I assume he’s very confident right now and probably playing with a little bit less pressure,” said Federer. “Then again, that can go either way. It’s been a long year for all of us.”

Federer has never won the Shanghai Masters.

Tennis Panorama News is in Shanghai this week covering the Shanghai Rolex Masters. Follow updates on twitter at @TennisNewsTPN.

RESULTS – FRIDAY, 12 OCTOBER, 2012

Singles – Quarter-finals
[1] R Federer (SUI) d [10] M Cilic (CRO) 63 64
[2] N Djokovic (SRB) d T Haas (GER) 63 63
[3] A Murray (GBR) d R Stepanek (CZE) 46 62 63
[4] T Berdych (CZE) d [5] J Tsonga (FRA) 63 76(4)

Doubles – Quarter-finals
[7] M Bhupathi (IND) / R Bopanna (IND) d [2] M Mirnyi (BLR) / D Nestor (CAN) 76(7) 64
[4] L Paes (IND) / R Stepanek (CZE) d J Melzer (AUT) / M Raonic (CAN) 75 67(4) 10-5
C Fleming (GBR) / R Hutchins (GBR) d [6] A Qureshi (PAK) / J Rojer (NED) 76(2) 46 12-10
M Cilic (CRO) / M Melo (BRA) d E Butorac (USA) / P Petzschner (GER) 63 76(5)

SCHEDULE – SATURDAY, 13 OCTOBER, 2012

STADIUM start 2:00 pm
C Fleming (GBR) / R Hutchins (GBR) vs [7] M Bhupathi (IND) / R Bopanna (IND)

Not Before 4:30 PM
[4] T Berdych (CZE) vs [2] N Djokovic (SRB)

Not Before 8:00 PM
[1] R Federer (SUI) vs [3] A Murray (GBR)

GRANDSTAND start 6:00 pm
M Cilic (CRO) / M Melo (BRA) vs [4] L Paes (IND) / R Stepanek (CZE)

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