2015/07/05

Jelena Jankovic Upsets Defending Champion Petra Kvitova at Wimbledon

Jelena Jankovic

Jelena Jankovic

 

(July 4, 2015) Former No. 1, 28th seed Jelena Jankovic pulled off the biggest upset of the Wimbledon fortnight on the Ladies’ side when she defeated No. 2 and defending champion Petra Kvitova 3-6, 7-5, 6-4.

The Czech looked to be confidently cruising past the Serbian, with a 6-3, 4-2 lead, but Jankovic turned the match around from that point onward.

“Playing on grass is very difficult for me. It does not come natural,” Jankovic said. “I just tried to stay one point at a time, just hang in there, stay positive and fight, and I made it. But playing on Centre Court against the defending champion was just unbelievable. I’m really really happy to win this match!”

“I’m overwhelmed. I’m so excited. My heart is still pumping,” Jankovic said after the match.

“It didn’t matter how badly I was playing or what was happening out there, I really just tried to stay one point at a time and fight, and when I won that second set I knew I just had to keep going out there.

“When I won, I couldn’t believe what just happened. I lost to Petra the last time we played in Rome, and I know she plays amazing here. But that’s what this sport is all about. It’s such a great excitement for me – I’m so glad I was able to win and this gives me a lot of confidence the rest of the tournament.”

For Kvitova who also won Wimbledon in 2011, this was her earliest exit from the All-England Club since 2009.

“I’m not really sure what happened out there,” Kvitova said in press. “Suddenly I felt like she’s coming back, playing a little bit aggressive.

“Suddenly from my side, I didn’t have answer for it. My serve didn’t help me at all this time, as well. I was really struggling with each shot which I played.”

“But I don’t think that I lost today because I was defending champion from last year,” Kvitova said.  “I don’t think is really the thing why.

“I think that she really played a good match.  Looked a little bit on the other side when I played Venus last year, when I was the worst player in the first two sets, then I won.  This time just turn the other side for her.”

“Here I am in the fourth round, in the second week of Wimbledon,” Jankovic said.  “I just beat a defending champion.  I mean, it’s unbelievable.  You know, I don’t think I can ask for more.  I hope to keep going.”

“I think I always believe in myself, no matter what.  Like I said, if I’m healthy, if I can put that work in on a daily basis and work hard, improve.

“You know, to be honest, right now I’m not at the level I want to be at. First of all, physically I have to get a lot stronger a lot faster.  As I said before, getting injured, not being able to go to the gym, to spend some time on the practice court.  I will need some time to get to the form, to the level I want to be at, and where I can be. That’s what will satisfy my, you know, needs and wishes.

“So we’ll see.  I always think I can do it.  I’m not old. I’m still young at heart.  I look pretty good, so why not (laughter)?  I mean, give me a break, guys.  What’s old?”

“I’m very determined.  Like I said, I want to get, you know, to where I think I belong.  I’ve done it in the past.  I’ve been many years in the top 10, I’ve been No. 1 in the world, I’ve played against all these players.

“Like I said, just if I’m able to work hard and believe in myself, hopefully my time will come again.”

Other winners on the Ladies’ side included fifth seed Caroline Wozniacki over Camila Giorgi 6-2, 6-2, No. 20 Garbine Muguruza dismissed 2012 semifinalist Angelique Kerber 7-6 (12), 1-6, 6-2, No. 13 Agnieszka Radwanska, No. 15 Timea Bacsinszky, No. 21 Madison Keys, Olga Govortsova and Monica Niculescu also advanced.

Seven-time Wimbledon winner Roger Federer dropped a set to advance to the round of 16 beating hard-hitting Sam Groth 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-2.

Groth hit the second fastest serve in Wimbledon history – 147 mph.

No. 3 Andy Murray beat No. 25 Andreas Seppi of Italy 6-2, 6-2, 1-6, 6-1.  Seppi received a visit from a trainer to work on his lower right leg, and won the next six game. Murray also received a medical time out for a stiff right shoulder after trailing 1-0 in the fourth set, and then took next six game to win the match.

Dustin Brown, the qualifier who upset Rafael Nadal, lost his very next match to 22nd seed Viktor Troicki 6-4, 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-3.

“Obviously having the pleasure and being able to play on Centre Court and then to play a match like that (on Thursday), doesn’t make a difference if I lost today or not, no one will ever be able to take that away from me,” said Brown.

“I think I played well and I wouldn’t compare it to any other matches.  That’s what I said after winning against (Rendy) Lu, and Rafa (Nadal), it’s always a totally different match.  I’m happy with my tournament.  When I came to quallies, someone would have said sign here for beating Rafa, making second round and qualifying, I would have signed that paper.”

Completing a match held over from Friday at 10-10 in the fifth due to darkness, Marin Cilic bested John Isner 7-6 (4), 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-7 (4), 12-10

Also Saturday, Wimbledon’s marathon man fell short this time. John Isner, the American who won the longest tennis match in history in 2010, lost 12-10 in the fifth set to U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic. The Croat beat Isner 7-6 (4), 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-7 (4), 12-10 in a match that resumed Saturday at 10-10.

“Marathon man” Isner defeated Nicolas Mahut 70-68 in the fifth set at Wimbledon in 2010, the longest match in tennis history.

No. 12 seed Gilles Simon defeated French countryman No. 18 seed Gael Monfils in five sets, in a match which had to be moved from
Court 1  when darkness came early in the fourth set, and completed under the roof of Centre Court.

Other men moving in to the fourth round: Vasek Pospisil, No. 23 Ivo Karlovic and No. 20 Roberto Bautista Agut.


Ladies Singles – Third Round

(28) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d. (2) Petra Kvitova (CZE) 36 75 64
(5) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. (31) Camila Giorgi (ITA) 62 62
(20) Garbine Muguruza (ESP) d. (10) Angelique Kerber (GER) 76(12) 16 62
(13) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. Casey Dellacqua (AUS)
(15) Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) d. (18) Sabine Lisicki (GER) 63 62
(21) Madison Keys (USA) d. Tatjana Maria (GER) 64 64
(Q) Olga Govortsova (BLR) d. Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) 76(4) 63
Monica Niculescu (ROU) d. Krystina Pliskova (CZE) 63 75

Gentlemen’s Singles

Third Round – Third Round

[2] Roger Federer (SUI) d. Sam Groth (AUS) 64 64 67(5) 62
[3] Andy Murray (GBR) d. [25] Andreas Seppi (ITA) 62 62 16 61
[6] Tomas Berdych (CZE) d. Pablo Andujar (ESP) 46 60 63 76(3)
[9] Marin Cilic (CRO) d. [17] John Isner (USA) 76(4) 67(6) 64 67(4) 12-10
[12] Gilles Simon (FRA) vs. [18] Gael Monfils (FRA)
[23] Ivo Karlovic (CRO) d. [13] Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) 76(3) 46 76(2) 76(9)
[20] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) d. Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) 76(4) 61 60
[22] Viktor Troicki (SRB) d. Dustin Brown (GER) 64 76(3) 46 63
Vasek Pospisil (CAN) d. James Ward (GBR) 64 36 26 63 86

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Dustin Brown Upsets Rafael Nadal in Second Round of Wimbledon

(July 2, 2015) Germany’s Dustin Brown had never been on Wimbledon’s famed Centre Court until Thursday and made the most of his opportunity when he upset two-time Wimbledon champion and 10th seed Rafael Nadal 7-5, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 to reach the third round of Wimbledon.

“I’m playing the first time on Centre Court,” Brown said. “It was awkward actually, I thought I was going to freak out a little bit.”

The 102nd ranked Brown, who had to qualify to play at the All-England Club, played the match of his life at a major gave Wimbledon the biggest shock of the tournament so far. Brown who was born in Germany to a German mother and Jamaican father, used his serve-and volley game to defeat a seed at a major for the first time in his career. He won 71 points serve-and-volley points, 49 points and the net and hit 58 winners.

Brown is now 2-0 against Nadal. The German defeated Nadal at a grass-court event at Halle last year 6-4, 6-1.

“I knew what the plan was because I played against him in Halle before,” Brown said. “Obviously he’s a great tennis player. Knowing that the grass might be a little slower than in Halle, obviously doing it over best‑of‑five sets is a different situation than doing it only best‑of‑three.”

“Well, the point is whatever I do is to take him out of his comfort zone.  If I would stay in the back and rally with him left, right, that would not be a very good match for me.  I know that.  Obviously I try to play my game.”

This was the first time that Spaniard has ever lost to a qualifier at a major. This is the fourth straight year that the 14-time major winner has fallen to a player ranked 100 or lower in the early rounds of Wimbledon – 2012 to No. 100 Lukas Rosol in the second round, 2013 to No. 135 Steve Darcis and 2014 to No 144 Nick Kyrgios.

“I cannot describe relationship with grass,” Nadal said in his post-match news conference.  “You know, when you love one thing, and even last couple of years I didn’t have the best relationship possible with them, going to be in my heart and in my memories forever the 2008 final.  That was probably one of the most important moments of my career, and was here, no?

“You know, at the end of the day, today I lost.  Don’t forget I played five finals here.  I don’t know how many players did that.”

“With my game, it makes him not play his game at all,” Brown said after the match. “He gets two balls, or he doesn’t get any balls, and he doesn’t get in a rhythm.”

“Being on grass, being with him on the court and having won the last match, it made me feel more comfortable,” Brown added. “It was easy for me to play my game against someone like him, because I had nothing to lose.”

“Obviously today is a bad moment for me,” Nadal said in press. “I need to accept. This kind of things, they happen. … It’s a sad moment for me, but life continues. My career too. I have to keep going, working more than ever.”

“Losing in Roland Garros, going straight to Stuttgart and Queen’s, then came here very early to prepare the tournament,” Nadal said.  “So I lost.  Sad today for that, obviously.

“But end of the day, that’s sport.  Good moments, bad moments.  Obviously today is a bad moment for me.  Just I need to accept these kind of things that can happen.  I did all my career.

“Keep going.  You know, it’s not the end.  Is a sad moment for me, as I said before.  But life continues.  My career, too.  I have to keep going and working more than ever to try to change that dynamic.”

“On this surface, when I go out there, obviously I’m confident that I can play my game,” Brown explained.  “But then I said, again, I lost the match against (Jerzy) Janowicz who started serving too good. I lost against Kei (Nishikori).  Obviously I am not unbeatable on this surface, but it comes more natural playing on this, especially with my type of game.

“Yeah, what other players think, no one has said anything to me obviously, but I know that I can play really well on this.  I’m looking forward to the next match.”

The 30-year-old Brown will play Viktor Troicki, the No. 22 seed next for a place in the fourth round.

 

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Former Champions Federer, Murray, Nadal and Kvitova Post First Round Victories at Wimbledon

(June 30, 2015) Former Wimbledon champions Petra Kvitova Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray all won their opening matches at Wimbledon on Tuesday in straight sets.

Defending Ladies’ champion Kvitova by tradition had the honor of playing the first match on Centre Court on the second day. She totally dominated Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands 6-1, 6-0 in a mere 35 minutes, losing only one point on her serve.

“I have to say sorry to them,” she said about the fans and the quick match. Unfortunately maybe for people was a little bit quicker.  My parents came.  The first 35 minutes, I have to say sorry to them.

“I think they are happy anyway.”

“I’m glad how I played today.  I don’t think I need any more, like, practice today.  I have a practice tomorrow.  I think it’s just fine.  To relax again after the sickness I had, it’s still in a good way.”

 

Seven-time Wimbledon champion Federer, making his 63 straight major, also made quick work over Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia 6-1, 6-3, 6-3. The Swiss needed only 68 minutes.

“I was happy I played aggressive,” he said. “I must say I’m very happy, always, to win like that.”

“Somehow the streak is still alive and I’m also very proud of the fact that I never retired from a match once it started,” he said. “Those two stats I care about and hope I can keep them up for the remainder of my career.”

 

Two-time champion and 10th seed Nadal moved past Thomaz Bellucci 6-4, 6-2, 6-4.

“Here the feeling in Wimbledon is so special, and playing on grass, too,” Nadal said. “So always is very emotional when you hit some good shots in this beautiful club.”

“I think I played okay; played well, played solid,” said Nadal. “I am a little bit more confident now than I was few months ago. [It’s] just day by day for me. Obviously victories help.”

2013 Wimbledon winner Andy Murray defeated Mikhail Kukushkin 6-4, 7-6(3), 6-4

“I didn’t necessarily feel nervy,” said Murray about the match. “I lost my serve a bit in the end of that second set. There was a period where I missed like 10 or 12 first serves in a row and let him back into it there. Then he played some really good stuff at times and was going for his shots. I found it difficult to play aggressive tennis out there.”

Other men’s winners on the day were No. 13 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, No. 20 Roberto Bautista Agut, No. 22 Viktor Troicki, No. 23 Ivo Karlovic, No. 25 Andreas Seppi and No. 30 Fabio Fognini.

Wimbledon – Gentlemen’s Singles Results for June 30, 2015

[2] Roger Federer (SUI) d. Damir Dzumhur (BIH) 61 63 63
[3] Andy Murray (GBR) d. Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) 64 76(3) 64
[6] Tomas Berdych (CZE) d. Jeremy Chardy (FRA) 62 67(8) 76(3) 76(5)
[10] Rafael Nadal (ESP) d. Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) 64 62 64
[12] Gilles Simon (FRA) d. Nicolas Almagro (ESP) 64 64 75
[13] Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) d. Gilles Muller (LUX) 76(8) 67(3) 64 36 62
[15] Feliciano Lopez (ESP) d. Steve Darcis (BEL) 62 76(4) 64
[18] Gael Monfils (FRA) d. Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) 64 64 75
[20] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) d. Ruben Bemelmans (BEL) 61 63 76(6)
[22] Viktor Troicki (SRB) d. Aleksandr Nedovyesov (KAZ) 61 64 36 63
[23] Ivo Karlovic (CRO) d. Elias Ymer (SWE) 67(2) 62 64 76(2)
[25] Andreas Seppi (ITA) d. Brydan Klein (GBR) 63 62 62
Pablo Andujar (ESP) d. [29] Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) 36 64 36 75 64
[30] Fabio Fognini (ITA) d. Tim Smyczek (USA) 64 63 62
Sam Groth (AUS) d. [31] Jack Sock (USA) 63 36 63 63
Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR) d. Kyle Edmund (GBR) 76(4) 61 62
Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) d. Denis Istomin (UZB) 62 62 32 Ret.
Lukas Rosol (CZE) d. Ernests Gulbis (LAT) 76(2) 63 76(4)
Robin Haase (NED) d. Alejandro Falla (COL) 62 36 64 62
Aljaz Bedene (SLO) d. Radek Stepanek (CZE) 75 16 46 63 64
Dustin Brown (GER) d. Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE) 36 63 75 64
Adrian Mannarino (FRA) d. Michael Berrer (GER) 67(4) 60 64 61
Borna Coric (CRO) d. Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) 46 76(5) 62 16 97
James Duckworth (AUS) d. Malek Jaziri (TUN) 76(2) 62 36 36 75
Nicolas Mahut (FRA) d. Filip Krajinovic (SRB) 76(4) 64 36 75
Jiri Vesely (CZE) d. Paolo Lorenzi (ITA) 76(7) 76(6) 64
Benoit Paire (FRA) d. Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) 64 64 63
Vasek Pospisil (CAN) d. Vincent Millot (FRA) 76(2) 36 67(4) 76(4) 63
Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) d. Facundo Bagnis (ARG) 64 76(3) 62
James Ward (GBR) d. Luca Vanni (ITA) 67(4) 62 64 63
Sam Querrey (USA) d. Igor Sijsling (NED) 75 63 64

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Notable Quotables from Pre-Wimbledon Weekend with Djokovic, Serena Williams, Federer, Sharapova, Nadal and Others

228 Djokovic being interviewed-001

(June 28, 2015) Saturday and Sunday some of Wimbledon’s top seeds held court with the media, here is a look at some of the notable quotables:

Defending Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic on recovering from losing a mentally tough French Open final:

“Yes, it was. Not just Roland Garros, but all the five months of the year have been really intense for me.  I played a big amount of matches.  Before Roland Garros, I’ve lost only two.  I had one of the best season starts in my career.  Of course, Roland Garros finals wasn’t easy.

 

“All in all, it was another great tournament.  But I needed some time to just mentally recover, rest ‑ more than physical rest, I needed that emotional, mental rest to recharge my batteries and get myself in a proper state of mind so I can start all over again.”

 

 

“I mean, right after I lost the match, of course, there was this sense of disappointment. There is no doubt about it.  I felt that for, you know, some days after it.

 

“Because I have a family, I have different things in life, different interest, I’ve managed to move on because of the experience that I talked about previously of learning how to handle these particular situations and circumstances. I managed to get the necessary reset in my mind.”

 

 

Djokovic says that coaching from the player’s box is fairly common:

“We can’t pretend like that’s not happening in tennis.  Of course, there’s situations when it happens, and not just with the top players, with everybody.  This is a very competitive sport.  You’re alone on the court.  Of course, there’s certain rules.

 

“But also there are times when, you know, the team of the player communicates with the player when he gets to go and take the towel in the corner, which is closer to the box, or, you know, different ways.

 

“I think it’s all fine as long as it’s not regular.  I think it just depends.  Also that’s up to the chair umpire or supervisor to decide if somebody’s breaking the rules or not.  I think as long as it’s something that you can tolerate, let’s say, within the ways of communication, I think it’s fine.”

 

He was also asked about his communication with his coach Boris Becker. Earlier in the day Becker was on radio saying that he has ways of telling Djokovic whether what he is doing is good or bad.

 

“I don’t think that we’re cheating.  I don’t think that’s how you can call it.  I mean, there are special ways of, I would say, communication.  As he mentioned, the way you look at each other, the way you feel your box, and box feels what you’re going through on the court. I think that’s something that just gives you that reassurance, gives you that confidence.

 

“It’s not necessary that, you know, he tells me where to serve or to which side of the opponent’s court I have to play, because that doesn’t happen.  But it’s more of a, you know, encouragement, and more of a support and reassurance, as I said, that’s basically present in those moments.”

 

In what seemed to be the most awkward questions of the weekend, defending champion Petra Kvitova was asked about wearing white on court while menstruating.

 

Q. Heather Watson was applauded earlier this year for breaking taboo and talking about what was phrased as girly things.  How much do you think that affects other females’ players game?

 

PETRA KVITOVA:  To be honest, I think it’s quite tough.  Of course, I have these experiences from before.  It’s never really easy to deal with one more tough thing.  I think always the beginning of this kind of period, it’s tough.  I think that for normal woman, they know about.  If we have to play the match or training or something, it’s difficult.

 

It’s one more extra thing for us.

Q. Does having to wear white as well…

PETRA KVITOVA:  No, I think it’s fine.

 

 

Roger Federer on Serena Williams’ playing at such a high level:

 

“I’m not surprised.  I just think she’s a great talent.  She’s worked also very hard.  I think to be mentally ready for the challenge when she wants to be up for it, I think that’s what’s so admirable about her.

 

“Also Venus, I must say.  We don’t talk about Venus that often because Serena has been so dominant.  Actually that they’re both still playing is more of a surprise to me.

 

“But that they are playing, it doesn’t surprise me they’re actually playing well.  It goes hand‑in‑hand.

 

“I wouldn’t imagine them still playing and playing poorly.  Let’s put it that way.  They’re too good for that.”

 

Serena Williams was asked about coming into Wimbledon holding the first two majors, make her preparation different or make her feel any different.

“Personally, uhm, it doesn’t make it feel any different, which I think is a good thing ’cause I don’t feel any pressure to win all four.  I’ve been saying that, but I really don’t feel that pressure.  Maybe if I would happen to win here, then maybe I might start feeling it after that.

“Ultimately, I’m taking it one day at a time and I’m not thinking that far.”

 

Serena is very motivated this year:

“I think the fact that I lost so early the past couple years definitely makes me motivated.  But I think that also gives me a little less pressure because I haven’t done well here in the past two years.  It makes me feel like, Okay, I’ll be fine.  I have nothing to lose here.  I don’t have many points to defend here.  So it’s just like trying to have fun, go through it.”

 

The 20-time major champion talked about her biggest strength:

“I think for me being mentally tough is probably my biggest strength.  And my dad always said growing up, you know, Tennis is so mental, you have to have your mental, you have to be really mentally tough.  I guess I really took that to heart.

“I think also being the youngest of five really made me have to scrap and be tougher.  I think all those things kind of played into action.

“Yeah, I think that’s probably one of the biggest things in tennis.  It’s great to have a big serve, too.  But I think ultimately sometimes when you’re down and out, you could be the best player in the world, you still get down, but you have to be able to come back.”

 

She actually hates playing on grass:

“You know, oddly enough, it never has been my favorite surface, but I’ve always done really well here.  I think my game is really suited for the grass.

“You know, yeah, it’s never been someplace like, I love playing on the grass, which is just really weird.  But, again, my game works for it, so…”

 

 

Maria Sharapova on Serena:

“She’s certainly the player to beat.  With all the confidence in the world having won the last three majors, not just the two in this year.  I think those results speak for herself, and she’s certainly the one to beat.”

 

 

Andy Murray was asked about the “feminine influence” on his life – marriage and hiring Amelie Mauresmo.

 

“I mean, I’ve said as well, it’s not so much marriage.  Me and Kim have been together like 10 years now, so…

 

“You know, she’s always been a huge support to me, especially when I’ve gone through, you know, tough, tough times as well.  She’s always been there for me.

 

“Obviously, yeah, I mean, Amélie, really the last sort of 12 months that I’ve been with her, I feel like I’ve come through some difficult moments.  I feel last year, there was ‑ not me, myself ‑ I know there were a lot of people doubting me.  I feel like she stuck with me during that period.

 

“I had an extremely tough loss at the end of last year.  She was one of the people that really, yeah, stuck by me and supported me.

 

“I’m glad that I’ve been able to kind of repay her faith in me with some good tennis this year.

 

“Obviously she’s a very different character to some of the coaches that I’ve had in the past.  I’ve really enjoyed working with her.”

 

Rafael Nadal on the current problems of the Spanish Tennis Federation.

“The situation have been very unusual, let’s say, not nice for a country that has big tradition in this sport, for a country that the last, let’s say, 15, 20 years, we have been the first country in this sport around the world.  So is not nice to watch the situation that we are having today.  But things are like this.

“The thing that we have to do is to stop these crazy things that are happening.  You know, it’s not good to see bad news on our sport in the media every day.  It’s not good for our sport.  It’s not good to catch sponsors.  It’s not good to make the people involved on our sport.

“So all these kind of things are bad for everybody.  At the end of the day, you know, we are here today.  We will live tomorrow.  Players, presidents, everybody who is making this show last couple of months, what really suffers on all of this is tennis, tennis in our country.

“All the things that goes against tennis in our country is a bad news.”

Stan Wawrinka the fashion icon:

Are you surprised by how much of a fashion icon you became after the French Open?

STAN WAWRINKA:  It’s not me, my shorts (laughter).

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Notable Quotables from the Queen’s Club Tennis Tournament

315Kyrgiosserve-001

By Wendy M. Grossman

(June 21, 2015) LONDON, England – Notable quotes from 2015 Queens Club tournament:

Nick Kyrgios, asked about buying a scooter: “I don’t know, mate. I just bought a scooter because I felt like buying a scooter. I can’t tell you if it’s linked to tennis or anything like that. I just bought a scooter.”

Stan Wawrinka

Stan Wawrinka, asked after their match about Nick Kyrgios’s comment that he doesn’t want to think about tennis for a couple of weeks: “I think he’s saying a lot of things every day, so it’s quite interesting for journalists to hear that. I’m sure he’s not going to switch off…If he switch off two weeks of tennis, then he can go home and not play Wimbledon…When I read his interview, it’s always funny, a lot of things you can take. When I read before the match he was ready, excited for the challenge, and now he was sick.”

Nadal

Rafael Nadal, asked if he’d look for advice from Jose Mourinho, the Portuguese manager of Chelsea Football Club, who attended Queen’s on Tuesday: “He’s a football manager. He’s one of the best of the world. And I have my team. I will not give him never an advice of football and probably he will not giving me never advice of tennis.”

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Grigor Dimitrov, asked about being defending champion: “It’s one of the tournaments for me that every time I step on that court I feel like I own the court.”

 

Kevin Anderson, asked if he’d rather watch a guy with big aces or a match with lots of rallies: “Sometimes it would be interesting to see both.”

 

Andy Murray

Andy Murray

Andy Murray, asked after his three-set Muller match if he was having as good a time as it looked like: “I was when I was winning.”

 

Milos Raonic, on this year’s extended grass schedule: “I think just from the start of [Wimbledon] the quality of tennis will be better just because of time. You can’t really cheat time, spending time on court and so forth.”

 

Kevin Anderson, asked how much of an impression Kevin Curran, Wimbledon runner-up 30 years ago, made on him growing up: “Wayne Ferreira was the influence when I was growing up.”

 

Andy Murray, asked what shot he would pick if he could have a shot from any other player on the tour: “Probably would be Isner’s serve, I think. I mean, it makes the game a whole lot easier when you can serve like that.”

 

Kevin Anderson, asked to name the best servers in the world at present: “If you just look at the serve itself, I think – if you just looked at numbers, I think you’d have to look at [Ivo] Karlovic or [John] Isner. I mean, just in terms of stats…But I feel like Raonic, I feel like myself I think probably would round out the top four in terms of serving.”

Raonic trophy (1 of 3)

Milos Raonic, asked who he thought was the best server in the world: “I believe myself.”

 

Gilles Simon, asked if he thought he was reading Milos Raonic’s serve better in the second set: “I was guessing. There is nothing to read.”

 

Andy Murray, in response to the comment that the last time he won at Queen’s he went on to win Wimbledon: “Yeah, but that means nothing, really. You know, it’s great preparation obviously, but, you know, I think it has only happened six times where someone has won Queen’s and gone on to win.”

 

Andy Murray, in response to a comment about his nine-match winning streak since Jonas Bjorkman joined his team: “I also have to give a lot of credit to Amélie, because a lot of the work I have done with her is paying off. All of the things I have worked on with her, like using my variety is something I have spoken about a lot in the past, that’s things I have been working on with her for quite a while now.”

 

And finally, this exchange…

Question (after Kevin Anderson talked about being given Jack Nicklaus’ three grass courts in Florida to use for training): What’s your favorite Jack Nicholson film?

Anderson: Jack Nicholson?

Question: Or Jack Nicklaus.

Anderson: I don’t know. Is he in any films?

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“I was not lucky enough today,” Rafael Nadal Falls in Opening Round of Queen’s Club

 

By Wendy M. Grossman

(June 16, 2015) LONDON, England – On Monday, Lleyton Hewitt had a match point and lost it and, soon afterwards, the match. Today, Alexandr Dolgopolov, up against Rafael Nadal in the first round at Queen’s Club, found himself in the same situation: a single match point, on his own serve, in the second set tiebreak. A game, later, having held serve to open the third set, Dolgopolov was still shaking his head. In that second set tiebreak, he led 5-4 with two service points to come. The match point itself, on the Nadal serve, was always a trickier ask.

 

“Here is the right place to be for me today, and that’s my decision.” Nadal said on Monday, and “I feel myself ready to play well, and I gonna try.” noting that as long as his knees as fine he has “chances to compete well”. Today, he said, he doesn’t have the physical limitations he had in 2012 and 2013. Still, the first half of the year was poor, by his standards, and he said his main goal now is to qualify for the year-end championships. “Fourteen are enough,” he said, when asked if he felt himself ready to start winning Grand Slam titles again.

 

It’s three years since Nadal last played at Queen’s, largely, as he admitted in his opening press conference, for tax reasons. Most countries charge foreign athletes taxes on their local earnings; you (or your accountant) claim back what you’ve paid if it’s under a certain threshold. But a few years ago, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs began claiming that foreign tennis players owe Britain taxes on all their worldwide income, including endorsements, for the days they are in this country, on the basis that it’s appearing at Wimbledon that enables them to earn those monies. Andre Agassi took a case to court – and lost. For most players this is likely more nuisance than vast expense (although they’re likely paying higher accountants’ fees), but for the top few the difference could be a substantial chunk.

 

“I think changed a little bit the last ‑‑ still not the ideal situation for us, but is better than a few years ago,” Nadal said Monday. “I had to stop playing here for a while. But I like playing here. You know, I think is the best thing possible to try to play well and for my game. Is obvious that I have to say thanks to Halle for they give me during that years, but is obvious that in Halle I didn’t play well, no? Stuttgart, of course, were good. Here the courts are good.”

 

This was a great match for fans of spins, angles, and all-court play; both players are, after all, at their most comfortable on clay.

 

“I like it more the last few years,” Dolgopolov said of grass after the match. “I never played in my junior life on grass, so the first years was tough for me to figure out the movements.” He grew up on clay, and had to learn the hard way that sliding on grass was a bad idea. “You just fall down.” Asked about his sidespin backhand, a shot shown off to great effect toward the end of the second set, he said, “I just know it’s uncomfortable.” He added, “My father tried to teach me all my shots. Then I try to use them as I need to win matches.”

 

Indeed, Halle did not work out too well for Nadal: In 2014, he lost his first (second-round) match to wild card Dustin Brown; in 2013 he withdrew and then lost in the first round at Wimbledon to Steve Darcis; in 2012 he lost in the quarterfinals in both singles (Philipp Kohlschreiber) and doubles (partnered with Marcel Granollers) – and then lost in the second round of Wimbledon to Lukas Rosol. What Nadal may have forgotten is that other than 2008, when he beat Novak Djokovic in the final to win the title, his showings at Queen’s haven’t been quite so stellar either: he lost in the quarters in 2006, 2007, 2010, and 2011, and withdrew in 2009. Still: two Wimbledon titles, 2008 and 2010. As he says, grass is “probably the second surface where I had more success in my career, no?”

 

When Dolgopolov lost his next serve game, giving Nadal a 2-1 lead in that third set, it looked like yes, indeed, yesterday was repeating itself. With Nadal serving at 4-3, Dolgopolov lost his first break point with an inside-out forehand that landed wide – but took his second with an angled volley Nadal could do nothing about. Four-all, Dolgopolov serving. A double-fault gave Nadal two break points. The first was saved with a series of wide angles to outrun the Spaniard. The second, Dolgopolov hit a curling backhand with such wicked spin to Nadal’s backhand that all the latter could do was hit it into the net. Deuce. With Nadal coming in, Dolgopolov attempted a lob that went wildly wrong. An ace saved that third break point. Nadal then netted an attempted backhand approach shot to give Dolgopolov a game point, which he won when an attempted Nadal lob dropped just long. Back on serve, 5-4, Dolgopolov, with Nadal now serving to stay in the match.

 

A superb angled response to a Nadal drop shot secured the first point for Dolgopol. Nadal leveled with a forehand winner, but then netted a shot for 15-30. A return winner gave Dolgopolov two match points, the first of which he snatched with a well-executive passing shot, taking advantage of a slightly tentative Nadal foray to the net to win 6-3,6-7,6-4.

 

Afterwards, Nadal was disappointed but stoic. “I played against uncomfortable player in the first round here, and I had my chance. I didn’t play a bad match, but matches sometimes here decide in just a few things, and I was not lucky enough today. I probably didn’t play enough aggressive when I had the break up in the 4-3.” He will stay on to play the doubles with Marc Lopez, then will return home to Mallorca for a few days before coming back to practice for Wimbledon.

 

Dolgopolov was, of course, happier: “Overall I’m really happy with the match. You know, not even because I beat Nadal but the way I played and the way I fought back after a disappointing second set.” He meets Kevin Anderson, Hewitt’s conqueror, in the next round.

 

 

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Rafael Nadal Wins Grass-Court Edition of Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart

(June 14, 2015) Rafael Nadal captured his first title on grass since 2010 Wimbledon on Sunday when defeated Viktor Troicki 7-6 (3), 6-3 to win the Mercedes Cup for the third time in an hour and 27 minutes. Nadal claimed the title in Stuttgart in 2005 and 2007 when it was played on a clay court.

“I’m really, really happy. It’s my second win this year and it gives me a lot of confidence,” said Nadal of his 66th career tournament title.

“It was a great week for me,” he said.

“It’s a very special title,” said Nadal. “Since 2011 I didn’t play a final on grass, so win a title here is very good news for my game and for my mentality too. Congrats to Viktor for a great tournament. He’s playing great and will have some positives for the week.

“At this point of the season, every victory is important and every title means a lot to me. I’m happy for that.”

“In important moments my focus was not 100 per cent,” said Troicki. “He served very well the whole match. Even though it was a great week in reaching the final, I’m disappointed to lose this match. I had my chances and didn’t use them. I lost to a great champion. He served better and congrats to him.

“It’s a good result. I’m now going to London and we’ll see. I have high expectations for the grass season and this gives me a lot of confidence.”

“In important moments my focus was not 100 per cent,” said the 28th-ranked Troicki. “He served very well the whole match. Even though it was a great week in reaching the final, I’m disappointed to lose this match. I had my chances and didn’t use them. I lost to a great champion. He served better and congrats to him.

“It’s a good result. I’m now going to London and we’ll see. I have high expectations for the grass season and this gives me a lot of confidence.”

This was Nadal’s second tournament title this year, he also won in Buenos Aires.

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Djokovic Beats Nadal to Reach French Open Semis: Williams and Bacsinszky Advance to Final Four

(June 3, 2015) There would be no gifts given to Rafael Nadal by Novak Djokovic on the 9-time French Open champion’s 29th birthday on Wednesday. No. 1 Djokovic ended Nadal’s 39-match French Open winning streak winning the quarterfinal contest 7-5, 6-3, 6-1.

Djokovic has extended his current winning streak to 27.

It was just Nadal’s second defeat on the red clay of Roland Garros. The only other loss came in 2009 in the round of 16 to Robin Soderling. Nadal is 70-2 at the French Open.

Coming into the match, Djokovic had never beaten Nadal in Paris.

With the loss, Nadal’s ranking will fall to No. 10 and if Jo-Wilfried Tsonga reaches the final, the Spaniard’s ranking will be No. 11.

The Serb will play Andy Murray in the semifinals.  Murray defeated David Ferrer for the first time on clay 7-6(4), 6-2, 5-7, 6-1.

“I feel like I understand how I have to play on the surface better than I did in the past,” said Murray.

Both Murray and Djokovic come into their semifinal with unbeaten streaks on clay this season.

This will be Djokovic’s 26 major semifinal, tying hall of famer Andre Agassi for fourth on the all-time list.

“I have much respect for Rafa.” Djokovic said. “He is obviously not playing at the level we expect from him this season. But he remains a champion and it’s always a pleasure to play against him.”

“I lost in 2009 and it was not the end and I lost in 2015 and it’s not the end,” Nadal said. “I hope to be back here next year and to fight.”

“I wanna work even harder than before to come back stronger.” Nadal said it was the best moment in Djokovic’s career.

“A match that I will remember for a long time,” Djokovic said.

“An ideal scenario is today could have been (the final), and could have a different discussion,” he continued. “It’s only quarterfinals, and I want to fight for the title. That’s what I came here for.”

On the women’s side, No. 1 Serena Williams had no trouble dismissing former French Open finalist, 17th seed Sara Errani 6-1, 6-3 to reach the semifinals.

“The last four French Opens in a row she’s been to the quarterfinals or better, so I knew I had to be really focused today,” Williams said.

“I haven’t had a great clay court season, so I’m pretty excited to have gotten this far,” said the American. “Hopefully I can keep going. Nothing’s guaranteed – at this point I’m just fighting to stay in the tournament.”

The 33-year-old American, seeking her third title in Paris and 20th major, will play Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky, the No. 23 seed, who defeated surprise quarterfinalist Alison van Uytvanck of Belgium 6-4, 7-5.

“I know people like to write about who is the favorite and who has pressure, who has no pressure, but we are equal when we step on the tennis court,” Bacsinszky said after the match. “She deserved that spot in the quarterfinal. It means she’s playing really well. I wasn’t feeling like the favorite today. That’s why I just played my game and tried to find the solution like before. It was a great experience for me.”

 

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Williams Survives, Sharapova and Kvitova Upset, Nadal and Djokovic Set Up Quarterfinal Clash

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova

(June 1, 2015) Defending champion and No. 2 Maria Sharapova became the biggest upset victim of the French Open on Monday when she fell to 13th seed Lucie Safarova 7-6(3), 6-4.

“I feel like I had small openings, and I just wasn’t able to play a good few points,” Sharapova said. “I just wasn’t able to keep that level up today. She was able to do that for a longer period of time. She was the much more aggressive player, took the time away from me, created her angles …….and I didn’t.

Sharapova said that her opponent was at a much higher level than she was and that it was a “tough day“ for the two-time champion.

The victory was one of the biggest of the Czech’s career. She also defeated world number twos Justine Henin in 2007 and Caroline Wozniacki in 2010.

“The last few times I played Maria we had really long battles,” Safarova said after the match. “I remember they were really close, and I almost beat her in Stuttgart, but I always lost. “Yesterday I was really pumped, and really ready, and I just wanted to take this match. I was just excited to be there.”

For Safarova, this will be her third major quarterfinal. She’ll take on No. 21 seed Garbine Muguruza, who defeated 28th seed Flavia Pennetta 6-3, 6-4.

No. 1 Serena Williams looked as though she was going to be another major upset victim when she fell behind American countrywoman Sloane Stephens 6-1.

Williams righted herself in the second set and stayed even with Stephens. From 4-5, Williams won seven of the next 9 games to take the second set 7-5 and build a 4-2 lead in the third set.

Williams closed out the contest 1-6, 7-5, 6-3.

“I felt like if I had made a shot here or made a shot there, then maybe the first set could have been different,” Williams said. “But it’s not how you start, I guess it’s how you finish. That’s kind of how I’m looking at it.”

Williams has dropped sets to 3 of her 4 opponents this fort night. “I’m definitely gaining confidence,” Williams said in regard to the comebacks.

The 19-time major champion will face former French Open finalist No. 17 Sara Errani for a place in the semifinals.

In a second major upset on the women’s side, 23rd seed Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland stunned two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 2-6, 6-0, 6-3.

In men’s play, Roger Federer completed a win over Gael Monfils in a match delayed by darkness on Sunday to move into his 11th quarterfinal at Roland Garros.

“I wanted to get off to a good start, because you never know how he will be playing,” said Federer. “So I felt good. I was calm yesterday. I was calm this morning.

Federer will face Swiss countryman Stan Wawrinka in the quarterfinals.

“It [will be] a special match,” said the 17-time major champion. “It is not a traditional match. There aren’t too many Swiss players in the draw… It’s always special to play each other. There will be a Swiss guy in the semi-final. That’s positive.”

After the match, Monfils said, “It was tough because I’m sick. I have not much energy.”

“When you’re 100 per cent is it’s never easy to beat Roger, so when you’re not 100 per cent it is definitely impossible.”

Sixth seed Rafael Nadal knocked out the last U. S. man in the draw on Monday. He was extended to four sets, but defeated Jack Sock 6-3, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2.

Top seed Novak Djokovic cruised past Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 for his 26th straight win.

This sets up a highly anticipated Djokovic vs. Nadal quarterfinal on Wednesday.

“I’m not used to playing him that early, but that’s the reality and that’s a challenge that both of us have to accept,” Djokovic said.

“Probably the toughest quarterfinal in my career here in Roland Garros, without a doubt,” Nadal said.

“You can write what you want if it sells but this is not the match of the year. Matches of the year are finals, decisive matches.”
“Pressure is on both of us,” Djokovic said after the match. “People expect him (Nadal) to win always. Pressure is also part of what we do. You have to accept it.”

Nadal leads the head-to-head against Djokovic 23-20.

Andy Murray and David Ferrer will meet in the other top half of the draw quarterfinal. Murray defeated Jeremy Chardy ijn four sets, while David Ferrer beat Marin Cilic.

 

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Djokovic, Murray and Nadal Reach French Open Fourth Round with Straight Set Wins

(May 30, 2015) Top seeds Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal earned straight-set victory to reach the fourth round of the French Open on Saturday.

No. 1 Novak Djokovic, seeking the only major he has yet to win defeated young Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. Djokovic currently on a 25 match win streak hit 34 winners in the one hour and 49 minute match.

“I think that tennis needs players like Thanasi, who is a teenager, but still able to come out on center court and play with courage and play with power and believe in himself,” Djokovic said. He’s one of this group of three, four young players that are, you know, starting to be more and more consistent and make couple of big wins in their careers and that are obviously expected to do very well from the tennis world. Now, we didn’t have that many young successful players under 20 year olds in last six, seven years, so I think it’s quite refreshing for tennis and it’s pretty good to see that. I thought he served well. He played pretty well. I made the three breaks each set, and that was enough for the win.”

“Great experience for me to play on such a nice court against No. 1 in the world and one of the greatest players of all time,” said the the Australian ranked 84th in the word. “I wasn’t too nervous going into the match. Felt like I served all right. I played all right. Just wasn’t quite enough.”

Next up for Djokovic will be No. 20 Richard Gasquet of France. Gasquet came back against Kevin Anderson 4-6, 7-6(4), 7-5, 6-4

Third seed Andy Murray remained unbeaten on clay this season reaching the fourth round defeating Nick Kyrgios 6-4, 6-2, 6-3.

“Definitely coming into the tournament, I mean, is the best I have played on clay,” Murray said. “The results would obviously suggest that. Never won a clay court tournament, never been to the final and had many wins against any of the top guys, you know, for a while on the clay. Obviously in Madrid, I managed to do that against Kei (Nishikori), Milos (Raonic), and against Rafa(el Nadal), played some very good matches there. I think winning the tournament and changing my schedule helped a lot. I never played any of the smaller events on the tour, on clay, and getting my first win on clay helped, for sure. I feel that that was a good decision from me and my team there. And then also physically, as well. I gave myself time to get used to the surface, and a surface I struggled with my back for a few years and gave myself a proper training period, built it up slowly, and made a few changes to the way that I preferred for this clay court season. That was, I think, they are the things that I have changed and the things that have helped me.”

“Murray, I think he’s one of the best defenders of the game at the moment,” Kyrios said. “Yeah, obviously matchup is key thing in tennis, but today I wasn’t near 100%. Not to take anything from him. He played unbelievable. I don’t think he served well, but he made a lot of returns and he just does what he does best: that’s make a lot of balls and mix up the game. He was too good.”

Murray with try to reach the quarterfinals when he takes on Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.

Jeremy Chardy upset 17th seed David Goffin 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

“He’s so confident, he didn’t lose a match on clay court,” Chardy said about playing Murray. “I play against him in Rome. I play a good match, but still I lost 3 and 3. Yeah, after he beat me, he pull out from Rome to be fresh for Roland Garros, and I think for him it’s a big goal. So it will be a really tough match. In the past we always say Andy doesn’t like to play on clay court, but now I think everybody change and he like more now to play on clay.”

Rafael Nadal won his 69th career match at Roland Garros to move into the round of 16, besting 120th-ranked Andrey Kuznetsov 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 and extending his winning streak at Roland Garros to 38.

The sixth seeded Spaniard will face 22-year-old American Jack Sock next.

On playing Sock in the round of 16, Nadal said: He’s a great player, no? He’s playing fantastic, winning very tough matches against very difficult opponents like (Grigor) Dimitrov, Pablo Carrena (Busta), and today against (Borna) Coric. He has an amazing forehand, good serve, very good serve, and then he’s a player that can play very aggressive and is dangerous, no? I know I have to be very solid. I know I have to play aggressive, try to don’t let him to hit the forehand in positions, because I am going to be in big trouble. I gonna try.”

In a battle of young guns of the ATP World tour, Sock overwhelmed 18-year-old Borna Coric with his forehand with a 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 win.

Coric said: “He just played way too good today. He was serving too big. His forehands were very heavy and I was struggling to cope with that. I couldn’t stay close to the line. You know, yeah, he was just playing too good. I mean, it was maybe the combination that I didn’t play great. That’s for sure. But I think that the first thing was that he played too good.”

“It was a good day for me, for sure,” Sock said. “I was fortunate enough to play great tennis. And, you know, once again, things I was looking to do, serving forehand and dictate a lot of points, like I said yesterday or a couple days ago, I was able to do that very well today. In general, I think he plays pretty far behind the baseline and kind of lets the opponent maneuver the ball a little bit. He’s a great defender, makes a lot of balls, and is very quick. I usually feel pretty good when I’m hitting a lot of forehands, especially from the left side of the court, and able to move the ball around and dictate play. I was able to do that today fortunately.”

Ninth seed and reigning U. S. Open champion Marin Cilic of Croatia had a straight forward 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 victory over No. 23 Leonardo Mayer of Argentina.

The round of 16 is set for the men:

Novak Djokovic vs Richard Gasquet

Rafael Nadal vs Jack Sock

Andy Murray vs Jeremy Chardy

David Ferrer vs Marin Cilic

Kei Nishikori vs Teymuraz Gabashvili

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs Tomas Berdych

Stan Wawrinka vs Gilles Simon

Roger Federer vs Gael Monfils

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