2014/04/21

Errani and Vinci Seal Top WTA Doubles Spot for 2012

(L-R) WTA Chairman & CEO Stacey Allaster, world No.1 ranked Victoria Azarenka and Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications at Dubai Duty Free Salah Tahlak, with the year-end singles No.1 trophy at the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships – Istanbul. (Photo courtesy of the WTA by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

(October 27, 2012) Italy’s Roberta Vinci and Sara Errani have clinched the top doubles spot on the WTA tour for 2012 and will be ranked No.1 and No.2  in the final 2012 ranking.

The trophies were presented to the team, during an on-court presentation at the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships-Istanbul.

“We have had an amazing year so we are very happy for that,” said Sara Errani. Her partner, Roberta Vinci, agreed: “It has been a good season for us and to finish No.1 is so great. We didn’t win the match today but overall we have played so well this year. We are so happy to be the first Italian pair to finish as No.1 and we are looking forward to next season.”

 

“We congratulate Sara and Roberta for their wonderful year and finishing as the top-ranked WTA doubles team,” said Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO of the WTA. “The doubles game has never been more exciting, and Sara and Roberta have reached the top through fantastic and memorable play throughout the year.”

Vinci and Errani won eight titles in 2012, highlighted by winning at both Roland Garros and the US Open, and finishing as runner-up at the Australian Open. They won 25-consecutive matches, recording the longest doubles win streak since 1994 en route to winning five consecutive titles – Barcelona Ladies Open, Mutua Madrid Open, Internazionali BNL d’Italia (Rome), Roland Garros and UNICEF Open (‘s-Hertogenbosch). As a result of their success, they are the top-seeded doubles team at the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships – Istanbul.

 

After first becoming a team in 2010, Errani and Vinci have won a total of 13 doubles titles.

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Errani and Vinci Victorious – Capture US Open Doubles Title

 

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Italians Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci added to their major championship trophy case on Sunday with their win over Czechs Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka 6-4, 6-2 for the US Open women’s doubles title. Errani and Vinci won the French Open title in June.

The doubles partners and best friends who had to face each other in the singles quarterfinals, will be No. 1 and No. 2 in doubles when the rankings come out this week.

In addition to the doubles success, Errani became the first Italian woman in the Open Era to reach the semifinals of the US Open. She lost to Serena Williams.

Errani is currently ranked No. 10 in singles.

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Notes and Quotes from Days 7 and 8 of the 2012 US Open

Q.  Do you feel like the Italians are doing well?

ROBERTA VINCI:  For sure, for sure.  When Schiavone won Roland Garros and Flavia goes to top 10, also Sara final in Roland Garros.  Me, I try, yeah, to come like the other one for sure, yeah.

 

 

Q.  How does it feel to have to come into the big interview room?

ROBERTA VINCI:  It’s nice.  It’s not easy to speak English for me.  But it’s nice to see a lot of journalists.  It’s nice.

 

 

Q.  Is it fair to say that a racquet change has caused a career change for you?

SARA ERRANI:  Yes, I think so.  Of course.  This year with this racquet made me feel different on the court and make me feel much better.  This is the best year of my life, for sure.  Of course.

 

Q.  You couldn’t get that racquet from Wilson?

SARA ERRANI:  No.  We tried to find a solution, but we couldn’t.  We tried to take one similar as possible or make the changes, but was not possible.  It was like practicing loving that racquet, so I just say, Okay, doesn’t matter.  This time I have to try this, and was good.

 

 

Q.  You and Vinci have a very successful partnership.  What do you think is the key to your doubles success with Roberta?

SARA ERRANI:  The doubles key?

 

Q.  Why are you so successful together?

SARA ERRANI:  First thing I can say is because we are also very friends outside the court.  This one is one thing that helps very much on the court, because, you know, the other, they are to help the other.  But also because we are playing both very good, I think this year we are playing very good tennis.  So everything.  Also this one.

 

Q.  Losing 12 games in the first few rounds total, what does that say about the way you’re playing and the state of your game?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  I don’t think it says anything.  I just think it just says I’m focused.  I take that back.  It says I’m focused, but it just says that I’m just trying like everyone else to be consistent at to do the best that I can.

 

Q.  What’s your evaluation of what you’ve done so far?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  I honestly don’t think I started out strong in the tournament.  I feel like today I’m getting more comfortable with the court and comfortable with the conditions.  I’m getting back to more my game, which is good.  You know, I like to play better during the second week.  Hopefully I can do that.

 

Q.  You still have four‑and‑a‑half hours between your singles match and doubles, so about three and a half left.  What are you going to do in that time?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  I’m going to go hang out with my mom and Chip and I’m going to see my sister and probably get something to eat.  Then I’ll get ready, start getting taped to get ready for the doubles.

 

Q.  What do you think about the scheduling?  Would you have preferred to play back‑to‑back singles and doubles?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  Yeah, definitely prefer to play back‑to‑back, but I’m not one to complain about scheduling.  At least I have a match as opposed to not having a match.  That’s how I try to look at it.
Q.  What are your thoughts on Ana Ivanovic, where she is and as she tries to get back to that top level that she was at a while ago?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  She’s playing well.  Every time I play her in particular she plays really well.  She goes for a lot of shots.  She’s such a big hitter.  Even though she’s really fit, she’s hitting so hard.  She’s always playing so well.  Obviously being No. 1, having that Grand Slam under your belt, she knows what it’s like to win.

 

Q.  What do you remember most about your last match with her?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  Was it here?

 

Q.  A year ago.

SERENA WILLIAMS:  Okay.  Yeah, I remember clearly not a lot, but I will be looking at the film.  (Laughing.)

 

Q.  How would you rate how you feel now, how you’re playing right now?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  I feel good.  I feel like I’m playing better.  I felt like I hit better today than I had in my other matches.  I wanted to do better.  As each match goes on I want to try to get better.

 

Q.  You spoke on the court about balancing and intensity.  How are you doing that?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  I’m just telling myself to stay calm, stay relaxed.  That’s the main thing I tell myself.  Everyone tells me to stay relaxed.  My whole theory is everyone can’t be wrong.  Okay, Serena, maybe you need to stay relaxed out here.

 

Q.  Sisters get annoyed with each other and so do doubles partners, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen you and Venus disagree with each other on court.  Do you ever recall disagreeing?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  We try to be very professional out there.  We disagree on‑court then maybe other people would be more excited.  In general I can’t ask for a better partner in doubles ever, so I don’t see anything I should be upset about or disappointed with.

 

Q.  Who’s in charge there?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  Venus is the leader.  She’s definitely the leader.  I think she was the leader because when we first started she was older and obviously so much better than I was.  She always took the lead position.  So she’s definitely the leader, but we are both such A‑players and such A‑type personalities that we both can be leaders if one of us is down.  I can easily take over that position, and I welcome it.  So it’s great.  It’s the best chemistry.

 

Q.  You have had a long great career, but if you could go back before you started playing and face a player in a match, whether it be Billie Jean or Chrissie Evert, Althea Gibson, what legend would you enjoy playing in a match?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  For probably for sure would choose Althea out of those names because being the first African‑American tennis player and having to do what she did sleeping in cars and just everything.  I think it would be really cool to just hit with her

 

Q.  She brought a real athleticism and ferocity to the game.

SERENA WILLIAMS:  I think she brought more than athleticism.  She was thinking on the court.  She clearly had to because there wasn’t a lot of pace back then.  Had to be pretty precise and hit your shots.  I think she did all that really well.

 

Q.  You’re an elite tennis player, really competitive.  Still when you go up 6‑0, 5‑0, is it hard not to feel a little sympathy?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  No, in this particular case she was fighting really hard.  You give people any type of chance, especially in tennis, the match is never over until you shake hands.  There is always a comeback available.  So I didn’t want to give her that opportunity ‑ or anyone that opportunity ‑ to try to come back, especially her in particular.  She was getting so pumped up and she never gave up.  I thought that was really incredibly positive.

 

Q.  If somebody just looked at your scores to get to this point, especially today, they would think you’ve had an easy road.  Is there any misconception to that, do you think?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  I think my road has been a journey.  I don’t think anything’s easy.  I don’t think anything is easy.  I never play a person and say, Oh, that was an easy opponent.  No, I have never done that.  Everything takes some type of match and mental toughness.

 

Q.  Could you just talk about comparing runs at tournaments?  You have had a relatively clear, easy time here.  Wimbledon was really tough.  There were a couple of huge scares there.  You were on the precipice.  What’s the difference?  Is there any advantage at all of getting that so close to being knocked out?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  There’s definitely an advantage.  I think my last round, my third‑round match, I was pushed a little bit.  That really helped me to prepare for today.  So I think I’ve gotten that push that I needed.  No need for me to go 9‑7 or 7‑6 in the third or 8‑7 or whatever.  I clearly am not ‑‑ whatever.  Yeah, so it’s definitely something that I think is sometimes good.  When I have had enough match play and I’m really match fit and I’m really physically fit, so I feel like it’s not going to make a difference whether I’m winning 7‑6 in the third or 6‑Love in the second.

 

Q.  On Thursday you were frustrated with your performance, it seemed, even though you won.  After that match you said here that maybe you woke up on the wrong side of the bed.  Today you played even better, played dominant.  How are you feeling these days?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  I feel better.  Thursday I was a little disappointed in the way I played; Saturday I played a little better in the second; so today was better.  That’s how it should be in my game.  I try to improve every day.

 

Q.  What sense do you have of the havoc that your serve creates with opponents?  How would you describe what your serve does?

SERENA WILLIAMS:  I don’t know what it does because I have never faced it.  (Laughter.)

 

Q.  What do you think it does

SERENA WILLIAMS:  And I don’t want to.  I don’t think about that.  Like I’m not one to sit there and say, It’s so good, it’s so good, I want it to keep being better.  I want to do more with my serve.  I honestly don’t think about it.  I just think, Okay, hold serve, hold serve.

 

Q.  Where is it now compared with the best serves you have hit…

SERENA WILLIAMS:  I think I hit unbelievable serves at Wimbledon and the Olympics.  I’m not in that level yet, but I always try to play better in my last matches of a Grand Slam.

 

Q.  Can you talk about your matchups with Roger over the years and what you expect when you play him?

TOMAS BERDYCH:  Well, I mean, our last actually six matches we played it’s 3‑All, so it’s a quite nice statistics.  But, you know, this is another one.  We didn’t play couple of months.  In that time, I mean, he played some incredible tennis again.  You know, he won another Grand Slam, become No. 1 again, so, you know, probably is not ‑‑ there is no better player at all to play right now, so, yeah, I mean, when I saw the draw in the beginning, it was like, Yeah, that would be the goal to get into play a match with Roger.  I’m there, so I will try to do my best.  We will see.

 

Q.  You had, I don’t know, eight or nine matches.  You beat him obviously in Athens and then eight or nine times you lost to him, but it has gotten close lately.  Do you have a different approach now because of that when you play him?  The last few matches have been a lot closer ‑ not closer, but at least you’ve won, as you say, three of the last six.

TOMAS BERDYCH:  Yeah, I mean, last matches it’s tough to say if I get closer or not.  I mean, I was able to beat him three times, so whatever situation it was it just happens.  So he’s now strong again and we will see how it’s gonna be, but I think it’s gonna be quite different match than the matches before.  You know, I’m different player as well.  I’m getting, you know, more experience and, yeah, feeling good.  So we will see what’s gonna happen there.

 

Q.  What’s the difference with you since Toronto and Cincinnati where you didn’t play too well and you seem to be playing a lot better here?

TOMAS BERDYCH:  Well, yeah, that’s definitely different, you know, from the time there.  But, you know, the season is long.  Yeah, of course it’s a goal to be able to keep playing well every week by week, but once it didn’t happen, it’s just the thing that, you know, you have to deal with that, you know, work hard again, and, you know, win couple of matches and your confidence can get back.  That’s what every tennis player needs.

 

Q.  The top three players have won 30 out of the last 31 majors; Del Potro obviously won here.  Is it purely talent?  Is it purely physical?  Is there also a psychological component to it?

TOMAS BERDYCH:  No, I don’t think so.  Well, I don’t know what could be like psychological thing.  I don’t see it.  I mean, they are too good.  I think the statistics just makes it quite clear.  That’s how it is.  I mean, probably if there wouldn’t be three of them, would be maybe one or two, it would definitely be different.  But, you know, once one player is on the run winning almost everything, you know, then he get maybe injured or something, then there is another one, you know and he took a spot from him.  Like Rafa was winning, and next season it was Novak doing the same.  Now Roger is back.  You know, they are quite strong.  I mean, probably these three great players in, like, let’s say one time probably that it would never happen again.  Yeah, that’s how it is.  We have to deal with that.

 

Q.  Your parents are here.  I see them walking around like tourists having a good time.  Is it enjoyable to have them here for a tournament like this?

TOMAS BERDYCH:  Yeah, it’s really nice.  I mean, they are not able to go to every tournament with me.  You know, they go just few tournaments a year, so this is the one.  Yeah, they definitely enjoy it.  They like to come here.  You know, I mean, probably doesn’t matter on the place in the world.  If you’re playing well, then they enjoy it even more.  So, so far, yeah, I’m doing well.  I hope they can bring me some good luck.

 

Q.  They know your tennis since you were a small boy.  Did they ever give you any advice about the way you’re playing or something?

TOMAS BERDYCH:  Well, I mean, yeah, they spend and give me so much of their time when I was a kid.  It’s just because of them that I’m able to sit here and talking after winning matches.  So, I mean, it wouldn’t be on them and they wouldn’t give me their free time, I wouldn’t play tennis.  Yeah, so that’s how it is.  Probably that’s the biggest advice or kind of advice that they make.

 

Q.  Tomorrow night could be Andy Roddick’s last match; he’s playing Del Potro.  Could you talk a little about what he meant for the game or means for the game.

TOMAS BERDYCH:  Yeah, I mean, it’s another great, great player who’s just I would say unfortunately leaving from us.  He made a decision that it’s his last tournament.  We will definitely miss him.  I mean, it was definitely a huge personality and the guy that brings a lot for our sport and makes so many great results, probably all that you can achieve in tennis.  Yeah, his career was just successful enough and probably he deciding in the right moment, but only he knows when it is.  So just I can wish him all the best for the forward what he’s gonna do and we will miss him.

 

Q.  Does your shirt say NSW?  Does it stand for New South Wales?

TOMAS BERDYCH:  No, no, no.  I get many questions, especially when I saw Lleyton.  He was like, Oh, yeah.  So, no, no, it’s not like that.  It’s like Nike Sportswear or something.

Q.  You’re one of a group of young, big, powerful guys.  Unlike them you haven’t made it through to a Grand Slam final.  What do you think it is that has held you back compared to some of those other guys?

MARIN CILIC:  Maybe just playing really consistent at that high level.  Especially, looking at them, they were during the years they are playing quarters, semis, also big tournaments.  I mean, I also played some good ones, but I was having this inconsistency playing at that high level.  Once when I reach this high level, I always feel good and I always feel that I can play against those top guys.  In the past, it was a little bit difficult for me to manage to hold that for five, six, seven months, also during one season.  So working on that also.

 

Q.  A mental or physical thing?

MARIN CILIC:  I mean, both.  Just also understanding what you need to do, how to deal with those kind of situations.  When you are also playing well, that you keep going with that, just that you don’t have any sort of doubts in your game, that you keep pushing, every day trying to get slowly better.

 

Q.  How tough has it been over the last couple of years, dropping back down the rankings a bit?  Did you ever have doubts you’d get back?

MARIN CILIC:  Oh, of course.  You always have doubts when you are losing matches that you don’t want to lose.  I mean, in a way it was tough for me, but in another way it was also a positive thing for me, as I learned from those situations.  I learned I have different experience now.  I was in the top 10, played great tennis, dropped, and now coming back where I feel I can be, with different understanding that I have to just, you know, focus on myself and focus on the right things and not bother about too many other ones, which in the past I was having trouble with.  So, no, just having some more experience, that can help.

 

Q.  Do you feel you’re a better player now than you were two years ago because of that experience?

MARIN CILIC:  I’d say I’m different player.  I’m probably not playing the same as two years ago.  Few things evolved.  Couple things I’m still working on.  I feel they can be also much better.  But in this other way I feel I’m much better, much more experienced in all different areas, also how to deal with different situations on the court if I go behind, if I’m down with a break or two breaks even.  I found some situations that I can come back.

 

Q.  He had you in some pretty difficult situations in the first and second set at 4‑2.  What did you do right to bring yourself out of those situations?

MARIN CILIC:  Well, I mean, as I’m playing first time against him, it was also not easy from the beginning.  I struggled in the return games to win some points.  Then eventually in the last game, I had a good return game.  He made couple unforced errors, sort of gave me that first set.  That was, I mean, a great, positive thing for me.  The second, I mean, I felt he was playing really well from the baseline.  He had a lot of big shots, had a lot of winners from the forehand.  That was not easy to deal with.  Then when I managed to kind of find a way how to play, I was sticking to it.  Eventually, I mean, winning 10 games in a row just shows that I played really well that last part of the match.

 

Q.  The returning troubles were mainly because of his left‑handed serve?

MARIN CILIC:  Yes.  Also wind was pretty strong, then it was tough to adjust on everything.  Plus if I would put return back, he would hit a winner.  So it was just not easy to find the perfect balance.  Eventually when I found a way, it was working really well until the end.

 

Q.  Possibly Andy Murray in the next round.  How do you assess that matchup?

MARIN CILIC:  Yeah, I mean, we played now also in Wimbledon.  I think he played really well over there, had great day, great serving day.  We played two days.  But anyway, I mean, it would be tough match.  Really interesting for me.  Another big challenge.  Andy’s obviously playing really well.  For me, it would be great to play against him also just to feel what he can do and what I can do in this moment against him.

 

Q.  Do you know him very well from playing him?

MARIN CILIC:  How you mean?  In which way you mean?

 

Q.  You played against him for years now.  Do you know him very well as a friend or just as an opponent?

MARIN CILIC:  No, not so much.  We are all sticking with our own team, so it’s not easy to make friends like that.  But, I mean, from the court, I know he’s one of the greatest players there is in this time, yes.

 

Q.  But you beat him here, didn’t you, three years ago?

 MARIN CILIC:  2009, yes.

 

Q.  That would give you confidence if you played him?

MARIN CILIC:  Yes.  Generally we had a lot of, you know, in some ways close matches.  But I know he’s really tough for me to play.  I mean, on certain days he can serve well, defend well.  All things can really go in a good direction for him.  Tough sometimes to find some openings what to do.  When playing well, when I feel well, I feel I can match up with anybody.

 

Q.  What went wrong at Wimbledon this year?

MARIN CILIC:  No, I think just that Andy had really great day and managed with some situations little bit better than I did.  I was, in the beginning of the match, a break up and he came back.  Until the end, I almost didn’t have any breakpoints.  So that was I think just a matter of serving.  And grass is different, I think, where Andy plays really well.

 

Q.  You’ve been with your coach for a long time.  What’s the secret of the chemistry there?

MARIN CILIC:  Yes, I mean, Bob is around in tennis for 20, 30 years, and knows how things are going, which way sort of tennis is evolving.  And he’s been with me already five, six years.  He knows me real well.  I know him real well.  He knows what things I need to improve, what things I need to work on.  It’s going step by step.  I’m feeling, I mean, it’s the best possible coach I could have.

 

Sunday

Q.  Were you happy when the rain came a little bit?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, it’s a tough situation because I felt like there’s so many ups and downs between the beginning of the first till that break.  She was up a break and it was a little bit difficult going in because I felt like I started getting a little bit of momentum back in the second set and then just didn’t really take my chances when I had them and played a sloppy game at 4‑5.  But I didn’t really mind.  I have the experience of getting off the court and waiting a little bit and trying to start from scratch.

 

Q.  How proud are you of yourself you served the final game?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  That was really important, especially against Nadia.  One of her strengths is her serve.  You know, when it’s on and she’s holding easy, that obviously puts more pressure on the service game.  You really try to concentrate on that, you know, be smart and mix it up a little bit more.  But, yeah, overall I’m really happy with the way it came out in the third.  I didn’t let that little letdown bother me.  I just kept on fighting.  So, yeah.

 

Q.  You looked so pumped up during the third set when you came back on the court.  What does this quarter mean to you?  It seems something special.

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, of course.  You’re playing a night match at the US Open, you have a rain delay, you come back, and all the same people that were there waited through for 45 minutes and they came back to watch the end of the match.  So that energy in the stadium with the music and the cheering, it’s just unique.  You know, I think it really, really pumped me up and got me going.  I wasn’t going to leave that court without a fight.

 

Q.  Did you call your dad or did he call you?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Thomas told me he wanted to talk to me.

 

Q.  And you took the call?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Then I called him.  I didn’t want to hear it after if I didn’t call him.  I didn’t want to have that conversation.

 

Q.  I can’t imagine he just said, Fight.  He must have said more than that.  Did you tune him out after he said, Fight?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  No, he knows by now, like, where to stop and where to keep going.  He has that experience with me.  (Smiling.)  No, he just said, You know, your energy dropped in the beginning of the second set.  That’s over.  That’s done.  Now you got to go out there and fight.

 

Q.  Petrova was just asked about the rain delay.  She said really that’s why you won and called it your lucky day.

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Great.  I’m the winner, so whatever she wants to call it is fine with me.

 

Q.  Any win is a good thing.  You’re 11‑0 this year in matches that go in three sets.  What kind of pride do you take in having that kind of success?  Why do you think you are so successful?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, it’s a nice statistic.  I don’t really think about it going into a new third‑set situation.  Certainly wasn’t on my mind, because every match is different, different circumstance, whether you started slow and came back in the second or whether you had a letdown in the second.  Overall, you know, I always think that no matter how you start the match, it’s always how you finish.  Whether it’s an hour or whether it’s three hours that you’re out there, I don’t want to give up until the last point.  That’s pretty much the mentality I try to have going into a third set.

 

Q.  Being demonstrative, is that something you sort of learned in your career?  Just more, C’mons and vocal.  Is that something relatively new for you?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I think I’ve always been pretty vocal.  I think we can all agree on that one.

Q.  Benneteau just said that your baseline game was quite outstanding and you can’t miss a shot.  It’s true you can’t miss a shot since three rounds now.  Do you feel like this on the court, that it’s one of these moments where you are totally.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It’s definitely nice to hear that from your opponent and a fellow tennis player.  He’s a quality player and has a lot of variety in his game, so I came to the match knowing that I have to start very strong.  And, you know, winning the first set obviously brought me a lot of momentum and confidence to continue on playing well.  Yeah, I felt from the start that from the baseline, you know, I was very comfortable, defense, offense, in that position.  So I tried to, you know, be aggressive and not allow him to come to the net because, you know, he plays good when he’s in control.

 

Q.  You’re a bit of a premier player and probably more used to playing at night.  How do you get ready for an 11:00 a.m. match?  Looked like you didn’t have a chance to shave today.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I actually did last night.  (Laughter.)  Thank you for that.  Usually get used to being criticized from my mom for not being shaved fully, but thanks for reminding me of that.  I will make sure next time I’m looking nice and shaved.  You know, 11:00, I haven’t played the first match of the day session for a long time, so it’s not that easy, you know.  Not always the morning person, to be honest.  You try to go to bed early and try to wake up early and get your body moving obviously.  As I said, you know, I wanted to start very sharp from the first point, and I’ve done that.

 

Q.  You’re winning so easily.  It’s almost like you’re going quietly through the draw, if I can say that.  Andy is making headlines and there is always Roger.  You’re just going out there winning in straight sets and getting off the court.  Does it seem like almost strangely enough you’re under the radar so far?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I have had situations and periods in my career where I was under the radar, where I was in the spotlight, you know, if you want to call it that way.  I really try not to pay attention on that too much, if you understand.  The attention comes and goes.  It’s normal.  This is sport.  Obviously Andy and his retirement attracted a lot of attention, so everybody is excited to see him play and see how far he can go.  You know, I have been playing really well in US Open last five years.  My goal was to, in these seven, eight days I had off after Cincinnati final, to really try to recover, charge my batteries, work on some things in my game, and come out strong from the start.  That’s what I’ve done.  I feel great on the court.  I’m really trying to keep that up.

 

Q.  What are your comments about Dolgopolov, a guy that comes from the country that doesn’t have too much history in tennis?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, he’s an unorthodox player, you know.  He comes up with some unexpected shots, but I guess that’s something that makes him good and very dangerous player on any surface.  Because he can serve really well; he has a really quick and fast motion; he’s probably one of the most dynamic tennis players that there are at this moment.  You know, very fast on the court and good forehand; comes to the net; very good slice.  We played last year here I think third, fourth round, and had a very long first set.  You know, he can be a dangerous player.  I think hard court is his surface.

 

Q.  You have such a great return of serve.  Many say it’s the best around.  Could you sort of break it down?  What’s the key to the return?  How have you been able to be so good?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, you know, there are a few things that are very important in that part of the game.  Obviously reaction, the agility, the position.  So my game is based on the baseline, and, yes, return has been serving quite well throughout my career.  So I try to use it always as a weapon.  Today you have, I think, better returners than servers.  That wasn’t the case maybe 15 years ago.  You had more serve and volley players.  But nowadays, since the return game has improved so much in our sport, not many players come to the net.  I mean, I guess it’s good to have that as a weapon.

 

Q.  We live in a small world.  You had some really nice things to say about Andy last press conference.  There was that situation a few years ago back and forth.  How did you come to resolve that with Andy?  I assume you worked something out.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, yeah.  We had that situation.  I think it was in 2008, US Open.  We might have been through some misunderstandings and arguments.  It was very emotional I think for both of us, playing against each other quarterfinals, and it’s a very important tournament.  So it happens, you know.  You learn from those experiences.  You know, we have been in a very good relationship ever since.  And even before that.  It’s just that period, you know, that situation.  It happens.  You know, he was actually one of the few top players that was very nice to me when I started playing professionally.  He has all my respect.

 

Q.  When you came into the sport, did you expect to be on such good terms with your closest rivals?  I mean, the top 4, you always seem to get on pretty well.  You work together well.  It must be very difficult because you’re real competitors, aren’t you?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, that’s true, you know.  The tennis represents something very good in the sport.  I think in general if you look at the other sports, not many sports can say that they have their toughest and biggest rivals paying so much respect and appreciations to others.  I mean, that’s a very strong message that we are sending from men’s tennis.  It’s really important.  It’s really good.  I have learned a lot, you know, from my biggest rivals on and off the court.  Nadal and Federer, they’re big champions.  We always had lots of respect with each other, to each other.  Of course we are rivals and we want to win against each other and we are always playing lots of matches for major titles, but in the end it’s only a sport.  It’s only a game.  You need to always appreciate your opponent.

Q.  What’s up?  We thought he was Sam’s fan.

VICTORIA AZARENKA:  He’s just a big tennis fan.  I’m a big music fan.  So goes together.

 

Q.  Have you done the shuffle yet?

VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Not yet.  I need to practice first.  I already got a free lesson.

 

Q.  Are you going to have to swap boxes in the next match?

REDFOO:  I’m just a big tennis fan.  I think it’s going to be a great match.  I’m really looking to see, you know, who has the better shuffle.  I’m going to work with her on her shuffle.  You know, her left foot goes a little rogue.  You know, the shuffle actually came from tennis.  I don’t know if you guys know, but it comes from the split step and the recover.  When you hit a forehand and then you got to cross over, that’s where it comes from.  That’s really what I’m looking for.  I’m looking for the footwork, to see who I’m going to put in my next video.  Honestly, that’s why I’m here.

VICTORIA AZARENKA:  It’s going to be kind of like an audition.

 

Q.  Can you confirm your song Shots is about Martina Hingis’ net play?

REDFOO:  I don’t know if I can confirm that.  I have to talk to my manager, my publicist.  No, the song Shots is a great song to get pumped up to.

VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I’m just remembering the time when I listened to the song, when I was listening to it before the match, because, I don’t know, it’s really ‑‑

REDFOO:  ‑‑ aggressive.

VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I think it’s really fun.  Actually, my manager likes to dance to it, too.  See, she’s embarrassed.

 

Q.  It’s clearly about tennis?

REDFOO:  Well, it is.  It is.

VICTORIA AZARENKA:  But somebody at the bar will think differently.

 

Q.  Watch any of Bernie’s match the other night?

LLEYTON HEWITT:  I haven’t seen it.

 

Q.  Have you heard about it?

LLEYTON HEWITT:  I have heard and seen some of the stuff about it.  Yeah, obviously I would have thought it would have gone a little bit better against Andy.  As I say, I can’t comment because I didn’t see.  I was stuck in traffic driving back.

 

Q.  Pat is obviously the captain, but are you the sort of guy who might get in Bernie’s ear?

LLEYTON HEWITT:  I don’t know.  You know, I’ve got along well with Bernie for the last couple of years now, and, you know, we have practiced quite a bit together, nearly at most tournaments we have played last couple years, or last year and a half or so.  And then, you know, obviously we were the only two guys in the Olympics on the men’s side, so we spent a lot of time together there, as well.  In terms of all that, I think he does listen to me quite a bit.  Even when he’s spoken about things, you know, whether he was playing Roddick or, yeah, his game a little bit during the Olympics when he was down on confidence a little bit.  So, yeah, that’s what I’m there for.  Been around for a long time now.  Yeah, he had a disappointing loss here in the second round last year to Cilic, and then he came out and played pretty well in the Davis Cup against Roger and Stan.  Yeah, hopefully he can get it together.

 

Q.  What’s it like to play Ferrer, to try to solve him maybe versus what it was like in ’06 and ’08?

LLEYTON HEWITT:  Still very similar.  Not a lot of difference.  His game is, yeah, it’s a standard game for him.  He’s not going to blow you off the court out there, but he’s going to make you work for every single point.  It’s the same now as it was then for me.  You know, he’s a quality player.  Probably got a little bit better on hard courts and grass than he was back then.  But, you know, he’s a great competitor, and you’re gonna be out there for a long time to beat him.

 

Q.  (Question regarding Bernard Tomic.)

LLEYTON HEWITT:  Yeah, a little bit.  Yeah, absolutely.  He’s a unique player.  His ball striking is unique.  Some of his shot selection is unique.  Then again, you know, there has been matches probably more so at the Aussie Open that he’s been able to turn matches around because of that, you know.  Yeah, the Verdasco match for example looked like he was struggling there for a while and he was able to turn that around.  And even against Dolgopolov in the Aussie Open, as well.  Yeah, that’s him and his personality a little bit, as well.

 

Q.  Firstly, take off Thursday or a bit earlier?

LLEYTON HEWITT:  I don’t know.  Obviously some of the boys have been hitting on clay already.  Yeah, I will speak to Pat and Rochey and I’ll doing the exactly the same as what everyone else on the team is doing.

 

Q.  What are you plans for the rest of the year after Davis Cup?

LLEYTON HEWITT:  I’ll definitely be playing a few tournaments.  Most likely probably four tournaments, I’d say, at this stage.  I’m still working out exactly where and which tournaments, but I’d like to probably play four after the Davis Cup somewhere.

 

Q.  Your next match is against Andy Roddick.  This is his last tournament as he’s announced.  Do you prepare any differently for that mentally going into that match?

JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO:  No.  I will prepare like always.  I know this is special, this day, for him, but I’m doing my job.  I will trying to be focused on my match and doing my things, my shots.  The match is going to be very tough.  But, anyway, if I play in high level, will be tough for both players.

 

Q.  What do you expect the atmosphere to be like on Tuesday?

JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO:  Big atmosphere.  The crowd loves Andy here and they have respect to me, so will be a fantastic show to the players and to the fans also.

 

Q.  Is it a factor in the match when Andy has the whole crowd on his side or do you tune it out?

JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO:  No, no, because they have respect to me, and also Argentinian fans come to watch me.  I don’t know if all crowd will be with him.  But, anyway, I like to play in these kind of matches.  Is nice for me.  But I will like to win and I will try to do my best tennis.

 

Q.  I believe you were having trouble with your wrist in Cincinnati.  Is everything okay?

JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO:  Yeah, perfect.

 

Q.  How about the knee today?

JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO:  No, I did a bad movement, but nothing dangerous.
Q.  The shot that he hit that bounced off the net post, have you ever had that happen to you before?

JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO:  No, never.  Was unbelievable point, really important point.  But you can see if the ball doesn’t hit the post maybe he get the winner, so I got lucky to play my forehand and then to win the point.

 

Q.  Can you talk about your own personal matchup with Del Potro?

ANDY RODDICK:  We’ve had really close matches.  I was 0‑3 against him.  I beat him the last time we played.  I think of the 0‑3, two of them I had match points in.  We played a bunch in 2009, in that summer.  I think we played back‑to‑back weeks.  You know, he’s a tough matchup for anybody because he hits such a big ball.  I’m going to have to serve well, kind of try to rush him a little bit.  When he gets into a groove and has time, he’ll put a hurt on the ball.

 

Q.  Is he a little bit of a mirror image of you?

ANDY RODDICK:  No, I don’t think so.  I think we play a little bit different.  I probably serve a little bit better.  He probably returns better.  He hits the ball probably cleaner off the baseline.  I chip the ball around a bit better probably.  It’s a fun matchup.

 

Q.  If you win the tournament, will you show up next year on the first day to defend?

ANDY RODDICK:  No.  (Smiling.)

 

Q.  When you were working with Jimmy, he’s a motivation guy, did he ever refer to his run in ’91?

ANDY RODDICK:  Jimmy, unlike a lot of people who have had as much success as he’s had, Jimmy doesn’t like to talk about Jimmy in the past.  He doesn’t reference himself at every turn.  You would have to ask him about it.  You know, he certainly didn’t equate everything that happened on a tennis court back to something that he did that was great.

 

Q.  As a kid, do you remember watching his run?

ANDY RODDICK:  Yeah, I was here for it.

 

Q.  Did you really sneak into the locker room or just the players’ lounge?

ANDY RODDICK:  The lounge.  I didn’t quite make it to the locker room.  I didn’t want to press my luck.  They had free stuff in the lounge, so I was fine with that.

 

Q.  Just a thought on Jimmy when you were a little kid.

ANDY RODDICK:  I mean, it was a great.  I actually had to leave before, so I watched his semi with Courier.  So I’m responsible for him leaving the match.  I remember we flew in and we flew over the stadium, and that was the night he was playing Patrick.  I saw a bunch of the other ones.  Obviously the Krickstein match.  Yeah, that was my first taste of live tennis and it was that run, so that’s as good as it gets.

 

Q.  When they were showing the video, happy birthday video to Jimmy, they showed some scenes from that.  Did they show anything that you were actually at that you remember?

ANDY RODDICK:  I’m not sure.  I’d have a hard time.  Just by his reaction, it’s tough to place what match it was.  Obviously I wasn’t around at Forest Hills, but there’s a possibility.  I don’t know for sure.

 

Q.  Was the experience of going through this might be the last fill in the blank any different this time than the first time?

ANDY RODDICK:  A little bit.  You know, I didn’t have that really tough moment before I went on today.  I was pretty relaxed.

 

Q.  Do you feel you’re playing more aggressive being in your last tournament?

ANDY RODDICK:  I’m hitting the ball well.  You know, the thing with aggressiveness is you can only play as aggressive as you’re hitting the ball.  If you’re hitting it terrible it’s tough to force the issue.

 

Q.  How about coming to the net more?

ANDY RODDICK:  Again, it’s not always as easy as a conscious thought, I’m going to do this.  If you’re hitting the ball terribly and you can’t make a backhand and you’re chipping out there and just trying to survive out there, going to the net, it’s not really an option.  I think that’s where the difference is between looking at something and saying, This is the problem.  When you’re a player, you have to go figure out the steps to where this is the solution.  It’s not from here to there.  It’s not as easy.  I’m hitting the ball well.  Normally when you see me coming in more, I feel good hitting the ball.

 

Q.  When Andre retired, he revealed there were times when he actually hated the game.  Did you have any stretches like that in your career?

ANDY RODDICK:  I mean, I think we’re all mentally exhausted or physically exhausted at one point.  I didn’t resent the game.  I never had that moment.

 

Q.  The point he hit between his legs, can you describe it?

ANDY RODDICK:  I hit a lunging volley.  That’s about as cleanly as you can hit a between‑the‑legs passing shot.  He hit the thing from Jersey and almost won the point.  That was fun.

 

Q.  What is bigger, your own emotional reaction or other people’s?

ANDY RODDICK:  It’s tough to say either/or.  I’ve been surprised by the support.  I thought inside our world it would be something, but I don’t know that I expected all of this and the crowd to react the way it has.  It’s been a special experience for me.  It’s been a lot of fun.

 

Q.  Who is the most random person you’ve heard from?

ANDY RODDICK:  Most random?  It would be quasi offensive to anybody I named, wouldn’t it?  (Smiling.)  Thanks for the text, but you’re random, dude.  I don’t know.  I’ve gotten some cool texts in the last couple days.  It’s been fun.

 

Q.  You’re used to looking up at Ashe and seeing people cheering.  You’re on the set doing the post‑match interview with CBS interview, you turn around and see the plaza full, what was that like?

ANDY RODDICK:  Each time it’s surprising.  I mean, the ESPN set the other night, they were sitting two feet from me and I was having a hard time hearing the questions.  You know, today they were going nuts, too.  It’s honestly way more than I ever expected.

 

Q.  Talk about these US Open moments, Connors in ’91, Andre’s speech.  What is it like to suddenly feel that developing around you?

ANDY RODDICK:  I don’t know.  It’s hard when you say ‘those moments,’ because I don’t view anything that I would ever do in the context of those guys.  So I’m trying to figure out how to answer the question without drawing a comparison because I don’t think it’s close to those two.

 

Q.  What has surprised you the most in playing the last two matches that you didn’t expect since you announcement?

ANDY RODDICK:  I don’t know.  You know, I’ve been walking around with a smile on my face for three days.  All of a sudden you’re kind of smiling, humming, whistling, walking around, and you feel pretty good about it.  All of a sudden you have to say good‑bye to something.  It’s like this gut‑check moment.  It’s these extreme emotions from five minutes to the next five minutes.  You think you know what’s going on, but I don’t think there’s any way to prepare yourself for it.

 

Q.  Was your moment at net with Fabio a gut‑check moment?

ANDY RODDICK:  I was relieved that I got through it.  He was great.  Then afterwards he said he had a request for me.  I said, What?  He said, I’ll tell you in the locker room.  He wants one of the shirts, like of the jerseys.

 

Q.  One of yours?

ANDY RODDICK:  Yeah.  Which I guess is customary with the football matches.  They exchange afterwards sometimes, so that was a cool gesture.

 

Q.  Did you give him the sweaty one you wore?

ANDY RODDICK:  Disgusting.  No, I didn’t.  He got a washed one.

 

Q.  How do you prepare yourself mentally for your next match?  You want to win, and at the same time it could possibly be your last match.

ANDY RODDICK:  Kind of the same scenario as the last two:  I’m going to just keep doing what I’m doing.  I’m going to go back, get work tonight, meaning massage, so all the stuff, get some food, sleep, figure out what we’re going to do tomorrow, and, you know, it will be here before we know it.  We’ll go out and we’ll give it a go.  I’m not really planning anything.  I’m kind of winging this thing as I go.

 

Q.  Loosening the tension?

ANDY RODDICK:  Yea I loosened it.  The day before I played Eastbourne, I dropped my racquet 10 pounds just so I could get a little sling action in it and help the old Hamburger Helper here.

 

Q.  You said when you do play your last match, you’re not the type of guy who won’t return to the court because you obviously love the game that much.  What’s the most pure joy for you?  Is it the simplicity of striking a tennis ball?

ANDY RODDICK:  I mean, I know there’s going to be a training camp with a lot of guys going on in December in Austin like there always is.  I’m not opposed to going out there and having fun with those guys.  I still enjoy that part of it.  But being like a guy who can go drive miles down the road and hit balls when he pleases is a lot different than preparing and committing yourself and having certain expectations that you’ve come to expect from yourself.  Those are two different scenarios.

 

Q.  Is your between‑match and prematch preparation now with these matches any different than any other tournament in terms of what you and Larry do, what your practices are like?

ANDY RODDICK:  Our practices have been a little shorter.  (Laughter.)  Kind of been like a little bit of a mockery of a practice.

 

Q.  You said you weren’t in the category or status of Connors and Agassi.  When Jimmy was around, there was Mack and Vitas.  For a decade now, no offense to any of the other wonderful players, you’ve been the leader of our sport in the most important country arguably in the tennis world.  Isn’t that a pretty unique and special achievement?

ANDY RODDICK:  Well, it’s tough to call it an achievement.  It’s just kind of the way it played out.  I didn’t really have a choice in the matter.  It was always a tall task.  You’re coming off of what will always be the greatest generation, or two generations, from anyplace ever, so it was always going to be a steep hill.  But it’s something that I never wanted to really shy away from knowing it’s almost mission impossible.  I felt like it was a responsibility.  It’s a bit of a lineage in this country, and I did my best.  Even if I didn’t get the results I wanted to all the time, I at least went about it the right way and created a bit of a culture in American tennis.  I think that was accomplished.  That’s something I’m proud of.

 

Q.  The Hamburger Helper, are you going to need surgery or rest when this is all said and done?

ANDY RODDICK:  I don’t know.  A lot of times they said, You want an MRI of your shoulder?  I said, For what?  If it’s a year or nine months of surgery, I don’t want to know about it.

 

Q.  Considering your talent and your tennis abilities, do you think you’ve been more lucky because you came at the end of the Sampras and Agassi era when it was easier to sneak inside and be No. 1, or more unlucky because after there was Federer who is probably the best of all times?

ANDY RODDICK:  It’s a question that’s not even worth answering.  You’re asking me to compare the four greatest players of all time.  I mean, no part of my career is unlucky.  So, you know, I’m not going to compare generations because I don’t think you can do that in sports.

 

Q.  I wasn’t comparing generations.  There was a hole between Sampras and Agassi and Federer.  You snuck inside at that period.

ANDY RODDICK:  What year did Pete win his last slam?

 

Q.  ’02.

ANDY RODDICK:  What year did Roger win his first slam?

 

Q.  2003.

ANDY RODDICK:  So what hole are you talking about?  Thanks.

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Errani and Vinci, Best Friends and Doubles Partners to Face-Off in US Open Quarters

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Best friends and doubles partners, Italians Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci will square off for a place in the US Open semifinals. Both ladies won on Sunday afternoon to advance.

Twenty-nine year-old Roberta Vinci had the upset of the day, stopping No. 2 Agniezska Radwanska.

“I’m so happy, so excited,“ Vinci said.“Tough match, for sure.  But I think I play really good game today.  So focused, so aggressive, especially at the beginning.  6‑1, 3‑1, I lost a bad game on my serve.  But on my mind I say, Don’t worry, try to play like the first set, aggressive when was the ball especially in the middle of the court.  Unbelievable match, for sure.”

“I think I really had the worst day than other days before,” said Radwanska.  “For sure I didn’t play that well as in the beginning of the tournament.  For sure, she was just better today.”

Radwanska said that Vinci plays “uncomfortable” tennis. “She really mixes it up, a lot of slice, then suddenly hitting very well from the forehand side, then kick serve, dropshots, volleys as well, coming to the net.  It’s really tough because she really had an answer for everything today.”

“I have a difficult style of tennis, for sure, different style,” Vinci said referencing Radwanska’s statement of playing “uncomfortable tennis.”  “I mix a lot of balls.  I go to the net.  I play a lot of slice.  So it’s different.  So probably she doesn’t like my slice.  Also when I go to the net, probably the passing not so good.  That’s why I won today probably.  This is the key.”

No. 20 Vinci will play her friend Errani the 10th seed, who knocked out sixth seed Angelique Kerber 7-6(5), 6-3.

Errani assessed her match: “Well, it was incredible fight, I think.  It was very difficult match mentally and also physically.  So it was very difficult.  First set was one hour and 15, I think.  So it was also very tactic match, I think.  Trying to wait the other, try to do the better thing for me, the worst for her.  So it was strange game also sometimes.”

“I think I was trying to give my best,” Kerber said, “and it was very close and hard match also in the first set.  But, yeah, the balls from her were very difficult for me, and also the spin.  I just tried to be aggressive, but in the important moments she was better.  Yeah, I mean, she beat me and it’s okay.  I do everything I could do today.”

So what do these doubles partners think about having to play each other in the quarterfinals?

“I’m happy to play against her, for sure an Italian goes to the semi-final,” said Vinci “She’s my best friend, so I’m very happy to play against her, for sure.”

Vinci is very proud about the rise of Italian players.

“For sure, for sure. When (Francesca) Schiavone won Roland Garros (2010) and Flavia (Pennetta) goes to top 10, also Sara in the final in Roland Garros,” Vinci said.

“Me, I try to come like the other ones for sure.”

In addition to making the singles quarterfinals, they are also in the doubles quarterfianls. They are the second seed.

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Serena Williams and Federer Move on in Miami

She many not be a morning person, but Serena Williams rose early in Miami on Saturday to demolish Italy’s Roberta Vinci 6-2, 6-1, while Roger Federer started strong in his win over Ryan Harrison at the Sony Ericsson Open.

“I actually hate morning matches,” Williams said, “but I always do my best at 11:00 matches or 10:00 matches.

“Yeah, I always do excellent, so maybe I should like them. I’m not a morning person, so it’s like you have to wake up early. But honestly, I play my best tennis on early matches.”

Provided the Australian wins her match later on Saturday, Williams will face Sam Stosur in the next round. “It will be good,” Williams said. “We have had a lot of good matches.  This is a good court for it because the ball bounces high.  I look forward to it.  Like, it will be fun.  I mean, she’s been playing well and I’m just doing my best, so it’s just another test for me.

“You know, we’re both gonna obviously want to win and do what we can.”

Williams was asked about last year’s US Open final when she fell to Stosur in straight sets:”No, you know, I thought I did pretty well in general.  I played a lot.

“You know, obviously I could have played a lot better, but under the circumstances there was nothing to be upset over that match.”

Roger Federer (Photo courtesy of Sony Ericsson Open)

Roger Federer dictated play for the first set and 5-2 in the second set against Ryan Harrison. The American broke Federer while he was serving for the match and forced a tiebreaker which Federer won. “But like I mentioned before the match, he’ll make his move up the rankings,” said Federer of Harrison. ” He’s got a great second serve, and I think a player once said, You’re only as good as your second serve.  That’s a great base for him.

“He’s a good athlete.  I hope he stays healthy so he can show everyone what he’s got.  You know, I think I played really well for most of the match really, and then at the end sort of derailed with some crazy stuff starting with, you know, that overhead miss at 15-All.

 Harrison was upset with his performance: “I hate losing, so there’s obviously some positives to take from it.  But I’m not ecstatic.  I’m not going to go celebrate right now.

“He played a lot better this time than whenever I played him last time.  Scoreline was similar, but the quality was a lot better.  So I think that’s a good thing.  I think I did some things well, especially in the second set.  I started coming back.  5-6 service game was a tough service game in the second set, and I did well to keep it together.

“And then there was, you know, three or four points in the breaker that literally fractions just decided ‘em.

“You know, the better you get….and obviously he’s the best ever so the better you get, the fractions start to lean your way a little more, and that’s why he beat me.”

“The rest we know.  I felt like I had to win the match like three times at the end, so I was relieved to come through,” Federer said.  “And, you know, beating against an American in America is always a big deal, because this is here where they usually play their very best.”

Federer will meet Andy Roddick in his third round match. “I’ mean, doesn’t matter if it’s Juan Carlos Ferrero, Lleyton Hewitt, or Andy Roddick.  All these guys have been World No. 1 and been in the top 10 for so long and won big tournaments time and time again, proven their point,” Federer said.

“They’ll always remain dangerous until they, you know, retire.  The head-to-head doesn’t play a massive factor for me in every match I go in against Andy, because I know there’s always a lot in Andy’s racquet depending on how he serves.  And, you know, if I don’t play well, I know I won’t win.

“So the pressure is there.  That’s what he can create with his game.  This is why I never take a match lightly against him.”

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Voting Opens for 2012 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Heart Awards

The ITF has announced a shortlist of ten players to receive the first four Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Heart Awards of 2012. Awards will be presented in four categories based on performances in the Fed Cup World Group and World Group II first round ties, and the three Zone Group I events at the beginning of February.

 

Daniela Hantuchova (SVK), Christina McHale (USA), Samantha Stosur (AUS) and Roberta Vinci (ITA) have all been shortlisted for the World Group/World Group II award. Sofia Arvidsson (SWE) and Elena Baltacha (GBR) have been shortlisted for Europe/Africa; Catalina Castano (COL) and Florencia Molinero (ARG) for Americas; and Li Na (CHN) and Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) for Asia/Oceania.

 

The shortlist has been compiled by the Heart Award judging panel consisting of ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti and a mixture of former players and members of the media. Sabine Appelmans, a former Fed Cup player and captain for Belgium, has joined the judging panel in 2012. Appelmans replaces Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario who stepped down as a panel member after becoming the new Spanish captain.

 

A public vote is being held on FedCup.com and FedCup.com/es to decide the winners, with voting running from 1-22 March. All four winners will receive a silver Baccarat bracelet and a check to be donated to their chosen charity.

 

ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “The Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Heart Award is entering its fourth year and continues to recognize the outstanding contributions made by players to their country and the competition. The start of the 2012 Fed Cup season produced some excellent ties and all the shortlisted players were integral to their team’s success. I encourage all tennis fans to visit the Fed Cup website and vote for who they think should win.”

 

The Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Heart Award is a joint initiative between the ITF and BNP Paribas. It aims to recognize players who have represented their country with distinction, shown exceptional courage on court and demonstrated outstanding commitment to their team. A total of five players will be recognized in 2012.

 

To cast your vote, visit the Fed Cup website.

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Field Announced for Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions

The field  has been announced for the Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions, the season-ending championships for the WTA’s International tournaments, taking place in Bali, Indonesia from November 3-6, 2011. Participating in the tournament will be Marion Bartoli, Sabine Lisicki, Roberta Vinci, Daniela Hantuchova, Anabel Medina Garrigues and Nadia Petrova are the six highest-ranked International Series tournament winners (excluding players qualified for the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships. Rounding out the field in Bali are wildcards Ana Ivanovic, last year’s champion and Peng Shuai.

 

“I would like to congratulate all these players on their success in 2011 and I know they are excited to end their year at the Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions in Bali,” said Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO of the WTA. “The six qualified players have won a total of 11 WTA singles titles between them this year, and with the addition of defending champion Ana Ivanovic and Peng Shuai as wildcards, I’m sure the fans will be in for a week of exciting competition.”

 

“We are delighted to have such a strong player field in what will be the final year of operating the Tournament of Champions in Bali. We look forward to welcoming them and I know that everyone in Bali is looking forward to an exciting event,” said Kevin Livesey, tournament director of the Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions.

 

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Stosur Advances to Toronto Semis with Victory over Vinci

Samantha Stosur at 2011 Family Circle Cup

By Brodie McPhee

TORONTO, Canada – The first quarterfinal on Friday featured Australian Samantha Stosur taking on Roberta Vinci. Vinci, who had already defeated world No 1 Caroline Wozniacki and former No 1  Ana Ivanovic was in tough against the tenth seed.

The first set seemed destined for a tiebreak, as both players held relatively comfortably for the first nine games. It was not meant to be, however, as Stosur made the necessary adjustment, parking herself in the doubles alley and taking the Vinci slice backhands on the forehand, and broke to love to take the set 6-4. “I think playing someone like her I wanted to try and keep aggressive and it was hard to do that off a backhand when she’s keeping the ball very low.”

Stosur rode this wave of momentum, quickly taking the second set 6-1. “I think once I won that first set, obviously you can kind of not relax but you feel like you’ve definitely got a bit of a lead going. “Once I broke early in that second set, really felt like I was in control of the match.”

She served at an impressive 84% for the set, including hitting 3 straight aces in her third service game. “I think as the match went on I obviously grew in confidence,” said the Australian. “You get that bit of a lead with that buffer of a couple of breaks and I thought I might go for it a bit more, where as at the start I was just trying to kick it in, get it to her backhand and really go for a high percentage.” Stosur has not been broken in her last seven sets and has saved 11 break points along the way.

Vinci’s combination of backhand slices and net play helped her to advance to the Rogers Cup quarterfinals for the first time, and Stosur was prepared for it. “I think playing someone like her I wanted to try and keep aggressive and it was hard to do that off a backhand when she’s keeping the ball very low.”“I knew going into the match that she obviously has a different style. It is definitely tricky. Playing someone like her, I quite enjoy that challenge of having to work things out. Maybe you don’t win the point on the first or second shot, maybe take three or four balls and then you set up and then you get your opportunity.”

Stosur, who improves to 7-1 in two career Rogers Cup appearances, will play the winner of Andrea Petkovic and Agnieszka Radwanska in the semifinals on Saturday.

Brodie McPhee is the author of the tennis web site Mind the Racket. He’s in Toronto this week covering the Rogers Cup WTA edition for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his updates on twitter at @GVTennisNews and his personal twitter @MindTheRacket.

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Wozniacki Upset, Williams Advances, Azarenka Double Bagels Dubois at Rogers Cup

Roberta Vinci of Italy celebrates a point against Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their match at the Rogers Cup women’s tennis tournament in Toronto, August 10, 2011. REUTERS/Mark Blinch (CANADA – Tags: SPORT TENNIS)

 

By Brodie McPhee

TORONTO, Canada – After two days filled with upsets, Wednesday’s action at the  Rogers Cup was highlighted by only one upset, and it was the most surprising one possible. Defending champion and world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki fell to 28-year-old Italian Roberta Vinci, 6-4, 7-5. Vinci won 6 straight games in the second set to take the match which was subject to difficult, windy conditions. “Well, definitely on one side the wind was blowing in the back. You had to watch out you didn’t play it long,” said Wozniacki. “The other side you really had to hit through the ball to make it even go.”

Caroline Wozniacki

Vinci adapted to the conditions by playing her typical slicing, all court game which made it difficult for Wozniacki to develop a rhythm. The Italian admitted that the conditions were difficult, and did not hesitate to say that it was the biggest win of her career. “This is the best win, victory in my life. Yes.”

Elsewhere, the two remaining hometown favorite Canadians, Aleksandra Wozniak and Stephanie Dubois, were eliminated in the singles draw. Wozniak was defeated by 10th seed Samantha Stosur on the grandstand, 6-3, 6-4. Wozniak was incredibly consistent considering her relatively small amount of time playing since her major forearm injury. She is also sporting a new and improved grip and compact swing because of the injury which may just prove to be a blessing in disguise.

Stephanie Dubois fell in the final match of the day to 4th seed Victoria Azarenka without taking a single game, 6-0, 6-0. The Canadian has played well of late, and tried to remain positive about her recent success despite the tough loss. “For sure it’s disappointing, but I have been playing so well in the past few months, so I don’t think I’m gonna take that match. I’m going to probably forget it.”

Other successful seeds include Vera Zvonareva, Andrea Petkovic, Petra Kvitova, Maria Sharapova and Francesca Schiavone, who all won in straight sets.

Serena Williams also continued on her 7 match winning streak in her fourth tournament since returning, defeating Julia Goerges 6-1, 7-6.  The Associated Press reported that Williams has committed to playing two US Fed Cup  ties in 2012  to try to become eligible to participate in the London Olympics. Williams is 4-0 in singles play in her Fed Cup career, 7-0 overall.

 Ana Ivanovic, Galina Voskoboeva, Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez and Lucie Safarova all advanced.

Brodie McPhee is the author of the tennis web site Mind the Racket. He’s in Toronto this week covering the Rogers Cup WTA edition for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his updates on twitter at @GVTennisNews and his personal twitter @MindTheRacket.

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Jovanovski Talent Apparent, Not Sustained Enough to Beat Vinci

By Curt Janka

CARLSBAD, California – Bojana Jovanovski played brilliant streaks of tennis throughout her first round encounter with Roberta Vinci, but couldn’t keep it going long enough to pull out the win.  In the end, Vinci looked like the calm veteran as she finished off the frustrated, but talented Jovanovski 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.

At 19 years of age, Jovanovski put her fiercely athletic ground strokes to work early, going up a set and a break. She did, however, struggle throughout the match with her second serves, particularly to the ad side of the court. It’s unfortunate, as her service motion is quite good. Whether it’s a lack of confidence in her second serve or a twinge of nerves in big points, a notable deceleration seemed to be the crux of her service woes. The upside is that she’s young and has plenty of time to make the easy correction.

Vinci, for her part, may not have played her best match of the year but did well to hang around and capitalize when Jovanovski took her foot off the gas pedal.

Jovanovski was rewarded for her effort with a swarm of young fans seeking autographs while Vinci was able to discreetly leave the court.

After the match, it was revealed that due to a series of travel planning mishaps, Jovanovski barely made it to San Diego in time for her match, which certainly could have been a factor in her fatigue in the final set.

Curt Janka is covering the Mercury Insurance Open in Carlsbad this week. for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his updates on twitter at @GVTennisNews. Follow his personal twitter @CurtJanka.

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