2015/07/05

Djokovic and Federer to Meet in Rome Final

228 Federer Djokovic handshake-001

(May 16, 2015) Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic will meet in the Italian Open final on Sunday. No. 1 Djokovic downed David Ferrer 6-4, 6-4 while Federer came back from 0-3 in the first set to beat Swiss countryman Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 6-2.

The women’s final in Rome will feature two-time former champion Maria Sharapova against Carla Suarez Navarro. Sharapova beat Russian qualifier Daria Gavrilova 7-5, 6-3 while Suarez Navarro rallied past No. 2 seed Simona Halep 2-6, 6-3, 7-5. The win for Sharapova means she’ll move back up to No. 2 in the rankings on Monday and will be the second seed for the French Open.

“We were breaking serve all the time, but it’s because we were both returning very well,” Suárez Navarro said. “It was tough for me, it was tough for Simona – but I’m really happy with the way I finished the match today.

“I’ve been practicing really hard during the whole season, and I’m playing with a lot of confidence right now. I’m playing more aggressively, which is important when you’re playing the top players.”

Federer will be seeking to win a Masters event he’s never won on Sunday. This is the fourth time he’s reached the finalThe No. 2 player has never won Monte Carlo either.

“I just like winning a title. Now OK, this is Rome, and it’s one I’ve never won so you might think it’s extra special but for some reason it’s not for me,” Federer said.

“Stan played well in the first set,” said Federer. “In the second set he had a sort of breakdown. He wasn’t serving his best. I was definitely able to take advantage of it.”

Both Djokovic and Federer had some concerns about the court which had holes. Federer’s feet were stuck in a hole and could not turn around to take a shot.

“In a couple of places the holes are really deep,” Djokovic said. “If you slide and get into that hole you can twist an ankle easily. It’s dangerous to play in these conditions.”

Federer and Djokovic will be meeting for the 39th time, with Federer leading the head-two-head 20-18.

Sharapova leads Suarez Navarro 3-1.

 

 

RESULTS – MAY 16, 2015

WTA Singles – Semifinals

[10] C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) d [2] S. Halep (ROU) 26 63 75
[3] M. Sharapova (RUS) d [Q] D. Gavrilova (RUS) 75 63


WTA Doubles – Semifinals

[1] M. Hingis (SUI) / S. Mirza (IND) d [4] C. Garcia (FRA) / K. Srebotnik (SLO) 62 76(5)
[3] T. Babos (HUN) / K. Mladenovic (FRA) d [8] A. Kudryavtseva (RUS) / A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 62 63

ATP Singles – Semifinals
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) d [7] D. Ferrer (ESP) 64 64
[2] R. Federer (SUI) d [8] S. Wawrinka (SUI) 64 62

ATP Doubles – Semifinals
[5] M. Granollers (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP) d N. Kyrgios (AUS) / J. Sock (USA) 61 36 11-9
P. Cuevas (URU) / D. Marrero (ESP) d K. Anderson (RSA) / J. Chardy (FRA) 64 64

SCHEDULE – SUNDAY, 17 MAY 2015

CENTRALE start 11:00
WTA DOUBLES FINAL – [1] M. Hingis (SUI) / S. Mirza (IND) vs [3] T. Babos (HUN) / K. Mladenovic (FRA)
Not Before 1:30 pm
WTA SINGLES FINAL – [3] M. Sharapova (RUS) vs [10] C. Suárez Navarro (ESP)
Not Before 4:00 pm
ATP SINGLES FINAL – [1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [2] R. Federer (SUI)

PIETRANGELI start 2:30 pm
ATP DOUBLES FINAL – P. Cuevas (URU) / D. Marrero (ESP) vs [5] M. Granollers (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP)

Share

International Tennis Hall of Fame Set to Re-open with Roger Federer Hologram Exhibit

From the Tennis Hall of Fame – NEWPORT, R.I., May 11, 2015 – After three years of planning and a $3 million renovation, the Museum at the International Tennis Hall of Fame is set to re-open to the public on May 20, with a ribbon cutting at 11:30 a.m.The museum collection has been completely reinterpreted and the galleries have been redesigned to deliver an entirely new, engaging visitor experience. The intent of the new museum is to draw visitors into the content through interactive exhibits and a cohesive narrative of tennis history as told through the lives and careers of the 243 Hall of Famers who built the sport. More than 1,900 artifacts of tennis history are displayed throughout the exhibit galleries, ranging from Rod Laver’s first Wimbledon trophy to the golden shoes that Serena Williams wore in her first French Open victory.

Multimedia technology is integral to the new museum experience, with a highlight being a hologram of Roger Federer talking about why he loves tennis. It is the first use of holographic technology in a sports museum in the United States.

 

Sneak Peak! The Roger Federer Experience

 

“Tennis history dates back to the 12th century and it evolves with tournaments around the world weekly. There have been extraordinary people and moments throughout the sport’s history – Arthur Ashe’s 1968 US Open victory, Billie Jean King’s Battle of the Sexes triumph, Martina and Chrissie’s rivalry and friendship, the unstoppable Australian Davis Cup teams, and so much more. This new museum at the International Tennis Hall of Fame will share the stories of the sport’s legends with the world in a really exciting way, and it will hopefully serve as an inspiration for the next generation of tennis greats and fans,” said Todd Martin, CEO of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

 

In creating the new museum, the Hall of Fame’s collection of more than 25,000 artifacts, and hundreds of thousands of images, videos, and publications was completely reinterpreted. The museum is designed to appeal to dedicated tennis fans and casual visitors alike, which is achieved through engaging storytelling in the museum narrative and the use of an array of objects including art, fashion, and items of historical relevance beyond the tennis courts.

“Our goal is for visitors to leave the museum feeling educated about and inspired by the rich history of tennis,” said Douglas Stark, museum director. “We designed the exhibits in a way that people could participate in the learning process together – a touch table in which you can ‘serve’ tennis history questions back and forth, video walls in which you can select match highlights and watch together, artifacts from 60 years ago and artifacts from last season so as to appeal to a span of generations, among other aspects. The new museum will provide visitors with a memorable experience in which they will learn about the history of tennis, and its impact on and off the courts.”

 

The new museum was funded through the Match Point Capital Campaign, which was co-chaired by Edgar Woolard and Christopher Clouser, chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The campaign, which was the Hall of Fame’s first in 14 years, has raised $14.8 million of the $15 million goal. The museum project is a highlight of the campaign, which will also result in a new indoor tennis facility, new office and retail space, new grandstands in Bill Talbert Center Court, and other improvements to the Hall of Fame property, all of which are slated to open in 2015-2016.

 

“The International Tennis Hall of Fame is committed to serving the sport of tennis by preserving and promoting its great history, and the new museum is an extraordinary representation of this,” commented Clouser. “We are grateful to the donors who share in our passion for tennis and supported the capital campaign to make this world-class museum a reality. It would not have been possible without the support of so many who have helped us build the museum content – Roger Federer’s time on the hologram, Hall of Famers who donated artifacts, the ATP, WTA, ITF, the Grand Slams, and our incredibly hard-working staff and the talented museum development vendors. We are set to deliver a tremendous museum experience and we are appreciative to all who have made this happen.”

 

Rolex, a long time supporter of the International Tennis Hall of Fame and a highly engaged sponsor in tennis worldwide, has committed to a new, multi-year partnership with the museum.

The Roger Federer Experience

A highlight of the new museum will be a holographic theatre in which visitors feel as though they are in the room with Roger Federer, one of the sport’s all-time greatest champions. When visitors walk into the theatre, the hologram of Federer welcomes visitors and begins a dynamic monologue about a topic that museum visitors and Federer have in common – a love of tennis. Federer then takes the visitor through his top-10 list of the reasons why he loves the sport, ranging from the athletic beauty of tennis to the challenge of it being an individual sport, all while showcasing a few of his signature shots.

“It was an honor to be asked to be the hologram at the International Tennis Hall of Fame and I was quite happy to take on the project,” commented Federer. “I’ve always had an interest in the history of our sport and I believe we’ve been fortunate to be able to learn from and build on that history. The Hall of Fame does a tremendous job of preserving our sport’s history and celebrating it with the world. I’m glad to be able to support those efforts by helping to create a fun experience in their museum.”

An Interactive Museum Experience

Interactive, educational experiences abound throughout the new museum.

 

Tennis aficionados can test their knowledge of the sport on a five-foot touch table at which they can stand at either end and “serve ” tennis history questions back and forth to each other.

 

The “Call the Match” exhibit offers visitors the chance to record themselves taking on the role of broadcast luminaries like Cliff Drysdale, John Barrett, and Mary Carillo.

 

A large, rotating globe highlights the worldwide impact of the sport. At the globe, visitors can select a nation to learn more about tennis tournaments taking place there in any given week, and about the players and tournaments from that nation.

 

Interactive video walls throughout the museum offer fans an opportunity to re-live classic tennis moments through video highlights of WTA, ATP, and Grand Slam tournament matches.
The Galleries
The new museum tells the story of tennis history from its origins through present-day. Objects throughout the narrative are clearly linked to the Hall of Famers, personalizing their stories within the sport’s history.
The museum is divided into three chronological areas: The Birth of Tennis (1874 – 1918);  The Popular Game (1918 – 1968); and  The Open Era (1968 – Present). 
Themes of focus include the sport’s evolution from medieval monasteries to lawn tennis, the development of early international tournaments and early pro tours, infusion of tennis in pop culture and the rise of celebrity among athletes, the impact of technology on the sport in terms of equipment and media coverage, the dawn of the Open Era ,and the growth of the WTA and ATP tours. The museum narrative also examines the sport’s forays into social matters, including politics, diversity, and the rise of women’s game.
 The Grand Slam Gallery shares detail on the sport’s four majors, their champions, and their most iconic moments. The Global Tennis Community Gallery examines the sport’s broad global impact, with focus on the Olympic Games, Fed Cup and Davis Cup, and Wheelchair Tennis. The interactive globe is a centerpiece of this gallery.
In addition to the three chronological areas, there are two galleries specifically dedicated to the Hall of Famers. The Woolard Family Enshrinement Gallery pays tribute to all 243 Hall of Famers through interactive kiosks featuring photos, videos, and records. The Rosalind P. Walter Tribute Gallery to the Hall of Famers will be a multimedia gallery dedicated to the current year’s class of inductees.
Additional detail on the exhibits and the artifacts within each is highlighted on the Hall of Fame’s website, tennisfame.com. A new Hall of Fame website will be launched later this month.
The Newport Casino’s architecture revealedA primary goal of the museum renovation was to better showcase the Newport Casino, the National Historic Landmark buildings and grounds in which the Hall of Fame is located. Through the renovation, three magnificent fireplaces that had been covered by temporary walls for 25 yeas have been revealed. Additionally, original furnishings from the building, which was built in 1880, are exhibited. The exhibits and display cases in the new museum are positioned within the original design of the building to showcase the architecture as part of the museum experience.

Tennis History Evolves Daily
Tennis records have the potential to be set and broken with weekly tournaments around the world, and future Hall of Famers are constantly adding to their resumes.
As such, the new museum goes beyond focusing on the sport’s past, but also serves as a resource to showcase the sport today and how it is constantly evolving.  The new museum will feature a number of items from current and recently retired player’s careers. Grand Slam apparel worn by Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams, and Jelena Jankovic is showcased in the museum, as are the shoes worn by Andy Roddick in his last match, among many other recently acquired items.
The Art of Tennis

From Maria Bueno’s grace on court to Roger Federer’s elegant shot making, it’s not uncommon for tennis to be commended for its beautiful, art-like nature. As such, the sport has served as an inspiration for a variety of mediums, and a range of tennis-inspired art is shown throughout the new museum.

 

A 1538 Renaissance painting that is believed to be the earliest known painting of the sport is a highlight. Visitors will also see an original Andy Warhol portrait of Chris Evert, one of an exclusive series of 10 sport superstars of the 1970s. Prints created by celebrated American painter George Bellows are exhibited as well. A bronze resin sculpture of Steffi Graf capturing her in motion and forever memorializing her distinctive and lethal inside-out forehand is also a highlight of the art collection.

 

Stained glass featuring tennis players, vintage advertising, varied colorful prints, and a display of more than 100 vintage tennis ball cans also showcase the sport in an artistic means.

 

Project Team

A large team of exhibit designers, media producers, and contractors have been working on the museum renovation at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Development of the museum experience was lead by Douglas Stark, museum director. Additionally, a 12-person Museum Committee was integral to the project. The committee was chaired by Katherine Burton Jones and Jefferson T. Barnes served as vice-chair.Exhibit Design: HealyKohler Design, Takoma Park, Maryland

Exhibit Fabrication and Case Work: 1220 Exhibits, Nashville, Tennessee

Media Production, including holographic theater: Cortina Productions, McLean, Virginia

General Contractor: Behan Bros., Inc., Middletown, Rhode Island

Opening the Doors!
The museum will officially re-open on Wednesday, May 20 with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 11:30 a.m.
Beginning May 21, the Hall of Fame will return to its normal hours, open daily, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. The museum will stay open until 6 p.m. in July and August.
As part of the Hall of Fame’s commitment to inspiring and engaging children with tennis, admission to visit the museum is free of charge for children ages 16 & Under. Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for students, senior, and military.
The museum experience is self-guided, or visitors may opt to purchase an audio tour for $3. The audio tour is available in multiple languages, and is narrated by Hall of Famers, adding a fun twist to the visitor experience. In June, July, and August, guided tours will be offered daily at 11 am and 2 pm.
Share

Roger Federer Wins 85th Career Title

315Federerin press.-001

(May 3, 2015) Top-seeded Roger Federer won his 85th ATP World Tour title at the inaugural TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open, defeating third seed Pablo Cuevas 6-3, 7-6(11) on Sunday.

The win gave the 17-time major champion a 19th different country in which he has won an ATP World Tour title.

This is the Swiss’ first clay court tournament win since 2012 Madrid.

The Uruguayan, who saved four match points, came into the match after and impressive victory over second seed Grigor Dimitrov in the semifinals.

“I’m very happy,” said Federer. “Of course I’m very proud to be the first champion here at the first-time tournament here in Istanbul. In Turkey, I’ve had a wonderful week. On and off the court I was able to visit the city a little bit, meet a lot of people, enjoyed the crowd support and experience Turkey.”

“It’s been crazy, in a good way, and I hope I can do it again one day. Right now, I’m just happy I was able to win the tournament. It’s always the best feeling for an athlete to be the champion at the end of a long tough week.”

“I felt better on the court yesterday,” said Cuevas. “It’s difficult to face Roger, not only because of his game but also to stay focused on the game and not get distracted. It was a very good experience for me, and I think it will help me in the future.”

The win marks Federer’s third title of 2015, adding to Brisbane and Dubai.

Share

Djokovic Does the Double

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

(March 22, 2015) INDIAN WELLS, California – After the drawn out drama of the women’s final and over an hour later than planned, defending champion Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer took to the court for their final, and with the anticipation of perhaps another three set thriller on the cards.

 

First blood though went to the Djokovic, who closed out a ruthless break, for a 4-2 lead, and although Federer asked the question for him to serve it out, he snapped up the first set 6-3.

 

It was imperative for Federer to get off to a quick start, and it looked as though he would settle, but another loose game helped Djokovic take advantage for an early break at the start of the second.

 

Djokovic was making the difference in his return games, taking the time away from Federer in the distinctly cooler conditions today than for the majority of the tournament, but Federer needed to settle to try and at least stay in contention, before time ran out to make his move.

 

Suddenly the momentum shifted as Federer took advantage of a dip in Djokovic’s game to level at 4-4 with a break that got the crowd alive, roaring their approval and silencing the small enthusiastic group of Serbians in the nosebleeds.

 

Holding in perhaps his most commanding form since the very start of the match, the pressure was very firmly on Djokovic now as the errors started to stack up from the Serbian, as he served to stay in the set. A slightly more confident hold to love brought him into a second set tie-break.

 

With Djokovic taking the early momentum, Federer slowly got himself back into contention as the pressure got to the defending champion, double-faulting on his serve to bring Federer level at 5-5. A second double fault handed the advantage right back at the Swiss with two serves to come at 6-5. He needed just the one set point to send the final into an electric decider.

 

Perhaps it was inevitable that the defending champion would come out swinging maybe a little more freely, and quickly took a 2-0 advantage before the nerves seemed to grip him again, opening the door for Federer to charge back in to get the match back on serve.

 

It was Djokovic who surged to a lead once more, at 5-2, with Federer serving to stay in the championship.

 

For a match that could so easily have been settled in straight sets, Federer had done well to fight back, but a tired shank gave the Serbian the match points he needed, as he closed out the win 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-2, a title defence, and draws level with Federer in terms of titles won here.

 

Coming first into press, Federer analyzed where the match was won (and in his case lost):

 

“For a long time I was always trailing. I was putting myself under pressure unnecessarily sometimes on my own serve. But that was, again, a credit to Novak’s great way of returning second serves.

 

“He’s always going to catch some first serves, especially here where it’s not as fast. I knew it was going to be tough. That was the most disappointing part I was telling myself throughout the match. It’s like where is that return on the first serve? “

 

He continued: “Midway through the second it started to get better and I got into more rallies, and that’s where I think it became close again. That was tougher for him, because all of a sudden I think I was playing better so he wasn’t getting as many free points. He had to pull back and play a bit more safe. So it was from my side a bit more up and down, and he was just more solid. That’s why he totally deserved to win today, in my opinion.”

 

Djokovic was presented with a cake celebrating his 50th title, which surpasses coach Boris Becker’s 49 titles, and the World No. 1 described how that felt along with his assessment of the match.

 

He said: “I thought set and a break and it was a break point for 5‑2 up. I thought I could have done the job earlier. Credit to Roger for fighting through. Showed again why he’s a competitor and champion, somebody that never gives up. When we got to the third set obviously it was anybody’s game.

 

“I managed to regroup [and] overcome that frustration of handing that tiebreak to him with three double faults in crucial moments. But that’s sport. Obviously under pressure sometimes these things happen and it’s important to regroup, bounce back, and focus on next one.”

 

He continued: “I’ve got to look forward to get to Miami and have a dinner with Boris. I think it’s on him this time. (Smiling.) I surpassed his 49th title, so that gives a little bit of special spice to this title.”

 

While Federer is skipping Miami this year, Djokovic will travel on to defend his title and attempt the double once more.

 

Ros Satar is a British sports journalist and a writer at Livetennis.com.

Share

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer to Clash in Indian Wells Final

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

(March 21, 2015) The top two men’s tennis players will face off in the final of the BNP Paribas Open on Sunday in Indian Wells, California.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic defeated No. 4 Andy Murray 6-2, 6-3 in the first semifinal of the day, a rematch of the Australian Open final, while No. 2 Roger Federer bested Milos Raonic 7-5, 6-4.

In Sunday’s final, defending champion Djokovic will be aiming to capture his fourth Indian Wells tournament, while Federer will be going for his fifth title in the desert. Federer leads Djokovic 20-17 in their head-to-head records.

Djokovic is now 17-8 against Murray, after winning for the sixth straight time against the Brit. Djokovic is 18- 2 on the year.

Considering this was probably the first match that I’ve played in the day in the entire year ‑‑ because I have played Doha, Dubai, Australian Open, and 90% of the matches I played during the night ‑‑ I thought I handled the conditions well.

It wasn’t easy, but I needed some time to adjust. The fact that I’m in another finals makes me definitely feel very good, very confident.

I had a phenomenal start of the season, and hopefully I can, you know, do my best tomorrow and maybe get another trophy.

Murray had a below average serving day against the Serb, losing his serve four times in the match.

“I tried to go for a few more serves today and to try to get a few more free points, but, you know, serving 50% or just below is, you know, not good enough against the best players,” sais Murray. “You obviously need to serve better.

“I thought I actually hit my second serve better than I did in Australia today, but first‑serve percentage was too low.”

Murray had 29 unforced errors and only seven winners in the contest

“I think obviously I didn’t start either of the sets well,” Murray said. “That obviously makes things difficult against the best players. I mean, Novak didn’t give me any free points at the beginning of either of the sets, and I made a few too many errors early on.

“Then, you know, in the end of both sets, middle of both sets, I started to play a bit better and made it tougher and was able to push him a bit, but not enough at the beginning of the sets to make it challenging enough for him.”

“I thought I played solid, with the right intensity from the beginning,” said Djokovic. “Good first‑serve percentage. Got some free points there in the important moments.

“Just overall it was a good performance.”

Djokovic admitted that his opponent did preform as well as he could have.

“Even though it’s a straight‑set victory, I still had to earn it,” Djokovic stated. “I thought that he hasn’t played close to his highest level. Made a lot of unforced errors, especially from the forehand side. Low percentage of first serves in. That allowed me to obviously step in and be aggressive.”

 

Roger Federer

Roger Federer

Milos Raonic broke up the potential “Big Four” reunion in the semifinals when he upset Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals on Friday. Raonic tested Federer in the straight set loss on Saturday.

The hard-serving Canadian was broken in the eleventh game of the first set, which the Swiss closed out 7-5 in 45 minutes. Federer opened the second set with a break, and never looked back.

Federer has now reached his 40th Masters Series 1000 final. Federer claimed the desert crown 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2012.

“I’m very happy how well I’m playing,” said Federer. “Feel good physically. Obviously I feel refreshed after the holiday. I’m serving well, which is always crucial.”

“He was neutralizing well on the serve, but especially during the points I felt like a few times I was able to stretch him,” Raonic said.

“He was doing a good job of getting legs behind and always playing deep cross so I could never find that short forehand I was looking for.”

“I wish I would have served a higher percentage, but I felt like when I was putting my first serve in I was doing a good job,” the Canadian explained. “I don’t think I mixed up my second serve enough.”

Djokovic discussed the possibility of playing Federer in the final:

“If I get to play Roger, it’s the ultimate final that right now I can have. Probably the player that is in the best form. You know, in the last 12 months he’s been playing some of his best tennis, I thought.

“Especially after, for his standards, pretty average season in 2013. He came back and played the finals in Wimbledon, played some great tournaments, won titles, and we had a fight for No. 1 spot all the way up to last couple of matches in London.

“He started off the year well again except that third‑round loss in the Australian Open. He won two titles. You know, he’s playing great. There no question about it.

“We all know that Roger, with all his records, we know the experience that he has. He’s not expected to play nothing less than his best in these stages of the tournament.

“He’s been proving that. He won so many titles. He loves the big occasions, and I’m sure he’s gonna come out wanting to win, being aggressive.

“He moves great. I thought since he changed the racquet it helped him with maybe reaching balls in the defense that he wasn’t able to do maybe before that. Seems like he has more control in the backhand. Great serve, as always.

“So he’s a very complete player. No question about it.”

“One thing about Roger is that he always makes you play highest level if you want to win against him,” Djokovic added.

“That’s something that’s always in the back of my mind. This is something that makes me come out with the highest possible concentration and intensity and commitment. If I want to win that match and win this title, I definitely need to be on top of my game.”

“After losing so close last year I was quite disappointed, even though I was happy how I was playing,” said Federer. “Can’t wait until we get a chance again to play him here, because you have to wait one entire year, got to win another five matches, and finally you’re in the finals again.

“So I think it’s very exciting for both of us, and also for fans, to see a rematch of the great final from last year. I’m looking forward to it, and I hope I can keep up my good play.”

“I like these big matches. I have been playing so well and I don’t feel tired. I feel great going into the finals, and I hope I can keep up this kind of a level. I know I need an extra special performance tomorrow because Novak’s going to push you there to come up with a lot of great shots in a row, which is not always easy to do.

“So I will see how it goes.”

Asked if his rivalry Djokovic is on par with Rafael Nadal, Federer said: “It will never be the same. Not better or worse. It just will be different just because the matchup is so unique for me with Rafa; whereas Novak’s is totally, like I said, straightforward.

“With Rafa I feel like I need to change everything when I play him. I have played so many times against Rafa on clay, as well, that it feels different; whereas Novak has been a much more of a hard court rivalry, whereas with Rafa has been more clay and grass.”

Federer on his rivalry with Djokovic: “What remains is that you know it’s always been tough against him. I have seen the rise of him, you know, as he’s gotten fitter and more match tough, mentally tougher, became one of the best movers we have in the game. It’s been nice seeing him do that, you know, and improve as you move along.

“Sometimes I wonder if everybody’s willing to improve as much as Novak did. It’s been interesting to see him figure his game out, and I’m happy I can still hang with him. I must be quite honest, because he’s in his absolute prime right now, and I enjoy the challenge of him. I hope he enjoys my challenge.

“So we will see tomorrow, but I think it’s a very dynamic rivalry we have. Great movement. I don’t think we need to change our games very much when we play each other. We can just go out there and play our game, which I think is quite cool also for fans and for ourselves, which is interesting.”

 

 

 

Share

What a Difference a Week Makes

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

(March 20, 2015) INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA – Just as the tournament spun in the early days with the expectation of Serena Williams’ return, so it would end in an almost eerie echo of 14 years ago.

 

Social media had already buzzed about the news during the previous semi-final, and when she took to the court mostly to cheers, a few boos could be clearly heard from the Press balcony, coming from above, but the announcement was cleverly stage managed to celebrate 40 years of the tournament, and the momentousness of Williams come-back just a week ago.

 

Williams spoke to the press immediately afterwards and confirmed: “I was just on the practice court two days ago, day and a half ago, yesterday, and everything was going good. Literally last two couple minutes of practice I went for a serve and I just felt a super sharp pain in my knee.

 

“It was like, Okay, and I served again. I felt it again. I just came off, and it hasn’t been the same since. I have done everything. Like I have just pretty much done everything from taping to research and I even did an injection. I have never done an injection before.

 

“I think if this was any other event I probably wouldn’t have considered it. I wanted to give 200%. It just wasn’t meant to be this year.”

 

She has stated she intends to return to Indian Wells next year.

 

Meanwhile – we had the ATP quarter-finals to conclude, and that too was a tale of two halves.

315Federerin press.-001

Roger Federer almost bullied his way to the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. From the outset he had Tomas Berdych on the back foot, at one stage throwing up three double faults in one game before Federer finally broke through the door he had been battering down. A single break was a respectable margin for the first set, but it was not enough as Federer stepped up a gear, and Berdych crumbled once more in a key match 6-4, 6-0.

 

The confidence he had at the start of the year with regards to changing the team around him, once more could not manifest itself when it came to the crunch, as Berdych tried to explain.

 

In his post-match news conference he said: “When you feel that he’s in control right from the beginning, then of course you have to come up with your best game from the beginning of the match. I mean, you just want to play well. You just want to play your best. There is a very thin line in between that and overdoing it. It’s not so easy, really, to control it every single time that you go play with a player like this, even if he’s playing in such a good shape.

 

“Today I stepped a little bit over it, so hope the next time, next day, it’s just going to stay on the line.”

 

With the very real prospect of the World Top 4 contesting the Indian Wells semi-finals, Federer cast his eye over another match up with Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard started aggressively against Milos Raonic, breaking him before the first change of ends in the first set.

 

Federer said: “Matches against him are always tough, I think. You know, he’s going to play the percentages high. He’s not going to miss many shots. He’s got a great forehand, one of the best ever. Then physically and mentally he’s always going to be there. That what makes him so good and so tough over all these years. “

 

It looked for all the world like we would be in for a quick afternoon, but somehow Raonic clung on to set, needing five set points in total (three in the tie-break) to take only his second set off the Spaniard.

 

Milos Raonic

Milos Raonic

Going toe-to-toe with him in the decider had everyone ready for a decisive tie-break but for a loose game by Nadal to give Raonic a 6-5 lead. For once it was right to come down to that serve as Raonic held his nerve to close out a 4-6, 7-6(10), 7-5 win, his first over Nadal and it sets up an intriguing rematch now against Federer after their encounter in the season opener in Brisbane.

 

Raonic believes he can be ready for Saturday’s semi-final after such a momentous win.

 

He said: “I think I have a good understanding of what I need to do against Roger. Obviously that’s the easiest part, understanding it, rather than doing it. But I think the last three times we have played I have sort of been able to change course a little bit, especially when it was important to me in Paris. Even the other two I didn’t play well at the start of the matches, in London and in Brisbane, but I was able to find a way to fight myself back into those matches and give myself some opportunities.

 

“I’ve just got to keep calm, keep collected, and just try to figure out solutions and adjustments as they come.”

 

The ATP semi-finals will be played on Saturday.

 

Ros Satar is a British sports journalist and a writer at Livetennis.com.

Share

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal Advance at Indian Wells

 

Roger Federer

Roger Federer

(March 17, 2015) World No. 2 and four-time Indian Wells champion Roger Federer avenged his Australian Open third round loss to Italy’s Andreas Seppi with a 6-3, 6-4 victory on Tuesday night. Rafael Nadal also advanced with a 6-4, 6-2 win over American Donald Young. Both men have moved on to the round of 16.

“It absolutely was an opportunity right away to play him again and sort of erase it to some extent from the memory as the season moves forward,” Federer said of the 82-minute match “It’s one of those matches you’re happy you’re through, and I was happy it was over.”

In the all-lefty match-up, Nadal said: “I feel confident that I am playing much better than one month and a half ago.”

“I feel closer to be what I am, what I want to be, and it’s a positive victory for me, and it’s a positive victory for me, another victory. Every victory is important victory for me. Already six matches in a row winning, and that’s a good number.”

The No 3 player will face Gilles Simon in the fourth round.

“He is playing well. He had a good beginning of the season,” The Spaniard said of his future French challenger. “Is true he had some problem in his neck last couple of years, no? He had some injuries there.

“So he’s playing with injuries, with pain, with no continuity is very difficult for everybody. He’s healthy now. He’s playing well. He’s a very dangerous player.”

Federer will play American Jack Sock next.

“Never played him,” said Sock. “I mean, we are friendly. Friendly guy. Talk in the locker room some. Yeah, I’m more excited than anything if I do play him. Obviously Seppi got him in Melbourne.

“But, yeah, if I get a chance to play him ‑‑ I haven’t played one of those, as some people say, those top 4 guys. I haven’t been able to play one in a match. Yeah, I look forward to it, and especially here in the States it would be fun.”

Share

A Game of Inches and Miles

By Curt Janka

(March 15, 2015) INDIAN WELLS, California – The intrigue of tennis often relies on how well the opponents match up. When talent is comparable, the space between winning and losing can be a couple ticks on a ruler. So was the first-ever meeting between Grigor Dimitrov and Nick Kyrgios. Looking at the stats alone, it would be difficult to tell who was the victor. Dimitrov won 7-6 (2), 3-6, 7-6(4), but a mini break here or an inch there could have easily tipped the match in Kyrgios’ favor.

With no breaks of serve in the first set and nearly identical stat sheets, the whole match came down to Dimitrov playing more levelheaded tiebreakers. The lively court and sometimes-tricky breeze may have made it tougher for either player to break serve. “I thought it was really bouncy today,” said Kyrgios. “I found it incredibly tough to return, and he obviously wasn’t comfortable at all returning my serve. It was just tough conditions. A bit windy at times.”

Dimitrov did, in fact, struggle to crack his opponent’s serve. “I think he’s tough to read, and especially when the court is very lively, like today,” Dimitrov explained. “, I think it was just a matter of a few points, and definitely my mental side was better I think in the end.”

Ultimately, an ankle roll immediately before Kyrgios served for the win in the third set may have decided the match. When asked if the unlucky injury contributed to his loss, Kyrgios said, “It obviously played a big part in me not serving out the match because I had not really been broken before that.”

In stark contrast, Serena Williams and Roger Federer outdistanced their overmatched opponents by huge margins. Williams appeared listless for most of the match, but did not expend much effort to brush off Zarina Diyas 6-2, 6-0.

“It definitely felt back to normal out there,” Williams said. “Just trying to feel the rhythm and trying to focus on the ball more than anything else.”

Federer also appeared a bit off rhythm at times, but still coasted to a 6-4, 6-2 win over Diego Schwartzman.

“I’m moving well, which is key on this surface because the easy shots and easy points are not going to happen so easily here like they maybe do in Dubai or Australia or the indoor season,” Federer said.

Curt Janka is covering the BNP Paribas Open this week. Follow his updates on twitter at @TennisNewsTPN. Follow his personal twitter @CurtJanka.

Share

Serena Williams’ return to Indian Wells praised by peers

 

 

(March 11, 2015) INDIAN WELLS – It is a measure of respect that the top players have for Serena Williams that they were happy to talk about her impending return to Indian Wells, as well as their own chances at the tournament – well at least for all but one of them.

 

As some of the best players in the WTA met members of the press ahead of starting their own campaigns at the BNP Paribas Open, the big news was and of course still is Williams.

 

For 14 years, Indian Wells has been without either of the sisters who have made such a huge impact on the sport. Even after battling with potentially career threatening injuries and illnesses both Venus and Serena are still very much at the top of their games, especially when you take into account Venus’ recent resurgence.

 

As Serena racked up her 19th Grand Slam, the time was right (ironically in a piece written for Time magazine) for Serena to at least forgive and move on. Accepting a wildcard, she would return to the Premier mandatory event for the first time since her win, marred by controversy in 2001.

 

Speaking to one of the players that knows her best, we were given a brief insight into how precious enduing friendships are in the sport. Caroline Wozniacki explained how Williams had stepped in to help her over the very public break-up of her impending nuptials to Irish golfer Rory McIlroy. She described how the World No. 1 had been almost like a “big sister” to her as the pair hit the beach in the summer ahead of some of Wozniacki’s best tennis in her career.

 

It was Williams that was waiting at the New York finish line as Wozniacki completed her first marathon, with the tennis season still in full swing.

 

The Dane said: “She’s special. She’s a great person. She’s there when you need her. We just click.”

 

She continued: “It’s great for her, it’s great for the tournament and it’s great for tennis. It’s a big step for her and I’m sure she will handle it great.”

Last year’s finalist Agnieszka Radwanska said: “There’s so many other top players, but of course she is in the draw as well so it’s going to be even more tough. It’s good that she’s back here, always another challenge for us playing her here.”

 

The players facing Serena would barely have even started their careers when she lifted her second Indian Wells trophy, but no-one has missed the controversy, but it is time to move on.

 

Canada’s Genie Bouchard said: “The past is the past. The players are excited she’s here. She’s the best player in the world, and this is a major tournament. She should be here.”

 

Even Roger Federer, who is still chasing his 18th Grand Slam title believed that Friday’s come-back match was going to be something special at the Tennis Gardens.

 

“It’s wonderful for American fans who have attended this event for so many years and haven’t seen her play here, so I think it’s great for them. I think it’s great for women’s tennis and I think it’s nice that we get to see her here again.”

 

And here she will be, although without her long-term hitting partner Sascha Bajin who has been at her side for the last eight years, but joins Victoria Azarenka’s new coaching set up.

 

Having struggled with a virus at the start of the year, that limited her Fed Cup duty following her sixth Australian Open win and a 19th Grand Slam, Williams will talk to the press on Thursday ahead of starting her campaign against Monica Niculescu in Friday’s night match.

Ros Satar is a British sports journalist and a writer at Livetennis.com.

Related articles:

Charting a New Future by Remembering the Past

Serena Williams Accepts Wild Card Into BNP Paribas Open

Share

Federer Would Love the ATP Year End to Come Back to MSG, “but everything needs to be right”

(March 10, 2015) NEW YORK, NY – Madison Square Garden played host to the BNP Paribas Showdown on Tuesday in conjunction with World Tennis Day. The main exhibition event saw world No. 11 Grigor Dimitrov take down No. 2 Roger Federer 6-2, 1-6, 7-5, rallying from a break down in the final set in front of 14, 894 fans.

Madison Square Garden held the ATP World Tour Finals from 1977-1989. Tennis Panorama News asked Federer and Dimitrov about bringing the event back to New York City.

Tennis Panorama News: “You both clearly enjoy playing in the Garden, do you think the ATP should bring the Year End back here?”

Federer: “Yeah, let me answer that. I’ve been in politics a little be more in the game than Grigor has.

“I think if we come here, everything needs to be right – the time, the money, to be honest, because in London we have an unbelievable tournament going on right now. So it needs a lot in my opinion to move away from O2 (Arena) which is a wonderful venue It’s sold out every single session – day session, night session and it’s very, very successful so I don’t know what the ATP is going to do with it, but it’s the crown jewel of the ATP Tour and a lot of thought will go into it and I’m sure they are checking out different venues all around the world. But clearly also speaking to London, which has a lot of history, the same as here in New York.

“So in my opinion, I would love see the Year End Championships in a strong market, in a cool city – and clearly New York fits the bill for that but still I think that a lot needs to be done, but clearly in some way I would love to see tennis back at the Garden. No doubt about it, especially after tonight again.”

In a bit of levity after both men were asked about their initial memories about Madison Square Garden, 33-year-old Federer reminisced about watching New York Knicks games on TV in the early 1990s, while 23-year-old Dimitrov added: “I was born around the ’90s,” which elicited laughter from those in the news conference.

Although, the win for the Bulgarian is only an exhibition victory, he’ll take it. Dimitrov is 0-3 on the tour against the Swiss. “I have so much respect for him,” he said.

“I think he played very well, “Federer said. He did really well to turn the match around, honestly. So credit to him. It’s a lot of pressure – first time at the Garden.”

“We did have some great shots,” Federer said. I thought it was actually a pretty high level match at the end of the day.”

In one rally, both men exchanged between-the-legs shots, also known as a “tweener.” Dimitrov also substituted himself out of the match during the third set, and let a young boy take over for a point. The boy hit a lob winner over Federer’s head. “It’s special to play at the Garden,” Federer said. ” This is only my third time. This is very unique and enjoyed the experience.” “I’m thrilled. It was an amazing experience for me,” Dimitrov said of his first time playing in the Garden. ” To be out there playing against Roger.”

The evening at the “Showdown” began with a pair of Hall of Fame members squaring off to commemorate the 25th anniversary of their five-set 1990 WTA Finals match which also took place at Madison Square Garden.

Gabriela Sabatini, 44 exacted a little revenge with her 8-5 pro set win over 41-year-old Monica Seles. Seles won the match 25 years ago.

Speaking of Hall of Famers, Roger Federer admitted that Martina Hingis has approached him about playing mixed doubles with her at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

“I have to figure out things, what my priority is at the end of the day and Martina has done a lot for tennis in Switzerland,” said the fellow Swiss. “She was a hero of mine. Seeing her on the tour basically when I was still, not knowing what I was doing on the tennis court really.  She was already winning Wimbledon and all those things.”

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News

Share