2014/04/19

Notes and Quotes From Day One at the 2013 French Open

 

(May 26, 2013) A few of the quotes from the news conferences from Day 1 at the French Open.

Venus Williams

Asked about her preparation for Roland Garros:

“Extremely unideal.

“Definitely, you know ‑‑ definitely been struggling.  Just wanted to come here and try to ‑‑ you know, try to play.  I mean, I think my movement is awesome, but I just haven’t played any matches and just haven’t hit any serves, and it’s just hard to be perfect in the first match.

“I think there were periods where, you know, I found some rhythm and there were periods where I didn’t.  I tried very hard, but my opponent just played a little better.”

 

Venus admitted that problems with her back prevented her from serving with more speed:

“I can’t really serve very hard.  It’s painful when I do that.  But I’m getting better.  I just, you know, ran out of time to get better for this tournament.

“My strategy was more or less to put the ball in, and that’s very difficult for me, too, because that’s not who I am.  But that’s all I had.  So that was challenging to, you know, be conservative on the serve and then go to be aggressive during the point.  It’s like, you know, you have to, you know, suddenly change your mindset.  That’s a little challenging.

“So I’m just, you know, obviously going to try to, you know ‑‑ I want my serve back.  I’m going to try to get it back for Wimbledon.”

“Sometimes you can just play yourself into the tournaments, and maybe if I was able to win that match maybe I could have continued to play better off the ground.  I’m not sure how much better I could play off the serve.

“That’s sometimes how it works in tennis, but it’s just been a very challenging injury for me.”

Serena Williams

 

Asked about her rivalry with Martina Hingis and if her role as coach is a good thing for women’s tennis.

“I don’t know if it’s good for women’s tennis, but it’s exciting to see Martina around and see her wisdom going to another player.  And Pavlyuchenkova, I know she had a really good win today.  Tough win.  It was good for her.

“I have seen improvements already.  I think they make a great team.  They get along well.  They seem to have so much fun.  I think it’s really nice.

 

 

Pablo Carreno Busta

After his loss to Roger Federer, Carreno Busta was asked about the difference between playing the futures and challenger events versus the ATP Tour.

“Yeah, in futures the players plays good, but maybe the level was really different.  Roger is No. 2 of the world and was maybe the best in the history, so I think that it’s impossible compare the level in futures with the level of Roger.

“I think I play eight futures this year and I play really good.  I won seven, and it was very, very good for my confidence and for my level in tennis.

“But I think now for me the best time to be better is playing these matches and with these opponents.”

 

Roger Federer

 

Federer shared his opinion about the Sunday starts at the French Open:

“Well, I mean, yeah, I mean, I remember they sort of forced me to play on Sunday years back to promote their Sunday thing.  I was against it just because I felt like the way they got the Sunday, you know, first was maybe, oh, let’s try it out.  Next thing you know like they have it for a lifetime or what?  Is that how it works?

“So I didn’t agree with how things went along.  From that standpoint today, you know, it is what it is, but it is the only Grand Slam that has it.  Wimbledon does it in 13 days and the French does it in 15.

“So it doesn’t make sense, but I do understand that a weekend for tennis is very important for the people who can show up instead of ‑‑ it anyway is very odd that we do start the tournament week on a Monday where everybody goes back to work.  Doesn’t really work.

“But, anyway, it’s how we are.  So I get the Sunday start, but it’s always something that’s a debate, you know, within the ATP and the French Open.

“But I’m happy this time around.  I told them if they wanted me to play Sunday, whatever, I’m fine with it.  They took that opportunity right away, so… (He said smiling)”

Sara Errani

Last year’s losing finalist gave her thoughts about returning to the finals this year:

” I’m not thinking about that.  It’s a new tournament for me.  Also last year was unbelievable tournament, best tournament of my life, how you say.

“I don’t want to think about that.  I just want to come here and play another tournament, a new tournament like I do other week, try to think that it’s important tournament, but is only one more tournament.

“So I try to be like that, try to concentrate on my tennis, not too much about last year or what I defend and these things.”

 

Xavier Malisse

 

After his loss to Milos Raonic,Malise gave his houghts on playing Roland Garros next year:

“Perhaps I will come back, but not necessarily in the top ranks.  I don’t know.  It’s difficult really to say.  After last year I felt as though I was really done so I don’t know if I could have come back, but of course here I am.  Who knows what’s going to happen now.

“But I would like to play one more year.  It’s nice playing here because it’s all very special here because everybody is here and the Belgians are here.

“But you never know.  You never know what the future will hold.”

 

Mallory Burdette

Asked about how comfortable she felt playing on clay:

“It’s definitely a bit of a different game, but it’s nothing that we can’t adjust to.  I can’t really speak for the other players, but it’s a bit of a challenge.  You have to change up your strategy a little bit, especially if you’re a big hitter.

“It takes a little bit of effort, but it’s fun and it’s a good challenge.

 

Stanford grad Burdette was asked what advice would she give high school seniors deciding whether or not to go to college.

“I think one of the biggest things is to realize that everybody is different.  So your path may be very different from someone else’s.

“When it comes to assessing your game, I would say get a lot of opinions from other coaches, hear what they have to say.

“Also, what are you comfortable with right now?  Do you feel like you’re in a position mentally and emotionally where you can grow and develop while you’re on your own on the tour?  Then go for it.  You have a good support system, financially everything is in line.

“If you feel like you can’t do that, then school is a great option.  It’s a place where you can grow and develop and go through some tough times.  You have a team there to support you and coaches with you at all times; whereas on the tour you’re a little bit more on your own.

“So it depends on the individual.  You really just have to lok at what will work for you.”

 

Milos Raonic

 

Raonic who is now working with former pro Ivan Ljubicic commented on the difference between working with his old coach and now Ljubicic.

 

“I don’t think there is really too much difference.  I think just since it’s a new start with something, you just sort of go forward with it, with the game plan, and you sort of just lay that trust there.

“And just part of it is to be a bit more aggressive, to be quite a bit more aggressive and try to make the opponent more and more comfortable and not really settle for rally shots, trying to have more purpose on every shot, trying to sort of get that rather than waiting for my opponent to give it to me.  Sort of reaching out there and trying to take it for myself.

“Ivan is helping me out as a friend at the moment.”

 

Gilles Simon

What was going on in Simon’s mind when Hewitt evened the fifth set at 5-5:

“Well, I knew in the game I had to play against him, but unfortunately I just didn’t manage to do it at the beginning.  That’s the least I can say.

“I was feeling bad.  I didn’t have a good rhythm on the court.  It takes me a long time to find it.  Then it was better, a lot better.  I was in control.

“But unfortunately at the end he played one more time great tennis.  And it’s never easy to finish when you see the guy coming back 5‑1, 5‑2, 5‑3 after a few match points.

“So I’m just happy that I managed to win this one.  I think it was a very difficult match today for me, and I just hope I’m going to be better on the next round.”

 

Lleyton Hewitt

“It was more just blisters on my toe.  You know, it was uncomfortable but you can play through it.  He obviously stepped up his game from the start of the third set.  I was able to hang in there.  I had small opportunities.

“Broke back and got on serve at 3‑All and couldn’t quite ‑‑ if I could have kept in front in the third set and put a bit more pressure on him towards the end of the set I might have had a bit of a chance.”

“You know, would have liked to have been on the other end of it.  Yeah, disappointing, but, yeah, I didn’t obviously come here with massive expectations.”

Sam Querrey

On only his second win at Roland Garros:

“Yeah, feels great to get a win.  My other win was on this court, too, so that’s the only court I can win on here.

“The clay season has been a little rough.  Pulled out of Houston, and the Masters Series, I played well in both of them, but took two losses.  And then Nice was a little disappointing.

“I just focused on my attitude out here today and played the best match I’ve played all year on any surface.”

Shelby Rogers

 

My first Grand Slam main draw win.  And especially against a French player.  I was expecting the crowd to be against me.  I was ready for a battle.  She’s a good player and has got a lot of power.  Great serve.

“So I was ready for a battle; things turned out in my favor today.”

 

Michael Llodra

 

On whether or not he’ll retire after this year:

“I made my decision.  Because it’s still great pleasure.  So it’s going to be another year where I’ll have to play on the tournaments on which I feel good.

“But I made that decision.  I have too much fun on the court.  I’m in good shape.  And it’s always pleasant to have people supporting you, saying, Well, you’re one of the last ones playing with the kind of game you have.

“So I will probably have a lighter schedule.  But there are tournaments I like playing on, and I will continue.”

 

David Ferrer

Ferrer on his admiration of Lleyton Hewitt:

“Well, I saw what he did during his match, Hewitt, yeah.  He’s a player whom I admire.  He was like a benchmark for me from the very first day when I started playing tennis, because he’s such an excellent player.

“But, you know, at the end of the day everybody does their best, and experience counts a lot.  But the most important thing is that you have to love tennis.  Lleyton was No. 1.  Well, today he’s not got his best ranking, but he’s still fighting.

“And we, the younger generations ‑‑ or, rather, when we were young and for younger players, it’s a reference.  He should be considered as a reference.  They should look at him and see that he always reacts in a positive way.  Even though sometimes you’re down, your scores are awful, you do your best.  And this is something I admire from Lleyton.”

 

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News

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Americans in Paris – Day One at Roland Garros

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(May 26, 2013) Twenty-five players from the United States are competing in the singles draws of Paris this fortnight at Roland Garros – 15 women and 10 men. Americans went 4-4 in Paris on the first day of the French Open.

Here is a look at how they all fared:

First Round: Serena Williams (1) (USA) def. Anna Tatishvili (GEO) 6-0, 6-1

In 2012 Serena Williams lost for the only time in the first round of a major when she fell to Virginie Razzano in Paris. Williams did not let that happen on Sunday. Her demolition of Tashvilli saw Williams win 56 of 78 points in the match and hit 8 aces.

Serena was questioned about about the surge of women from the U. S.  in the main draw of Roland Garros – a total of 15.

“I think the quality over the past year has jumped tremendously with the U.S. players,” Williams said.  “On the female, female U.S. players.  I think last year here, outside of me, all the U.S. girls did really, really well, and I think we started to see then just so many players just popping up left and right.

“That’s 15 in the main draw?  That’s pretty awesome.  Yeah.  So it is a lot of players, but they’re all really young.  So there is still an opportunity to grow.”

Williams gets a French wild card, promising teenager Caroline Garcia next. Back in 2011, Garcia led Maria Sharapova in Paris 6-3, 4-1 before the Russian came back to win in three sets.

 

First round: Sam Querrey (18) (USA) def. Lukas Lacko (POL) 6-3, 6-4, 6-4

The No. 1 U. S. male who is 20th in the world, has equaled his best performance at the French Open by reaching the second round. In fact, the California native won Sunday’s match on the same court where he was victorious back in 2011 – on Court 7. Querrey is 1-3 on clay coming into Paris this season.

“The clay season has been a little rough,” Querrey said to media.  “Pulled out of Houston, and the Masters Series, I played well in both of them, but took two losses.  And then Nice was a little disappointing.

“I just focused on my attitude out here today and played the best match I’ve played all year on any surface.”

Querrey gets Jan Hajek of the Czech Republic next in the second round. Hajek defeated American Dennis Kudla

 

First round: Urszula Radwanska (POL) def. Venus Williams (USA) 7-6 (5), 6-7 (4), 6-4

The three hour and 19 minute match on Sunday was Williams‘ first loss in the opening round of the French Open since 2001.  She’s now lost in the first round of 2 of the last four majors. she also lost at Wimbledon. Despite the heart-breaking loss, she is not discouraged and will continue to play.

“I think that obviously it’s disappointing to lose,” Venus told media in her post-match news conference.  “It’s not what anyone is going for out here.  Coming out to win.  I’m coming out to win my matches.

“And, you know, with what I’ve gone through, it’s not easy.  But I’m strong and I’m a fighter.  You know, I don’t think I’m just playing for me now.  I think I’m playing for a lot of people who haven’t felt well.

“I think for me today it’s a positive to be able to play three hours.  I’m constantly finding ways to get better and to feel better.

“For me, I would never give up because, you know, obviously at some point everyone has to retire.  You know, that’s an asterisk, but I feel like I have to give myself a chance to continue working on feeling better.  I wouldn’t just give up just because it was difficult.

“That’s not me.  So my thing is that I’m going to keep ‑‑ continue trying.  And, you know, I had a very challenging year last year, but I had many successes, as well.

“So I’m continuing to look forward to more successes.”

Williams is still playing in the French Open, she’s competing in doubles with her sister Serena.

 

First round: Viktor Trocki (SRB) def. James Blake (USA) 6-4, 6-2, 6-2

Thirty-three year-old veteran James Blake, playing for the ninth time at Roland Garros could do nothing against Troicki. The highlight of the match for Blake was a between-the-legs shot.

Blake who came into Paris with no clay court ATP tournaments under his belt, spoke about play.

“The difference between my best and now is consistency,” said Blake to media. “I’m still trying to work on it. There are days it is good. Today wasn’t one of my best days. Off days are exposed very quickly out here.”

 

First round: Mallory Burdette (USA) def. Donna Vekic (CRO) 6-3, 6-4

Stanford Alum Mallory Burdette was making her debut on the clay of Paris. She has seen her ranking rise from No. 142 at the beginning of 2013 to No. 80.

Burdette spoke to media about her challenges in learning to play on clay.

“It’s definitely a bit of a different game, but it’s nothing that we can’t adjust to.  I can’t really speak for the other players, but it’s a bit of a challenge.  You have to change up your strategy a little bit, especially if you’re a big hitter.

“It takes a little bit of effort, but it’s fun and it’s a good challenge.”

 

First round: Shelby Rogers (USA) def. 6-3, 6-4 Irena Pavlovic (FRA)

Playing in just her second major, Shelby Rogers made her Paris debut a winning one. Beginning the year on tour at 0-6, she earned a wild card into Roland Garros.

Rogers who turned pro in 2009, reflected on the win:

“Feels really good.  My first Grand Slam main draw win.  And especially against a French player.  I was expecting the crowd to be against me.  I was ready for a battle.”

“It was really tough for a while,” said the 188th ranked player. “I wasn’t a very happy person. But I kept grinding it out every day, and I knew something had to turn around eventually. Here I am – pretty much the highest point of my career.”

 

Jan Hajek(CZE) def. Denis Kudla (USA) 6-2, 5-7, 6-0, 6-4

Kudla, once the No. 3 Junior made it into the main draw as a qualifier.

 

Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) def. Grace Min (USA) 4-6, 6-4, 7-5

The 2011 U.S. Open Girls’ champion Grace Min made it to the main draw of Roland Garros as a qualifier.

 

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News

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Djokovic Limps, Serbia Advances: World No. 1 overcomes ankle injury to eliminate U.S. in World Group Quarterfinals

Djokovic 6 32

DAVIS CUP: DJOKOVIC LIMPS, SERBIA ADVANCES

World No. 1 overcomes ankle injury to eliminate U.S. in World Group Quarterfinals

 

By Junior Williams

 

(April 7, 2013) BOISE, Idaho -  The toughness of Novak Djokovic was on full display Sunday at the Davis Cup World Group Quarterfinals.

The world’s top ranked singles player battled through an ankle injury suffered early in the match and defeated American Sam Querrey 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-1, 6-0 to give Serbia a 3-1 victory against the United States, earning a berth in the semifinals.

 

Midway though the third game of the first set with the score tied at 1-1, Djokovic crumpled to the ground in pain and had to be carried off the court by members of the Serbian team, stunning thousands on hand at Taco Bell Arena who were wondering if the six-time grand slam winner would continue playing the match.

 

After receiving treatment for several minutes, Djokovic — who led Serbia to its first and only Davis Cup championship in 2010 — returned to the court amid cheers from the crowd, and went on to actually break Querrey to put Serbia up 2-1.

 

Djokovic said his physiotherapist “did everything in his power after (the injury) happened to make sure I can continue playing. Because in his interest, my interest, and everybody, of course I want to continue on playing. I don’t want to retire the match.

 

“We did tests that indicated I could continue on, that it wasn’t an extreme ligament strain. That allowed me to continue on. I took some medications.”

Djokovic also made it clear he didn’t want to let Serbia down: “Obviously it’s very strong emotion when you play for your country. I guess that’s the biggest reason why I kept playing.”

 

The watch was on to see how well Djokovic would serve following the injury. He went on to hold that game, but it was clear that the ankle was bothering him as he hobbled during and after rallies. The U.S. broke back at 3-3 on a Djokovic double fault.

 

In the eleventh game of the set, Querrey’s forehand into the net cord gave Serbia a break and a 6-5 lead. Djokovic had to save three break points to close out the set.

 

Querrey bounced back in the second set despite a pectoral injury which prevented him from executing his trademark booming serves. The top-ranked American had no aces in the entire after striking six in the first. Querrey saved two break points to go up 6-5, and went on to win the second set tiebreak 7-4. The U.S. secured a mini-break at 6-4 when Djokovic took a Querrey return in mid-air and hit it wide of the sideline. A Djokovic shot into the net on the next point gave the U.S. the game and knotted the match at a set apiece.

 

But in the third set, a Querrey double fault gave Serbia a break and a 2-0 lead. After that, it was all Djokovic. His mobility improved as did his groundstrokes and his service game. The Serb hit twelve winners in the set to Querrey’s five, and had a 70-percent first serve percentage.

As for Querrey, the 20th-ranked player in the world couldn’t overcome his pectoral injury. The result: A 48-percent first serve percentage in the set, and three double faults. For the entire match, he ended up with more double faults (eight) than aces (seven).

 

“It hurt on my serve,” said Querrey. “I wasn’t able to get my usual pop, and that’s tough when you’re playing against the best returner in the world. I was trying, but, yeah, it was just kind of sore there second, third and fourth sets. ”

 

The first game of the fourth set saw Querrey broken at love, and Djokovic swept the remainder of the games.

 

“You take away Sam’s serve,  that is a different change” said U.S. Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier. “That would be like stripping Novak of his movement. That’s one of Sam’s two big key weapons. His serve went from 130 to barely over 100 at times just because he couldn’t get it there because of his pec.”

 

After the final point of the 2 hour 35 minute match, the world number one raised his arms in victory and was lifted off the ground and hugged by his Serbian teammates, whom he saluted in the post-match news conference.

 

“It wasn’t about my win Friday or today,” said Djokovic. “It was just about the team win, the team effort. That’s something that is very special and beautiful about this competition. You can represent your country and you get to be part of a team. You get to feel the team spirit that carries you on to victory.”

 

Next up for Serbia: A home tie against Canada, fresh from a quarterfinal victory over Italy. As for what’s next for Djokovic, he said he first has to assess the seriousness of his ankle injury. “I was planning to play Monte-Carlo,” said the world number one. “I live there and train there, so it feels like a home tournament to me. I love playing there, so I’m going to do everything in my power to recover for that tournament.”

 

“How realistic it is, to be honest, I don’t know. I don’t know what to tell you right now. It’s still too early.”

 

The home loss is a bitter pill to swallow for the U.S., whose Davis Cup season has come to an end. The Americans — whose last home defeat was in 2011 to Spain in Austin, Texas — now must wait until a September draw after the semifinals and World Group Play-offs — to find out who their first opponent will be for the 2014 campaign.

 

But Captain Courier had some kind words for Boise, saying the city “did an outstanding job welcoming both teams … It was a tremendous atmosphere. It’s one of the pluses about the way Davis Cup is played today is the atmosphere.

 

“I think Boise has a lot to be proud of.”

 

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Serbia Holds Off Bryans in Five-Set Thriller

 

 

By Junior Williams

DAVIS CUP: SERBIA HOLDS OFF BRYANS IN THRILLER

Takes 2-1 lead after Zimonjic, Bozoljac win in five-set marathon.

 

(April 6, 2013) BOISE, Idaho – Serbia Davis Cup captain Bogdan Obradovic is probably saying, “I told you so.”

 

He stuck with No. 335th ranked Ilija Bozoljac instead of replacing him with world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.

 

The payoff: Bozoljac and Nenad Zimonjic defeated top-ranked Americans Bob and Mike Bryan 7-6 (5), 7-6 (1), 5-7, 4-6, 15-13 in a thrilling 4 hour 21- minute doubles match in the Davis Cup World Group Quarterfinals at Taco Bell Arena, giving Serbia a 2-1 lead heading into Sunday’s rubbers and an opportunity for Djokovic to clinch the tie in his singles match.

 

Bozoljac’s powerful serves — many of them rockets at around 135 miles per hour — helped to neutralize the Bryans. Together, Bozoljac and Zimonjic served up 36 aces to the Americans’ twelve.

 

The 27-year old Bozoljac also came through with a number of backhand winners down the line. his play, combined with the experience of former world number one doubles player Zimonjic, came in handy for the Serbs.

 

Both teams broke each other midway through the first set, but it was Serbia that struck first by winning the tiebreak on a Zimonjic second serve ace, followed by a winner that clipped the baseline.

 

The second tiebreak also went to Serbia, helped by a minibreak due to a net cord and a strong service game resulting in three aces.

 

But the world’s No. 1 doubles team refused to give up. The Americans began their comeback by breaking Bozoljac’s serve in the final game of the third set, as Zimonjic’s block of a Mike Bryan shot sailed beyond the baseline.

 

The Bryans repeated the feat in the fourth set, as Zimonjic — who was serving this game — knocked a return from the Americans in to the net, knotting up the match at two sets apiece.

 

In the fifth set, each team managed to hold serve while escaping danger at times, until the 27th game of the set, when Bozoljac’s backhad stab return was sent wide by the Americans to give Serbia a break and a chance to serve out the match.

 

But there was more drama, as Zimonjic double faulted to give the Bryans two break points and a chance to tie the set at 14-14. That’s when Zimonjic blasted two aces to tie the game at deuce.

 

After the Bryans staved off one match point on a lob the Serbs couldn’t convert, Zimonjic served out the next two points, ending with an ace to seal the victory for Serbia. The winners hugged each other on the court as their supporters cheered wildly. Despite their disappointment, those rooting for the home team applauded the quality play of both the Serbians and the Americans.

 

Just how close was the match? Each team scored 217 points.

 

“For sure, it’s the biggest win in the Davis Cup doubles for me,” said Zimonjic. “We were playing very good.

 

“This was definitely a great, great performance and great match from me.”

 

“Anybody who was supposed to play with Nenad was supposed to be the underdog against the Bryans,” Bozoljac said. “We won and I just can’t believe it happened.

“For me, it definitely means a lot because this is my best performance in Davis Cup so far. I knew if I give my 100 percent for one match I could play on a really high level.”

 

“Have to tip our hats to those guys, obviously,” said a disappointed Bob Bryan.  “Thought they played really well all day.  36 aces, didn’t give us much opportunity, in the fifth especially.
“Just one of those things.  Obviously disappointed we let the team down.”

 

He’s a guy we haven’t seen too much of on the tour,” Mike Bryan said about journeyman Bozoljac.  “Asked a few questions of guys that have seen him play.  Gave us a few things.  But he served great all day.  He actually was a stronger returner.  There at the end he didn’t show any nerves, came up with the goods, especially on some of those 30‑All points.”

 

US Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier was asked about if Bozoljac’s is a testament to the spirit of Davis Cup “I think inspiration is pretty easy to come by when you’re playing for the colors on your back, US.  We’ve seen a lot of people in this competition rise up.  You look at the numbers next to the guy’s career, you see the performance today, something doesn’t add up.  You clearly see there was some inspiration, chemistry with Nenad on the court, and you say, Too good.”

 

It was the second consecutive Davis Cup defeat for the Bryans, who back in February lost in the World Group First Round to Brazil’s Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares. The winningest doubles team in U.S. Davis Cup history is now 20-4 when playing together.

 

Now the U.S. faces a tall task in tomorrow’s reverse singles, with Djokovic set to take on Sam Querrey in the first match. If Querrey pulls off the upset, it’ll be left to American John Isner and Serb Viktor Troicki to settle the tie.

 

Junior Williams is a long-time journalist and tennis fan. At a moment’s notice he can give you a list of all the Davis Cup match-ups that would give the US home ties. He is in Boise, Idaho covering the Davis Cup quarterfinal World Group tie between the United States and Serbia for Tennis Panorama News.

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Davis Cup: US, Serbia Deadlocked at 1-1; Djokovic, Querrey Victorious in World Group Quarterfinals

DAVIS CUP: U.S., SERBIA DEADLOCKED AT 1-1

Djokovic, Querrey victorious in World Group Quarterfinals

By Junior Williams

Sam Querrey

Sam Querrey

(April 5, 2013) BOISE, Idaho – Sam Querrey rebounded from a two sets to one deficit to defeat Viktor Troicki 7-6 (1), 3-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, drawing the United States even with Serbia at one match apiece in the Davis Cup World Group Quarterfinals at a loud Taco Bell Arena on the Boise State University campus.

In the first match, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic dispatched American John Isner in straight sets 7-6 (5), 6-2, 7-5.

 

Isner got off to a fast start by breaking Djokovic early in the first set, but the Greensboro, North Carolina native failed to hold on to his advantage and went on to lose the first-set tiebreak, courtesy of a Djokovic change-of-pace serve that handcuffed the number 23-ranked player in the world.

 

From then on it was all Djokovic. He did his best impersonation of a backboard, neutralizing Isner’s powerful serves with solid returns and defense. The Serb wrapped up the match in two hours.

 

On court in a post-match interview, Djokovic was asked about how he executed his game plan against Isner.

 

His response: “I executed perfectly.”

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

 

Djokovic elaborated further in the news conference. “I guess one of the tactics — crucial points — was to get as many balls back on the return games and try to use my serve very efficiently and not give him any opportunities to atack my second serve. So I had a very high percentage of first serves in. That helped my confidence, and I could play with less pressure in his service games.”

 

Isner agreed with Djokovic that the Australian Open champion’s ability to break back in the first set was the turning point the match.

 

“I let him back in it,” said the American. “Granted, he played a good game, but I didn’t make many first serves that game. Doing that against this guy is not a good recipe.

“You want to make first serves, and I didn’t do in that one game in the first set. That was critical because I think he became a lot more comfortable at that point.”

 

Isner had seventeen aces in the match, but his first serve percentage was 54%, compared with 77% for Djokovic.

 

The Serb’s win set up another Davis Cup pressure cooker for Querrey, the top-ranked American and world No. 20. In the World Group First Round back in February, the Californian ousted Brazil’s Thiago Alves in a fifth and deciding rubber to send the U.S. into the quarterfinals.

 

Querrey and Troicki battled for 3 hours and 20 minutes in a match marked by long rallies, powerful serves and lots of unforced errors: Querrey had 82, Troicki 62.  Querrey was going for his shots, while Troicki – like Djokovic – appeared to be returning everything in sight.

crowd

The crowd erupted in the fifth set, when Querrey broke the world’s 44th-ranked player to go up 5-4, on a Troicki shot that hit the net cord but stayed on the Serbian’s side of the court. The American went on to hold serve in the next and final game.

 

Querrey said finding his groove in the fourth set was key: “I stayed positive and kept with the game plan and played aggressive. That fourth set served extremely well and was fortunate to get two breaks and that gave me a lot of momentum going into the fifth set.”

 

Troicki said he began to tire in the fourth set:

 

“I get a bit tired mentally and also physically my legs were not 100 percent and got a little bit slower. I could say fourth set I just like wasn’t there.”

 

But Troicki added both he and Querrey played well in the fifth set, and that it just came down to who seized the opportunities.

 

“I had some chances early in the fifth,” said Troicki. “I had some chances early in the fifth.  I had some break points; didn’t use them.  He used his chances when he had a break point in a crucial moment for me. So I could say I was unlucky to lose this serve and also, yeah, to lose the match.  But that’s tennis.”

 

Next up: A crucial Saturday doubles match with Americans Bob and Mike Bryan — the number one team in the world – scheduled to play Serbian doubles specialist Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac. But Novak Djokovic says he’s “still in the option” for doubles.

 

Whether Djokovic plays or not, U.S. Davis Cup captain Jim Courier says Saturday’s match is “not a must‑win.  We won’t be eliminated, nor will Serbia no matter what happens tomorrow.”

“We certainly want to win.  There is no doubt about that.  It’s an important match for both squads.  We’ll have two singles players ready to fire on Sunday.”

 

Junior Williams is a long-time journalist and tennis fan. At a moment’s notice he can give you a list of all the Davis Cup match-ups that would give the US home ties. He is in Boise, Idaho covering the Davis Cup quarterfinal World Group tie between the United States and Serbia for Tennis Panorama News.

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Isner to Face Djokovic in Opening Match of Davis Cup in Boise

davis cup poster boise efe

(April 4, 2013) No. 23 John Isner will play No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the first match Friday of the Davis Cup World Group quarterfinal between the United States and Serbia in Boise, Idaho at the Taco Bell Arena. Djokovic leads in their head-to-head record 2-1.

No. 1 American Sam Querrey, ranked No. 20, will play No. 44 Viktor Troicki in the second match. Troicki has a 2-1 record against the American.

The Saturday doubles rubber will see the top-ranked doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan against Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac.

In reverse singles on Sunday, the No.1’s Querrey and Djokovic will play the first match followed by Isner and Troicki.

Both teams met on Thursday for a news conference after the draw was made to the weekend.

Djokovic was asked about playing in high altitudes such as Boise which is 2,842 feet above sea level. “I played in high altitude before in my life, but not matches. I think in the tour we have Madrid that’s maybe 600, 700 meters, but this is the highest that I’m going to play ever in my life,” Djokovic said.

“And it makes a difference, you know. It makes a difference. You have to put I think an extra effort in the adjustment on the court. You have to try to serve well. It’s tough to control.

“You can’t expect maybe too many long points because the ball travels through the air much faster than in normal conditions.”

The altitude is sure to help the big-serving Americans.

“Well, I can’t serve bigger than John (Isner),” Djokovic said, “so I will try to concentrate on the efficiency of my serve and the second shot also, and of course try to get as many returns back in the court as I can. He relies on his serve. That’s his biggest weapon.”

“I have to play very well, Isner said of playing Djokovic first on Friday. “ If I don’t, chances are it may not turn out so good for me. He’s the No. 1 player in the world.

“Everyone has to play well if they want to have a chance to beat him. Simple as that. Got to go out there and look to play well and aggressively.”

“It’s important. You want to go out there, and just as Novak does, I want to put our team, our country, up 1-0. In these Davis Cup ties, there are five possible points, so every point is so critical.

“I’m not placing any extra importance on the first one. It would be nice to have for sure.

“Just as every point would be. So I’m not treating it any differently. I know I want to go out there and put our team up 1-0. That’s what Novak wants to do as well.

“Our guys are feeling good and have been practicing well,” said US Davis Captain Jim Courier. “Going up a team as accomplished as the Serbs is a big challenge and we look forward to that challenge.

“We’re going to have to play our best tennis, no holds bar, to get through this weekend from the first ball to the last ball.”

The Serbian team leads the US 1-0 in Davis Cup ties, defeating the US back in 2010 in Belgrade in the first round on the way to their first Davis Cup title.

Tennis Channel will air live daily coverage. Friday’s singles matches will air live at 3:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. MT, Saturday’s doubles match will air at 3:00 p.m. ET/1:00 p.m. MT, and Sunday’s singles matches will air live at 2:00 p.m. ET/12:00 p.m. MT.

Schedule

Friday, 1:00 p.m.

Singles A: John Isner (USA) vs. Novak Djokovic (SRB)

Singles B: Sam Querrey (USA) vs. Viktor Troicki (SRB)

Saturday, 12:30 p.m.

Doubles: Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan (USA) vs. Ilija Bozoljac/Nenad Zimonjic (SRB)

Sunday, 11:30 a.m.

Singles C: Sam Querrey (USA) vs. Novak Djokovic (SRB)

Singles D: John Isner (USA) vs. Viktor Troicki (SRB)

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Sam Querrey, Jack Sock Commit to play Hall of Fame Tennis Championships

 

NEWPORT, R.I., April 4, 2013 - No. 1 American Sam Querrey and rising American star Jack Sock will join fellow top Americans John Isner and Ryan Harrison in the player field for the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, to be played on the grass courts of the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island, July 8 – 14. Hosted right after Wimbledon, the tournament kicks off the United States summer swing for the ATP World Tour.

Sam Querrey“Sam Querrey, Jack Sock, John Isner, and Ryan Harrison are all fan favorites in Newport- and rightfully so. They always deliver exciting tennis, and we look forward to welcoming them back to Newport for a great tournament, ” said Tournament Director Mark Stenning. “Having four of the top American players in our field is a great way to kick off the American summer swing of the ATP World Tour.”

Sam Querrey is currently ranked No. 20 on the Emirates ATP World Tour rankings. As the No. 1 American player he will lead the United States team in Davis Cup action this weekend when they take on Serbia in the second round. In February, Querrey led the team to victory over Brazil (3-2) in a dramatic first round, when he defeated Thomaz Bellucci in 3 sets and Thiago Alves in 4 sets in the deciding rubber. This season Querrey has had two semifinal results- at Auckland and San Jose, and he was in the Round of 16 at both Indian Wells and Miami. Querrey is a seven-time singles champion on the ATP World Tour and he has also won four doubles titles. Since 2008, Querrey has won at least one singles or doubles title every year. This will be Querrey’s fourth appearance in Newport, where he was a finalist in 2009.

Jack SockRising American star Jack Sock, currently world No. 121, returns to Newport for the second year in a row. He advanced to the second round at Newport last year, in what was his first grass court tournament ever. Earlier this year, Sock captured his first ATP World Tour title, winning the doubles title with James Blake at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships. The week prior, the pair advanced to the finals at Memphis, falling to the Bryan Brothers. In singles action, Sock was a quarterfinalist at Memphis this year. Last year, in his first full season on the ATP World Tour, Sock jumped from world No. 380 at the start of the season to close the year at No. 150 in the ATP World Tour rankings. In 2011, Sock caught the attention of tennis fans worldwide when he won the US Open Mixed Doubles title with Melanie Oudin.

Complementing a full week of exciting ATP World Tour tennis, special events during the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships include junior tennis clinics, a pro am with the ATP World Tour pros, family activities, and more. Complete event details are available on the tournament website.

A highlight of the week is always the Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony, when the highest honor in the sport of tennis is presented to great champions and leaders in the sport. Former world No. 1 Martina Hingis will be enshrined this year, along with Australian tennis great Thelma Coyne Long, and longtime tennis industry leaders Cliff Drysdale, Charlie Pasarell, and Ion Tiriac. The Enshrinement Ceremony will be held on Saturday, July 13, just prior to the semifinals of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships.

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US Plays Host to Serbia in Davis Cup Quarterfinal This Weekend

QuerreyIsnerDavisCup2010lo_res

Sam Querrey and John Isner

(April 2, 2013) The United States hosts world No. 1 Novak Djokovic this weekend as they take on Serbia in the quarterfinal round of Davis Cup in Boise, Idaho on an indoor hard court at the Taco Bell Arena on the Boise State University campus.

 

The US team will consist of Sam Querrey, John Isner, Bob and Mike Bryan. In addition to Djokovic, Serbia sends Viktor Troicki, Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac.

 

This will be the second time that the US has played Serbia in Davis Cup competition. Serbia topped the US  3-2 in the 2010 first round in Belgrade.

 

“I think we like our chances,“ Querrey said at a a pre-draw news conference on Tuesday. “I think if we play aggressive and play well, we can win this tie.

 

“Sam and I are going to both lay it all out there and see how it goes,” Isner said.
“I think we’re certainly not scared.  We’re going to take the court believing we can win.  I think that’s the most important part more than anything else.  If you take the court with that belief, it could go a long way.”

 

Djokovic said the the tie is not all about him. “Team effort is a priority here, ” he said.  “Even if I win my both matches, it’s not going to be enough to win the tie.  So we need to win the 3 points.
“That’s what we came here for.  We are very glad to be in quarterfinals again.  Of course, USA is the most successful nation in this competition.  They have a lot of good players.  As you mentioned, Sam and John are the leaders of this team.  And, of course, Bryan brothers which are the all‑time best doubles pair.
“They are very strong.  They have chosen these conditions because they believe it’s going to go in their favor.  They have a strong serve.  With this altitude, it helps the serve more.
“But we played in these conditions before.  I played Sam and John, you know, in previous years few times.  I know their styles of the game.  This competition is very unique because you get to rely on the home support.  So it’s going to be quite different.  Obviously we going to have an extra motivation to play and win for our country.”

 

The winner of this tie will face either Canada or Italy in the World Group semifinals. Should the US beat Serbia, it will host Canada or travel to Italy. Although the US hosted the last tie against Canada in 1965, choice of ground was decided by lot if the previous meeting between the two nations was prior to 1970.

 

Schedule

All times Mountain Time

Friday, April 5, 2013 1:30 p.m.

Singles A: U.S. No. 1 vs. SRB No. 2 (or SRB No. 1 vs. U.S. No. 2)

Singles B: Opposite pairing of Singles A

 

Saturday, April 6, 2013 1:00 p.m.

Doubles

 

Sunday, April 7, 2013 12:00 p.m.

Singles C: U.S. No. 1 vs. SRB No. 1

Singles D: U.S. No. 2 vs. SRB No. 2

 

In the United States, the tie will air live on Tennis Channel.

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Courier Names Querrey, Isner and Bryan Brothers to US Davis Cup Squad

QuerreyIsnerDavisCup2010lo_res

From the USTA: WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., March 26, 2013 – The USTA and U.S. Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier announced today that new top-ranked American and world No. 20 Sam Querrey, No. 23 John Isner, and the world’s No. 1 doubles team of Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan will represent the United States in the 2013 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Quarterfinal tie against Serbia, April 5-7. The tie will be played on an indoor hard court at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho.

 

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic was named to the Serbian Davis Cup team today, making this the third time that the U.S. Davis Cup team has faced the No. 1-ranked player in the world since the ATP rankings began in 1974. Djokovic has won six Grand Slam singles titles—the US Open and Wimbledon, both in 2011, as well as four Australian Open titles. He played an instrumental part in Serbia’s only Davis Cup crown in 2010. Also named to the Serbian Davis Cup team is No. 44 Viktor Troicki, No. 338 Ilija Bozoljac and world No. 19 doubles player Nenad Zimonjic were named to the Serbian team.

 

“This team fought hard in the first round against Brazil and we expect a stern challenge when we face the Serbians in the quarterfinals,” said Captain Courier, who is in his third year as U.S. Davis Cup captain. “We are excited to bring the Davis Cup team to Boise for the first time and I expect a full house with enthusiastic crowd support for the home team.”

 

Matches will be telecast live on Tennis Channel and begin at 3:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. MT on Friday, 3:00 p.m. ET/1:00 p.m. MT on Saturday, and 2:00 p.m. ET/12:00 p.m. MT on Sunday. The best-of-five match series begins Friday with two singles matches, featuring each country’s No. 1 player against the other country’s No. 2 player. Saturday’s schedule features the pivotal doubles match. The final day of play on Sunday will feature two “reverse singles” matches, when the No. 1 players square off followed by the No. 2 players meeting each other in the final match. All matches are best-of-five sets until one nation clinches the tie, at which time they become best-of-three sets. A revised schedule for Sunday may take place if a team clinches in the third or fourth match.

 

The winner of this tie will face the winner of Canada and Italy in the semifinal round, September 13-15. Should the U.S. defeat Serbia, it would host Canada in the semifinal or travel to Italy.

 

Idaho is the 34th state to host a U.S. Davis Cup tie. This will be the second consecutive home tie for the U.S. Davis Cup team after defeating Brazil in the 2013 World Group First Round in Jacksonville, Fla. The U.S. is 110-16 all-time in Davis Cup ties played at home.

 

This match will mark just the second meeting between the U.S. and Serbia in Davis Cup competition. Serbia won the only meeting, 3-2, in the 2010 World Group First Round in Belgrade by a Novak Djokovic-led team. Serbia is only one of three countries to have a winning record against the U.S. Davis Cup Team.

 

Querrey, 25, became the No. 1-ranked American male last week and is ranked No. 20 in the world. Querrey, who will be competing in his sixth Davis Cup tie, played in his first Davis Cup tie at home and on a hard court in the 2013 first round in Jacksonville and clinched the tie for the U.S. in the fifth-and-decisive rubber, defeating Thiago Alves, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(3). It was the first time a U.S. Davis Cup match came down to the final match since Pete Sampras defeated Slava Doesedel of the Czech Republic in the 2000 quarterfinals in Los Angeles. Querrey had not won a live singles match prior to that weekend and ended up with two wins, also winning the opening rubber. Querrey now holds a 3-5 Davis Cup singles record. He made his Davis Cup debut against then-world No. 1 Rafael Nadal on clay in Madrid in the 2008 World Group Semifinal, losing in four sets. Querrey holds seven career ATP singles titles and has ranked as high as No. 17 in the world.

 

Isner, 27, is ranked No. 23 and will be competing in his eighth Davis Cup tie; he is 6-6 in singles and 2-0 in doubles. In the first round in Jacksonville, Isner also played in his first Davis Cup tie at home and on a hard court. He went 1-1 in singles play in that tie. Isner defeated Roger Federer in the U.S. Davis Cup team’s first round win at Switzerland last year, one of the biggest wins of his career, and he won his fifth career ATP singles title in 2012 at the Winston-Salem Open, an Emirates Airline US Open Series event. The tallest player in U.S. Davis Cup history, at 6-foot-9, Isner made his Davis Cup debut in the 2010 World Group First Round in Serbia, where he became the first U.S. player to compete in three live rubbers in the same tie since James Blake in the 2003 first round. He turned professional after an outstanding four-year career at the University of Georgia, leading the Bulldogs to the 2007 NCAA team title as a senior. Isner is currently No. 23 in the world and represented the U.S. in the 2012 Olympics in London, reaching the quarterfinals before losing to Federer.

 

Bob and Mike Bryan, 34, hold a 20-3 doubles record together in U.S. Davis Cup competition. The 20 wins are first all-time in U.S. Davis Cup history for a tandem, and they are the only brothers to pair in victory for the U.S. Bob and Mike also hold the all-time Open era record of most Grand Slam men’s doubles titles (13) and ATP doubles titles (86). In addition, the Bryan brothers won the gold medal in doubles at the 2012 Olympics in London, where they completed a career Golden Slam by winning all four Grand Slam titles and an Olympic gold medal. The Bryans ended 2012 as the No. 1-ranked doubles team in the world, finishing as the top-ranked doubles team in the world for a record eighth time in 10 years.

 

Bob holds a 21-3 doubles record in Davis Cup competition and is also 4-2 in singles (all in dead rubbers). Bob did not compete in last year’s first round match at Switzerland due to the birth of his daughter, Micaela. Mike holds a 22-3 record in Davis Cup doubles matches, playing without Bob just twice in his Davis Cup career. He last played without Bob in the 2012 first round, teaming with Mardy Fish to defeat 2008 Olympic doubles gold medalists Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka to clinch the tie. Mike also partnered with Fish in the 2008 semifinal against Spain.

 

Courier also announced that the practice partners for the tie will be Tennys Sandgren and Mitchell Krueger. Sandgren, ranked No. 218 in the world, is a former University of Tennessee All-American, who reached the semifinals of the 2011 NCAA tournament, losing to teammate Rhyne Williams in three sets. Sandgren won three USTA Pro Circuit Futures titles (in four finals) in 2012 before transitioning to Challenger-level events for the remainder of the year. Krueger was formerly the top-ranked American boys’ junior, peaking at a career-high No. 5 in the world junior rankings in January 2012 and advancing to the boys’ singles semifinals at the French Open and Wimbledon in 2012. Krueger trains at the USTA Training Center – Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla.

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Querrey Rallies to Win in First Match as Top American

SamQuerrey

(March 23, 2013) Sam Querrey, newly minted as the top US male player as he moved past John isner this week was forced to come back against Lukasz Kubot 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 on Saturday at the Sony Open.

“I started out a little slow,” Querrey said.  “Broke me the first game, but then he served really well rest of the first set.  But after that I felt pretty good second and third sets.

“Served big, hit my forehand well.  I was pretty happy.”

Querrey was playing with little rest he said due to an electronic music festival taking place near his hotel.

“I’m not sleeping well because of this Ultra Festival going on,” he said. “I could hear the bass, and strobe lights were shining in my hotel, so it’s hard to sleep.”

World No. 3, the second seed for Miami, Andy Murray had few problems with Bernard Tomic, dominating the Australian 6-3, 6-1.

“Once I got ahead, I mean, I was just trying to make a lot of balls at the start,“ said the Scot.  “You’re never going to feel great your first match, especially when it’s tricky conditions and with his game style, too.  He mixes the play up a lot.  It’s tough.

“I just tried to make loads of balls.  I don’t know if he was tired or struggling with the humidity, but he was playing pretty low‑percentage tennis.  With the conditions like they were today, that played into my hands.”

Murray commented on the crowd booing Tomic for what they perceived as a lack of effort.

“I don’t know.  I mean, I obviously just try to concentrate on my side of the court.

“The one thing I would say is that if you aren’t used to playing in these conditions, it is extremely hot and tough to play.  You know, it is tough when you’re going behind and making quite a lot of mistakes.

“I have done it before when my head has gone down and you still want to win, but it doesn’t always appear that way.

“So I don’t know.  The crowd, they’re free to do whatever they want.  They pay the money and they can greet players however they would like.”

 

In women’s play, defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska, needed nearly 2½ hours to stop Magdalena Rybarikova 7-6 (5), 2-6, 6-3. No. 5 Li Na topped No. 25 Varvara Lepchenko 6-2, 6-4.

 

Seventh seed Petra Kvitova and ninth seed Caroline Wozniacki became major WTA casualties on Saturday. Kvitova fell to Kirsten Flipkens while Wozniacki was dominated by world No. 73 wild card Garbine Muguruza of Spain 6-2, 6-4.

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