2014/04/20

Lleyton Hewitt wins Newcombe Medal

LleytonHewittHOF

(December 2, 2013) Lleyton Hewitt was awarded Australia’s top tennis honor, the Newcombe Medal, at a gala celebration at Crown Palladium, Melbourne.

In receiving the award the South Australian tennis ace was formally recognized as Australia’s most outstanding player in 2013. He was presented the award by his first Davis Cup captain and mentor, Australian tennis legend John Newcombe, in whose honor the award is named.

In 2013 Hewitt spent 75 weeks at world No. 1 from 2001 to 2003. Ranked outside the world’s top 100 in February, Hewitt has climbed his way back up the rankings to now sit at No. 60.
“To win an award named after the great John Newcombe is a huge honor and one that caps off a great year,” Hewitt said.

“Obviously I’ve been fortunate enough to have a long career and there have been plenty of highs and some definite lows as well, but this is up there as high as it gets.”

“It really means a lot to be up here… it’s a fantastic thing that we started four years ago and I hope it goes on for many more years.”

“I’m thrilled and so proud to present this award to Lleyton, and it’s appropriate he receives it at the end of what has been a brilliant comeback year,” Newcombe said.

“He’s had an amazing year and his terrific results have again shown the grit and determination he’s renowned for.

“I’ve worked with Lleyton since he was 15, when Rochey and I enlisted him as an orange boy for Davis Cup. We knew then he was destined for a pretty special career, but probably didn’t expect the skinny kid with his cap on backwards to set a record for the number of weeks spent at world No.1.

“This has been a remarkable year for Lleyton. His first for some time without the impediment of injury, and he’s made the most of it, posting some tremendous results, unexpected to almost everyone but him. He doesn’t get on the court unless he believes he can win, and his passion and commitment, particularly for Davis Cup, are an inspiration to us all.”

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Stosur, Tomic, Radwanska and Janowicz to Play Hopman Cup

Janowicz 88

Jerzy Janowicz

(August 19, 2013) Australia’s top ranked players Sam Stosur and Bernard Tomic  have confirmed they will play at Hyundai Hopman Cup 2014.

 

Current world No.4 Agnieszka Radwanska and Wimbledon semifinalist Jerzy Janowicz are also set to team up as Poland makes its debut at the event.

 

World No.13 Stosur is excited to return to Western Australia for the first time since 2010.

 

“I just wanted to get back to Perth. I thought this year I’d try something different again,” said Stosur, the 2011 US Open champion.

 

“It will be nice to be able to play. You know that you’re going to get three matches … and maybe that’s going to be good for me going into the Aussie Open.

 

“Hopefully that’s going to be the secret formula to me doing well,” added Stosur.

 

Tomic, 20, and the youngest player currently in the top 100, will pair with Stosur as he looks to continue his unbeaten record at Perth Arena.

 

“I had some success there earlier this year so hopefully I can do well again in 2014,” said the world No.42, who recently reached the fourth round at Wimbledon.

 

“The event always attracts strong teams so you know you’re going to get some tough matches against high quality players.

 

“The local crowds love their tennis and it’s always exciting to play in front of them,” added the Queenslander, who won his first ATP singles title in Sydney in January.

 

Radwanska and Janowicz will be looking to make their mark when Team Poland makes its first ever appearance at the event.

 

“I’m really excited to play the Hopman Cup for the first time,” said Radwanska, who holds 12 WTA singles titles at just 24 years of age.

 

“I’ve never played mixed doubles with him [Jerzy] before.  Actually my last mixed doubles match was I think five years ago so that will be fun for sure.”

 

Twenty-two-year-old Janowicz has climbed up the rankings by 73 places to be just outside the top 10 in the past 12 months.

 

“We decided it might be a lot of fun to play together at Hopman Cup,” said Janowicz.

 

Hyundai Hopman Cup Event Director Steve Ayles is delighted with the signing of the top Australian and Polish pairs.

 

“Sam and Bernie, Australia’s highest ranked players, have committed to play this event, which shows the strength and value of the Hyundai Hopman Cup. The players look at the event as a solid starting point for the new season.

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Australian Open 2013 – The Final Word From Tennis Australia

Melbourne park grounds

(January 28, 2013) Facts and figures about the 2013 Australian Open from Tennis Australia:

Two classic finals, nine Australian finalists and massive crowds have highlighted Australian Open 2013 at Melbourne Park.

 

Top seeds and world No. 1s Novak Djokovic (SRB) and Victoria Azarenka (BLR) successfully defended their Australian Open titles in two thrilling singles finals, while Australian pair Jarmila Gajdosova (Vic) and Matt Ebden (WA) claimed the mixed doubles title, locals Ashleigh Barty (Qld) and Casey Dellacqua (WA) finished runners-up in the women’s doubles event, junior world No. 1 Nick Kyrgios (ACT) took out the boys’ singles title over countryman Thanasi Kokkinakis (SA), Jay Andrijic (NSW) and Bradley Mousley (SA) won the boys’ doubles title and Adam Kellerman (NSW) was a runner-up in the men’s wheelchair doubles.

 

After 14 days of blistering on- and off-court action at Melbourne Park, this is the final word.

On-court action

 

  • · Novak Djokovic (SRB) became the first man since Australian tennis legend Roy Emerson to win three Australian Open singles titles in a row, defeating Andy Murray (GBR) 6-7(2) 7-6(3) 6-3 6-2 in the final. Djokovic was presented with the trophy by four-time Australian Open singles champion Andre Agassi

 

  • · World No. 1 and top seed Victoria Azarenka (BLR) became the eighth woman in history to win back-to-back Australian Open singles titles, defeating sixth seed Li Na (CHN) 4-6 6-4 6-3. In 2012 Azarenka became only the second player ever to win both junior (2005) and women’s singles titles after Chris O’Neil (AUS) achieved the feat in 1978
  • · Bob and Mike Bryan (USA) claimed a record thirteenth Grand Slam men’s doubles title with a win over Dutch pair Robin Haase and Igor Sijsling 6-3 6-4. The win saw the Bryan brothers move past Australian greats John Newcombe and Tony Roche, winners of 12 major titles, to become the most successful doubles pair in tennis history
  • · Top seeds Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci of Italy won the women’s doubles title, taking three sets to defeat unseeded Australians Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua 6-2 3-6 6-2
  • · Australian wildcards Jarmila Gajdosova (Vic) and Matt Ebden (WA) claimed their first Grand Slam mixed doubles title with a straight sets win over Czech pair Lucie Hradecka and Frantisek Cermak 6-3 7-5
  • · Australian world No.1 junior Nick Kyrgios (ACT) won the boys’ singles championship, defeating Aussie wildcard Thanasi Kokkinakis (SA) 7-6(4) 6-3 to claim his first major

junior singles title

  • · Croatian No. 3 seed Ana Konjuh defeated second seed Katerina Siniakova (CZE) 6-3 6-4 to claim the girls’ singles title
  • · Aniek Van Koot (NED) and Shingo Kunieda (JPN) took out the women’s and men’s wheelchair singles titles respectively. Top seeded Dutch pair Aniek Van Koot and Jiske Griffioen won the women’s wheelchair doubles, while No. 2 seeds Michael Jeremiasz (FRA) and Shingo Kunieda (JPN) claimed the men’s wheelchair doubles. David Wagner (USA) took out the quad wheelchair singles and teamed with countryman Nicholas Taylor to win the quad wheelchair doubles

 

  • · Five former world No. 1s and a further nine former top 10 players contested the annual Legends event. Mats Wilander, Martina Navratilova, Martina Hingis, Lindsay Davenport and Amelie Mauresmo all returned to the courts at Melbourne Park

 

  • · Australia’s Bernard Tomic (Qld) won his way into the third round with wins over Leonardo Mayer (ARG) and Daniel Brands (GER), before going down to his childhood hero Roger Federer (SUI)
  • · There were 15 Grand Slam champions with a collective 60 Grand Slam singles titles in the main draw: Novak Djokovic (SRB), Roger Federer (SUI), Andy Murray (GBR), Lleyton Hewitt (AUS), Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG), Victoria Azarenka (BLR), Serena Williams

(USA), Venus Williams (USA), Maria Sharapova (RUS), Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS), Samantha Stosur (AUS), Ana Ivanovic (SER), Petra Kvitova (CZE), Li Na (CHN) and Francesca Schiavone (ITA)

 

  • · Forty-seven nations were represented among the 256 players competing in main draw singles. There were 39 countries represented in the men’s singles and 40 in the women’s singles draw

 

  • · A total of 548 players competed across all main draw events, including juniors, wheelies and legends
  • · 764 sets were played in 127 matches in the men’s draw, with 60 matches (47 per cent) going beyond three sets. In 127 matches in the women’s field, 41 matches (32 per cent) went to three sets

 

  • · Canada’s Milos Raonic clocked the fastest serve of the tournament at 233km/h and served 90 aces in four matches, the most of any man in the draw

 

  • · Serena Williams (USA) recorded the fastest serve in the women’s draw at 207km/h, as well as posting the highest number of aces with 34 for the tournament
  • · A total of 943 challenges were made by players during the tournament, an average of 8.51 per match for the men and 4.58 per match for the women. Of the total challenges made only 29 per cent were overturned. Novak Djokovic (SRB) had the most calls overturned with 11 successful challenges (18 unsuccessful)

 

  • · Australian tennis great Roy Emerson was honoured at the annual Legends Lunch. The 1963 men’s singles champion was joined at the event by Australian Open champions from the past six decades: Ken Rosewall (1953), John Newcombe (1973), Mats Wilander (1983), Jim Courier (1993) and Andre Agassi (2003)

Attendance

  • · A crowd of 684,457 fans attended Australian Open 2013. The all-time Australian Open attendance record of 686,006 was set in 2012
  • · A record daily attendance was achieved at 15 sessions this year, including a Grand Slam event daily attendance record on the middle Saturday, Heineken Day, with 80,735 on site, up from 80,649 in 2012

 

  • · The recently opened $366 million Stage 1 phase of the Melbourne Park redevelopment project provided players with eight new Italian clay courts, eight indoor practice courts and five outdoor practice courts, as well as a new gymnasium, treatment and recovery rooms. Fans had access to more open spaces, shaded areas, improved ticket facilities and more food and beverage options than ever before at Melbourne Park
  • · Famous faces in the crowd included Shane Warne, Elizabeth Hurley, Kevin Spacey, Geoffrey Rush, Audrina Patridge, Greg Norman , Alessandro Del Piero and Cathy Freeman

 

Broadcast and media

 

  • · More than 720 journalists, photographers and videographers provided detailed coverage of the Australian Open including 315 international media from 40 different countries. Asian media represented 22 per cent of all international accredited media

 

  • · More than 1000 broadcast media were accredited, covering more than 27 networks and broadcasting to more than 200 countries

Digital & social media (all data as at 26 January 2013)

  • · As at 26 January there were 14.1 million unique visitors to australianopen.com throughout the tournament period
  • · The most popular female players of the event were Sloane Stephens (252,444 player profile views), Maria Sharapova (222,476), Victoria Azarenka (193,901), Li Na (184,469) and Serena Williams (143,909). The most popular male players were Roger Federer (348,799), Novak Djokovic (239,884), Andy Murray (178,949), Jeremy Chardy (116,689) and Bernard Tomic (113,062)
  • · The new Mandarin scoreboard, syndicated to Australian Open Chinese online partner Tencent, was popularly received with 6.6 million page downloads reported by information technology partner IBM

 

  • · The AO Facebook page grew to 887,158 likes and a weekly reach of 6.1 million. On Twitter, @australianopen grew to 155,738 followers, with 24/7 event coverage and exclusive behind-the-scenes posts. The most re-tweeted post was ‘Game, set, and epic match Novak #Djokovic 1-6 7-5 6-5 6-7 12-10 over Stanislas #Wawrinka #ausopen’, which was retweeted 1293 times
  • · The official Australian Open Android app attracted 47 million page views; 115 million from the iPhone app and 18 million from mobile site m.australianopen.com. Combined mobile views to the website had increased by 98 per cent following the women’s final. Total app downloads (including updates) were: 918,966 iPhone and 601,640 Android
  • · Millions of tennis fans tuned into AOTV and the live coverage of Australian Open 2013, presented by Optus on the tournament’s official mobile apps. AOTV (including live and VOD) accrued 7,091,234 views (561,973 hours of content), while AOTV views on the official Australian Open YouTube channel doubled to 8,865,829


Information technology

  • · 45km of network cables wired throughout the venue and 6km of new fibre optic
  • · Approximately 42,000 devices detected by AO Wi-Fi, with an average connection of 40 minutes per user
  • · 334 AO Vision systems (IPTV) were installed, including 328 in media and broadcast areas
  • · 60TB of data and video assets stored by Tennis Australia during the event

 

Tournament operations

  • · The Wilson stringers hut restrung 3646 racquets using 44km of string
  • · 85 racquets were rapidly restrung for players during match play
  • · Serena Williams (USA) had the most racquets restrung of all players in the main draw, sending 43 racquets to the stringers
  • · Matches were officiated by 343 umpires and linespersons from approximately 30 countries, including China, Egypt, Greece, Norway and Brazil
  • · There were more than 380 ballkids including 338 from Victoria, 23 from interstate, 20 from Korea and six from China
  • · More than 45,000 Wilson tennis balls were used, with all used match balls re-canned and sold to fans and local tennis clubs

 

  • · More than 2500 official Australian Open towels were used by players on Rod Laver Arena, Hisense Arena and the show courts
  • · 30,001 towels and 2985 bags of player clothing were laundered
  • · Fans enjoyed a selection of food and beverages including more than 35,000 gourmet sausages, 70,000 sandwiches, wraps, baguettes and cobs, and more than145,000 bottles
    of Mount Franklin water
  • · In the exclusive Player Café more than 2900 portions of pasta, 3500 portions of meat, fish and vegetables, and 2500 portions of made-to-order sushi were served
  • · Players were transported by a fleet of more than 100 Kia cars during the tournament, with over 40,000 journeys made by 215 drivers. The Kia fleet clocked up more than 400,000km
  • · A host of players and celebrities, including three-time men’s singles champion Mats Wilander, four-time women’s singles champion Martina Hingis and 2013 men’s doubles champions Bob and Mike Bryan (USA) participated in video interviews for Kia Open Drive. Videos can be viewed at australianopen.com
  • · Major sponsor Kia and official tournament outfitter Lacoste extended their partnerships with the Australian Open for a further five years, through until 2018

 

  • · 5000 staff, contractors and volunteers employed by Tennis Australia, Melbourne Olympic Parks Trust (MOPT) and catering suppliers Delaware North worked behind the scenes throughout the tournament fortnight

 

Community tennis

 

  • · A record crowd attended Kids Tennis Day on Saturday 12 January, highlighted by the Rod Laver Arena Spectacular with world No. 1s Novak Djokovic (SRB) and Victoria Azarenka (BLR), Roger Federer (SUI), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA), Serena Williams (USA) and Ana Ivanovic (SRB). The event was produced in association with Nickelodeon for the first time.
  • · 73 MLC Tennis Hot Shots and Super 10s participants tossed the coin prior to matches, and 610 kids played in MLC Tennis Hot Shots exhibitions on show courts across Melbourne Park
  • · 38,410 fans visited MLC Fan Zone on Grand Slam Oval, a fun and interactive grassroots tennis precinct for children aged 10 years and under
  • · 12,250 fans, including celebrities Andre Agassi, Redfoo and Joel Parkinson, played on the MLC Tennis Hot Shots courts at Melbourne Park
  • · Cardio Tennis, launched in 2012, was showcased in front of thousands of fans on Margaret Court Arena. Activation participants burned 799,505 calories while involved in Cardio Tennis activities
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In His Own Words – Novak Djokovic’s Final 2013 Australian Open News Conference

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Novak Djokovic 27-01-13

Sunday, 27 January, 2013

Q.  Last year you were in here about 4:00 in the morning.  This is a good time to finish, I guess.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Relatively early (smiling).

 

Q.  How hard was that match for you tonight?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It’s hard.  I mean, when you play one of your biggest rivals and somebody that is in the top form in finals of a Grand Slam, there is a lot to play for.
I think it went 2 hours, 20 minutes, the first two sets.  I think that says enough about the intensity of the match.
I kind of expected that.  I knew that it’s going to be physically very demanding, a lot of long rallies, so I needed to hang in there.  I’ve done that.  There was a few turning points in the match.  Maybe one of them was the second game in the second set when I was Love 40 against the breeze.  He missed a few shots.  I managed have that crucial hold.
After that I felt just mentally a little bit lighter and more confident on the court than I’ve done in the first hour or so.

 

Q.  Anything noticeably different you did from the US Open final to here?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  All our matches in last three years have been decided in a very few points, so it’s really hard to say if I’ve done anything different.
Yeah, I tried to be more aggressive.  So I went for my shots, especially in the third and fourth; came to the net quite often.  I was quite successful in that percentage, so it worked well for me.
I needed to be the one who dictates the play, and I’m really glad that I’ve played my best.

 

Q.  How does this compare with the others you’ve won, the feeling?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Every tournament, especially the major tournaments, is very special.  So every win, of course also adding to that the history part, you know, winning it three in a row, it’s incredible.  It’s very thrilling.  I’m full of joy right now.
It’s going to give me a lot of confidence for the rest of the season, that’s for sure.

 

Q.  You and Andy are two of the best returners in the game, but it took over 30 games in this match before anybody broke.  Why do you think that was tonight?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, we both served well, I think.  We were holding our service games quite comfortably.
I was serving better against him today in the first two sets than I’ve done in any of the match in the last two years.  But I knew that he’s incredible returner and has that ability to make you play always an extra shot.
To be able to get a lot of free points on the serve was definitely a positive.

 

Q.  Andre Agassi always played very well in this tournament.  You got the trophy from him tonight.  Is there something similar in your attitudes, styles, that means you tend to start the season in such terrific form?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Maybe the style of clothing that we had.  He had many colors and I love colors, so on that regard maybe there is some similarities.
But, no, also he’s I think one of the players that changed the game   not just the game itself, but also the way the people see it.  He’s a legend of the sport, of course.  He had so much success.  He won everything:  Gold medal, Olympic Games, Grand Slam, everything.
Also he made a huge impact on the sport by changing the style.  He was I think one of the first baseline groundstroke players on the tour.  Most of the players before him were playing serve and volley.  That’s where the game started to change a bit and you could have more players winning the events from the baseline.
So it was obviously a big pleasure and honor for me to receive the trophy from him.

 

Q.  Another major and another semifinal with three of the top four and two of the top four winning.  Do you think the gap is closing at all or is the gap growing with the rest of the field?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I think that’s a question that can be always asked.  I don’t find a really great answer for that.  As I was saying before, it is logical in a way to expect the top four players to be the main contenders to win the trophy.
But I never want to underestimate the rest of the field, the rest of the players, especially the ones in the top 10, the top 15.  I was a few points away from losing the match against Wawrinka in the fourth round here.  That says enough about the competitiveness of the sport and the quality that other players bring.  And he’s around 15 in the world.
So it is possible.  It is possible for them to make a breakthrough, to win against the top guys in major events.  Tsonga, Del Potro, Ferrer, these guys have done it in the past.  Berdych.  It’s always a possibility.
But I guess the top four are the most dominant ones in last five years.

 

Q.  What are your goals for the rest of the season?  Is the French Open a priority for you now?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Priority for me now is to enjoy this victory.  In life, you know, you don’t get many of the opportunities to win Grand Slams.  As a tennis player, that’s a pinnacle of the ambitions and of the success.
So I try to enjoy it for few days with the people I love the most, family, friends, and team.
And then after I turn to the rest of the season.  It’s Davis Cup already coming up, indoors, clay courts, next weekend, so that’s going to be a lot of fun (smiling).
And then after that, obviously    there is still four or five months till the French Open.  Of course, I want to go all the way in French Open.  I went to the finals last year and had a great match against Rafa, but he’s always the favorite on that surface and he’s the ultimate player to beat on clay.
But I think if I continue on playing well, stay healthy, I can have a chance.

 

Q.  You had tough losses to Rafa and Roger and Andy in the last three Grand Slams coming in here.  Going into today, any special motivation saying that you wanted another Grand Slam title?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  What more motivation you need than from this trophy?  Just seeing it and reading the names of the winners in last 50, 100 years, it’s incredible.  To be also mentioned in the history aspect, you know, and winning three in a row, it’s a huge achievement.
So I’m always motivated in every match that I play on.  But of course Grand Slam finals are always bringing something new, something special to every player, and that’s where you want to perform your best.

 

Q.  This final and last year were incredibly physical.  Do you get a sense it’s taking stuff out of you or you’re just taking it in your stride?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, as somebody that has experiences playing on the big stage in Grand Slam finals, especially against the top guys, I expected that to happen.
I tried to use that necessary experience in the past to implement that in my game, in my mental approach and mindset before this final.
I didn’t expect an easy match.  You never get the Grand Slam trophy in an easy way.  You have to earn it.  I’m very glad that I’m sitting next to it now.

 

Q.  You spoke about Andre.  Are you changing the game, too?  If yes, in what aspect do you think?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I leave you guys to judge about changing the game or not.  I’m just trying to play this game with 100% of devotion, love, passion, and fun also.  I mean, 25 years old and I won six Grand Slams and have a lot of trophies.
It’s amazing.  You know, I’m just trying to embrace this moment and enjoy it as much as I can and see where tomorrow brings me.

 

Q.  Last year you played the second semifinal, had less rest; this year the opposite.  How different is it going into these two finals because of that?  Do you think they should change anything to make it more even?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Only thing I can say regarding this tournament is it’s a fantastic success.  I mean, the things and the work they have done for the players is tremendous.  They keep on improving and striving to be the best out of all the Grand Slams, all the tournaments.  I think they’re right at the top.
So all these guys who are part of the organization on the top with Craig Tiley, the tournament director, are making sure the players feel comfortable.  I’m sure you have heard and seen many of the positive compliments from the players, men’s and women’s, about this tournament.  Others should follow this example.
I enjoy it.  I enjoy it as much as I can.
Changes in the game are always questionable.  It depends from what perspective you’re looking at it.  But it is the way it is.  For everybody it’s the same.  I’m just glad to be a winner once more.

 

Q.  Do you switch from one surface to another surface?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  That’s why I said it’s going to be a lot of fun next weekend to see how I can adjust to clay court in indoor conditions, playing away Davis Cup, which is always tricky.
But, look, you know, right now my thoughts are going in this trophy, enjoying as much as I can.  Hopefully I’m going to have time to recover and get ready for that tie.

 

Q.  Do you think you’re the funnest guy in players nowadays?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Do you think (smiling)?

 

Q.  I also heard from some ballkids, they said you are always humor.  I notice you said hello to Jie Zheng in Chinese in the press conference, too.  I want to know about your philosophy in life for humor?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It’s tough to find a rational answer for that question.
But the only thing I can say is I try to enjoy what I do and every moment of the life that I have is a blessing.
There is so many athletes, professional tennis players around the world and it’s such a global sport, they want to be the best in what they do.  They want to succeed.  Many of them, they don’t succeed in the end.  I’m fortunate to have this opportunity and to succeed.
I mean, what else can you do but to be happy and try to, you know, bring that joy to the other people around, especially in the tournaments.  Everybody has bad days.  I’m not always funny or laughing.  It’s normal.  But generally I’m aware of the fact that it’s an incredible trip for me, you know, being a professional tennis player.
I don’t know if you’re informed or not.  I got the permission to leave tonight actually very early in the morning, not tomorrow.  So I’m very sorry, and I apologize for not talking to you furthermore tomorrow.
The main reason for that is because I want to get to Europe as quick as possible so I can be ready for the Davis Cup tie.  I hope I find your understanding for that.
In the end, there is a little tradition that we try to initiate in World Tour Finals in London, the end of the year, the last press conference, gave chocolate to all the people who were in the press.
I want to start the year with the same thing, if you allow me.
Let’s keep it sweet

Transcript courtesy of ASAPSports and Tennis Australia

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In His Own Words – Andy Murray’s Final 2013 Australian Open News Conference

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Andy Murray 27-01-13

Sunday, 27 January, 2013

Q.  Did you feel if you were going to win it, you were going to have to win it quicker than you won the US Open given the physical demands of your semifinal?
ANDY MURRAY:  No, I mean, you never know.  I think it was extremely    the third set was very competitive.  You know, a lot of the games that I lost in the fourth set as well were pretty tight games.
I was getting like quite a few Love 15s, 15 30s, Love 30s, and, yeah, I couldn’t quite capitalize on my chances on his serve.  That was a disappointing part.
But, I mean, obviously when you go two sets to one down, you know you really need to get off to a good start the beginning of the fourth set because, you know, most of the guys at the top of the game, when they get a lead and momentum, it’s tough to stop them.
You know, like in the second set with me, I played a good second set.  I created quite a few chances; didn’t quite get them.
But that was the difference.

 

Q.  Could you tell us what happened to your toe and if it restricted you in any way?
ANDY MURRAY:  It’s just a pretty large blister which, I mean, you get them.  I mean, the US Open final I had two black toenails.  I mean, it happens.  It happens often, especially when you’re doing that much running.

 

Q.  Had it been an issue throughout the tournament or just today?
ANDY MURRAY:  Yeah, today.  But, I mean, when you’re playing the points like we were there, the positions you’re sort of getting yourself into on the court, you expect those sort of things.

 

Q.  How did you pull up after the Federer match?
ANDY MURRAY:  I was okay.  I mean, I was stiff.  It was a four hour match.  You don’t wake up the next day and feel perfect obviously.  You know, especially when it’s one of the first tournaments of the year, too.
You know, it’s the longest match I played in six months probably.  So, yeah, you’re gonna feel a bit stiff and sore.  I obviously felt a bit better today than yesterday.  Yeah, I mean, I did all the right recovery stuff, ate well.
Yeah, it obviously wasn’t an issue, you know, today.  I mean, I started the match well.  I thought I moved pretty good throughout.

 

Q.  Why do you think it took you both so long to get a break in this match?  It took over 30 games.
ANDY MURRAY:  Yeah, that’s the thing that was surprising.  You know, I think the first two sets I had more of the chances in games on his serve.  I think I had Love 40 the beginning of the second set.
Then obviously the third and fourth set, I think he broke at 4 3, got up Love 40, I saved a couple of them, and then he managed to break.
Yeah, that was obviously one of the differences.  He just returned a little bit better.  But it was surprising that there was so few breaks the first three sets.

 

Q.  Was it a matter of serving better than usual or not returning as well as usual?
ANDY MURRAY:  I think it’s not the easiest court to return.  It was playing fairly quick this year.  Could be a combination of a lot of things.  I don’t know exactly why that would be.

 

Q.  Did the blisters restrict you?
ANDY MURRAY:  No.  It’s just a bit sore when you’re running around.  You know, it’s not like pulling a calf muscle or something.  It just hurts when you run.
But, yeah, it’s not something that stops you from playing.  You saw one of the guys at the beginning of the tournament, the guy Tomic played, I don’t know if he burnt himself, but there’s certain things that hurt when you run or hit the ball, especially blisters, but it’s not something that stops you from playing or stops you from running for balls.

 

Q.  When you talked to the umpire, were you suggesting people that were shouting out maybe be taken out of the court?
ANDY MURRAY:  No, no.  I didn’t suggest that at all.  I just said it’s important, rather than wait till it gets to an extremely important point, to try and make sure you’re a bit more vocal, you know, rather than waiting until it’s 5 3, 40 Love for Novak in the third set.
That was all I said to him.

 

Q.  Did you have a problem with your left hamstring?
ANDY MURRAY:  No.  When I played Roger, I kind of    he had kind of like a low slice serve.  I missed that and it kind of tightened up a little bit.  It feels fine just now.
It’s just, yeah, a bit sore when you’re running around.  But that’s what happens with fatigue.  You get sore; you get tired.  You know, you don’t feel perfect when you step on the court every single time.
When you play the rallies like we did tonight, you know, along with the match with Roger, that’s what happens.  It’s part and parcel of playing these big events against the best players in the world.
With how physical the game is just now, that’s just part of it.

 

Q.  Would it be fair to say you were more upbeat after this than after your other losses here?
ANDY MURRAY:  Well, I mean, there’s going to be some obvious reasons for me feeling a little bit better.  I mean, the last few months have been the best tennis of my life.  I mean, I made Wimbledon final, won the Olympics, won the US Open.  You know, I was close here as well.  It was close.
So, you know, I know no one’s ever won a slam, the immediate one after winning their first one.  It’s not the easiest thing to do.  And I got extremely close.
So, you know, I have to try and look at the positives of the last few months, and I think I’m going the right direction.  This is the first time I’ve beaten Roger in a slam over five sets.  I think I dealt with the situations and the ebbs and flows in that match well.
I felt much more comfortable on the court today than even I did at the US Open, so that has to be a positive.

 

Q.  Have you had a chance to have a chat with Ivan?  And what has he said to you if you have?
ANDY MURRAY:  He said, Bad luck.  That’s it.  There’s no point going into huge detail about the match two minutes afterwards.  We’ll go away and spend a bit of time apart.
When I go to start training over in the States, we’ll discuss not just this match but the start to the year and the things I need to improve on if I want to keep getting better.

 

Q.  The way you and Novak play defense, is being a great offensive player sort of a losing proposition at this point?  Roger in some ways is a relic.
ANDY MURRAY:  No.  I mean, I think the thing is    I don’t know if it’s because of the racquets or whatever, but I’ve been using pretty much the same racquet for 10, 11 years now.
You know, but, yeah, I don’t know.  Guys have had to adapt the way they play because of the conditions, the balls, the courts slowing down.
But if you look at maybe not right at the top of the game, but guys like Isner and Raonic, you definitely need a massive weapon that can sort of take away the defensive play, you know, that you just can’t get your racquet on balls.
You’ll probably see more and more of that.  The players certainly seem to be getting taller every year.  There’s obviously Isner, Raonic, Janowicz, he’s a big guy.  That seems to be the way the game’s changing a little bit.
But I’m obviously not going to grow, so I hope it doesn’t change too much the next few years.

 

Q.  You said you felt more comfortable tonight than you did on court at the US Open.  In what respect?
ANDY MURRAY:  I mean, I said before the US Open match I was unbelievably nervous beforehand and was doubting, you know, myself a lot.
I didn’t go on the court today having those doubts.  I went on the court and felt pretty calm from the beginning of the match.
I was obviously still nervous, but I think I just felt   I don’t know   more at home in a match like that on a court like that when you’re playing, you know, for a Grand Slam title.
I mean, the first few times I played for a Grand Slam, US Open and here, you know, I definitely struggled with it.  Now I feel more comfortable.

 

Q.  Given the long time difference between your semifinal and Novak’s, do you think in the future the tournament should look at having semifinals on the same day?
ANDY MURRAY:  I mean, that’s something for the tournament to look at.  Obviously, the US Open have made some adjustments with their scheduling, you know, to try and make it easier for the players to recover.
But I’m sure, like I said on the court, Craig knows exactly what he’s doing, and they’ll make the right decisions in that respect.

 

Q.  The feather that drifted into the court, did that distract you?
ANDY MURRAY:  I mean, I could have served.  It just caught my eye before I served.  I thought it was a good idea to move it.

Maybe it wasn’t because I obviously double faulted.  No, you know, at this level it can come down to just a few points here or there.  My probably biggest chance was at the beginning of the second set; didn’t quite get it.
When Novak had his chance at the end of the third, he got his.

 

Q.  Just to be clear, the blister only occurred in this match?  It wasn’t a remnant from the Federer match or earlier matches?
ANDY MURRAY:  I mean, I had no taping on my foot during Roger’s match, and then obviously I had to have it done today.  I very rarely get blisters.
But, I mean, 90% of the players on the tour will have played this tournament with some sort of blister or problem, you know.  It had no bearing at all on the result.  It just hurts a little bit when you run.

Transcript courtesy of ASAPSports and Tennis Australia

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ATP Chief Brad Drewett Diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease

BradDrewett

(January 15, 2013) MELBOURNE, Australia — ATP Executive Chairman and President Brad Drewett has been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. The ATP World Tour released the following statement:

Brad Drewett will enter a transition period as ATP Executive Chairman and President due to illness, the ATP announced today.

Drewett, who took over as ATP Executive Chairman and President on 1 January 2012, has been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease). He will continue in his current role on an interim basis as the ATP Board of Directors begins the search process for his successor in the near future.

“It has been a privilege to serve as Executive Chairman and President of the ATP, an organization that I’ve been a part of for more than 35 years since I became a professional tennis player,” said Drewett. “I hold the ATP very close to my heart, and it’s with sadness that I make the decision to enter this transition period due to my ill-health.”

Roger Federer, President of the ATP Player Council, said: “Brad has become a good friend of mine over the years and this is very sad news for all of us at the ATP and the entire tennis community. He is well liked and respected by everyone and has done a tremendous job in leading the ATP over the past 12 months, overseeing some major initiatives and a record-breaking year in 2012. His dedication and service to the sport over the years has been truly admirable and he has been a central figure in helping to grow the ATP product across the globe. Our thoughts are with him and his family during this difficult time.”

Drewett has been part of the ATP for more than 35 years, as a player, ATP Player Council member, ATP Player Board member, as CEO of the International Region, Tournament Director of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, and most recently as the ATP Executive Chairman and President for the last 12 months.

“The thoughts and prayers of the WTA family are with Brad, his family and the entire ATP community at this very difficult time,” said Stacey Allaster, WTA Chairman & CEO. “We know he will fight this terrible disease every step of the way, and have our full support for whatever he needs.”

“Brad’s incredible contribution to the game in Australia and worldwide is obvious to all. For more than three decades he has been a much loved member of the Australian tennis family. All of our thoughts are very much with Brad and his family at this time.”  – Steve Healy, Tennis Australia President and Steve Wood, Tennis Australia CEO

“The Grand Slam tournaments are saddened to learn of Brad’s condition and everyone sends their prayers and any support needed to him and his family during this difficult period. Brad’s longstanding commitment to the Sport marks him as a true member of our tennis family and we wish him well in the fight ahead.” -Bill Babcock, Director, Grand Slam Committee

“Everyone in the ITF family is saddened to learn that Brad Drewett will step down from his position as ATP Chairman following his diagnosis with ALS. Some of us at the ITF have known Brad since he was a player; many others have known him in his various roles at the ATP and all of us like and respect him. We were very happy to support him when he worked through the ATP International Group and then the Tennis Masters Cup to help to open the great country of China to our sport which will always be noted as one of his outstanding achievements. For the ITF and for me personally, he is more than a colleague, he is a friend, and I want Brad to know we are available to do whatever is needed to help support him and his family. We send our thoughts and good wishes to Brad and his family and to everyone at the ATP during this difficult time.” -ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti

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Vesnina Wins First WTA Title

 

(January 12, 2013) Seventh final was the charm for Russia’s Elena Vesnina  who won her first WTA title at the Moorilla Hobart International on Saturday.

 

In her first Hobart final in six appearances at the tournament the world No.68 defeated defending champion Mona Barthel of Germany 6-3, 6-4 in 1 hour and 23 minutes putting an end to her 12 match win streak in Hobart.

 

“I feel such a relief and I just want to cry honestly, “ Venina said of the victory. “ I’m so happy that I won the final and I think in general I was pretty good. I didn’t pressure myself at all I just went on to the court and was thinking that this is my time, I have to do it and if I get a chance I have to use that chance.”

 

“My plan for the game was to attack her second serve. I had to be aggressive during the whole point, try to control the point, move her round and use my ground shots, my favorite shot.”

 

Vesnina heads into the Australian Open where she plays wildcard Caroline Garcia of  France in the first round.

 

In the doubles final, Spain’s Garbine Muguruza and Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor won their first WTA doubles title over Timea Babos  of Hungaryand her partner Mandy Minella  Luxembourg 6-3, 7-6(5).

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Vesnina Tops Stephens to Make Hobart Final

 

(January 11, 2013) Unseeded Russian Elena Vesnina demolished American Sloane Stephens 6-2, 6-2 in 69 minutes on Friday to reach the final of the Hobart International. Vesnina jumped out to 5-0 lead in less than 20 minutes and never looked back.

For Vesnina it’s her seventh final and she’s still looking for her first WTA title.

Defending champion Mona Barthel  has extended her Hobart winning streak to 12 with a 6-4 6-4 semi final victory over world No.51 Kirsten Flipkens.

The 22-year-old will be the first player in the tournament’s history to play for back-to-back titles on Saturday when she meets Russia’s Elena Vesnina in the singles final.

 

In the doubles semi finals, Australian pairing Ashleigh Barty and Bojana Bobusic went down to Spanish duo Garbine Muguruza (ESP) and Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor (ESP) 2-6 7-6(7) 10-2.

MOORILLA HOBART INTERNATIONAL
Hobart, Australia
January 6-12, 2013
$235,000/International
Hard/Outdoors

Results – Friday, January 11, 2013
Singles – Semifinals
Elena Vesnina (RUS) d. (8) Sloane Stephens (USA) 62 62
(9) Mona Barthel (GER) d. Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 64 64

Doubles – Semifinals
Babos/Minella (HUN/LUX) d. Arruabarrena-Vecino/Domínguez Lino (ESP/ESP) 62 62
Muguruza/Torró-Flor (ESP/ESP) d. Barty/Bobusic (AUS/AUS) 26 76(7) 102 (Match TB)

Order Of Play – Saturday, January 12, 2013
Centre Court (from 12.00hrs)
1. Doubles Final: Babos/Minella vs. Muguruza/Torró-Flor
2. Singles Final: Mona Barthel vs. Elena Vesnina (NB 14.00hrs)

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Stephens Battles Past Davis to Gain Hobart Semis

SloaneStephens

(January 10, 2013) American Sloane Stephens won a hard-fought battle past her countrywoman qualifier Lauren Davis to win 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 to move into the semifinals of the Hobart International.

 

Australia’s Jarmila Gajdosova fell to Elena Vesnina 6-3, 6-2. Vesnina will face Stephens next.

 

Defending champion Mona Barthel if going for back-to-back Hobart titles won 6-3 6-3 win over Tsvetana Pironkova


 

MOORILLA HOBART INTERNATIONAL
Hobart, Australia
January 6-12, 2013
$235,000/International
Hard/Outdoors

Results – Thursday, January 10, 2013
Singles – Quarterfinals
(8) Sloane Stephens (USA) d. (Q) Lauren Davis (USA) 63 46 75
(9) Mona Barthel (GER) d. Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) 63 63
Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) d. Monica Niculescu (ROU) 26 64 60
Elena Vesnina (RUS) d. (WC) Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS) 63 62

Doubles – Quarterfinals
Muguruza/Torró-Flor (ESP/ESP) d. (2) Gajdosova/Zakopalova w/o (Zakopalova: right ankle injury)

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Australian Open Inks New Five-year deal with Kia Motors

AustralianOpenLogo

(January 10, 2013) Tennis Australia has announced that it’s deal with Kia Motors has been extended for an additional five years in a multi-million dollar deal through until 2018.

The new deal cements Kia as the longest running major sponsor in the tournament’s history, with 17 continuous years of commitment to the first Grand Slam of the year.

Tennis Australia Chief Executive Officer Steve Wood said the deal was a major boost to the event.

“Tennis Australia is thrilled to have Kia signed on as major sponsor of the Australian Open for a further five years. Kia is a tremendous and long-standing supporter of the event, and we look forward to continuing this successful partnership through until 2018,” he said.

The sponsorship rights of the renewed agreement will remain largely the same, with a host of new marketing programs to be introduced by Kia at the Australian Open over the next five years.

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