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.


In His Own Words – Novak Djokovic’s Final 2013 Australian Open News Conference


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


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


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


ATP Chief Brad Drewett Diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease


(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


Stephens Battles Past Davis to Gain Hobart Semis


(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


Hobart, Australia
January 6-12, 2013

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)


Tennis Australia and ATP Issue Statements on Player Meetings in Shanghai


The ATP Player Council has been meeting with Tennis Australia and the ATP during the Shanghai Masters tournament. On Thursday, the ATP and Tennis Australia released Statements in regard to the discussions.

Tennis Australia Statement on Australian Open prize money

“Tennis Australia has had some very constructive and positive discussions with the ATP and the Player Council.

“We feel we have been well received and are buoyant about the future. We have talked about our long term plans for player compensation, including further significant increases, and the feedback we have received from the ATP and the players has been positive.

“We have plans for further discussions regarding distribution and will also be having talks with the WTA to get their feedback.

“Our intention has always been to make a major contribution toward improving the compensation of professional tennis players to make their profession more viable throughout their ranks. The attitude of the players has been very pleasing.”

Steve Wood, Tennis Australia CEO

ATP Statement On Australian Open Prize Money Discussions

Following meetings in Shanghai, ATP Executive Chairman and President Brad Drewett said:

“The ATP has had encouraging and positive discussions with Tennis Australia regarding the long term plans for player compensation at the Australian Open. Tennis Australia deserves credit for the way they have recognized the significant input the players have in the success of the tournament.

“I’m delighted the players have given their full support to the ATP leadership during this process with the Australian Open, as well as backing our decision to pursue this issue through constructive dialogue. I am confident that the ATP and our players will remain committed to the ongoing discussions with the other Grand Slam tournaments.”


Venus Williams and John Isner sign up for Hyundai Hopman Cup


Venus Williams and John Isner will represent the USA at Hyundai Hopman Cup, the first to be staged at the spectacular new Perth Arena.


“I’ve never been to Perth – I’ve never played the Hopman Cup, so for me it’s going to be a wonderful experience,” said Venus Williams. “I’ve watched it literally every year on TV so now I get to play, I’m very excited.”


Former world No.1 Williams is one of the most successful female athletes ever, boasting seven Grand Slam singles titles, second only to sister Serena in active players, and four Olympic gold medals, for singles in Sydney in 2000 and most recently in doubles with Serena at London 2012.


With 43 career titles to her name, Williams has enjoyed a recent resurgence to form following a comeback from illness. She reached the semifinals in Cincinatti and quarterfinals in Miami, Charleston and Rome, and with sister Serena hoisted another Wimbledon doubles trophy.


Planning his third Hyundai Hopman Cup appearance, world No.10 John Isner is a big fan of the format and the guaranteed three matches the event provides. The 206cm tall Isner is also looking forward to playing mixed doubles with Venus.


“For me it’s [Hopman Cup] the perfect way to start the year,” Isner said. “It has the pressure of matches but then it’s not exactly an ATP tournament.
“My previous two partners have been very very small. But Venus is a little bit taller so I’m not going to look like such a giant out there. She’s obviously one of the greatest players ever so I think our team has a good shot to do well,” Isner continued.


Isner has enjoyed a tremendous 2012, with highlights including a career high ranking of No.9, and collecting scalps from two of the most invincible players of the era, winning over Roger Federer on clay in a Davis Cup tie against Switzerland, and Novak Djokovic in the semifinal of Indian Wells.


He defeated Lleyton Hewitt to take out the title in Newport and also won in Winston Salem. He reached the finals at both Indian Wells and Houston.


“The US team is a formidable one with John Isner currently top ten and having a magnificent year, and Venus Williams a former number one and seven-time Grand Slam champion and multiple Olympic gold medal winner,” Event Director Steve Ayles said.


“Venus Williams is one of the most high profile sportswomen on the planet, a great athlete and an intriguing personality, and Isner has really made his mark over the past twelve months, as evidenced by his top ten ranking and the ability to take on and win over players such as Federer and Djokovic.


“Confirming both Venus and John is a major coup for Hyundai Hopman Cup and we look forward to welcoming them to Perth.


“With two highly competitive teams – Serbia and USA – confirmed, Hyundai Hopman Cup is shaping up to be a great event,” Ayles continued.


Hyundai Hopman Cup field so far:


Team Serbia:                     Novak Djokovic and Ana Ivanovic

Team USA:                          John Isner and Venus Williams

Team Australia:                Bernard Tomic


Further Hyundai Hopman Cup team announcements will be made in October.

The Hyundai Hopman Cup is the official mixed teams competition of the ITF. It will take place at the new Perth Arena from Saturday 29 December 2012 to Saturday 5 January 2013.


Li Na joins Premier Ted Baillieu to announce Australian Open Wildcard Play-off in China

Former French Open champion Li Na joined Victorian Premier the Hon. Ted Baillieu to announce the inaugural Asia-Pacific Wildcard Play-off set for Nanjing, China in October.

The Asia-Pacific Wildcard Play-off, which will see the region’s top players compete for a coveted Australian Open wildcard was announced today in Beijing by the Hon. Ted Baillieu, Premier of Victoria, who was joined by Grand Slam® champion and 2011 Australian Open finalist Li Na, Tennis Australia CEO Steve Wood and Crown CEO Greg Hawkins.

“I’m delighted to announce the first Asia-Pacific Wildcard Play-off for Australian Open 2013 will take place in Nanjing, China, in October,” Premier Baillieu said.

“Melbourne boasts a world class events calendar and the Australian Open, Grand Slam of Asia-Pacific, is one of Victoria’s, and indeed Australia’s, most successful events and attracts thousands of visitors from Asia each year. The success of China’s home-grown champion, Li Na, continues to build interest and excitement for both the sport and the tournament.

“We are very pleased to have Grand Slam champion Li Na with us here today, along with the magnificent Australian Open women’s trophy, the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup. Li Na, we look forward to seeing you in Melbourne in January and wish you all the very best for Australian Open 2013,” Premier Baillieu continued.

Tennis Australia CEO Steve Wood outlined the importance of the Asia-Pacific region to the Australian Open, announcing a new exchange program with the China Open that will see six Chinese ballkids displaying their skills on court at the Australian Open.

“The Chinese Ballkid Exchange Program, the Asia-Pacific Wildcard Play-off and the Australian Open International Trophy Tour are all just part of our ongoing mission to promote and develop the sport of tennis in China and the Asia-Pacific region. We are also working closely with the China Tennis Association and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them for their assistance with the delivery of the Wildcard Play-off tournament in Nanjing,” Steve Wood said.

“We appreciate the support of the Victorian government, not only for their assistance in promoting the event internationally, but for their long term commitment to upgrading our home at Melbourne Park. The current $363 million redevelopment project will see the Australian Open lead the world in Grand Slam facilities, with three stadium courts featuring retractable roofs by 2015.

“There has been a 400% increase in visitation to the Australian Open from the Asia Pacific region over the past eight years and in 2012 the Australian Open’s official ticketing agents and tour operators saw a 30% increase in ticket sales from the previous year.

“More than half the Australian Open’s global media value is now generated from the Asia-Pacific region and new broadcast deals include access to an additional 65 million homes.”

“And when Li Na made her historic run to the final in 2011 we achieved the highest ever broadcast exposure throughout Asia, and China in particular, with 135 million tuning in across the region,” Wood continued.

“Crown is thrilled to support this exciting Tennis Australia event by providing best-in-class accommodation for the winners of the Australian Open Asia-Pacific Wildcard Play-off in Nanjing,” Crown Melbourne CEO Greg Hawkins said.

“The Crown Melbourne integrated resort features three world-class hotels, over 40 premium and casual restaurants, a luxury retail precinct and a wide range of entertainment to choose from 24 hours a day. Crown looks forward to welcoming the winners and providing them with the best possible accommodation experience for the duration of their stay in Melbourne. Crown is also extremely proud to sponsor the great Li Na and awaits her highly anticipated return to Melbourne and Crown this summer for the Australian Open,” Hawkins continued.


Rennae Stubbs Retires from Fed Cup

HOBART, Australia – After 41 Fed Cup ties Rennae Stubbs has retired from the women’s team event.

Having played for the Australian Fed Cup team for16 years, the 39 year old leaves the court as the longest playing Australian woman with a 28-10 doubles record.

Over her Fed Cup career, which started in 1992, Stubbs has been an integral part of the team and instrumental in its return to the World Group this year.

“For me Fed Cup has been one of the great things of my career,” said Stubbs.

“No one thing stands out. The thing that stands out are the memories, the friends and the stories. Fed Cup are always the best two weeks of my year and I will miss these events.”

“It’s a daunting prospect. A new life because you know I have woken up every morning knowing what I was going to do was to go play tennis. So now to think that part of my life is not the norm is a strange prospect,” Stubbs said.

“I will miss the competitive spirit and feel when I am on the court but overall I will miss the people and the memories of my moments.

Italy defeated Australia at the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group tie at the Domain Tennis Centre 4-1.

In a replay of the 2010 French Open final,  world No.4 Francesca Schiavone once again triumphed over Australia’s No.1 player Samantha Stosur, 7-6(1) 3-6 7-5 in the first match on court today while Jarmila Groth did not show the same form going down in straight sets to Italy’s Flavia Pennetta (No.16) in the reverse singles, 6-3 6-2.

In the final match of the day Anastasia Rodionova (No.64) and Stubbs (No.11 in doubles) were defeated by  Roberta Vinci (No.38) and Sara Errani (No.44), 2-6 7-6(1) 6-4.

This is the sixth time the two countries have played in a Fed Cup tie. Italy has been Fed Cup champions in 2006, 2009 and 2010.

Australia and Italy are two of just four nations to have competed in every Fed Cup.

This is the Australian Fed Cup team’s first World Group tie since 2004. They will now play in the World Group Play-off in April to remain in the elite eight.


Rally for Relief to Aid Flood Victims

The superstars of world tennis will gather on Sunday afternoon in Melbourne for a special exhibition to raise money for the victims of Australia’s flood disaster.

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Kim Clijsters, Sam Stosur, Lleyton Hewitt, Novak Djokovic, and Pat Rafter headline a glittering list of tennis’ elite who will momentarily put aside their Australian Open preparations for the Rally for Relief tennis match at Rod Laver Arena on Sunday at 2pm

Many in the international tennis fraternity have been horrified by the disaster.

“Along with many of the other players I was moved by the devastation caused by the floods in Australia,” Federer said today. “We just wanted to do something to help aid the recovery because we know there are thousands of Australians who will continue to suffer as a result of this disaster.”

“This is a terrible tragedy, not only the loss of life but the destruction of people’s homes,” Nadal said. I am pleased to be able to contribute in some way to help bring it to the attention of the world and raise some money for the victims in the process.”

“As an Australian I cannot help but be touched by such an awful turn of events. It is a disaster on a massive scale,” Hewitt explained. “Australians are incredible at pulling together in times of crisis and this is certainly one of those times. If the tennis community can also help play a role in the recovery then we should, both in Australia and internationally. I just think at a time like this it is a case of getting all hands on deck.”

Queenslanders Pat Rafter and Sam Stosur officially announced the Rally for Relief at the Medibank International Sydney as a key plank in a major fundraising campaign by the entire international tennis community

“The plight of the flood victims has well and truly struck a chord with the entire tennis fraternity,” Rafter said. “As a Queenslander I am really heartened by the concern and the keenness from our sport to get in and do something to ease the suffering.  I know on the scale of things our contribution is only a small one, but it is good to be able to help out.”

Sam Stosur said she was touched by the many expressions of concern for the flood victims from her fellow tennis professionals, officials, administrators, coaches and fans. Her own family was displaced by floods in the 1980s and she is keen to contribute to a big fundraising effort.

“A lot of us just want to make some sort of contribution. It breaks my heart to see what is happening to thousands of people in these floods. I am rapt that the biggest names in our sport are so keen to focus on this despite the fact that the Australian Open starts the next day.

Stosur is already donating $100 for every ace she serves this summer.

Players in lead up events in Brisbane, Sydney, Hobart, Adelaide, Perth and Kooyong have all been enquiring as to how they can help the flood ravaged communities and pledging money and assistance.

Tennis Australia will co-ordinate the tennis community’s fundraising effort which will run throughout Australian Open 2011. The campaign includes:

  • Sunday afternoon’s Rally for Relief
  • A gold coin donation at Saturday’s Kids Tennis Day
  • A special “Shirt off their backs” ongoing auction of autographed player apparel belonging to some of the biggest names in the sport
  • An ATP and WTA pledge of $10 for every ace served by players at the Brisbane International, Medibank International Sydney, Moorilla International in Hobart and the Australian Open.

All proceeds will go to flood relief across the nation.

Tickets to Rally for Relief are $20 for entry to Rod Laver Arena and will be available through Ticketek from 3:00pm today at www.ticketek.com.au.

Tickets will also be available from the Melbourne Park and Fed Square Box Offices, operating hours are as follows:

Thursday 13 January                                     3:00pm to 5.00pm

Friday 14 and Saturday 15 January          9:00am to 5:00pm

Sunday 16  January                                         from 9:00am