2014/10/26

German Teen Alexander Zverev Reaches Semis in Hamburg

 

Alexander Zverev

Alexander Zverev

By Florian Heer

(July 18, 2014) HAMBURG – It was quarterfinal action on Friday in Hamburg and play started with an all-German clash between Tobias Kamke and Alexander Zverev. The two wild cards, both reside in Hamburg, met only 17 days ago at the ATP Challenger in Braunschweig, where the emerging youngster gained the title. The only 17-year-old Zverev, last year’s junior world No. 1, has been the story of the week so far. The teenager gained his first victories on the ATP World Tour beating Robin Haase, Mikhail Youzhny and Santiago Giraldo to become the first 17-year-old contesting a quarterfinal of an ATP 500 event since Rafael Nadal in Dubai in 2004.

Zverev, however, had a bumpy start into today’s match, lost his first service game and received a warning after only 8 minutes of play due to racket abuse. The youngster acted like an unforced error machine from the baseline and consequently lost the first set in only 21 minutes to love. The world No. 285 made it on the scoreboard in the second game of the second set and from then on he seemed to find his rhythm.

Supported by the majority of the crowd, Zverev became stronger the longer the match lasted. Eventually, the 17-year-old served the match out winning 0-6, 7-5, 6-3 in two hours and four minutes to become the first player of his age to reach a semifinal at an ATP 500 event since Marin Cilic in Gstaad in 2006.

“Tobias played very well in the first set and I really felt that I needed to change some things. So I played more slices to break his rhythm. I would have lost the match for sure, if Tobias continued to play like this in the beginning. It is really nice to reach the semis here and by the start of this week I wasn’t thinking that this could happen,” said a happy Zverev afterwards.

“It is a goal to crack the top 100 but the players inside this ranking are of another level than the players ranked 180 or 190. It will be a huge challenge for me to get inside this group,” the German youngster stated.

“I haven’t had a clue that David Ferrer is in my half of the draw here until a friend told me this morning during practice. I knew that Pablo (Andújar) is still in the draw as well but I really didn’t know my possible opponent in the semi-finals right after the match,” Zverev explained after he wasn’t able to name his two next possible opponents during the on-court interview.

Kamke was disappointed after the match but found some nice words, though, and was full of respect concerning his opponent. “If Alex stays healthy, I’m convinced that he will have a great future without any limits,” Zverev’s former club teammate stated.

Tournament director Michael Stich seemed to be satisfied as well after the youngster’s victory. “Physically he is still very strong and he plays a very solid game throughout the week. He has strong nerves and simply acts really cool on court. Of course I feel a bit sorry for Tobi but I also hope for a full house tomorrow and that a lot of people will come out to watch the new German tennis hope,” the former Wimbledon champion was looking forward to Saturday’s semi-finals.

In a match of two supposed underdogs Leonardo Mayer faced Dusan Lajovic for the first time. The Argentine defeated Austria’s youngster Dominic Thiem the round before and the 24-year-old Serbian reached the quarterfinal after his 3rd round opponent Filip Krajinovic was forced to retire due to illness. Mayer, who is currently ranked at a career high 46, was untroubled and only had to save one break point in the entire match. After 75 minutes the 27-year-old from Buenos Aires served out winning 6-1, 7-5 to reach his second semi-final of the season.

David Ferrer

David Ferrer

It followed an all-Spanish affair with the tournament’s top-seed David Ferrer taking on Pablo Andújar. On Thursday, the world No. 7 extended his head-to-head lead over Andreas Seppi to 8-0 after seeing off the Italian in three sets in almost three hours. Andújar advanced to his third quarterfinal of the season with a comfortable straight set victory over Dustin Brown. Friday’s encounter was one-way traffic in favour for Ferrer. The 32-year-old from Javea controlled the match right from the beginning and Andújar needed 45 minutes to get on the scoreboard in the third game of the second set. Ferrer sealed victory in 66 minutes winning 6-0, 6-2.

“For sure this has been my best match of the week so far. In the first two matches I didn’t really play good tennis in some moments but today it was much better. I made less errors, played more aggressively with my forehand and I’m happy with my game as well as to be in the semi-finals,” the winner said afterwards.

“I’ve never played with Alexander Zverev before but this week was impressive. Of course I respect him like any other player on the tour. He is a really good player with a good serve and a good forehand. He has a bright future, which is a nice thing for the tennis in Germany. He is not having any pressure and my goal will be to stay focused on every point. I hope that the people will enjoy the match tomorrow,” Ferrer said about his next opponent.

In the final match of the day, the second remaining seeded player, Philipp Kohlschreiber, faced Lukas Rosol for the second time within two weeks. The Czech defeated Hamburg’s seventh seed in straight sets at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart last week. This time, Kohlschreiber was able to take revenge through a comfortable victory in 77 minutes winning 6-4, 6-4 and advanced into his fourth semi-final of the season.

 

Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit!  Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer.

 

RESULTS – FRIDAY, 18 JULY 2014

Singles – Quarter-finals
[1] [WC] D Ferrer (ESP) d P Andujar (ESP) 60 62
[7] P Kohlschreiber (GER) d L Rosol (CZE) 64 64
[WC] A Zverev (GER) d [WC] T Kamke (GER) 06 75 63
L Mayer (ARG) d D Lajovic (SRB) 61 75

Doubles – Semi-finals
[1] A Peya (AUT) / B Soares (BRA) d [3] M Granollers (ESP) / M Lopez (ESP) 63 64

SCHEDULE – SATURDAY, 19 JULY 2014

CENTER COURT start 13:00
[4] J Murray (GBR) / J Peers (AUS) vs M Draganja (CRO) / F Mergea (ROU)

Not Before 15:30
[7] P Kohlschreiber (GER) vs L Mayer (ARG)

Not Before 18:00
[1] [WC] D Ferrer (ESP) vs [WC] A Zverev (GER)

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The US Open Series Begins this Weekend in Atlanta

 

BB&TAtlantaOpen

By Herman Wood

(July 17, 2014) ATLANTA – Preparation for the US Open is underway.  The BB&T Atlanta Open gets things started on Saturday, July 19th for the men.  Qualifying begins at 10 AM.  The BB&T Atlanta Open is an ATP 250 event, with a 28 player draw, four of which come from the qualifying tournament.  The qualifying field will have 32 players.  The doubles draw is a 16 team field.  Last year’s champ, John Isner, is returning, along with fellow Americans Sam Querrey, Wimbledon doubles champ Jack Sock, and Donald Young.  Gael Monfils, Richard Gasquet, Radek Stepanek, Ivo Karlovic, Ivan Dodig, Lleyton Hewitt, and the other half of the Wimbledon doubles championship team, Vasek Pospisil, are also expected in the tournament.  The tournament aspires to be a mini US Open, with the venue set among the skyscrapers of downtown Atlanta at Atlantic Station.  Atlantic Station is a community within downtown that provides homes for 10,000 people integrated with shopping, restaurants, and retailers that make it a hit with the players.  Besides the attractive venue, players will get a jump on the US Open Series Bonus Challenge, where nearly $40 million in prize money is up for grabs.  This is the third year the tournament has been held at Atlantic Station.

It is a familiar place for Americans, with Isner winning last year, Roddick in 2012, and Fish in 2011.  It has also been comfortable for big man tennis- last year Isner, at 6’10”, overcame Kevin Anderson at 6’8” in three tiebreaks.  Fans in the first couple of rows certainly had to pay attention with the huge serves coming their way.  It is especially familiar for Isner, who competed collegiately just an hour down the road for the University of Georgia Bulldogs, leading the team to a national championship and winning every possible team title in 2007.  He’s usually a fan favorite, with at least a couple of barks from Georgia fans in his favor at each match.  Isner may not be the only recipient of barks; University of Georgia player Austin Smith has accepted a wild card into the main draw. The sophomore from Cumming, Georgia excelled this season as the Bulldogs captured the 2014 SEC Championship. Smith finished with a 35-12 record, and went 9-1 in SEC matches. He has won four USTA Pro Circuit matches. A tournament qualifier in 2011, Smith will be playing his debut ATP main draw match.

Another American, Jack Sock, could very well get on a roll at this tournament.  After winning doubles with Pospisil at Wimbledon, he rolled into Newport and eliminated Isner in the Newport Hall of Fame event on grass just a week ago.  Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t able to keep that momentum and was eliminated by the veteran Lleyton Hewitt, who went on to win the tournament.  Hewitt’s feisty shouts of “C’mon!” have endeared him to the Atlanta fans in past years.  Fresh off his renewed success at Newport, he could very well win Atlanta.  The main draw was just rounded out with the addition of Ryan Harrison and Robby Ginepri.  “We’re ecstatic to welcome back two of our fan favorites in Ryan Harrison and Atlanta metro resident Robby Ginepri,” Tournament Director Eddie Gonzalez said. “One of our goals is to highlight American talent and both of these players are great examples of the fine players this country has produced.”  Harrison won the doubles last year, partnering with Matthew Ebden.  Ginepri appears for the fourth time, with a onetime ranking of fifteen.  He is a graduate of Wheeler High School, just a few miles north of Atlantic Station.  He currently resides in Kennesaw, another couple of miles north.

The draw will be finalized over this weekend with the completion of the qualifying tournament.  Promising American junior Francis Tiafoe has accepted his first tournament qualifying wild card. Tiafoe, 16, is a talented young prodigy who rose to No. 2 in the world junior rankings this spring. Georgia Tech’s Nathan Rakitt and Alabama’s Becker O’Shaughnessey have also accepted qualifying wild cards. Rakitt, a Marietta native and All-ACC selectee, is competing again for the second year. O’Shaughnessey of Macon, Ga., led the Crimson Tide in singles wins (22) this season.

Herman Wood is in Atlanta covering the BB&T Open action from around the grounds for Tennis Panorama News, follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/hermanewood.

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Federers Welcome Another Set of Twins to the Family

(May 6, 2014) Roger and Mirka Federer welcomed a second set of twins to their family on Tuesday. Mirka gave birth to twin boys named Leo and Lenny on Tuesday evening in Zurich. The new boys join four-year-old twins sisters Myla and Charlene in the Federer family.

Federer withdrew from the Madrid Open earlier in the day to be with his family.

Federer made the announcement on twitter:

 

 

zpbmpxd

According to Swiss media, twins seem to run in the Federer family as Roger’s sister also has a set of twins.
The 32-year-old Federer did not specify if he would return for the Rome Masters next week, but Godsick said the 17-time Grand Slam champion intended to enter the French Open, which begins May 25.

“Roger has plans to play the French Open, and he’ll take it step-by-step as to what he plays before that,” Federer’s agent Tony Godsick said in a telephone interview with the Associated Press.

The French Open begins on May 25.

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Roger Federer Withdraws from Madrid to be with Pregnant Wife

 

Federer in press

(May 6, 2014) Roger Federer announced on his Facebook page that he has withdrawn from the Madrid Open to be with his wife Mirka who is expecting their third child.

The Federers already have four-year-old twin girls, Myla Rose and Charlene Riva, who will turn five on July 23.

The French Open begins on May 25. The world No. 4 has not missed a major tournament since 2000.

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Catching up with David Ferrer and John Isner

Catching up with David Ferrer and John Isner by James A. Crabtree

John Isner and David Ferrer meet fans at the Prince Hub at the Crown Entertainment Complex in Melbourne

John Isner (L) and David Ferrer (R) meet fans at the Prince Hub at the Crown Entertainment Complex in Melbourne

(January 12, 2014) MELBOURNE – During a hectic schedule prior to their 2014 Australian Open campaigns I had the chance to catch up with world No. 3 David Ferrer and American No. 1 John Isner for an informal Q & A at the Prince Hub Tennis Live Site, with a focus away from the court.

 

Who do you travel with?

David Ferrer: I travel with my team and coach and girlfriend. I spend the time waiting for planes watching movies and reading.

John Isner: I travel with my team, my brother also. He can be tough to travel with, he can cause some trouble. I’d like to travel with my dog Miguel I don’t see him often but I can’t live without him, he’s a cocker spaniel.

 

Name your favorite Actor, Actress and Movie

DF: My best Actress would be Julia Roberts and actor would be Robert De Niro. And I would not see ever myself acting after my career (laughs).

JI: Favorite movie has gotta be Saving Private Ryan. Favourite actress would be Megan Fox although she is a little out of the scene at the moment now, isn’t she?

 

Favorite place to play?

DF: Of course I love being in Spain but I love the grand slams because they are special.

JI:The tournaments which are close to home and close to where I went to school are great for the support but I do love the grand slams also.

 

Which family members have been most important to you during your journey?

DF: My whole family.  Everyone.

JI: Gotta be my mom.

 

You are both pretty good at tennis, but what are you bad at?

DF: Playing at other sports like football. I play but I am not good. The best out of the tennis players is Rafael Nadal. Feliciano Lopez is the most funny guy.

JI: I suck at soccer. I’ve got confidence with basketball.

 

What would you be doing if you were not playing tennis, and where do you see yourself in ten years?

DF: Still something about tennis I believe. Everything is tennis, tennis is everything.

JI: I don’t think I will be involved too much in tennis in ten years. One of my biggest achievements was starting my own charity, raising money for the cancer hospital that treated my mother. I would like to do more with that.

James Crabtree is a journalist living in Melbourne. Follow him on twitter @JamesACrabtree

 

Australian Open Hub David Ferrer 1 Australian Open Hub Final 1 Australian Open Hub Final 2 Australian Open Hub John Isner & David Ferrer 1 Australian Open Hub John Isner & David Ferrer 2 Australian Open Hub John Isner 1

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Andy Roddick, James Blake and John Isner Team Up to Particpate in Justin Gimelstob Children’s Fund Tennis Exhibition

Justin Gimelstob Children’s Fund Tennis Exhibition

By Josh Meiseles, Special to Tennis Panorama News

(December 7, 2013) CHATHAM, NJ – Centercourt Athletic Club in Chatham, New Jersey played host to the Justin Gimelstob Children’s Fund Tennis Exhibition for the sixth time on Friday, as the star-studded event raised money for the former ATP pro’s foundation. The fundraiser amassed over $300,000 in support of comprehensive healthcare services for children with cancer and blood disorders. In conjunction with The Valerie Fund, a New Jersey-based non-profit organization, the event also included a free 10 & under tennis clinic.

 

“When we started this event and my foundation fifteen years ago, I could never have imagined it would have grown into what it is today,” said Gimelstob in a press release. “It brings me so much pleasure to come back home and bring world-class tennis with me…all for a great cause.”

 

A day after James Blake held his ninth annual Serving for a Cure event in New York City, the former ATP World No. 4 accompanied Gimelstob, Andy Roddick and John Isner for a few singles and doubles exhibition matches. Celebrities in attendance included David Duchovny, Anne V., Brooklyn Decker, ESPN sports business reporter Darren Rovell, New York Mets star pitcher Matt Harvey and former New Jersey Nets guard Kerry Kittles.

 

“It means a lot to us, to all of us,” said Isner. “All of us support each other and our causes as well and that’s really what we’re doing here. We did it last night with James, tonight with Justin and these guys are coming down with me to North Carolina. We’re all very good friends and through that friendship and our tennis we’re able to give back to some unbelievable causes. You really get a lot of satisfaction out of this time of year.”
The evening included plenty of comedic moments, especially from the witty Roddick. With no shortage of banter, the former World No. 1 razzed on Isner’s net game and jumped on Duchovny for overcooking a volley: “You know, I hated the X-Files before that shot.” The shot of the day came when Blake ripped a massive forehand winner off a Roddick serve to which the US Open champ replied, “You realize I’m going right for your forehand next time.”

 

Roddick also reflected on his first full season away from the tour. “I guess every retired guy has that kick in the gut moment where you miss it. Mine was Wimbledon and the grass season. I don’t know if that was because I didn’t quite get there. That’s what I wanted most. It didn’t help that all the guys lost in the first couple rounds and I’m thinking ‘what did I do?’ The cumulative six-week process of getting to the point of competing in Australia is what I couldn’t get to anymore. Obviously being at the [US] Open was great, seeing it again. I was sitting up top watching the final and I was just amazed at how the guys play.”

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Players React to James Blake’s Retirement

James Blake

James Blake

(August 26, 2013) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY –  On Monday some players were asked in press about James Blake’s announcement about his retirement after the US Open. Here are a few reactions:

 

VENUS WILLIAMS:  You know, James, obviously the US Open was a special place for him.  I understand how he would want to end here.  You know, I think he still has, you know, a lot of great tennis in him, but he’s decided that now is the time for him.

He has a family now, so those are important priorities from what I hear.  He’s ready, so all we can do is support him.  Hopefully he will be able to contribute to tennis outside of the game, outside of playing pro tennis, in whichever way he chooses.

What I admired period about him was how he gave back, you know, obviously using his tennis career and celebrity to give back, especially to cancer because his dad passed.

And also the excitement he brought to the game.  I think he brought a lot of people into tennis.  It’s always great and also sad to lose someone who helps grow the game.  People are always interested in James, so that’s what I’m going to miss.

 

SERENA WILLIAMS:  Well, just pure heart.  I mean, the guy has been really just a great person with a great heart.  He’s been through so much.  Being even able to be a professional player with his back, and then doing so well.  We won together at Hopman Cup.  He was such a great partner and a great friend.

It’s just sad to see.  Sad to see another good friend of mine that I’m not going

 

RAFAEL NADAL:  Well, James was one of the more charismatic players on tour.  His style of game was spectacular a lot of days.  He was able to play winners on the return with great first serves, and his forehand was one of the best on tour, no?  Without no one doubt, he was able to hit very hard.  His image was great.

He’s a good example for the kids and a good example for the tour.  He’s a really good person.

 

RYAN HARRISON:  James has been a good friend in the locker room to everybody.  I mean, it’s funny.  Whenever you ask anyone about James, he’s left a great impression and just a great impact on everybody that he’s known in the game.

His career is one thing.  He obviously has his results.  I think something far more important that he’s leaving behind is the fact he left a really positive impact on tennis and the people he was around, which is what you are ultimately looking forward to doing after having a long, successful career like he’s had.

He’s one of the greatest guys out here on tour.  He’s into the next stage of his life, which is being the family man, having the baby, having his wife and kid, just going that route.

I’m extremely happy for him.  I congratulated him when I saw him.  You know, I look forward to keeping in touch with him throughout his life after tennis.

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Taylor Townsend to Compete in French Open Junior Championships

Taylor Townsend

Taylor Townsend

From the USTA – WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., May 13, 2013 – Taylor Townsend, the No. 1-ranked junior in the world at the end of 2012, will play in her first junior event of 2013 at the Roland Garros French Open Junior Championships June 2-8 in Paris.

 

Townsend finished last year as the No. 1-ranked junior in the world, becoming the first American girl in 30 years to hold that distinction. She remains No. 10 in the ITF world junior rankings despite thus far having played only professional tournaments in 2013. In her first WTA-level main draw match, Townsend beat then-No. 57 Lucie Hradecka in the first round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., in March.

 

Townsend, who in 2012 won the Australian Open junior singles title and junior doubles titles at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open, headlines an American girls’ contingent accepted to play in the French Open Junior Championship that includes Victoria Duval (17, Delray Beach, Fla.), currently No. 285 in the WTA rankings. In 2012, Duval won the USTA Girls’ 18s national title to earn a wild card into the US Open main draw, where she played Kim Clijsters in the first round.

 

Christina Makarova (16, San Diego), currently No. 11 in the ITF world junior rankings, No. 29 Sachia Vickery (18, Hollywood, Fla.) and No. 39 Jamie Loeb (18, Ossining, N.Y.) are also in the girls’ main draw, while No. 56 Louisa Chirico (16, Harrison, N.Y.), was accepted for qualifying.

 

Townsend, Duval and Vickery each train at the USTA Training Center – Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., while Chirico trains at the USTA Training Center – East in Flushing, N.Y.

 

Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (18, Charlotte, N.C.), currently the top-ranked American junior boy at No. 16 in the world, leads the Americans accepted to play the boys’ main draw, followed by No. 19 Stefan Kozlov (15, Pembroke Pines, Fla.), No. 23 Noah Rubin (17, Rockville Centre, N.Y.), No. 38 Luca Corinteli (17, Alexandria, Va.) and No. 40 Spencer Papa (17, Edmond, Okla.). No. 49 Martin Redlicki (17, Hawthorn Woods, Ill.) was accepted for qualifying.

 

Kozlov is the youngest player in the Top 20 of the world junior rankings and is the second youngest player in the French Open boys’ main draw. Rubin, who has been ranked as high as No. 6 in the world junior rankings, reached the quarterfinals of last year’s French Open Junior Championship, while Papa advanced to the third round last year.

 

Currently, Kozlov and Papa train at the USTA Training Center – Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla. Kwiatkowski and Redlicki previously trained there, Kwiatkowski for three years, and Corinteli trains at the Junior tennis Champions Center in College Park, Md., a USTA Certified Regional Training Center.

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