2014/11/24

James Blake Hosts Foundation Event at Brooks Brothers; Discusses His Own Tennis Future

James Blake and Brooks Brothers CEO Claudio Del Vecchio

James Blake and Brooks Brothers CEO Claudio Del Vecchio

(November 13, 2014) NEW YORK, NY – Former top American tennis player and world No. 4 James Blake played host to a kick-off “Serving for a Cure” shopping event at the Brooks Brothers flagship store on Madison Avenue in New York City on Thursday night to benefit his foundation.

Blake’s foundation raises funds for the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, specifically the Thomas Blake Sr. Memorial Research Fund, which supports early detection cancer research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Blake began “Serving for a Cure” in 2005 a year after he lost his father Thomas to cancer. The fund is named after his father.

Blake talked about the beginning of his foundation: “I wanted to do something one time as a memorial for him, and it turned out that the support I had that first year made me feel that I couldn’t stop at one. It’s been going strong ever since and now it feels like it’s never going to stop which is a really good thing and I’m proud of it. We passed the million dollar donation mark to Memorial Sloane Kettering.

“My father unfortunately was detected so late, but once he was a patient at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, he said it was like night and day. The treatment there was great, the research was unbelievable. They tried everything they could and we just want to give everyone a fighting chance. That’s why our research for early detection, we want give people a chance to beat the disease.”

In addition to his own philanthropic endeavors, the current Westport, Connecticut resident, commented on how dedicated players on the ATP Tour are to charity.

James Blake

“It’s kind of like the spirit of community,” said Blake. “We’re all in the same locker room together. We’re all not really part of the same team, like in team sports but it feels like it. We see what the others are doing and we see the example set at the top especially. Some of the older guys when I was growing up. -I saw (Andre) Agassi, I saw (Pete) Sampras, a lot of guys who were doing right by the rest of the world. It made me think that I’d want to do the same.

“Once something so personal hit my family, it made me realize I can make a difference in a positive way, because most of our lives as a tennis player are selfish. We’re playing tennis and doing it for ourselves.”

“I hope the young guys – the Sam Querrey’s , the John Isner’s, the Jack Sock’s, the Donald Young’s, they want to make difference too whatever way they can,” Blake continued.

Since Blake’s retirement from the tennis tour in 2013, he still is active in tennis in one form or another.

“Well I helped Jack sock a little bit,” he said. “I also have stayed close with the USTA and with Katrina Adams becoming the new president. I’m proud of her and hopefully I’ll be able to be part of the staff soon if that comes to be we’ll see. But right now I’m mainly focusing on my family, being at home and spending a lot of time with two little girls, that definitely keeps me pretty busy.”

Blake admitted that he likes coaching but there are some drawbacks.

“I like it but I don’t like to travel, I don’t like being on the road 30 weeks out of the year like I was when I was playing,” he said.

“So in terms of Jack (Sock) I just helped him with some of the bigger picture stuff- to be able to talk to him on the phone and helping keep his mind set the right way, because he’s got a full time coach, I don’t want to interfere with that, I’m not dealing with the X’s and O’s, strokes and stuff. I’m more of a mentor and a friend, someone that’s going to be a sounding board for him.

“He’s going through a lot of stuff I was going through at his age, so I just want to be that resource that can help him. If I can do that for others, that would be something in the future that I’d be proud to be a part of. I went through it all and hopefully have others have that knowledge as well.”

Blake who was a member of the 2007 Davis Cup championship team told Tennis Panorama News that down the line he’d like to be the U. S. Davis Cup Captain. “I thought about it the first time I played Davis Cup,” he said. “I would love to have that opportunity and it’s something that’s such an honor. Jim’s (Courier) doing a great job. I know it won’t be for a long time to get a chance because I know Jim’s got a pretty good handle on it. There would be no reason to make a change anytime soon. Hopefully I have plenty more years to have that opportunity and if it ever comes my way, I won’t pass it up, that’s for sure.”

Blake had the opportunity to be in the broadcast booth for Tennis Channel as an analyst in February 2013 when the U. S. played a first round Davis Cup tie against Brazil in Jacksonville, Florida.

“I thought it was going to be much more natural than it was,” said of the transition to working on television.

“I worked with Brett Haber, who is a true professional ad he really helped me. I got better through the weekend.”

“The biggest thing was when to talk and when not to talk, because I felt like I needed to say more and he said it was ok to let the tennis do the talking, that actually made it easy for me to get better and just let the players do the talking on the court. I was getting better. It still feels there is a lot more work for me to get to anyone’s level like Bret Haber, John McEnroe and the people who have been doing it for years, but it’s something that’s fun and I think it helps me that I played again most of the guys I’m commentating on, so I don’t need to do as much work on the scouting reports I’ve already done that.”

 

Blake entertains doing more television work in the future. “It’s something that was fun the first few times I did it. I think it would be great to stay close to the sport. It may give me an opportunity to stay involved as it gets closer to a time if I have the opportunity to be Davis cup captain butt it is a good way to stay involved. It may be tough for me to stay objective. I maybe have a few favorites especially with the Americans. I like to see them doing well but I have to do my best to stay objective, just commentate on the facts.”

 

Brooks Brothers is a new sponsor for “Serving for a Cure.” “I’m really happy to be affiliated with a company with such a great tradition as Brooks Brothers. You see them at a lot of classic events, I know tennis and golf are known for that kind of classic feel and Brooks Brothers really brings that to the table.”

“When we met with James we were quite impressed with all that he’s accomplished,” said Claudio Del Vecchio, Chairman & CEO of Brooks Brothers. “It’s the same passion and dedication he shows on court that he brings to a cause that is so near to his heart.  Together we are helping to make a difference in the fight against cancer.”
Click here for more information on the James Blake Foundation.

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News

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Federer and Nishikori reign supreme in Group B at ATP World Tour Finals

Roger Federer photo by Christopher Levy @tennis_shots

Roger Federer photo by Christopher Levy @tennis_shots

Chalkdust Chronicles: Federer and Nishikori reign supreme in Group B at ATP World Tour Finals

(November 13, 2014) LONDON – Roger Federer and Kei Nishikori qualified from Group B to advance to the knockout stages of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

 

The Japanese player had to wait for his confirmation, but his win over alternate David Ferrer pushed Federer into the semi-finals. Nishikori was scheduled to face Milos Raonic, who was 0-2 already in the competition, but despite practicing earlier, he pulled out with a quad injury a couple of hours before the match was due to start.

The Canadian explained: “It was just something I sustained during my last match. Through extensive sort of research with the doctor’s team here, we found that I have a slight tear on the vastus medialis on my quad.”

 

On medical advice he was told that taking to the court could mean putting himself out of action for a considerable amount of time.

 

“Losing six to eight weeks of solely rehab sort of means you lose 12 weeks of getting back into shape and everything, those are definitely significant factors in my decision. At some points I didn’t want to accept it and listen to it. But it is what it is. I, alongside my team, all the staff with the ATP, made the best decision I believe.”

 

So it was left to David Ferrer to step in with the scenarios changing, and for the first time the crowd were treated to a three-set match as the Spaniard took advantage of a lapse in Nishikori’s level to edge the first set, but an early break at the start of the second sent the momentum back Nishikori’s way, as he ran away with it in the third set claiming th amtch 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.

 

“It’s never easy playing against David because he’s very consistent from the baseline,” said Nishikori. “If I want to win, I have to do something to break his tennis. From the second set, I was more aggressive. The final set was almost perfect.”

The final match alas did not live up to its promise, as Roger Federer blasted Andy Murray off the court 6-0, 6-1. After holding his first game, Federer went on a tear to win 10 games in a row before the battered Brit finally got a game on the board, only for Federer to wrap up the set in less than an hour.

 

After the match Federer said: “I think if there’s a slight difference of the level from the baseline, hard to get out of it. We’ve seen it all week. The serve doesn’t have that much impact. I didn’t even necessarily serve so well. But you got to play the right way here, use the court to your advantage as much as you can.

 

He continued: “But I had the upper hand from the baseline, which hasn’t always happened against him. But I definitely was able to play on my terms. For me, things went very well. I was able to put Andy under pressure very often, and I think the match couldn’t have gone any better for me really.”

 

 

Coming straight into his post-match news conference Murray admitted: “He played exceptionally well. I can say I’m disappointed with my level tonight. But if I played well, he probably still would have won anyway. He was striking the ball very, very clean. Made very few mistakes. Was hitting the ball off the middle of the racquet on serve, returns.”

 

Murray is on best-man duty for best friend Ross Hutchins next week and has just 14 days before the start of the International Premier Tennis League, where he will be playing in a series of exhibition events, before playing in the Mubadala World Tennis Championships and the Hopman Cup ahead of the start of the season.

 

Tennis Panorama News is covering the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London.  Follow on twitter for live updates on @TennisNewsTPN.

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Inaugural Serena Williams Ultimate RUN South Beach to Take place on December 14

Serena Williams ultimate run

(November 13, 201) World No. 1 and 18-time major champion  Serena Williams got to watch first-hand as friend and tennis competitor Caroline Wozniacki finished the New York City Marathon. Now it’s Williams turn to run a race. She will join running enthusiasts from South Florida and around the country for the inaugural Serena Williams Ultimate RUN South Beach, taking place on Sunday, December 14th. The Quarter Marathon (6.55 miles), 5K Run/Walk and Ultimate KIDS Dash will bring together runners of all ages and abilities to support the Serena Williams Fund, which provides assistance to families affected by violent crimes and providing underprivileged youth around the world with the highest quality of education available to them. Registration for each event is now open at www.TheUltimateRun.com.

“Miami is very close to my heart — I’ve lived and trained here throughout my career — and it’s such an electric and diverse city,” said Williams. “I really hope Miami will come out to support this fun event and run with me to help youth in need, so that they’re able to thrive and live fulfilling lives.”

On Sunday, December 14th, famed Ocean Drive will be closed to traffic for the Ultimate RUN’s scenic start and finish lines. The course will take runners through Miami’s South Beach. Those scheduled to participate include U.S Olympian and American middle distance runner Shannon Rowbury, and the Canadian long-distance Olympic runner, Cam Levins American track coach and retired long-distance runner, Alberto Salazar, is expected to fire the starting gun as a tribute to kick off the new event. Caroline Wozniacki, Venus Williams, Andy Murray and other special guests are expected to attend the new event.
“Our goal is to think of what would make the ultimate run,” says Marc Wachter, the event’s executive producer. “We are thrilled to be working with Serena for the first annual Serena Williams Ultimate Run.  One of the world’s number one female athletes behind our inaugural event in Miami Beach, together with participants from the Nike Oregon Project, will make this run the Ultimate experience.”

Open to runners of all ages, registrants of the Ultimate RUN will receive a premium, Nike tech, gender-specific Ultimate RUN shirt and custom artisan Ultimate RUN finisher medal, official finisher certificate, chip timed results, recovery refreshments, post-race entertainment and an amazing RUN experience along one of the most famous beach front locations on earth. At the all-inclusive fun RUN, a medal and a Nike shirt will also be presented for the Ultimate KIDS Dash for ages 2-10, on a special secure course for the children lined with volunteers and parents who will help direct and cheer the smallest runners to the finish.

“Serena, South Beach, and running down Ocean Drive breaking a sweat for a good cause is a perfect combination,” said Michael Rose, Managing Partner of Rose Capital Advisors in Miami Beach and Board Member of the Serena Williams Fund. “We’re extremely fortunate and grateful that the community has embraced this project as strongly as all of our partners, sponsors, volunteers, family, and friends have. The race will truly be a weekend affair, leveraging all that South Beach has to offer – including an intimate welcome reception on Friday evening, an outdoor health and fitness expo open to the public on Saturday afternoon, and of course, a celebratory post-race karaoke party!”

A significant portion of proceeds from the Serena Williams Ultimate Run will go towards the Serena Williams Fund, which provides assistance to families affected by violent crimes and providing underprivileged youth around the world with the highest quality of education available to them.  For further information, visit www.theserenawilliamsfoundation.org

Registration for the first annual Serena Williams Ultimate RUN South Beach on Sunday, December 14th is now open at www.TheUltimateRun.com at facebook.com/SerenaWilliamsUltimateRunSouthBeach and via Twitter @TheUltimateRun.  Additional inquiries can be made by calling 305.538.8899.  For further information and updates, visit  www.TheUltimateRun.com

The Serena Williams Ultimate Run is sponsored by Nike, Gatorade, beats by dr. dre, Delta Airlines, MISSION Athletecare, Merchant Hub, Whole Foods Market, Douglas Elliman, Rose Capital and Ocean Drive Magazine.

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USTA Recognizes ACEing Autism in Los Angeles Program with National Award

USTA President Dave Haggerty and Adaptive Tennis Community of the Year Aceing Autism Co-Founder Richard Spurling

USTA President Dave Haggerty and Adaptive Tennis Community of the Year Aceing Autism Co-Founder Richard Spurling

(November 13, 2014) The USTA announced that ACEing Autism in Los Angeles has been awarded the 2014 USTA National Adaptive Tennis Community Service Award.  The organization will be honored during the annual USTA Tennis Development Workshop (TDW) held Nov. 6-9 at the Sheraton Atlanta, in Atlanta. The USTA bestows this recognition upon a program or program leader that has demonstrated continued excellence, dedication and service in tennis for an adaptive tennis community.

 

ACEing Autism’s program director is Richard Spurling, an active member of the USTA Adaptive Tennis Committee, who was awarded the 2013 PTR Humanitarian of the Year Award. Spurling is also a speaker for USPTA and PTR. Started in the summer of 2008 by Spurling and his wife Dr. Shafali Jeste in Boston as a family run organization, ACEing Autism moved to the West Coast shortly after and in May of 2010 partnered with UCLA’s adaptive reaction program in Los Angeles.

 

“On behalf of the ACEing Autism Board we are extremely grateful for this honor,” Spurling said. “I share this award with my staff,  our 30 program directors and the hundreds of high school and college student volunteers who bring tennis into the lives of families that are affected by autism spectrum disorder.”

 

ACEing Autism uses tennis as a means of engaging children on the autism spectrum. It allows these kids to have fun and learn the sport as well as increases hand-eye coordination, motor development, improvement of social skills, attention, enhancing health and fitness, and self-confidence. ACEing Autism has 30 tennis programs in 10 states serving the needs of about 500 children with autism on a weekly basis, who represent a variety of cognitive, special and physical abilities.

 

The USTA Adaptive Tennis National Community Service Award was established in 2003.  To qualify for a program award, the program must have been in existence for a minimum of three consecutive years and be either a registered USTA Adaptive Tennis program or have a USTA Adaptive Tennis affiliation.  To qualify for an individual award, the recipient must have worked with an Adaptive Tennis program for a minimum of three consecutive years.

 

“What Richard Spurling and ACEing Autism have done for children with Autism is simply amazing,” said Kurt Kamperman, Chief Executive, Community Tennis, USTA. “ACEing Autism is dedicated to ensuring that everyone with special needs has the opportunity to participate in a meaningful tennis experience. We are proud to acknowledge their efforts with this award.”

 

In the fall of 2013, ACEing Autism launched new programs in Tampa; Charlotte; Encinitas, Calif.; and Riverside Park, N.Y., with plans to expand to nine new areas by the end of this year. For more information on ACEing Autism, go to: www.aceingautism.com.

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Djokovic supreme as he lays waste to Wawrinka

Djokovic applauds

Djokovic supreme as he lays waste to Wawrinka

 

(November 12, 2014) LONDON – In a week of strange matches, it was left to the two-time defending champion to make things interesting, by taking six minutes to be broken as Wawrinka continued his bullish approach in the second round robin match.

 

It took until the third game for Djokovic to get a handle on his service game, holding to love after the first two games involved being dragged up to deuce, and with a break to love, Djokovic rapidly brought things back to level pegging.

 

From there it went rapidly downhill for a couple of games for Wawrinka, losing the next eight points behind his serve. If it could be called a brief rally, Wawrinka managed to get another game on the board before Djokovic wrapped up the first set.

 

From there, though, Wawrinka’s game totally came apart, as errors were the only things flowing free from his racket. His forehand had let him down badly and his backhand followed suit, leaving Wawrinka nowhere to go, winning just seven points in the second set falling 6-3, 6-0.

 

He assessed his performance candidly after the match: “He put me in a position that I think a little bit too much. I’m not really clear what I’m going to do, because he’s doing everything well and he’s returning well.”

 

He continued: “The serve was not good enough. Then I start to do mistake because here the conditions are really low. His ball is always coming to me and I cannot really mix the spin and try to get higher ball to try to attack him.”

 

Djokovic is now in a commanding position not only to advance, as if that was in any doubt, into the semi-finals, but to also wrap up the year-ending No. 1 for the third time in his career.

 

He said: “I just played very solid from all over the court. I think I covered the court very well, got a lot of balls back, mixed up the pace, got him off the comfort zone. That’s something that was part of my game plan. After I lost the first two games, you know, obviously I didn’t start so great. I thought he played very well the first two games. But, again, I wasn’t frustrated. I kept my calm. After that, was a really amazing performance.”

 

Djokovic will face Tomas Berdych in the final round robin match on Friday.

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Berdych rekindles his chances he wins his second round robin match at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London

Berdych applauds

Chalkdust Chronicles: Berdych rekindles his chances he wins his second round robin match at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London

 

(November 12, 2014) LONDON – Almost like clockwork, Tomas Berdych put aside his very disappointing performance in the opening round against Stan Wawrinka, with a convincing win over US Open champion Marin Cilic.

 

In all five years he has played here, the tall Czech has always struggled in the opener, only to flourish later in the tournament, as he delivered a beat down on the Croatian in just an hour and a quarter, 6-3, 6-1.

 

Again, we see the uniqueness in the round-robin format perhaps come into play – where those have more experience with handling the second (and third) chance.

 

Berdych said: “I think that’s the beauty of this event. One day you can be swept out from the court like I did, or I’ve been actually, and in two days’ time you can come up and you can play a different tennis.”

 

The Czech is not out of the woods yet, as he tackles two-time defending champion up next, with the night session between Wawrinka and Djokovic to hopefully deliver the first three-setter of the tournament.

 

“I’m going to try to, you know, maybe three, four games,” he joked. “That would be better from the last time (laughter). You know, it’s always a huge challenge to play No. 1 player in the world. The way he’s playing, where are we playing, it’s pretty much all set up for him and for his game. That’s how it is.

 

“So for me it’s going to be great to play a match with him, maybe the last of the season, maybe not. But even if it’s the last one, it’s with the No. 1 player in the world. It’s really, as I said, huge challenge. I’m going to try to bring all I have what is left in me, challenge him.”

 

For Cilic, maybe mentally he had checked out of the tournament, admitting that the season has been long for him, and that he was feeling it a little.

 

“It’s, of course, a little bit disappointing to play like this. I was not expecting it. But sort of I feel a little bit tired, and body feels a little bit tired on the court. It seems that the things that I’m doing that are all basically going in a wrong direction. Especially with these guys at this kind of level, even small mistakes, or if you’re not at your best performances, the outcome is not going to be going in your favour. I haven’t also been playing last few weeks. Also the body, of course, is not at the best possible shape.”

 

He plays Stan Wawrinka in the final round robin, and after the Swiss’ fine return to form against Berdych, Cilic knows he can perhaps swing a little more freely.

 

“It’s going to be I think more pressure on Stan, that he has to win. I mean, we’ll see, I don’t know. But, anyway, I’m going to try to enjoy. I deserve to be here as a matter of having a great season. Of course, try to play well and to perform well on Friday.”

 

Cilic and Wawrinka will play in the last of the Group A round robin matches on Friday.

 

Tennis Panorama News is covering the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London.  Follow on twitter for live updates on @TennisNewsTPN.

 

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Murray on the board as errors do in Raonic

Andy Murray

Andy Murray

Chalkdust Chronicles: Murray on the board as errors do in Raonic

 

(November 11, 2014) LONDON – Andy Murray thrived with a raucous evening crowd to get his first win on the board at the Barclays ATP world Tour Finals, with a straight sets win over Milos Raonic 6-3, 7-5.

 

After a day of one-sided matches, and even the match-up between Roger Federer and Kei Nishikori earlier in the day not living up to its potential, it was down to Murray to address his head to head deficit over Raonic, who played pretty solidly in Paris before heading here.

 

Murray started with some very solid returning and was hitting with much more purpose than we saw in his first match against Nishikori, and was perhaps pressuring Raonic into rushing his shots. Certainly the Canadian was having a tougher time reigning in his first serve, and the flood of errors, especially on the forehand side over the match by far outweighed some sharp winners.

 

Raonic had little choice but to offer a frank assessment on his form, acknowledging that his first serve, a key foundation to his game, was not up to scratch.

 

“Whatever the reason is, I have 24 hours to solve it if I want to have any hope. There’s no way around that.”

 

He continued: “I’ve been too passive on the court. I’ve been trying to beat the two guys playing their tennis, and that’s going to work for me.”

 

Murray broke in the first set and kept his nose in front, but just when it seemed that the momentum was firmly with him with an early break at the start of the second, a lazy choice of drop-shot played onto Raonic’s hands to give him enough of an advantage to break straight back.

 

Murray was starting to rush a little and if anything Raonic was beginning to find that serve of his, banging down a couple of aces to threaten taking it to a tie-break or even a third set.

 

Twice Murray had to dig himself out of a 0-30 but again the Canadian was beginning to get carried away, going for too much, with Murray rewarded with another break.

 

Not that it was plain sailing at 6-5 for the Brit, with Raonic saving a match-point but Murray made no mistake at the second as yet another Raonic error gave Murray the match, but not before a cheeky little challenge by the Canadian before the inevitable.

After the match Murray said: “I obviously played better tonight. I hit the ball a lot cleaner than I did on Sunday from the beginning of the match. So that was pleasing. [I] started to try and use as much variation as possible on my second serve. So served more serves into his forehand. I wouldn’t serve like two or three serves to the same spot in a row. I would just try and use as much variation as I could so that he couldn’t be in as much of a rhythm.”

 

In a little bit of spice, Federer will have to qualify out of his third and final round robin match. He needed Murray to grind out a win in three sets to have guaranteed his place in the last four.

 

“For me it depends on the winner of the Nishikori/Raonic match. If Kei wins, then I need to beat Roger, it depends on the scoreline of that match with Kei and Raonic. If Raonic wins, then I know that all I need to do is win the match against Roger and I’ll be through.’

 

He concluded: ‘Hopefully I can get through the group and keep going. If not, playing against Roger is a good way for me to finish the year, as well.”

 

The final round-robin matches for Group B will be played on Thursday.

 

Tennis Panorama News is covering the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London.  Follow on twitter for live updates on @TennisNewsTPN.

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Roger Federer in cruise control in London

Federer on court-001

Chalkdust Chronicles: Roger Federer in cruise control in London

(November 11, 2014) LONDON – Roger Federer breezed through his second round robin match of the ATP World Tour Finals, as he eased past Kei Nishikori 6-3 6-2.

 

The Japanese player, who overcame nerves to edge out Britain’s Andy Murray in the first round started promisingly, and indeed in the early exchanges looked to be the sharper of the two, but once the errors started racking up, and his backhand down the line deserted him, he looked a shadow of the player who stepped up on his debut.

 

He admitted: “Maybe he didn’t play maybe hundred percent, but all the tough points he played, you know, good serve, good points. He didn’t give me a chance to come back. Yeah, I think he did great that. Important points, he put all the efforts.”

 

“I didn’t play really bad. But still, you know, I wasn’t really consistent everything, my serve, my strokes. I had a little bit of unforced errors. So that’s why I couldn’t, you know, stay there.”

 

For the second time in the tournament, Nishikori received treatment on his wrist, but he played it down, in a season where wrist injuries have plagued many players.

 

“[I] just had a little bit of soreness today. I mean, the tennis was okay. I was playing really solid from the baseline. Maybe serve wasn’t there, you know, today. But I have one more day, tomorrow, off. So try to come back, recovery well, and hopefully I can win next one. “

 

Federer in the mean time is riding high, almost virtually assured of his place in the semi-finals, if Andy Murray beats Milos Raonic in three sets, and the benefit of a guaranteed place is not lost on him.

 

“I’d like to be qualified, to be quite honest. At least I know I am through maybe than having to win a set or maybe having to win the entire match. I don’t even know what it takes. Usually if you do win in straight sets twice, things look very, very good.

 

He continued: “The advantage of being qualified, if that were to happen, is just that you can go into the match a bit more laid back. But then again, the integrity of the game, and there’s so much still at stake for me, wanting to beat a fellow rival and wanting to win the points that are at stake, go in with a clean sheet into the semis is any way to go.”

 

The final Group B round robin matches will be played on Thursday.

 

Tennis Panorama News is covering the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London.  Follow on twitter for live updates on @TennisNewsTPN.

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Breadstick Day in Notes and Quotes from Day 2 of the ATP World Tour Finals

(November 10, 2014) LONDON – Notes and quotes from the Day 2 news conferences of the ATP World Tour Finals. Monday’s matches included a pair of 6-1, 6-1 victories for Group A players Stan Wawrinka and Novak Djokovic who demolished opponents Tomas Berdych and year-end rookie Marin Cilic respectively.

Stan Wawrinka

“I didn’t expect to win that easy in the score, for sure. But I was ready to play well. I did a great week of preparation. I did work really, really hard since few weeks with Magnus. Even if the result wasn’t there in Basel and Paris, I was feeling the ball really well at the practice court.”

 

“I’m happy with my performance. I’m happy the way I was playing. Serving really well. Returning almost everything. It seems it’s not usual. And, yeah, feeling good on the court.”

 

Q. Do you know the score of the first set was the same as the Federer/Raonic match yesterday?
STAN WAWRINKA: Good start for the Swiss.

Q. Good for the Davis Cup.
STAN WAWRINKA: Exactly. I try to show him that I’m going to be ready for the Final.
Q. You have the best record on tour against the top 10 this year, you’re 7 1. Against everyone else, you win two thirds of the time. You’re winning more against the top 10. Why is that?
STAN WAWRINKA: I had, what, six win against top 10 in the first three months of the year, then I never played them again because I lose early in the tournament, so it was a tough six months after (smiling).

 

 

Tomas Berdych

 

“Unfortunately it was my worst match of the whole season, and I kept it for the start here in the World Tour Finals. So that’s not the best one at the start.

“But, yeah, there are days like that. Now it’s over of that. Really, I mean, it’s just matter of, you know, looking forward, trying to find a way for next few days. Just try to leave this somewhere very far and try to come up with some better tennis.”

 

My game is about hitting the ball nice, clean, then you can create something. But that’s the beginning what I didn’t have today at all. I hit so many frames. You know, just was not there. It’s the thing that I have to sit with my team and find out and make the right things for the future days.

 

How did you find the court surface today? How does it compare to the previous four years you qualified?

TOMAS BERDYCH: Well, honestly, I don’t know if I’m in the right mood, the right feeling just to judge the court. Because today I didn’t really feel anything right.

 

 

Novak Djokovic

“It was a great performance. I was hoping I could play this way. I was preparing myself for this match. I knew already one week ago that I’m going to play Marin at 8 p.m. on Monday.

“My team did a good scouting. We thought about, you know, what’s the game plan. I stepped in and executed really well.”

 

His debut in the World Tour Finals has gotten best out of him in terms of his nerves. You could see that he didn’t feel so comfortable. Tried to use my experience playing on this stage, the stadium, which is pretty different from any other.

 

“How do I feel returning indoors comparing to outdoors. It is different and it’s better for the returner. It’s better for the server, but I feel it’s better for the returner because the ball more or less bounces the same every time, so you can anticipate better.”

 

Which is your most memorable memory with Grigor Dimitrov this year?

” I know what it was last year. When we took off our shirts at the exhibition event in Boodles before Wimbledon. We had a lot of fun there.

“He’s a great guy. A very good player that has the potential definitely to be a Grand Slam winner one day. He’s already working his way through. Played semifinals of Wimbledon. I think that’s our most memorable, let’s say, day of this year, of this season, where we played each other over three hours match, pushed each other to the limit.

“He’s got a lot of talent. He’s good‑looking. He speaks good English. He has Maria Sharapova for a girlfriend. What more can you ask for (laughter)? And he’s Bulgarian.”

 

 

Marin Cilic

 

Well, I mean, from my own side, it’s also first time being here. Also I felt that Novak played really, really solid today. In some matches, the score just keeps running. You are sinking a lot. You are, you know, always trying to find something. But whatever you try, it’s not working.

“That’s what I felt today. I felt a little bit uncomfortable on the court, rusty. In some situations where I felt I was, you know, having a chance to get in the score. Also in the beginning of the second set where I broke back to come back to level the score, you know, played pretty sloppy service game.

“In some situations, you know, the score just goes, and it’s difficult to stop it.”

 

 

“It’s medium‑paced court. It’s difficult to get the ball past the opponent. I mean, especially Novak. I didn’t have too many winners today.

“Also he was able to, you know, dictate the rallies. He was also able to return very well.

“That was a difficult part for my game to get some advantages at the beginning of the points.

“You know, when we are at the rallies, Novak starts to dictate, he’s always in a much better position. So that was, you know, a difficult part for me to get out of.

“Considering the court, it’s, I mean, a solid court, but you have to be able to, you know, keep the ball away from the opponent. If you are hitting the ball well, it’s going to pay off.

“But today I felt that I was not hitting it clean. That’s always difficult, especially against Novak, to get away with a win when you’re not playing so good.”

 

Tennis Panorama News is covering the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London.  Follow on twitter for live updates on @TennisNewsTPN.

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Chalkdust Chronicles – Berdych blown off court by Wawrinka

 

Chalkdust Chronicles – Berdych blown off court by Wawrinka

 

(November 10, 2014) LONDON – Tomas Berdych may have to wait until next year for a chance to finally break his World Tour Finals opening round duck after being completely blown off court by Stan Wawrinka in the Group A opening round robin match.

 

Wawrinka, who has struggled for form since the US Open, certainly made up for that by steaming to a 5-0 lead in the first set before going on to match the score-line and time of Roger Federer the night before, wrapping up the first set in just 25 minutes.

 

Think for a moment about those who paid just for a day ticket – if they decided to give the doubles a miss, that was some outlay for just shy of an hour’s work by Wawrinka as he notched up his first win in the group 6-1, 6-1.

 

The Swiss had been very relaxed in his pre-tournament press conference, happy to be here in different circumstances to last year as one of the early qualifiers, and now, feeling very confident.

 

“I didn’t expect to win that easy,” said Wawrinka. “But I was ready to play well. I had a great week of preparation. Even if the result wasn’t there in Basel and Paris, I was feeling the ball really well on the practice court.

“When I feel good on the court, I’m ready to beat everybody. It’s never easy, but you have to fight for it.”

Berdych could not do much more than admit it had not been his day.

“There are days like that. Now it’s over of that. Really, I mean, it’s just matter of looking forward, trying to find a way for next few days. Just try to leave this somewhere very far and try to come up with some better tennis.”

 

Wawrinka and Berdych will next play on Wednesday when the two winners and the two losers will pitch against each other.

 

Tennis Panorama News is covering the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London.  Follow on twitter for live updates on @TennisNewsTPN.

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