Sunday, October 31, 2010

Andy Murray Best Man For Brother Jamie After PlayStation Injury

Andy Murray has served as best man for his older brother Jamie as he married Colombian Alejandra Gutierrez in Scotland over the weekend. Both of the Murray boys were wearing their Family kilts with their grandmother creating the cake for the big day. Bagpipes greeted the wedding party as they arrived at Cromlix House in Dunblane, Scotland.

Judy Murray, mother of the groom, took to Twitter after the wedding to Tweet "One down, one to go!". Andy's girlfriend of 5 years (despite a 7 month split at the end of last year), Kim Sears was in attendance as Andy's date.

Interestingly Andy has also revealed that he strained a tendon in his hand after playing PlayStation too enthusiastically. Andy, also on Twitter, using the social medium to relay the injury to amused fans after his defeat at the hands of Dani Vallverdu.

"Aagh! I just lost 1 match to Dani at the new Pro Evolution and I think I broke my hand!"
“Icing the hand — time to grow up Andy!

Murray is now scheduled to attempt a title defense in Valencia, Spain.

Hewitt Defends Decision To Texting Critics

Lleyton Hewitt has been on the receiving end of a fairly significant amount of criticism following his decision to release the name of his newborn daughter, Ava Sydney, via a 'Text a Star' service. It was argued that 'real fans' should be given the right to find out the name of the child before the general public and other media outlets. The Hewitt's have, however, been criticized for using the service as a means to profits off their growing family.

The Hewitt's have frequented the cover of many gossip magazines over the years, receiving large sums of money to announce engagements, weddings, pregnancy's, pregnancy updates and births. The couple have also been subjects to excessive scrutiny over the state of the marriage, with Bec Hewitt even being accused of cheating with a mystery man who it was later revealed was, in fact, her brother.

Lleyton released a statement defending their latest decision.

"G'day everyone, 

Just wanted to clear things up re Text a Star and how subscribers to it find out any of my information first before anyone else.
I've been associated with Text a Star since before Wimbledon this year. I've really enjoyed giving my fans a special insight into alot of things especially life on the tennis tour, the emotions I feel right before competing or straight after a big match, and also activities I enjoy doing as an everyday Aussie bloke with family and friends. 

With Text a Star, as an athlete,I'm able to communicate directly and in real time to my fans in the comfort of knowing the content of my messages that they receive are appropriate and legitimate.

What has happened in this case proves that inaccurate information (ie, it was 'confirmed' last week Bec gave birth to a boy) gets widespread coverage. Text A Star guarantees its recipients that the content they receive is real-time, accurate and appropriate.

Some sections of the media have as usual found it opportune to place some spin on reality by suggesting we have taken this approach just to make money. Certain media people believe that are the only ones who should have an exclusive. In this instance we made a decision that my fans deserve to know first, and the general public second. That's what we have done and just look at how many of the media have reported it. I've always assured my fans that they'd  be the 1st to know on Text a Star and that's why I am part of such a great program, as I can send it straight from my mobile directly to theirs. 

To the many people who have sent us messages of congratulations through the website, Bec, Mia, Cruz and myself thank you for your well wishes on the birth of our beautiful daughter.

I look forward to posting more news soon. 


Clijsters Survives Car Crash To Make Doha Finals

Kim Clijsters and her manager were on their way to the tournament in Doha where she was scheduled to play Sam Stosur for a place in the year end championship finals when another car smashed into the side of her courtesy car. They were hit so hard that the car was abandoned on the side of the road when a new car came to pick the group up.

The car was reportedly approaching a roundabout when another car smashed into the passenger door.

Despite being delayed for the match Clijsters powered to a 7-6, 6-1 victory. She will now play current world number 1 Caroline Wozniacki in the final.

Clijsters took to Twitter to alert fans to the incident. "We just had a car accident on our way to the courts! So scary......Bob, my manager took the hit. We are all okay ....Just the car is ready for the junk yard.''

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Elena Dementieva Retires From Tennis

World number 7 Elena Dementieva has announced her retirement from professional tennis. Elena, 29, played her last competitive match yesterday in Doha, losing to Francesca Schiavone 6-4, 6-2.

Over the course of a career spanning 13 season and 847 matches, Elena has qualified for the year end finals 10 times in 11 years. As Elena made the announcement court side to fans, after a season which was marred by a nagging calf injury,  Kim Clijsters and Victoria Azarenka looked on, in tears, as Dementieva struggled to keep it together as she thanked her mother for support.

“It is so emotional and it’s so hard to say goodbye. I am going to miss you so much. I would like to thank all the people around the world for supporting me. My mom was very supportive and inspiring. She was always there for me. It is emotional for her as well. I love you mom... Well, right now I feel like it’s the end of the world, because I really like to play. It’s going to be completely different life for me. Tennis has been such a big part of my life, and always will be. To be honest with you, I mean, if I would be a man I would never stop playing. But in the age 29, I have to think about something else. I think I’m ready for the big change in my life.”

Dementieva plans to continue the studies she started last year at Moscow University and hinted at her desire to start a family.

Her retirement is another blow to the WTA. While Elena struggled with her serve she was one of the more consistent players on the tour.

"When I talked to my family about this decision I was ready for them to support me, but they were very surprised. They said you can play a couple of years and win many tournaments - but if you feel this way you have to make this decision. I think no-one was really happy about it except my boy-friend!"

Friday, October 29, 2010

Sharapova's $250,000 Engagement Ring

Jewllers around the world have estimated that Maria Sharapova's new sparkling engagement ring is worth $250,000. The ring, given to her by LA Laker star Sasha Vujacic, has sparked media interest in getting the first pictures.

When Maria stepped out recently with Sasha, she flipped the ring around to hide the diamond before some sneaky paparazzi managed to get some pictures which can be seen here.

Sasha proposed to Maria recently on the first anniversary of their meeting.

Rafa And Xisca Everywhere

Xisca Perello, long-time girlfriend of Rafael Nadal, has been seen everywhere since Wimbledon, even posing with Nadal's team when he won the US Open. She has been so present on the circuit, where in previous years she occasionally traveled with her man while she studied back home in Mallorca, that people have begun to wonder if it's only a matter of time before the two get married.

In a recent interview Rafa was asked what or who was the love of his life. His answer; his parents, his sister and his girlfriend.

Interestingly not only has she been attending more of his games and media events since graduating earlier this year, but Rafa has also begun to actually speak briefly about her in press conferences when asked.

Most recently the two have been seen enjoying dinner together with friends and in Madrid at Nadal's foundation press conference.

Xisca is frequently seen side by side with Nadal's mother, Ana Maria, and sits with his mother and sister, Maribel, court side. Nadal's family have also been traveling with him significantly more than they have in previous years, which is interesting considering his parents divorce last year. Either way the extra support seems to have spurred him on this year!

Since completing his charity duties with his family and Xisca by his side after some sight seeing in Thailand, the group have returned to Mallorca for some rest ahead of the final two tournaments of the year. Nadal has also been listed at number 15 in the Top 49 Most Influential Men 2010 poll, the second highest athlete on the poll. 

"Rafael Nadal cemented his spot as world No.1, and is marching full steam ahead toward Federer’s record 16 Grand Slam titles. Once considered the greatest rivalry in sports, it’s clear that Nadal has now fully eclipsed his Swiss counterpart. Just don’t tell him that. The always-humble 24-year-old Spaniard maintains that until he wins as many major titles as Federer, he will always be second best. It’s that kind of humility that endears us to the hard-hitting superstar, who’s earned over $10 million in tournament winnings this year alone. Once considered “The King of Clay,” Nadal’s game has evolved into an all-encompassing barrage of lethal weapons: he’s capable of defeating anyone, anywhere, anytime. The man plays with reckless abandon, and we love him for it." -

Stosur Qualifies For Year End Semi's In Doha

Sam Stosur needed to claim a set off Elena Dementieva in order to be the first player to make it through to the semi finals in Doha. In the end she managed to take the set but not the match, losing 4-6, 6-4, 7-6. It has been Stosur's debut in the year end Championship event and she has been in great form, beating Francesca Schiavone and Caroline Wozniacki without dropping a set. Over the last three matches Sam has accumulated over $300,000 in prize money.

Stosur managed to save four match points but it was not enough, and in losing she also lost a bonus $102,000 which she would have otherwise claimed.

"I kept trying to get going, and for the most part, you know, felt obviously into it and tried my hardest. In the end it was a good match. I think we both were kind of a bit off throughout certain periods throughout the match.

I knew after I won that first one that I was in, but that didn't really cross my mind throughout the rest of the match. I just kept playing point by point and trying to win the match, but wasn't quite to be."

Sam will be joined in the semi's by Kim Clijsters, Caroline Wozniacki and Vera Zvonareva.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hewitt Hard Up For Cash? Baby Daughter Named.

After first revealing the birth of his third child, another daughter, via SMS service Text A Star, they had also announced that they would inform fans first before media if they subscribed to the "service" at $2 per text. The service would then send out a text from Lleyton announcing the name of they're daughter - Ava Sydney Hewitt.

Sydney media outlets has saved fans the hassle (and the $2): "We’ve finally decided on a name for Mia and Cruz’s baby sister, Ava Sydney Hewitt. We love being a little family of five. Thanks, Lleyton.” 

It is unclear how much the Hewitt's will make from each text.

I don't know how other people feel but I find it a little odd that they Hewitt's have strayed from the "normal" route of selling details of their child's birth to OK! magazine, who have definitely boosted the Hewitt bank account over the years. Mind you I even find selling photos of you family to a magazine weird - but each to their own.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Nadal Talks About 2010 Season

While Rafa Nadal rests his weary body in Mallorca, the ATP has released a video interview with Rafa discussing his amazing 2010 season. A softly spoken Nadal said that Monte Carlo was the turning point. His next major push will be to finally claim a year end Masters title in London in a few weeks.

Federer Claims 64th Title

Unsurprisingly Roger Federer has defeated Florian Mayer in the Stockholm final to collect his 64th title and third of this season. Federer beat Mayer 6-4, 6-3 on his way to the title which ties him in fourth place with Pete Sampras on the all time list.

It was a straight forward match for Federer, taking just 63 minutes to complete the match before shaing hands with Mayer and the umpire.

"It means the world to me to win this title. It’s always nice winning in a place like this with a tennis heritage and a lot of history. It’s amazing that I’m there where Pete’s ended his career on. You never know when it’s your last one. That’s why you want to savour every tournament victory."

While talking to media Federer also spoke about his desire for a shorter season.

"It makes complete sense to finish the season a bit earlier,I'm not complaining personally. I don't mind since I just take breaks during the season. But for the average player it's smart to finish at some stage and have a proper off-season. We are speaking of cutting the calendar by a couple of weeks. I hope we can have some kind of compromise. We all want peace and harmony."

Lleyton And Bec Hewitt Welcome Third Child

Lleyton and Bec Hewitt have announced that on October 19 they welcomed their third child, another daughter. Hewitt released a statement saying; "Bec, Mia, Cruz and I welcomed a beautiful baby girl into our family last Tuesday. Mum and baby are great! Dad, big sister and brother elated."

The baby girl, who's name has not yet been publicly announced, was born at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney. Until the name is release, the family's website is calling her Baby Hewitt.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Nadal And Federer To Play Exhibition

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will team up for Rafa's foundation on December 22nd to play an exhibition match Caja Magica in Madrid. The money raised from the event will go towards helping disabled children and underprivileged communities.

Rafa and his mother Ana Maria Parera made the announcement to the press after returning from India where the Rafa Nadal Foundation opened a school.

Over 11,000 people will be able to gather to view the event where the tickets will cost a maximum of 33 euros. Nadal's website lists all the sponsors involved with the event.

“This will be the first time the Foundation will introduce an event of this magnitude to so many people and we really hope we can count with their support in all of our projects. This event is particularly special to me because I count with Rogers’ support. We are friends and we are both very committed to solidarity”

The two will play another match in Zurich before the one in Madrid for Federer's foundation which was announced some months ago.

"I am very excited to come to Madrid on Dec 22 to support Rafa's foundation. Both the Zurich event the night before and this event will be a lot of fun. Playing against such a great player like Rafa, while at the same time raising monies for those less fortunate, makes it even more special." - Roger Federer

Injuries Plague The WTA

This time last year there were very few of the top men left in fighting form at the end of the season - this year it's the WTA that's suffering from extensive injuries to top players. The WTA tour players are frequently accused of being inconsistent, under-prepared and lacking depth of talent, now with the more popular players prematurely ending their seasons, the year end tournaments are lacking sparkle.

Serena Williams

Serena played one exhibition match in Belgium since winning her Wimbledon title earlier this year, and hasn't returned to the court since. Williams was replacing the injured Justin Henin, in a match against Kim Clijsters which was supposed to be "The Best of Belgium". After the exhibition match Williams cut her foot on a piece of glass in a restaraunt and required surgery to help recovery from the injury. She missed the US Open and then re-tore the affected muscle when trying to return to play. She has since had another procedure to correct the new damage and intends to return to play in 2011.

Justine Henin

Henin was injured in her comback year when she fell on an outstretched arm in her Wimbledon match against Kim Clijsters. Henin suffered a "partial ligament fracture" in her elbow and has been off ever since. She recently returned to training and has not yet confirmed her 2011 schedule.

Dinara Safina

Safina has struggled all season in an attempt to return to play after suffering spinal stress fractures. When she originally tried to return in April she said “I saw what I would be doing without tennis. I can’t sit at home or stay in one place; it’s just not me. You miss the adrenaline, the competition, the nerves before a match… every athlete misses this. I’m still full of energy and desire to play tennis. Hopefully, I can play many more years.”

After ignoring her big brother Marat Safin's advice to rest for longer Safina has struggled enormously in her bid to find some confidence and form. In early October she announced via Facebook her season was at an end.

"Hey guys, unfortunately I've pulled out of Moscow and won't be playing Linz either. It has been the worse year of my career, mainly because of my injury that has kept me away from several tournaments and kept me from playing my game of tennis. I am sorry for the fans who expected me to continue on the same track as the... last two years. I will heal my back and prepare for 2011 when I intend to show my real value to the tennis fans."


Dinara recently attended the Moscow players party, despite not playing in the tournament.


Venus Williams

 Over the last two years Venus has struggled with knee injuries, most recently sustaining one just prior to Wimbledon. After skipping the US hard court season except the US Open she announced at the beginning of October that her season was over.

"I have been getting treatment and therapy on my knee and have been making progress but unfortunately must continue to keep weight off my knee for the short term and won't be ready to return to competition in 2010."

Federer To Face Mayer In Stockholm Finals

Roger Federer will face Florian Mayer in the finals of Stockholm after he beat Ivan Ljubicic in the semi finals 7-6, 6-2. Federer again struggled a bit in the first set, however appearing more steady than he did against Wawrinka, working his way back into the set as Ljubicic tried to serve it out.

After Federer forced, and won, the first set tie break before he fell behind again 1-2 in the second set. The former world number 1 managed to do what he has been so successful at over the year, change the momentum and dictate play. From 1-2 down he won five consecutive games, winning the match in just 77 minutes.

Surely Federer will be counting his lucky stars that world number 47 Florian Mayer will be his opponent in the finals. While Mayer has been having a great tournament, saving one match point to beat Jarkko Nieminen in three sets in his semi final, he will certainly have a difficult task ahead of him if he wants to take the title from Federer. Realistically it's Federer's title to lose.

It is not an impossible task though. Federer has been proven many times this year to be merely a man and not the unbeatable tennis God of years gone by. This season Federer has claimed a modest two titles; the Australian Open and the Cincinnati Masters.

If Federer wins it will be his 64th career title which will tie him with Pete Sampras for fourth position on the all time title record.

"I'd love to win, I've never won a title in Sweden, that would be something special. But it's good to win one in any case. It's a good feeling to walk off court as a winner. It would be nice a to win a third title, another would be great. I've had an amazing run in the past winning 24 straight finals. Maybe this can be the start of another streak... The confidence is obviously in my favour. But he has nothing to lose. He will come out aggressive. I've played him a few times and managed to beat him."

Tommy Haas Continues PRP Treatment

As Tommy Haas and Sara Foster await the birth of their first child, Haas has updated fans via his website, saying he underwent the second of three PRP injections into his knee to treat chronic tendinitis on Thursday. Haas has been off the tour for some time after having hip surgery and has also been rehabilitating his knee injury at the same time. Haas hopes to return to training soon and his daughter is expected to make her arrival within the next two to three weeks.

"I had my 2nd of three PRP injections today and I tell you it is not the most comfortable injection to get right above your knee cap, but I am trying pretty much anything that is going to help my problem."

PRP, or platelet rich plasma, has become increasingly popular in tennis to treat chronic tendinitis, the most famous, and successful thus far, being that of Rafael Nadal who will soon undergo another series of injections at season end. Haas and James Blake have also been vocal about their use of the product which is designed to improve tendon healing and regeneration. Blake, however, reported minimal improvement in his symptoms but didn't have a period of anti inflammatory treatment (oral medication), apparently because he doesn't like taking NSAID's.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Federer Struggles Against Wawrinka

Stanislas Wawrinka has given Roger Federer a run for his money in the quarterfinals in Stockholm having been a set and a break ahead of the former world number 1. Federer found, as he often does, a way out of trouble as Wawrinka battled to hold of his countryman's push to change the momentum. Federer eventually won 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.

The win was Federer's 50th win of the season.

"It was very close obviously. The score was 6-2, 2-0, which is a clear indication that you're in trouble. I found a way to come back just in time. I was happy to be able to come through this time. I think the match against Murray helped me today."

Federer also spoke to the media about hitting with former great Stefan Edberg. "It was a big moment for me. I'd never hit with him before. He's the last hero that I hadn't played with before. It was nice talking to him in the locker room yesterday. We started talking about hitting a few balls. He was in a suit and I didn't even know if he had his gear or not."

In other news, Robin Soderling's early loss meant that he fell just shy of qualifying for the year end Masters at this stage. The good news for the Swede is that he is still the next in line for qualifying.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Maria Sharapova Engaged

It has been revealed that on Tuesday Sasha Vujacic, who plays for the LA Lakers, proposed to Maria Sharapova. The date was apparently the first anniversary of their meeting. Reports say that the ring Sharapova suggested is quite large.

The Slovenian basketball star spoke about the engagement briefly on Thursday, saying "We are engaged and are both really happy." 

“That stays between us. But it was how to say, ‘Old School’ probably. I had to do it like a gentlemen. It was good, she was happy. The answer was ‘yes’ so I think she liked it.”

In other Sharapova news, the Russian star has been nominated for five WTA Tour awards:
  • Fan Favorite Singles Player
  • Most Fashionable Player (Off Court)
  • Most Fashionable Player (On Court)
  • Most Dramatic Expression
  • Humanitarian Of The Year.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Serena Williams Has More Surgery

Serena Williams has confirmed that her season is officially over after scans confirmed that she hadn't restrained her foot as she first thought. Instead she has re-torn it by returning to play too soon after a surgery earlier in the year. Serena has not played an official match since winning Wimbledon. Her foot was cut on glass in a restaraunt and she has now had a second surgery to correct the damage done more recently.

"It is with deep frustration that I am withdrawing from the WTA Championships at Doha and the Fed Cup final.
Pushed by my desire to return to competition, I trained too hard too soon and re-tore the tendon in my foot. As a result, yesterday morning I had to have another procedure to repair it.

I thank everyone for their continued support during this difficult time and look forward with strength and determination to getting back on the court.'' 

At this stage the plan is for Williams to return to play in January and appear at the Hopman Cup prior to the Australian Open where she is defending champion.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

More On Kinesio Tape

After people ask "What is that coloured tape?", the next thing they want to know is how does it work and why is it different to other tapes.

The properties of Kinesio Tape are quiet different to normal sports tape. Normal sports tape is relatively rigid, which is great if a joint really needs to be restrained or immobilized for whatever reason. It also tends to have a compressive effect which can affect the ability for swelling to be cleared out. K-tape is also breathable, hypoallergenic and waterproof - none of which rigid tape is.

Unlike rigid tape, K-tape allows full range of motion (because it is applied on stretch) and facilitates circulation and normal function. Depending on the tensions you apply on the tape you can do a huge variety of things with K-tape. 

Lower tensions allow you to improve muscle length or inhibit (not completely) overactive muscles. Using lower pressures with different cuts on the tape can actually be extremely useful for patients with acute swelling, for example after an ankle sprain, or in cases of lymphoedema. What the tape does in such cases is create small convolutions, or ripples, that create areas of high and low pressure which facilitate the gentle movement of skin and therefore fluid. It also lifts the skin up off the lymph nodes (rather than compressing them like rigid tape) so that they can better clear the fluid from the affected area. For the same reasons large bruises will also clear out faster with K-tape.

At moderate tensions you can, in combination with the direction of pull of the tape, see significant improvements in muscle strength and, for example, the ability for an athlete to generate strength and power.

Higher tensions can be used for mechanical corrections, such as patella glides, or for scar taping to try and soften an area of scar tissue (of any age) and help flatten hypertrophied or keloid scars.

Athletes also use the tape extensively for pain. In 2009 we saw Fernando Verdasco and Rafael Nadal using K-tape on small abdominal tears. In 2010 we saw Justine Henin with a strip of K-tape on her inner thigh to help her continue playing in the Australian Open despite a small tear in her groin muscles.

When an athlete is assessed and taping is used to facilitate, lets say strength in the presence of pain, the tape needs to go over that painful area. When there is a muscle tear the tape can be used to lift the skin up of the pain receptors to reduce the sensation of pain as well as preventing any further stretch on the the damaged fibers while allowing normal movement and optimizing function.

There are many wannabe Kinesio tapes out there but after using different types as a practitioner and as a patient there is simply no substitute.

Remember when you're applying K-tape you need the affected area to be maximally stretched, you need to know (at least) the basic anatomy of the area to be taped, you need to ensure you have appropriate anchors and rub the tape in to activate the glue and finally you need to get your tensions right. Once you know what to do and you've handled it a few times it is quite easy to use.

K-tape can be used on anyone; kids, pregnant women, elderly populations.. everyone.

Enjoy, because if used correctly it can really speed your recovery!

Ana Ivanovic Ends Two Year Title Drought

It has been a long time between drinks for Ana Ivanovic, two years to be exact, since she last claimed a title on the WTA tour. Two years ago Ana claimed her last title in Linz, Switzerland, and she has refound her winning form at the same tournament, comprehensively beating Patty Schnyder 6-1, 6-2.

Ana has had a well documented struggle with her game with a series of injuries, service problems, coaching changes and dismal losses. She has pushed on despite her issues recently to try and re-find her form, making four semi finals in the process.

Ana was happy, maybe even surprised, by her performance. "Patty's a tough opponent and I honestly didn't expect this scoreline. But I did take a lot of risk and tried to be aggressive and step in, and it was working for me today."

The title is a welcome relief for Ivanovic who will move up to number 26th in the rankings. Ana is hopeful that she will find some consistent form and find her way back to the top of the women's game.

"I think I deserve a position at the top and I think I have the ability to win another grand slam. I am very keen to get back there, and I am putting everything into it. I really want it to happen soon. Once I became number one I started working even harder. I changed my technique but injuries started creeping in - it was a big mistake as I was doing something right to get to that spot in the first place. I had a few little injuries and then I lost matches I should have won. It affects your confidence -it's like a circle that is hard to break."

Monday, October 18, 2010

Nadal's Foundation Opens A School In India

Video footage has been released today of Rafael Nadal and his mother Ana Maria Parera performing some charitable work in India at the school that the Rafa Nadal Foundation just opened. While the school does not promote children gifted in tennis, or sport in general, Nadal's mother explains that they want to use tennis as a loose tie to her son while simply helping those who are less fortunate.

According to Nadal's website "The aim of this new school is to offer educational, psycho-social, health and nutritional support to more than a hundred children who belong to the poorest communities in the country, such as the ‘dalits’ or untouchables, tribal groups and the so-called disadvantaged castes. Through the implementation of tools such as education and sports (particularly tennis) they plan to integrate all the boys and girls from different castes, ages and places."

Nadal is now back in Mallorca for some rest before the last two tournaments of the year (Paris, London). It has been a hugely successful year for Nadal and it is always nice to see the top players giving back to the community.

The quotes below are from Rafa's official site and are the translations for the video below.

"It gives me a great deal of happiness knowing I'm helping them have a better childhood and I really hope they make the best out of this opportunity. I would love to come back in a few years and see how those who have studied here have a new lif.," - Rafael Nadal

"We don't pretend to make tennis players. We just want to trace the mentality and the ideals of Rafa. At the end of the day, they are giving to us a lot more than what we are giving to them." Ana Maria Parera

Murray Thumps Federer In Shanghai Final

Andy Murray has exacted his revenge for his Australian Open final loss by thumping Roger Federer (who did not look happy) in the Shanghai final, therefore denying the former world number 1 the chance to claim an 18th Masters 1000 title. Murray beat Federer 6-3, 6-2 in just one hour and 25 minutes. Murray also beat Federer in the Toronto final earlier this year.

After breaking Roger in the opening game, Murray held strong, surviving Federer's attempts to break back in the fourth and ninth game while Federer's forehand continued to give him issues. The second set went more or less the same way, with Murray sealing the title by breaking Federer's serve again.

For his part, Murray enjoyed the challenge of stopping Federer equaling Rafael Nadal's Masters record (18 titles). "I enjoy playing him. I don't find it easy at all. It's incredibly difficult every time. But I love the challenge of playing against him. I don't fear playing him. Every time I go on, I know I need to play great tennis to win against him. I don't know if my game matches up well against his or not. But I've played some of my best tennis against Roger."

Federer, who travelled without his family, was clearly annoyed by the match, taking considerably longer than he normally does to meet the press and then seeming glum when he did - a stark contrast to his jovial mood all well.

The loss does little to silence recent talk that the Swiss maestro, who moved back into the number two position, is now in the decline of his career.

"I thought he played well overall. He didn't give me much. I was missing a few too many shots, which I wish I hadn't because that could have definitely maybe swung momentum around, given me more confidence to play more forward, more attacking. But missing so many important shots really over and over again obviously took a lot of my confidence away. Then the targets seemed to get smaller and smaller. That's definitely his credit, a pity for me."

The win extends Murray's lead in his head to head history against Federer to 8-5. While Murray celebrated Federer tried to downplay what was clearly evident (that he was beaten comprehensively and quickly). "For those who saw it, they saw a close match with some chances on my side. Because he's such a good return player, he's always going to create even more chances once he has the break. That's why he's a guy that can break you a couple times a set. Can't read too much into the scores." He also complained about a bad line call, saying it possibly cost him the match. However, he did take the time to complement Andy's performance in the match which was undeniably superior.

"I need to play like I did this week for a whole tournament in the slams. But it's pretty simple. I don't think my game needs to improve so much. I think I have the ability to win them. I've been close a few times. You know, I need to win tournaments like this. Beating guys like Roger, beating guys like Rafa, gives you confidence that when you do play them in the big tournaments, that you will beat them. You know, I need to, yeah, just play my best tennis at a Grand Slam. It's down to me to do that.  But it's a tough thing to do." - Andy Murray

Friday, October 15, 2010

Jurgen Melzer Claims Nadal Scalp

Rafael Nadal has been handed his 9th defeat of the season by Jurgen Melzer who beat the Spaniard 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 after almost two hours in their third round match in Shanghai. The defeat is the best win of Jurgen's career and given him hope of qualifying for the year end Masters Cup. For Nadal, however, who qualified for London some time ago, he will now head to India for his foundation before he arrives in Paris for his second last tournament of the year starting November 7.

While the world number one managed to produce some beautiful shots in the first game to find his way to a break point, Melzer had the answer with some powerful serving as it became evident that Nadal was struggling to find his range.

When Nadal was broken in the fourth game, Melzer was pounding the ball from side to side, generating enough speed to keep Nadal either of balance or out of reach. The speed of the court, combined with the power Melzer was generating, kept Nadal out of the points and quickly gave him triple break point. Rafa tried to claw his way out of trouble but a forehand in the net was the beginning of the end of the first set as Jurgen took a 3-1 lead.

Rafa tried to force his way into the first set but Melzer was too hot for the weary Spaniard, and took the first set 6-1.

After fighting of another break point in the third game of the second set Nadal let out a huge "Vamos!" to try and fire himself up as Melzer's continued to play brilliantly, perhaps dropping off in intensity just enough to give Rafa some breathing room.

Melzer was so impressive that he came out on top of a 25 shot baseline rally - not an easy thing to do against to worlds best defender. To his credit Nadal stayed focused and found some impossible angles across the court while on the run and under pressure. A huge fist pump and a screaming crowd marked a break of the Austrian's serve to give Nadal a 4-2 lead. That small lead was all Rafael needed to serve out the second set to love.

In the sixth games of the third set a shanked forehand from Nadal saw Melzer take the lead and then break for a 4-2 lead which he extended with a love service game. In the following game Melzer thought the match was all over when a baseline call went against him allowing Nadal a second chance to defend two match points. With the crowd going wild the players struggled to hear the calls being made before Melzer got a third look at Nadal's serve and the match. Eventually Nadal held, forcing Melzer to serve the match out, which he did to love, beating the Spaniard for the first time in his career.

"I felt slow on court. I had more mistakes than usual. I played shorter than usual. A little bit more tired than usual, just physically and mentally. Just congratulate him. It's true, he played very aggressive, but wasn't very difficult to play that aggressive against me today." - Rafa Nadal

"I think the key was that I played the best tennis of my life. I know when I go out there against Nadal that I have to be aggressive and hit my shots. I am very proud to have served it out." - Jurgen Melzer

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Roddick Injured On Anniversary

Andy Roddick, who has struggled with illness and form all season, has been injured in Shanghai on the exact date he was injured in the same tournament last year. The groin strain may be enough to keep Roddick from participating in the year end Masters tournament in London for the second year in a row.

Roddick had been leading 6-3, 2-3 against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez when he withdrew. His withdrawal comes after Kohlschrieber retired against Roddick in the first round.

"It was to the point where moving at all felt like I was getting stabbed in the leg. It's just frustrating. You've got to be able to get a little bit of momentum going, and I just feel like I haven't been able to do that since April or May and a lot of that has been out of my hands."

Last year Shanghai was cursed with injuries that highlighted the ATP scheduling issues and the harm that it causes the players.

Gonzalez Hip Surgery Update

Fernando Gonzalez, who had been off the tour for some months dealing with chronic tendinitis in his knee (prior to his poor showing in New Haven and New York), has returned to Chile after undergoing surgery on his right hip. The surgery, which was performed in New York on October 4, will sideline the Chilean for at least 6 to 7 months.

Gonzalez spoke to media saying; “I’m currently on crutches, doing lots of exercise with lots of patience. It’s actually not as terrible as I imagined…  Doctors assessed that by fixing the hip, the knee will feel the benefits. I have therapy twice a day, and apart form that just I’m resting at home, watching TV, following the news, the miners."

 The good news for Fernando is that his right knee does not require surgery as he first thought.

Nadal Powers Past Wawrinka

In his first match in Shanghai, Rafael Nadal has defeated Stanislas Wawrinka, extending his perfect record against the Swiss world number 21. Rafa will now face Jurgen Melzer in the third round. The match was fairly routine for Nadal who only committed 12 unforced errors to Wawrinka's 36.

"It is a very good result. Wawrinka is a very good player and is very difficult to have a victory today in straight sets. I am happy for that. For sure, it wasn't easy, but it wasn't one of these very, very difficult days."

The Spanish world number 1 hasn't only been experiencing success on-court but also in Play Station doubles with Juan Monaco against Andy Murray and Dani Vallverdu. While Rafa and Pico maintain that they won the challenge, the Murray-Vallverdu duo debate the outcome.

"Basically we agreed to play best of three. They won the first match. The second match went into extra time, and they decided if it went to penalties, it didn't count because they didn't know how to take penalties. So the match finished as a draw. They said, ‘Okay, we're not playing. Didn't want to play penalties. We drew the game.’  I think we won that one because they didn't want to take the penalties. Then we won the third game. Then they wanted to play a fourth one, which they won. So I think it was 2-2. They think it was 2-1 for them.  But we were the better team, so that was the most important thing" - Andy Murray

“I am not going to answer because everybody who was there knows who won yesterday night. So if he's happy coming here and lying to everybody, it's okay. But we won, that's true. Monaco and me, we won 2-1. That's true.” - Rafael Nadal

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Rafael Nadal In Hola Magazine Eye Candy Shoot

A recent article about Nadal was published in Hola! magazine with some incredible photos of the Spanish superstar posing at his house in Mallorca. Here are a few of the images for you to enjoy.
Dedicated Nadal fan site Vamos Brigade has many more photos and information about the Hola! shoot.

Verdasco Suffers Another First Round Loss

Fernando Verdasco's bid to qualify for the year end Masters in London has suffered another blow with his third consecutive first round defeat. In Shaghai he was defeated by Thiemo de Bakker 7-6, 7-5. De Bakker is having his break through year and was elated to claim the Spaniards scalp, his second win over a top ten player this season.

It took de Bakker just under two hours to defeat the Spanish number two on the same day that Verdasco's best friend Feliciano Lopez fell in straight sets to Jo Wilfried Tsonga.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Williams Sisters Seasons Over

It had already been announced that Venus Williams' 2010 season was over in order to rest a knee injury, the latest in a series of knee issues that span the last two years. Today it was announced the the season of current world number one Serena Williams is also over.

In July Serena cut her foot on glass in a restaurant in Munich that ultimately required surgery and caused her to miss the US Open. Now it appears as though her foot will require more rest that was initially thought.

"I am likely out for the year now. In order not to make this worse, I have to chill on my physical workouts but I will immediately begin rehabbing as soon as I get the Doc's OK. Keep me in your prayers (I need them)...

I have been training for many weeks to get back to playing tennis as quickly possible since my foot surgery in mid-July. Yesterday I learned that I had tried too hard, and did too much too soon. After practicing yesterday morning I felt discomfort in my foot and tests by my doctor revealed that I had unfortunately re-strained it."

Serena also spent a significant period off the circuit after winning the Australian Open at the beginning of the year. This latest revelation means that Serena will lose her number one ranking to Caroline Wozniacki.

Djokovic Takes Beijing

After the rain cleared Novak Djokovic managed to defend his Beijing title be defeating David Ferrer 6-2, 6-4. It is the second time this year, and in his career, that the Serbian world number two has successfully defended a title.

Djokovic, who has also qualified for the year end Masters Cup, was happy with his performance overall. "I started off really well, but then I lost the momentum. I kind of lost the rhythm, got him back into the match with some unforced errors, and it wasn't a really nice looking match from both sides. We made a lot of unforced errors."

It's a good result for Novak who has struggled with breathing and allergy issues over the past few months. The Djokovic camp has also had a tumultuous year with coaching changes with the temporary addition of Todd Martin, and the subsequent service issues suffered by Novak.  "This is definitely a confidence boost for me. In the last two or three months, I've been feeling much more comfortable and confident on the court, playing an aggressive game, and my serve is working for me."

For his part Ferrer, who is currently ranked 9th in the race to London, feels the match came down to a few errors off his racquet. "I think he played with no mistakes and I made little mistakes in the second set 4-3. I had my chance there. I had two advantages and I one double fault. But he played well. Me, maybe when I lost this game, I lost a little bit my concentration."

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Player Of The Month: Rafael Nadal

It's been a while since we've named a player of the month here at Tennis Perspective, mostly because since the July naming of John Isner and Nicolas Mahut it has been all one way traffic. One man has dominated tennis and claimed more titles than anyone on either the men's or women's circuit. One man has claimed three consecutive Grand Slam titles. Rafael Nadal has become not only the year end number one but indisputable player of the year.

After winning the US Open in a few weeks ago, Nadal became the youngest man in the Open Era to claim a career Grand Slam. He also became the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win 3 consecutive Grand Slams in one calender year. The only set Rafa lost on route to the title was in the final against Novak Djokovic.

Since claiming the US Open Nadal has gone on holiday and made the semi's in Thailand, won Toyko and has been plastered all over magazines and websites around the world while fans and viewer marvel at his recent form.

When asked if he agreed with the opinion that he was the best athlete in Spain, Nadal replied: “I really can’t say I’m the best, I don’t think so. Saying that would sound very arrogant from my behalf and there are tons of other athletes that are also very successful in their respective disciplines. There are guys like Alonso, Gason, then look at what Indurain did or what Contador has done. To be included in that group and be compared with them it’s a huge honour already.”

Rafa has also talked about the importance of his titles in while immersed in the recent media frenzy. “Each tournament is important in it’s own way depending on the timing. My first Wimbledon title was very special to me; firstly because of the match against Federer and secondly, because it was a huge dream of mine. My first Roland Garros title was very special because it was it was my first Grand Slam ever and that’s everyone’s dream. You work real hard to win your first Slam and when you finally get it it’s an indescribable feeling.

My first Australian Open was very exciting because I arrived to the final completely destroyed and now to complete the full cycle with the one title that I was never supposed to win and that has given me the most challenges all my life, it’s very special.”

There is simply no debate that Rafa has been the best of the bunch this month (and a few previously).

Nadal Claims Toyko Title

Rafael Nadal has added another trophy to his cabinet for the year, claiming the Japan Open moments ago against Gael Monfils. Nadal won 6-1, 7-5 to claim his 7th title of the season.

Top seed and world number one Nadal followed fifth seed Monfils out onto center court, both players hand in hand with local boys. Nadal looked smart and ready to go as he bounded up to the net, waiting, uncharacteristically, for his flamboyantly dressed opponent to join him for the coin toss.

A beautiful display of ruthless accuracy gave Nadal an early 3-0 lead. After a love service game to get on the board at 3-1, Monfils took a nasty stumble and stayed on the ground for some time. He appeared to be OK and moved tentatively for a few points before he started moving properly.

Nadal's forehand was brutal as the Spaniard used his depth and power to dictate play and gain a handy double break for a 5-1 lead. Some incredible rallies pushing both players around the court gave Monfils a ray of hope at 0-30 to try and recover one service break. However, any hope of delaying the second set was quickly snuffed out by Rafa.

With the second set level at one all, the Frenchman started using some of his famous acrobatics, leaping into the air to thump away a volley. At 2-2 Gael hopped as he tried to put a drop shot just out of Nadal's reach, but the jump did little to disguise the shot which dropped well inside Rafa's grasp.

Monfils managed to stay in front despite Nadal using his forehand to open the court and keep the pressure on the Frenchman who felt the need to throw himself across the court to try and reach a  volley. Two points later as Nadal went to put a smash away, Monfils made a suicide run to the net (possibly to try and put Nadal off) only to have to leap into the air again to avoid being hit by the ball, much to both players and the crowds amusement.

Huge serves kept Monfils ahead at 5-4 before he required treatment to a graze from his earlier dive. He also had his elbow and should checked. The world number one, undeterred, held his next service game comfortably before proceeding to break Monfils and serve the match out.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Seeds Struggle In Toyko: Nadal Survives, Roddick Falls

The China Open has produced some interesting results. First Andy Murray went down in straight sets against Ivan Ljubicic, then Roddick lost to Gael Monfils and now world number 1 Rafael Nadal has narrowly survived a third set tie break against Viktor Troicki in the first men's semi final.

Roddick battled Monfils in their quarterfinal match up and struggled against the  flamboyant shot making abilities of the Frenchman. When in form Monfils is a force to be reckoned with, however, often his showy style can create some trouble for him, even if only in terms of injuries. Monfils eventually took the encounter 7-6, 4-6, 7-6.

The aggressive play from the Frenchman forced Roddick to try and come to the net to try and end points earlier. Monfils managed to grab the final tie break by showing how gutsy a player can be, throwing lobs, drop shots and a series of volleys at Roddick, keeping the America off balance.

Monfils then went on to beat Radek Stepanek in the semifinals. He will now play Nadal for the title.

After the match Monfils said he was happy with his recent level of play "It was a great match, it was fun, the type of match you want to play. We both played great tennis. I came to the net more often than usual and it was a good idea. I also had to focus a lot on my return of serve. We have always had tough matches."

After having 26 break point chances in the semifinal in Thailand and failing to win, Rafael Nadal was making no mistake in his next  semi. 

After cruising against Dmitry Tursunov in the quarters, the Spanish golden child was forced to work hard for his spot in the finals by Troicki, eventually winning 7-6, 4-6 7-6 in a tightly fought tiebreak. Troicki served extremely well, producing 26 aces throughout the match and forcing the world number one to defend two match points.

Nadal, who is not known for his service prowess despite recent improvements, produced 18 aces of his own, racing ahead to a 5-3 lead in the third set. The Spaniard walks into the final with a 6-1 head to head lead.

Ljubicic Bounces Murray Out Of Beijing

Andy Murray has continued to struggle to find a consistently dominant form in recent weeks. The Scot has now been beaten in straight sets by Ivan Ljubicic, 6-3, 6-2 in just 67 minutes. Ljubicic was dominant on serve, so dominant in fact that he did not face a break point the entire match.

Leading up to the quarterfinal match up Murray had not dropped a set, but struggled to play consistently, mostly on serve throughout the match.

Ljubicic will now face David Ferrer who defeated Robin Soderling in his quarterfinal match.

"I thought he played well. He served very well. I made quite a lot of mistakes, so a combination of the two probably didn't help that much. If you play someone who serves well and you make a lot of mistakes on your own service game, it puts a little bit more pressure on you. That was probably it." - Andy Murray