Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ferrer Halts Almagro. Armarda Claims Another Crown

The best season start to David Ferrer's career has continued after he claimed his second consecutive Acapulco title and 11th career title. By winning he denied Nico Almagro the golden swing (three consecutive clay court titles) the same way he did last year to Juan Carlo Ferrero. The win ends Almagro's 13 match winning streak.

Ferrer claimed the title with a 7-6, 6-7, 6-2 win.

Return Of Del Potro Hits Full Swing

After reaching his third consecutive semi final, Juan Martin del Potro has defeated Mardy Fish in Delray Beach 6-1, 7-5 for his first finals since winning the US Open in 2009.

As Juan Martin races back up the rankings he now faces Janko Tipsarevic for his first final since his wrist surgery last year.

Juan Martin has commendably taken his time returning to the ATP circuit, waiting to be sure his wrist could sustain the extra load experienced by the taller players.

Here's hoping the tall Argentine can return to the top of the men's game and stay healthy.

Justine Henin Admits To Foul Play Against Serena Williams And Kim Clijsters

They sometimes say 'by any means necessary' and it would seem that Justine Henin, not content to just fade into the background, is dredging up some of the darker moments of her career, admitting that her only defense is that very saying.

In her 2003 semifinal against Serena Williams (from 3.30 on the video) at the French Open, Williams was dealing with a difficult French crowd and and serving for a 5-2 lead in the deciding set when he service motion was interrupted by Henin raising her hand to indicate she wasn't ready for the serve.

Novak Djokovic Punishes Federer And Takes Dubai Title

Novak Djokovic has continued his unbeaten run in 2011 by beating Roger Federer in the finals of Dubai to claim the title for the third consecutive year. After a few bumpy matches Novak stepped up his game to beat the former world number on 6-3, 6-3. Despite the win Novak still trails Roger in the rankings and in their head to head by 8-13.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

No Surprise As Serena Williams Pulls Out Of Nike Event

When Nike's Clash of the Champions was announced, scheduled for March 8, it was made clear that no player could be guaranteed in the event of injury. At the time Serena Williams was announced as a participant she was still scooting around in a CAM boot and unable to train. It seemed unlikely that the former world number one would participate in the event.

Mario Ancic Announces Retirement

It's been a long time coming but today former world number seven Mario Ancic will announce his formal retirement from tennis. Ancic has been largely absent from the courts since early 2007 when he was diagnosed with severe mononucleosis. The associated fatigue had a huge impact on the Croat's ability to play even a few matches.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Table Top Dancing For Rafa Nadal

Looks like Rafael Nadal is still enjoying his time off, seemingly spending it at Bauxa nightclub or traveling with Xisca.

Djokovic And Ristic Swim With Dolphins In

Novak and Marco Djokovic have been joined by Novak's long term partner Jelena Ristic for a swim with the dolphins in Dubai today. Novak enjoyed some down time before he attempts to win the Dubai title for a third consecutive year.

Novak hasn't played since winning the Australian Open in January. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Vanity Fair Releases More Rafael Nadal Photos For Armani

Vanity Fair has released what Rafael Nadal fans have been waiting for... More photos from his Armani shoot and they don't disappoint. He has his arms overhead in most shots but it gives fans more insight into what we're waiting for as Armani slowly release more selected shots.

Almagro And Soderling Claim Titles

Robin Soderling has claimed his third title of the season after beating Marin Cilic 6-7, 6-3, 6-3 in Marseille over night. Soderling has improved his record for the season to a 17-1 win-loss record.

Roddick Hits Best Shot Of Career To Claim 30th Title

Andy Roddick has hit the best shot of his career to overcome Milos Ranoic and claim his 30th title, ending the Canadians winning streak in a tight 7-6, 6-7, 7-5 match. Andy now joins Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in an exclusive group of active players with 30 or more titles on the ATP tour.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Tennis Center To Be Opened In Manacor In Honor Of Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal has continued his media blitz that has been going over the last few months by again stepping into a dapper suit to help publicize the opening of the International Tennis Center in Manacor that will be named after hometown hero Nadal.

The Center will apparently have 20 courts, a swimming pool, a football pitch and museum.

Milos Raonic To Try To Scalp Andy Roddick In Memphis Finals

Man of the moment Milos Raonic is playing for his second consecutive title in as many weeks after scalping Mardy Fish 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in Memphis. In San Jose last week he defeated defending champion Fernando Verdasco for the title, overwhelming highly ranked players with him monstrous serve. Now, after his 8th consecutive win he faces Andy Roddick in the finals.

Marin Cilic Faces Robin Soderling In Marseille Finals

After slowly re-finding his form since the Australian Open, Marin Cilic has continued his run of form to the finals at the Marseille Open where he will face Robin Soderling. Soderling already has two titles to his name for the season (Brisbane and Rotterdam) easily passed Dmitry Tursunov 7-5, 6-1 in his semis while Marin took three sets too pass Mikhail Youzhny.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Almagro Beats Dolgopolov For Brasil Title

Nico Almagro has won his second Brasil Open title, last winning in 2008, after beating Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3, 7-6. Almagro, who's serve can be deadly accurate, was on song and didn't face a single break point during the match. In fact Almagro has been in such good form all tournament that he has only dropped one set.

It was Dolgopolov's first tour level final

“Yes, the truth is that it was a beautiful final, a final that I was very happy to be part of. It’s clear that the tournament is a very important one not only for me but here in all of Brasil and I’ve been lucky enough to win it twice and  I will continue to try my best in the future here.”

Top Tennis Tosser: John McEnroe

While everyone debates endlessly who is the greatest player of all time, one thing is not debated - John McEnroe was the rudest, angriest and most aggressive player of all time. In fact, John is a big reason that technology like Hawk Eye is around today and the reason why Serena Williams was fined so heavily after her behaviour at the 2009 US Open.

McEnroe is well before my time and my parents always talk about what a brat he was, to use a nicer word than what they used, and I have only seen snippets of his behaviour. After his outburst in Sydney at the Champions event I did a YouTube search. There is only one conclusion to come to - talented player, massive tosser.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Top Ten Dummy Spits In Tennis: McEnroe, Williams, Gonzalez

I know not everyone is amused by the racket breaking, screaming, abusive antics of tennis players, but unfortunately it's a part of the game.

Of course John McEnroe, who has been accused of having hissy fits to distract his opponent, is in the top spot and watching him go off his brain is kind of like what my dad was like before we removed the insert button from his key board ;)

So let's take a look at some of the biggest babies - can't believe Marat Safin is not higher up.

A Picture Tells A Thousand Words: Andy Murray - Australian Open 2011

A Picture Tells A Thousand Words: Novak Djokovic - Australian Open 2011

Kim Clijsters Returns To Number One

After beating Jelena Dokic 6-3, 6-0 in the Paris Open quarterfinals Kim Clijsters has acrewed enough points to overtake Caroline Wozniacki to claim the top spot in women's tennis for the first time since she returned to the WTA circuit in 2009.

Clijsters has previously been number one in 2003 and 2006 for a total of 19 weeks. After winning the Australian Open a few weeks ago, Clijsters needed to get to the semi finals in Paris in order to reclaim the top spot.

"It's incredible to have been successful so quickly after my comeback. I have been playing really well for some months now. I am happy to have become number one here in Europe - the last time, it was in Los Angeles."

Del Potro Defeats Hewitt For Semifinals Spot In San Jose

The comeback of Juan Martin del Potro has taken another step in the right direction in San Jose. On Friday former US Open champions Lleyton Hewitt and Juan Martin were scheduled to play each other in what was hyped up to be a great match. In the end del Potro comfortably defeated the Australian 6-2, 6-3.

The win puts Juan Martin into his first ATP level semi final for 15 months

Dolgopolov And Tipsarevic Contacted Over Possible Match Fixing

The Tennis Intergrity Unit has been conducting investigations into the conduct of top players, specifically about ten suspicious cases.

The in form Alexandr Dolgopolov and Janko Tipsarevic have confirmed that they both received letters. While Alex didn't divulge the content of the letter he did say, "I wasn't really surprised because I knew some guys, you know, like Russian guys, they got those letters."

Gael Monfils Out Injured, Again

I remember being in Madrid in 2008 watching the Masters Series tournament there and thinking, 'I don't think I'd ever back Gael Monfils for anything other than an injury,' and I can't say that my mindset about the Frenchman has changed.

Once again Monfils finds himself out of commission with an injury to the left wrist. He had problems with his hands and wrist last season, he always has knee problems... I guess I just feel like with Monfils it's always something. The way he throws himself around the court, sometimes choosig flashy, risky shots over safety and efficiency, predisposes him to injury. He fluctuates so much within the course of a match that he ends up playing four and five setters regularly when he should have just closed the door and saved his legs.

Nadal Trains And Prepares For Colombian Exhibition With Djokovic

After ten days of rest, physiotherapy and anti-inflammatories the worst seems to be over for Rafael Nadal after suffering a tear to his adductor longus (inner thigh muscle). Rafa has since been seen running on a track in Mallorca and starting to hit up on the courts.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Flashback: Marat Safin's Racquet Abuse

No one ever has or ever will pull off the racquet abuse rage like angry Russian Marat Safin. Safin destroyed so many racquets in such spectacular ways that there is over eight minutes of footage here to watch.

In 1999 alone it was estimated 49 racquets were smashed.

Flashback: Federer Does Letterman (2005)

Xisca And Rafa In Spanish Media

My basic Spanish interprets what Xisca is saying to waiting media is "Sabes que no hablo. Mucho gracias" - that she doesn't have anything to say - as she accompanies Rafa in Barcelona. If your Spanish is better than mine please feel free to enlighten us.

Nadal's New Kia Ad

A Picture Tells A Thousand Words: Roger Federer - Australian Open 2011

A Picture Tells A Thousand Words: Rafael Nadal - Australian Open 2011

Murray Bombs In Rotterdam

The disappointment for Andy Murray has continued after he was thumped today 4-6, 1-6 by Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis in the opening round at Rotterdam. Marcos now leads his head to head with Andy 3-1.

Murray had managed to gain a hand 3-0 lead in the opening set before his game crumbled allowing Marcos to win all but two other games. The Scot managed to stay on the court for just over an hour to avoid complete embarrassment. Marcos wrapped up the match in 61 minutes.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Australian Open Highlights

Tommy Robredo Beats Fognini Again

Tommy Robredo, last weeks Santiago winner, has started his campaign in Brasil with a 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 win over Fabio Fognini. Tommy has now beaten Fognini on the three occasions they've played each other.  The win was also Tommy's sixth consecutive win.

Robredo had a chance to close out the match in straight sets when he tried to serve for the set at 5-4 before he was broken by the Italian Stallion. Despite allowing Fognini back into the match, Tommy raced of to a 3-0 lead in the third set and managed to continue holding serve to take the match after two hours and 31 minutes.

Rafa Nadal And Xisca Perello Continue Globetrotting

The globetrotting efforts of Rafael Nadal and his girlfriend Xisca Perello have moved from Abu Dhabi to Barcelona where they were there for the launch of the Barcelona Tournament of 2011, an event Rafa has won five out of the last six years, having not attended last year.

Xisca seems to be becoming a more present place in Rafa's place and media commitments, spending less time hiding in the background since she watching him win Wimbledon and posed with him and his team at the US Open.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tommy Haas Hits With Pete Sampras

Tommy Haas is taking steps towards getting back on the ATP circuit by hitting with Pete Sampras, Mardy Fish and Sam Querrey in LA. He's also been practicing with Richard Berankis at the Bolletteri Academy as he attempts to strengthen his knees over 12 months after having hip surgery.

Kevin Spacey Beats Rafa Nadal At Ping Pong

Caroline Wozniacki Takes A Ball To The Face

You don't often see moments in tennis like this...

This is some footage from the other day at Fed Cup where world number one Caroline Wozniacki got hit in the head with a ball. Ouch.

Xisca Perello Accompanies Rafa Nadal To Laureus Awards

A clearly besotted Xisca Perello, Rafael Nadal's girlfriend of almost six years, has accompanied him on a whirlwind trip to Abu Dahbi for the Laureus Awards where Rafa was given the Sportman of the Year award.

Rafael Nadal - Laureus Sportsman Of The Year

The accolades keep rolling in for world number on Rafael Nadal after his incredible 2010 season. The latest, the Laureus Spotsman of The Year, was presented to the Spaniard over night in Abu Dhabi.

Nadal was an easy choice for selectors after making a clean sweep of the clay court season, winning three consecutive Grand Slams and completing a career Grand Slam.

Nadal spoke to media before the awards ceremony and said, "hi everyone, Thank you very much for all of the support you give me. To be given this award is a huge honour and I feel very happy to be holding this statuette. For me this nomination is an honour. 2010 was a great year for my career, probably the best."

Monday, February 7, 2011

Robredo Claims Tenth ATP Title In Santiago

Tommy Robredo has forced his way from behind to claim his tenth ATP title at the Movistar Open in Santiago, Chile, after he beat Colombian Santiago Giraldo 6-2, 2-6, 7-6.

The title for the former world number five comes after a successful clay court season in 2009 where he won Costa do Sauipe and Buenos Aires. After the 250 point, $68, 850 win, Robredo will be heading to Brazil.

Giraldo was disappointed with the outcome, having had the opportunity to serve for the match at 5-3 before Robredo fought back. After the win Robredo said he was “extremely happy about this 10th title. Ten is a very nice number and it feels good to lift the trophy again.”

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Updated Player Profiles: Nadal, Berdych, Moya, Clijsters, Dementieva

The following player profiles have been updated for your renewed enjoyment!

Rafael Nadal
Tomas Berdych
Carlos Moya
Kim Clijsters
Elena Dementieva

Anna Kournikova NOT Pregnant

Despite recent reports that Anna Kournikova was wearing flowing tops to cover a growing belly, Enrique Igleasias' rep has announced that the couple are not expecting their first child. It seems that Anna's stomach will stay flatter for a while longer.

When recently asked if he wanted kids he responded with, "not right now, I love kids…but no.”

So while no one really seems to know if the couple are married or not, it seems that they are, for the time being, not expecting a child.

The Match That Started A Rivalry: Nadal Defeats Federer Miami 2004

This video clip is the highlights, and there are a lot of them, of Roger Federer hitting the peak of his career and meeting, for the first time, a young Spaniard who would prove to be the first (and really only) player who would consistently challenge Federer at his best. That Spaniard was none other than Rafael Nadal, a beast from the dusty clay courts of Spain who would push smooth Federer on all surfaces, slowly evolving his game until he became and an all court player too.

Schiavone Pushed Passed Stosur, Italy Take 2-1 Lead

After two hours and 44 minutes Francesca Schiavone ha given Italy a 2-1 lead against Australian after defeating Sam Stosur 7-6, 3-6, 7-5 in Hobart. Schiavone tried to use the same tactics that had helped her beat a nervous Sam at Roland Garros, but her charges to the net were not always successful.

Schiavone And Stosur Defeated, Groth and Pennetta Victorious. Australian V Italy 1-1

Sam Stosur's last two matches have been disappointing. Her Australian Open loss to Petra Kvitova where she fell away after losing the first set was less frustrating that her loss to Flavia Pennetta in Fed Cup over the weekend in Hobart.

After Jarmila Groth showed her continuing form by defeating Francesca Schiavone 6-7, 6-3, 6-3. Pennetta has always troubled Stosur, never dropping a set in their previous three meetings.

Alize Cornet Helps France Surprise Russia In Fed Cup

With players like Svetlana Kuznetsova and Maria Sharapova stepping up to open proceedings for Russia in their Fed Cup tie against France, no one expected the French to find themselves with a 2-0 lead.

Alize Cornet may have struggled with an ankle injury but with dogged determination the dimunitive French star fought back against Sveta in front of the Russian's home crowd in Moscow and won 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. The gutsy win was Alize's first Fed Cup win of her career.

Robredo Faces Giraldo For Santiago Title

Tommy Robredo is looking to claim his tenth career title in Santiago, Chile on Sunday when he takes on Santiago Giraldo for the title after both players fought back from a set down to claim their finals spots.

Giraldo defeated Potito Starce 4-6, 7-6, 6-1. Robredo also forced his way back into his match against Fabio Fognini, eventually forcing a momentum switch to come back and win 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Flashback: Ivanovic Wins Roland Garros

This is an interesting clip to watch. It's the match highlights of the 2008 Roland Garros final between Ana Ivanovic. This is a clip that captured the two players before their games really collapsed.

It shows an in-form Ivanovic just before her game unraveled and Dinara Safina as she struggled to cope with the pressure of a Slam final but before a time when she would simply crumple under the pressure and be barely able to hold serve.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Ivan Dodig Surprises Ljubicic. Mayers Ousts Cilic

The only player to take a set off Novak Djokovic at the Australia Open, Ivan Dodig has come announced himself, overcoming fellow Croatian Ivan Ljubicic 6-4, 6-4 in the Zagreb quarterfinals. Dodig, who is ranked number 84, managed to avoid being broken and close out the match in one hour and 49 minutes.

Dodig now finds himself in his first tour level semifinal. “This is the biggest win of my life and my biggest result in whole career.” He will now face Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.

Also in Zagreb Florian Mayer defeated two time defending champion Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-4 and will now face Michael Berrer after Richard Gasquet retired.

Novak Djokovic Injured And Out Of Rotterdam

As seems to be a pattern, the winner of the Australian Open is either injured or unwell immediately following the Australian Open, preventing them from playing in Rotterdam. Rafa played but struggled with an injury in 2009, Federer (admittedly not scheduled to play in Rotterdam) was overcome by a chest infection, and now Novak Djokovic has pulled out of Rotterdam citing a shoulder injury. It would seem that the effort involved in winning a Grand Slam so early in the season gets to even the best of players.

During the Australian Open final, where Novak's brilliant play was overshadowed by the lackluster performance of Andy Murray, Novak was seen wearing a pre-cut SpiderTech tape that tried to simulate the effect of Kinesio tape on his right shoulder.

Player Of The Month (January): Li Na

In January we were blessed with a lot of great candidates for player of the month. Novak Djokovic produced some incredible, near groin splitting, moments during the Australian Open as he slid around the court, defending like I've never seen him do before. Kim Clijsters cried as she became Aussie Kim. Francesca Schiavone and Svetlana Kuznetsova produced some truly incredible fighting spirit to battling to 16-14 in the third set. Despite the amazing efforts of these players I have to give it to Li Na.

Her brilliant backhand had me in awe. Her humour and ability to gently poke fun at her husband had me in stitches. She was like a breath of fresh air into the Australian Open, more so than last year.

Li Na's honesty about her prize money driving her forward and her enthusiasm for shopping won her hearts worldwide. She is now officially an Australian favourite.