Monday, November 30, 2009

Serena Gets Fine, Probation


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by MadProfessah

11-time grand slam champion and current would No. 1 Serena Williams has been fined $175,000 for her profane outburst that led to her point-penalty loss in the 2009 U.S. Open semifinals to Kim Clijsters and could be banned from that tournament if she commits any equivalent violations in the next two years.

The committee said a further major offence at a grand slam in the next two years would see her suspended from the U.S. Open in 2010, 2011 or 2012. The fine will be reduced to $82,500 if she commits no further major offence through 2011.

"On 9 November 2009, the Grand Slam Committee administrator determined Serena Williams had committed the grand slam major offence of aggravated behavior for her misconduct at the 2009 U.S. Open," the committee said in a statement.

I'm glad that the Grand Slam Committee did not go with the rumored one million dollar fine, although I would have been fine if they had required her to put up a one million dollar bond that could be forfeited if she committed a similar major offence through 2011.

I also still think that there needs to be video review on foot fault calls. There should be no call that is not reviewable by an impartial technological device. Currently there are numerous situations where calls are made which are not reviewable by anyone: let calls (ball touches the net during the serve), foot faults (player's foot touches the line during the service motion), player contact with the ball (only the racquet is allowed to touch the tennis ball) and "not up" (ball bounces twice on their side before player hits the ball).

Electronic line calling is a fabulous advance (and should NOT be limited to 3 per set; they should be unlimited unless the umpire thinks the player is abusing the system) but it is not enough. Instant video review should be made available immediately.

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PRESS RELEASE: SERENA WILLIAMS DECISION

30 November 2009

On 9 November 2009, the Grand Slam Committee Administrator determined that Ms. Serena Williams had committed the Grand Slam Major Offence of Aggravated Behaviour for her misconduct at the 2009 US Open.

The Decision and Penalties were as follows:

1. Ms. Williams is guilty of the Major Offense of Aggravated Behaviour (Article V.A);

2. Ms. Williams is hereby fined $175,000 (including the $10,000 penalty alreadypaid) which will be reduced to $82,500 if no further Grand Slam Major Offence conviction occurs through and including 2011;

3. Ms. Williams is hereby suspended from participation in either the 2010, 2011 or 2012 US Open, as the case may be, except that any such suspension will not be imposed if no further Grand Slam Major Offence conviction occurs through and including 2011;

4. If a further Grand Slam Major Offence is committed during the period, the full penalties will be re-instated in addition to any other penalties imposed for the subsequent Grand Slam Major Offence;

5. As always, all financial penalties arising from misconduct at Grand Slam tournaments are donated by the Grand Slam tournaments to the Grand Slam Development Fund.

On 28 November 2009, the Grand Slam Committee affirmed the Decision and Penalties of the Administrator and Ms. Williams was so advised.

The Grand Slam Committee is the independent governing body responsible for, among other duties and functions, the establishment and enforcement of the Grand Slam Rules, Regulations and Code of Conduct.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Quote For The Day

“This tournament has a great champion, like Nikolay. He worked hard to beat every player here this week. So maybe I have to improve a little bit the little things. But he played much better than me, and that's it. He played unbelievable tennis. He beat me in a good way. He's very strong. I never beat him on hard court or indoors. He's very fast. He plays like PlayStation. He runs down everything. It is very difficult to hit winners. But I think he is a great champion. Nobody knows how we can beat him.”--Juan Martin del Potro

World Tour Champions

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 29:  Nikolay Davydenko of Russia holds the trophy as he celebrates winning the men's singles final match against Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina during the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena on November 29, 2009 in London, England.
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Nikolay Davydenko of Russia holds the trophy as he celebrates winning the men's singles final match against Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina during the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena on November 29, 2009 in London, England.

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He beat the world No's 1, 2 and 34, as well as the US Open champ in the final. Nice work if you can get it.

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LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 29:  Bob Bryan of USA and Mike Bryan hold the trophy as they celebrate winning the men's doubles final match against Max Mirnyi of Belarus and Andy Ram of Israel during the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena on November 29, 2009 in London, England.
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Bob Bryan of USA and Mike Bryan hold the trophy as they celebrate winning the men's doubles final match against Max Mirnyi of Belarus and Andy Ram of Israel during the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena on November 29, 2009 in London, England. With the title, the twins clinched the year-end No. 1 ranking for the fifth time in their storied career.

World Tour Finals Final


Reuters/Getty

The one who defeated Roger Federer en route to this final should take the title.

Oh, wait. They both did that.

Okay. So. The one who returns serve most aggressively should take the title. Nikolay Davydenko, who returns to his second year-end final in a row, is capable of serving into the corners when you least expect him. But Juan Martín del Potro won't be as frustrated by the Russian's delivery as he was by the Swede's so he should find himself with more looks to break through. But Kolya returns serve about as well as anyone, leads their head-to-head 2-1 with both victories on indoor hard courts, and gave the reigning US Open champion quite a shellacking at this event last year. Still, the Tower of Tandil is a different player now than he was a year ago.

I've no doubt both of them can hoist the tour's final 2009 trophy, so I'll take another third-set breaker, a tub of popcorn, and may the most composed man win.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

World Tour Semifinals Preview

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 27:  Nikolay Davydenko of Russia celebrates winning the match during the men's singles round robin match against Robin Soderling of Sweden during the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena on November 27, 2009 in London, England.
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Group A has the advantage. Roger Federer and Juan Martín del Potro had a day off, Robin Soderling and Nikolay Davydenko did not.

The Russian has the shortest turnaround and the worst record of all against his opponent. I still don't understand why Kolya hasn't been able to defeat the world No. 1 even once. They have played tight sets, but Kolya always manages to find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. I'm not sure Raja will be in any mood to even allow him to get close today. I'll be surprised if the Swiss doesn't win in straights.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 26:  Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates a point during the men's singles round robin match against Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina during the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena on November 26, 2009 in London, England.
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LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 25:  Robin Soderling of Sweden celebrates winning the match during the men's singles first round match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia during the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena on November 25, 2009 in London, England.
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I, for one, am going to thoroughly enjoy watching the Rude Power boys duke it out. They've split their only two meetings with the Argentinean winning their only match in 2009. But that was way back in Auckland, which seems like a lifetime ago. The Swede won a set last night to avoid facing Raja in this round, so let's see what he has left to bring against del Potro. I see a third set breaker. Bring on the popcorn.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 26:  Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina celebrates winning the match during the men's singles round robin match against Roger Federer of Switzerland during the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena on November 26, 2009 in London, England.
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Day 7 - Semifinals Order Of Play

Day Session: 12.30 pm GMT (7.30 am ET)

Mirnyi/Ram vs. Cermak/Mertinak

Followed by
[1] Roger Federer vs. [6] Nikolay Davydenko

Night Session: 7 pm GMT (2 pm ET)

Bhupathi/Knowles vs. Bryan/Bryan

Followed by
[8] Robin Söderling vs. [5] Juan Martín del Potro

There should be no night session for the semifinals. In both singles and doubles, it gives the day-session winners an advantage they don't need heading into the finals tomorrow.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Face Of The Day

Novak Djokovic of Serbia reacts after winning his ATP World Tour Finals tennis match at the 02 Arena against Rafael Nadal of Spain in London November 27, 2009.
Reuters

Novak Djokovic of Serbia strums his racquet face like a guitar after winning his ATP World Tour Finals tennis match at the 02 Arena against Rafael Nadal of Spain in London November 27, 2009. It wasn't enough. The defending champion was eliminated from the event a few minutes ago.

World Tour Finals Day 6

Argentina and Manchester City soccer player Carlos Tevez watches compatriot Juan Martin Del Potro take on Switzerland's Roger Federer during their ATP World Tour Finals tennis match at the 02 Arena in London November 26, 2009.
Reuters

Argentina and Manchester City soccer player Carlos Tevez watches compatriot Juan Martín Del Potro take on Switzerland's Roger Federer during their ATP World Tour Finals tennis match at the 02 Arena in London November 26, 2009.

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Day 6 Round Robin Order Of Play

Day Session: 12.30 pm GMT (7.30 am ET)


Dlouhy/Paes vs. Mirnyi/Ram

Followed by
[2] Rafael Nadal vs. [3] Novak Djokovic

Rafa is playing for pride. And his No. 2 ranking. If Djoke wins the title, he can replace the Spaniard as second best. Djoke can lose the match and still advance, but he'll need Kolya to lose as well.

I think.

Night Session: 7 pm GMT (2 pm ET)

Bryan/Bryan vs. Kubot/Marach

Followed by
[6] Nikoloay Davydenko vs. [8] Robin Söderling

Can Andy Roddick's substitute win the title as he did in 2005? Stay tuned.

Yesterday's Results

Spain's Fernando Verdasco reacts during his ATP World Tour Finals tennis match against Britain's Andy Murray at the 02 Arena in London November 26, 2009.
Reuters

Group A Singles
A Murray (GBR) d F Verdasco (ESP) 64 67(4) 76(3)
J Del Potro (ARG) d R Federer (SUI) 62 67(5) 63

Matches don't get much tighter than these.

If you're a fan of Murray, you're not coming up from under today. First time ever a player is eliminated in a round robin tiebreak decided by number of games won.

Guess he had a brutal draw after all.

Group A Doubles
D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) d M Bhupathi (IND) / M Knowles (BAH) 64 76(9)
F Cermak (CZE) / M Mertinak (SVK) d M Fyrstenberg (POL) / M Matkowski (POL) 64 64

Group A Final Standings

Singles
(1) Roger Federer 2-1 - Wins group with 44-40 games record
(5) Juan Martin del Potro 2-1 - Advances with a 45-43 record

(4) Andy Murray 2-1 - Eliminated by one game with 44-43 record
(7) Fernando Verdasco 0-3 - Eliminated after loss to Murray

Doubles
(3) Mahesh Bhupati/Mark Knowles 2-1
(5) Frantisek Cermak/Michal Mertinak 2-1


(8) Mariusz Fyrstenberg/Marcin Matkowski 1-2
(1) Daniel Nestor/Nenad Zimonjic 1-2

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Face Of The Day

Britain's Andy Murray reacts during his ATP World Tour Finals tennis match against Spain's Fernando Verdasco at the 02 Arena in London November 26, 2009.
Reuters


Britain's Andy Murray reacts during his ATP World Tour Finals tennis match against Spain's Fernando Verdasco at the 02 Arena in London November 26, 2009.

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One game. Eliminated from the event by just one game. He must be spitting bullets.

World Tour Finals Day 5

http://www.momtomom.org/uploaded_images/Thanksgiving-703525.gif

Happy Thanksgiving to those who observe it today.

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Raja has clinched the year-end No. 1 ranking, but he could still be eliminated if the US Open champion defeats him in straight sets and if the Scot defeats the Spaniard in straights. At least that's what Jimmy Arias said yesterday.

Switzerland's Roger Federer shows off his 2009 ATP World Tour Champion trophy at the ATP World Tour Finals tennis tournament in London, November 25, 2009.
Reuters

Round Robin Day 5 Order Of Play

Center Court - 12:30 PM Start

Nestor/Zimonjic vs. Bhupathi/Knowles

Followed By
[4] Andy Murray vs. [7] Fernando Verdasco


At 7pm
Cermak/Mertinak vs Fyrstenberg/Matkowski

Followed By
[1] Roger Federer vs. [5] Juan Martín del Potro

Yesterday's Results

Rafael Nadal of Spain changes his shirt during his ATP World Tour Finals tennis match against Nikolay Davydenko of Russia in London November 25, 2009.
Reuters

Group B Singles
R Soderling (SWE) d N Djokovic (SRB) 76(5) 61
N Davydenko (RUS) d R Nadal (ESP) 61 76(4)

Robin played well, but Djoke was beyond tired. The second set was a capitulation. The more the lithe Serb misfired, the better the lumbering Swede scrambled about the court.

Kolya never really let Rafa in the match and when he did, the former world No. 1 didn't really know what to make of the opportunity. The first man eliminated (?), Rafa can return to Mallorca and start getting ready for next season. Yeah. I'm suggesting he skip Davis Cup.

Group B Doubles
B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) d L Dlouhy (CZE) / L Paes (IND) 63 64
L Kubot (POL) / O Marach (AUT) d M Mirnyi (BLR) / A Ram (ISR) 46 64 16-14 - saved 3 M.P.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Quote For The Day

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 25:  Robin Soderling of Sweden celebrates winning the match during the men's singles first round match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia during the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena on November 25, 2009 in London, England.
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"It's great. Top eight, top nine guys in the world here. I mean, I won two matches in straight sets against the World No. 2 and No. 3. I couldn't have asked for anything more. So far I'm enjoying it a lot. But there's still at least two more matches to go. I hope to do really well in those two, as well."--Robin Söderling, on becoming the first player to qualify for the semifinals

World Tour Finals Day 4

U.S.'s Andy Roddick, left, with Chief Executive Officer of Lacoste, Christophe Chenut  after he announced his renewal of his sponsoring contract with Lacoste in a press conference during the ATP World Tour Finals tennis match at the 02 Arena in London, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2009. Roddick qualified for but pulled out of the ATP World Tour Finals due to an injury.
AP

U.S.'s Andy Roddick, left, with Chief Executive Officer of Lacoste, Christophe Chenut after he announced his renewal of his sponsoring contract with Lacoste in a press conference during the ATP World Tour Finals tennis match at the 02 Arena in London, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2009. Roddick qualified for but pulled out of the ATP World Tour Finals due to an injury.

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Round Robin Day 4 Order Of Play

Center Court - 12:30 PM Start

Kubot/Marach vs Mirnyi/Ram

Followed By
[3]Novak Djokovic vs. [8]Robin Söderling


At 7pm
Bryan/Bryan vs. Dlouhy/Paes

Followed By
[2]Rafael Nadal vs. [6]Nikolay Davydenko

Yesterday's Results

Group A Singles
R Federer (SUI) d A Murray (GBR) 36 63 61
J del Potro (ARG) d F Verdasco (ESP) 64 36 76(1)

Raja finally beat the Scot from a set down and secured the year-end No. 1 ranking. He also proved that he wasn't exactly showing his ass when he claimed that the outcome of this match-up depends more on him than his opponent. The encounter featured some great shotmaking but I imagine the final set wouldn't have been so lopsided if Murray wasn't in such visible physical discomfort.

The US Open champ is still alive.

Czech Republuc's Frantisek Cermak, left, and Slovakia's Michal Mertinak celebrate after winning  their ATP World Tour Finals tennis match against Canada's Daniel Nestor and Serbia's Nenad Zimonjic at the O2 Arena in London, Tuesday Nov. 24, 2009.
AP

Czech Republuc's Frantisek Cermak, left, and Slovakia's Michal Mertinak celebrate after winning their ATP World Tour Finals tennis match against Canada's Daniel Nestor and Serbia's Nenad Zimonjic at the O2 Arena in London, Tuesday Nov. 24, 2009.

Group A Doubles
F Cermak (CZE) / M Mertinak (SVK) d D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) 63 64
M Bhupathi (IND) / M Knowles (BAH) d M Fyrstenberg (POL) / M Matkowski (POL) 36 63 10-7

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

World Tour Finals Day 3


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Andy Roddick of USA watches the men's singles first round match between Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Nikolay Davydenko of Russia during the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena on November 23, 2009 in London, England.

from andyroddick on twitter: its an unreal event that has been put together at the O2.... i really miss playing but it was good being around the energy of it again

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Round Robin Day 3 Order of Play

Centre Court – start 12:30 pm

Bhupathi/Knowles vs. Fyrstenberg/Matkowski


Not Before 2:15 pm
[5] J del Potro (ARG) vs [7] F Verdasco (ESP)

At 7:00 pm
Nestor/Zimonjic vs. Cermak/Mertinak

Not Before 8:45 pm
[1] R Federer (SUI) vs. [4] A Murray (GBR)

Yesterday's Results


Getty

Serbia's Novak Djokovic, right, swaps shirts with Russia's Nikolay Davydenko, left, after their ATP World Tour Finals tennis match at the O2 Arena in London, Monday Nov. 23, 2009.

Group B Singles
R Söderling (SWE) d R Nadal (ESP) 64 64
N Djokovic (SRB) d N Davydenko (RUS) 36 64 75

As I said in the comments, Rafa is barely on the court these days. I do enjoy Söderling's "rude power" and wouldn't mind seeing him doing well here but I don't think he's going to win another match.

Djoke and Kolya really know how to turn a single match into three. Some of those games were 15 minutes. Got a bit too nervy for me at the end, but it was a well-fought war.

Group B Doubles
M Mirnyi (BLR) / A Ram (BLR) d B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) 64 64
L Kubot (POL) / O Marach (AUT) d L Dlouhy (CZE) / L Paes (IND) 63 76(3)

Monday, November 23, 2009

World Tour Finals Day 2

A spectator cheers on Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro during the ATP World Tour Finals tennis match against Britain's Andy Murray at the 02 Arena in London, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2009.
AP

A spectator cheers on Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro during the ATP World Tour Finals tennis match against Britain's Andy Murray at the 02 Arena in London, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2009.

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Today is the rematch between Rafa and Robin, their first since the earthquake in Paris.

Who's taking it?

Round Robin Day 2 Order Of Play

[2] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) vs [7] M Mirnyi (BLR) / A Ram (ISR)

Not Before 2:15 pm
[2] R Nadal (ESP) vs [8] R Soderling (SWE)

At 7:00 pm
[4] L Dlouhy (CZE) / L Paes (IND) vs L Kubot (POL) / O Marach (AUT)

Not Before 8:45 pm
[3] N Djokovic vs [6] N Davydenko (RUS)

Yesterday's Results

Group A Singles
A Murray (GBR) d JM del Potro (ARG) 63 36 62
R Federer (SUI) d F Verdasco (ESP) 46 75 61

Group A Doubles
M Fyrstenberg (POL) /M Matkowski (POL) d D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) 64 64
M Bhupathi (IND) / M Knowles (BAH) d F Cermak (CZE) / M Mertinak (SVK) 63 63

Sunday, November 22, 2009

World Tour Finals Day 1


AP

Tennis players, from left, Fernando Verdasco, Juan Martin del Potro, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Nikolay Davydenko and Robin Soderling, pose for a photograph alongside a London bus in Westminster, London Friday Nov. 20 2009.

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Who's jaded? Who's injured? Who's ready to play lights out tennis and take this trophy undefeated? The inaugural ATP World Tour Finals, formerly the Masters Cup, will be contested in East London beginning today before sold-out crowds.

Round Robin Day 1 Order Of Play

Centre Court – start 12:30 pm

[1] D Nestor (CAN / N Zimonjic (SRB) vs [8] M Fyrstenberg (POL) / M Matkowski (POL)

Not Before 2:15 pm
[4] A Murray (GBR) vs [5] J del Potro (ARG)

The US Open champion has a bum knee or back or shoulder or something. The local favorite ought to prevail in straights.


Getty

At 7:00 pm
[3] M Bhupathi (IND) / M Knowles (BAH) vs [5] F Cermak (CZE) / M Mertinak (SVK)

Not Before 8:45 pm
[1] R Federer (SUI) vs [7] F Verdasco (ESP)

The Australian Open runnerup ought to handle his injured opponent in short order.

Here's hoping the gimpy players have something to trouble the top dogs with.


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Yes. That's right. Night matches in London. Joy of joys.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Canadian Player Niemeyer Retires

Canada's Frederic Niemeyer serves to Roger Federer, from Switzerland, during the second round of play at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2009, in Montreal.
AP

Canada's Frederic Niemeyer serves to Roger Federer, from Switzerland, during the second round of play at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2009, in Montreal.

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MONTREAL -- Frederic Niemeyer officially retired from professional tennis during a news conference Thursday, but he won't be leaving tennis altogether.

Niemeyer instead will join Tennis Canada as a personal coach for promising 18-year-old Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont. Niemeyer will train Raonic in Montreal and also will travel with the teenager 18 weeks a year on the pro tour.

Raonic made his ATP Tour debut at this year's Rogers Cup in Montreal, winning his first two matches against No. 77 Teimuraz Gabashvili of Russia and No. 113 Michael Llorda of France to advance through the qualifying. He then delighted an overflow crowd at the BN grandstand court, taking 11th-seeded Fernando Gonzalez to the limit before losing 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4.

Montreal Gazette


Luis Horna of Peru also hung up his raquet in recent days.

http://cornedbeefhash.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/luis-horna-frenchopen08.jpg
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Lima, Nov. 13 (ANDINA) - Luis Horna, one of the greatest players in Peru's tennis history if not the best, announced in tears his retirement from professional tennis at age 29.

The 2008 Roland Garros doubles champion announced he will retire from professional tennis after the "Challenger of Lima", starting this upcoming weekend.

"I've decided to retire from professional tennis after the Challenger of Lima," were the first words Horna said at a press conference he called to announce his future at professional tennis and Davis Cup.

"Lucho" was away from courts during several months this season due to a series of injuries. Recently he had suggested the possibility to going on some more years, but he seemed to need some break.

"I don't say no to Davis Cup. I could be in the future in the team," said Horna, when asked about it, although he didn't specify if his comeback would be as a player or as collaborator in the national team, whose main goal for next year is to get back to Group 1 of the American Zone.

He added that the best moment in his career was when he represented Peru at the Davis Cup. "It was when we took Peru to the World Group," he added.

Horna said that this victory was even more important than when he won the Roland Garros doubles title.


Horna will become a tennis trivia answer. He is the last player to beat Raja in the opening round of a Slam at Roland Garros 2003.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Quote For The Day

"[Andy] Murray can still [trouble me with counter-punching] to some degree, but when I play too good or too offensive I can take it away from him now. And I’m too physical, whereas in the beginning I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t get around backhands and stuff. Now I can mix up my game too well for him to get under my skin. When we both play well it’s a close match, but I always feel it’s the attacker who holds the key to success, so it’s up to me whether I win or lose, not up to him. That’s why I don’t mind the match-up, to be honest."--Roger Federer

Final Draw


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The draws for the World Tour Finals were completed early today.

Singles

Group A
Roger Federer (SUI)
Andy Murray (GBR)
Juan Martin del Potro (ARG)
Fernando Verdasco (ESP)

Group B
Rafael Nadal (ESP)
Novak Djokovic (SRB)
Nikolay Davydenko (RUS)
Robin Soderling (SWE)

Group A is more injured than Group B so the top two seeds should get through without much fuss. The Russian could play spoiler in Group B.

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Doubles

Group A
Daniel Nestor - Nenad Zimonjic
Mahesh Bhupathi - Mark Knowles
Frantisek Cermak - Michal Mertinak
Mariusz Fyrstenberg - Marcin Matkowski

Group B
Bob Bryan - Mike Bryan
Lukas Dlouhy - Leander Paes
Lukasz Kubot - Oliver Marach
Max Mirnyi - Andy Ram

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Andy Roddick Withdraws From London

SHANGHAI, CHINA - OCTOBER 13:  Andy Roddick of the United States fields questions from the media at a press conference after retiring from his match against Stanilas Wawrinka of Switzerland during the 2009 Shanghai ATP Masters 1000 at Qi Zhong Tennis Centre on October 13, 2009 in Shanghai, China.
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Andy Roddick
of the United States fields questions from the media at a press conference after retiring from his match against Stanilas Wawrinka of Switzerland during the 2009 Shanghai ATP Masters 1000 at Qi Zhong Tennis Centre on October 13, 2009 in Shanghai, China.

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Neil Harman of the Times Online has reported that Roddick has withdrawn from the World Tour Finals with a knee injury.

Andy Roddick, who departed from London in July on a wave of appreciation for the way he handled defeat in one of the most memorable Wimbledon finals in the event's history, has lost his battle to be fit to perform in the first staging of the Barclays ATP World Tour finals in the capital.

The American world No.6 has withdrawn from the eight-man extravaganza - which starts on Sunday at the 02 Arena in south-east London - having been unable to overcome the knee injury that forced him to pull up lame against Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland in his opening round of the Shanghai Masters last month. It had been feared for some days that the 27-year-old would not have enough time to recover sufficiently to give his all and he had to bow to the inevitable today.

Swede Robin Söderling will replace him and France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will be first alternate.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Wickmayer, Malisse Attack WADA

This could be fun.

Suspended Belgian tennis players Yanina Wickmayer and Xavier Malisse are launching appeals with European authorities challenging the legality of the whereabouts rules of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Victory at the European Commission in Brussels and the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights could force WADA to change its rules on when and where athletes can be tested out of competition.

“The indispensable fight against doping is not the issue here. The problem is the lack of proportionality of certain measures,” their lawyer Jean-Louis Dupont told The Associated Press on Sunday.

Read the rest...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Histrionics And Disappearing Acts

PARIS - NOVEMBER 15:  Novak Djokovic of Serbia lifts the winners trophy after winning the Final match against Gael Monfils of France during the ATP Masters Series at the Palais Omnisports De Paris-Bercy on November 15, 2009 in Paris, France.
Getty

I'm usually thoroughly entertained when watching a final between two players I don't like. For a set and a half today, such was the case. The ascendant player was opening the court with viciously angled forehands and striking winners from everywhere with an illusionist's disguise, a marksman's precision. The player fighting from behind was extending rallies with incredible retrieving and every once in a while stinging his opponent with his own power.

But then Novak Djokovic started the first of his recurring disappearing acts after leading 3-0 in the second set and Gael Monfils started his patented histrionics to get the crowd all revved up and in his opponent's face.

Disappearing acts aren't entertaining and histrionics isn't tennis. When will these two grating personalities figure that out?

When a final-set breaker ends on a double fault from the player who was beating his heart to prove he has one, and the eventual champion follows suit after victory and goes all cave man and shit, I wasn't sure any longer that a tennis match had just unfolded.

More like an experimental piece of performance art between two actors exploring the nuances of fear and false bravado.

Glad it's over.

Good for Djoke for pulling out another victory before a hostile crowd. For finally winning a Masters shield in 2009. For beating the world No.'s 1 & 2 in successive weeks. For closing out a long season as the best best-of-three player on the ATP.

Bercy Final Open Thread

French Gael Monfils returns to Serbian Novak Djokovic, during their Paris Masters ATP tournament final tennis match on November 15, 2009 at the 'Palais Omnisports de Paris Bercy' in Paris.
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French Gael Monfils returns to Serbian Novak Djokovic, during their Paris Masters ATP tournament final tennis match on November 15, 2009 at the 'Palais Omnisports de Paris Bercy' in Paris.

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The first big title of 2009 for the world No. 3 or another Bercy title for a native son playing his first Masters final?

Rama Yade French Junior Minister for Youth and Sports attends the final of the Paris Masters tennis tournament between Gael Monfils of France and Novak Djokovic of Serbia November 15, 2009.
Reuters

Rama Yade French Junior Minister for Youth and Sports attends the final of the Paris Masters tennis tournament between Gael Monfils of France and Novak Djokovic of Serbia November 15, 2009.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Face Of The Day

PARIS - NOVEMBER 14:  Rafael Nadal of Spain looks on prior to his semi-final match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia during the ATP Masters Series at the Palais Omnisports De Paris-Bercy on November 14, 2009 in Paris, France.
Getty

Rafael Nadal of Spain looks on prior to his semi-final match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia during the ATP Masters Series at the Palais Omnisports De Paris-Bercy on November 14, 2009 in Paris, France.

::

Singles - Semifinals
[3] N Djokovic (SRB) d [2] R Nadal (ESP) 62 63
[15] G Monfils (FRA) d [13] R Stepanek (CZE) 64 57 64

Doubles - Semifinals
[1] D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) d [8] F Cermak (CZE) / M Mertinak (SVK) 67(2) 64 10-2
M Granollers (ESP) / T Robredo (ESP) d [7] M Fyrstenberg (POL) / M Matkowski (POL) 64 62

::

Two finals in as many weeks when I don't care who wins.

I'm going to enjoy it once more.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Face Of The Day

France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga reacts during his quarter final tennis match against Spain's Raphael Nadal at the ATP Paris Indoor Master tournament, on November 13, 2009 at the Palais-Omnisport-Paris-Bercy in Paris. Nadal won 7-5/7-5.
Getty

France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga reacts during his quarter final tennis match against Spain's Rafael Nadal at the ATP Paris Indoor Master tournament, on November 13, 2009 at the Palais-Omnisport-Paris-Bercy in Paris.

::

Singles - Quarterfinals
[2] R Nadal (ESP) d [8] J Tsonga (FRA) 75 75
[3] N Djokovic (SRB) d [9] R Soderling (SWE) 64 16 63
[13] R Stepanek (CZE) d [5] J.M. del Potro (ARG) 40 ret. (abdominal strain)
[15] G Monfils (FRA) d [12] M Cilic (CRO) 36 64 64

Doubles - Quarterfinals
[1] D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) d C Kas (GER) / P Kohlschreiber (GER) 63 76(3)
[7] M Fyrstenberg (POL) / M Matkowski (POL) d [2] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) 64 76(7)
M Granollers (ESP) / T Robredo (ESP) d S Aspelin (SWE) / P Hanley (AUS) 63 67(3) 10-7

::

Rafa's defeat of Tsonga ensured that Fernando Verdasco has qualified for the final eight in London.

Three out of four isn't bad.

Bercy Drive-By Preview

Gael Monfils of France during his match against compatriot Julien Benneteau during their match in the Paris Masters tennis tournament November 12, 2009.
Reuters

Djoke over Söderling in straights
Jo-Wilfried over Rafa in straights*
Monfils over Cilic in 3
Stepanek over JMDP in 3

Would serve me right if I got all four predictions wrong, but the losers will have to get out of their own ways to end up on the side of victory.

*Tsonga withdrew from doubles citing a wrist injury, so....

::

Singles - Third Round
[2] R Nadal (ESP) d [14] T Robredo (ESP) 63 36 75
[3] N Djokovic (SRB) d [Q] A Clement (FRA) 62 62
[13] R Stepanek (CZE) d [4] A Murray (GBR) 16 63 64
[5] J Del Potro (ARG) d [10] F Gonzalez (CHI) 67(6) 76(6) ret. (leg) - saved 7 M.P.
[9] R Soderling (SWE) d [6] N Davydenko (RUS) 63 36 64
[12] M Cilic (CRO) d [7] F Verdasco (ESP) 36 63 64
[8] J Tsonga (FRA) d [11] G Simon (FRA) 62 63
[15] G Monfils (FRA) d J Benneteau (FRA) 64 63

Doubles - Quarterfinals
[8] F Cermak (CZE) / M Mertinak (SVK) d J Kerr (AUS) / T Parrott (USA) 62 64

Doubles - Second Round
[1] D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) d [WC] A Clement (FRA) / M Llodra (FRA) 63 64
[2] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) d J Benneteau (FRA) / J Tsonga (FRA) w/o (Tsonga - wrist)
C Kas (GER) / P Kohlschreiber (GER) d [6] J Knowle (AUT) / A Ram (ISR) 75 64

::

Hard to say who's playing the best tennis. It's a toss up between Stepanek, Djoke, Monfils, and Tsonga at this point. This point. Would make for interesting semifinals as well. But Rafa is still hanging on, lucky his Spanish opponents couldn't close him out. Is he about to turn a corner? If Tsonga is injured, he could get out of jail free once again.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Faces Of The Day

Julien Benneteau of France reacts after defeating Roger Federer of Switzerland in the Paris Masters tennis tournament November 11, 2009.
Reuters


Julien Benneteau of France reacts after defeating Roger Federer of Switzerland in the Paris Masters tennis tournament November 11, 2009.

::

Another day, another outstanding performance by a native son.

First time I saw Julien Benneteau strike a ball was back in 2004. He was beating the crap out of eventual runner-up Guillermo Coria in the third set of their round of 16 at Miami. He had all the shots and was using them viciously.

And then he choked.

Since then he hasn't done anything significant except upset a top player at this or that event. But he's got the weaponry and if he's inspired, he's more than dangerous.

Today was Roger Federer's turn to feel the sting of the French underachiever. And the world No. 1 didn't play poorly. He seemed a bit shell shocked with a tendency toward tentative, but he wasn't flailing like he does when's he's completely disinterested or befuddled.

He wanted to win this match.

But Bennetau let the crowd lift him over the finish line, just as his compatriot the day before. He served brilliantly, retrieved like a backboard, and outsmarted Raja when it mattered most. He wept after victory. Sat down in his chair, cradled his face in his hands.

And wept.

::

I'm still trying to decide if the all-Spanish affair that took more than three hours to complete was the worst match I've seen on the ATP in 2009.

Rafal Nadal played like an amateur. Nicolas Almagro choked like a headcase:

Five. Match. Points.

I don't think I've seen anything like it.

::


Marat Safin of Russia reacts during his match against Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina in the Paris Masters tennis tournament November 11, 2009.
Reuters

Marat Safin of Russia reacts during his match against Juan Martín Del Potro of Argentina in the Paris Masters tennis tournament November 11, 2009.

::

The Mercurial One bid tennis farewell. The newly crowned US Open champion ended his idol's career.

Poetry.

::

Singles - Second Round
J Benneteau (FRA) d [1] R Federer (SUI) 36 76(4) 64
[2] R Nadal (ESP) d N Almagro (ESP) 36 76(2) 75 - Saved 5 M.P.
[3] N Djokovic (SRB) d J Monaco (ARG) 63 75
[4] A Murray (GBR) d J Blake (USA) 62 67(3) 76(4)
[5] J Del Potro (ARG) d [WC] M Safin (RUS) 64 57 64
[9] R Soderling (SWE) d I Karlovic (CRO) 64 76(6)
[10] F Gonzalez (CHI) d J Isner (USA) 75 76(3)
[12] M Cilic (CRO) d [Q] L Kubot (POL) 67(3) 64 62
[13] R Stepanek (CZE) d V Troicki (SRB) 64 60
[14] T Robredo (ESP) d T Berdych (CZE) 64 64
[15] G Monfils (FRA) d [Q] D Guez (FRA) 64 75
[Q] A Clement (FRA) d [16] T Haas (GER) 57 63 76(8) - Saved 1 M.P.

Doubles - Second Round
S Aspelin (SWE) / P Hanley (AUS) d [3] M Bhupathi (IND) / M Knowles (BAH) 64 67(6) 10-7
[8] F Cermak (CZE) / M Mertinak (SVK) d B Soares (BRA) / K Ullyett (ZIM) 63 64
J Kerr (AUS) / T Parrott (USA) d [4] L Dlouhy (CZE) / L Paes (IND) 67(5) 64 10-5
M Granollers (ESP) / T Robredo (ESP) d [5] W Moodie (RSA) / D Norman (BEL) 64 75
[7] M Fyrstenberg (POL) / M Matkowski (POL) d J Brunstrom (SWE) / J Rojer (AHO) 64 76(5)

Paging Freud

"You know what they say about a man with big feet, don't you?"

"Big shoes?"

"He'll never fall down." Pause. "What are you, about seven-and-a-half max?"

Silence.

::

No, that wasn't an exchange between two men in a bar. That was tennis commentary from Jason Goodall (who posed the first question) and Robbie Koenig during the Andy Murray - James Blake bore.

Seriously.

It came right on the heels of discussing Max Mirnyi's new baby.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Face Of The Day

Juan Monaco of Argentina gestures during to a match against Jeremy Chardy of France during the ATP Paris Masters tennis tournament on November 10, 2009.
Getty

Juan Monaco of Argentina gestures during to a match against Jeremy Chardy of France during the ATP Paris Masters tennis tournament on November 10, 2009.

::

Singles - Second Round
[6] N Davydenko (RUS) d B Becker (GER) 62 61
[7] F Verdasco (ESP) d A Seppi (ITA) 67(3) 64 64
[8] J Tsonga (FRA) d A Montanes (ESP) 61 75
[11] G Simon (FRA) d I Ljubicic (CRO) 63 36 76(4)

Singles - First Round
N Almagro (ESP) d M Chiudinelli (SUI) 62 64
[Q] D Guez (FRA) d S Wawrinka (SUI) 63 64
J Monaco (ARG) d J Chardy (FRA) 76(6) 75
J Benneteau (FRA) d P Petzschner (GER) 46 75 63
[Q] A Clement (FRA) d F Lopez (ESP) 63 61

Doubles - First Round
B Soares (BRA) / K Ullyett (ZIM) d P Cuevas (URU) / O Marach (AUT) 61 76(6)
M Granollers (ESP) / T Robredo (ESP) d J Del Potro (ARG) / F Gonzalez (CHI) 76(2) 62
C Kas (GER) / P Kohlschreiber (GER) d J Monaco (ARG) / R Nadal (ESP) 46 75 15-13 - saved 2 M.P
J Kerr (AUS) / T Parrott (USA) d M Damm (CZE) / J Erlich (ISR) 63 64
J Brunstrom (SWE) / J Rojer (AHO) d [WC] S Grosjean (FRA) / F Santoro (FRA) 63 36 10-5

The roaring crowd lifted him over the finish line.

Say what you will about Gilles Simon but, on one leg, he gutted out a victory over Ivan Ljubicic who, after the battle, couldn't get out of there fast enough.

It's tough losing a tight match in a final-set breaker to a player on one leg. Especially when you actually have a serve.

Despite his frail frame and wisp of weaponry, Simon has gonads.

::

It was shocking to see how Arnaud Clement tore Feliciano Lopez a new hole.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the defending champ, got through, Julien Benneteau outlasted a choking Philipp Petzschner, and David Guez, a homegrown qualifier, upset Stanislas Wawrinka.

Not a bad day for France, Jeremy Chardy the only casualty.

::

Monday, November 09, 2009

Paris Masters Open Thread

French Sebastien Grosjean jumps to smash a ball against Croatian Ivan Ljubicic during their ATP Paris Indoor Master Tournament tennis match on November 9, 2009 at the Palais Omnisport de Bercy in Paris.
Getty

French Sebastien Grosjean jumps to smash a ball against Croatian Ivan Ljubicic during their ATP Paris Indoor Master Tournament tennis match on November 9, 2009 at the Palais Omnisport de Bercy in Paris.

MONDAY, 9 NOVEMBER, 2009

Singles - First Round
[Q] L Kubot (POL) d A Beck (GER) 64 36 64
A Seppi (ITA) d P Kohlschreiber (GER) 63 63
V Troicki (SRB) d P Mathieu (FRA) 76(4) 30 ret. (right calf)
J Isner (USA) d [Q] A Falla (COL) 46 76(10) 75 - saved 3 M.P.
[WC] M Safin (RUS) d [Q] T Ascione (FRA) 64 46 76(3) - saved 3 M.P.
I Karlovic (CRO) d P Cuevas (URU) 76(3) 64
A Montanes (ESP) d V Hanescu (ROU) 36 63 76(3)
I Ljubicic (CRO) d [WC] S Grosjean (FRA) 76(2) 64
T Berdych (CZE) d [Q] V Millot (FRA) 63 76(4)

Doubles - First Round
[WC] A Clement (FRA) / M Llodra (FRA) d J Levinsky (CZE) / F Polasek (SVK) 36 61 10-4
S Aspelin (SWE) / P Hanley (AUS) d J Chardy (FRA) / G Simon (FRA) 64 36 10-7
J Benneteau (FRA) / J Tsonga (FRA) d J Coetzee (RSA) / M Melo (BRA) 63 64

French national football team captain Thierry Henry (L) and a team mate attend the Paris Bercy Indoor Masters ATP tennis tournament, on November 9, 2009 in Paris.
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French national football team captain Thierry Henry (L) and a team mate attend the Paris Bercy Indoor Masters ATP tennis tournament, on November 9, 2009 in Paris.

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French Gunther Low, 'air guitar' world champion, performs before the start of the ATP Paris Indoor Master Tournament first round tennis match, on November 8, 2009.
Getty

French Gunther Low, 'air guitar' world champion, performs before the start of the ATP Paris Indoor Master Tournament first round tennis match, on November 8, 2009.

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Even though it's way late on the ATP calendar, this has been one of my favorite tournaments over the years. Fast indoor carpet. (Oops. That was changed to a hard court recently.) Enthusiastic fans. Nightclub/rock concert atmosphere. Some great mini-classics contested over the years.

The Top 4 are entered and, if there are no last-minute withdrawals, all can face some trouble before the quarterfinals. Rafael Nadal has drawn defending championg Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarters, but may have to face nemesis Tomas Berdych in the third round. Roger Federer won't be troubled by Fernando Verdasco in the quarters, but he could get all he can handle from Gael Monfils in the third round. Will be interested to see how he recovers from losing his home crown to Novak Djokovic, who could have a challenge from Feliciano Lopez in the third round, before facing Nikolay Davydenko in the quarters. Andy Murray draw the toughest quarter and could cruise or lose at any point before facing Juan Martín del Potro in the quarters.

It should be interesting to see which top players still have the physical and mental drive to stand tall on Sunday, or will a new champion be crowned?

Italy Wins Second Fed Cup

REGGIO CALABRIA, ITALY - NOVEMBER 08:  Team of Italy ( left Corrado Barazzutti, Francesca Schiavone, Roberta Vinci, Sara Errani, Flavia Pennetta) lift the trophy after the final match of the Fed Cup World Group between Italy and the USA at Circolo Tennis Rocco Polimeni on November 8, 2009 in Reggio Calabria, Italy.
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Team Italy (left Corrado Barazzutti, Francesca Schiavone, Roberta Vinci, Sara Errani, Flavia Pennetta) lift the trophy after the final match of the Fed Cup World Group between Italy and the USA at Circolo Tennis Rocco Polimeni on November 8, 2009 in Reggio Calabria, Italy.

::

Twas a clean sweep.

Sunday Champions

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 08:  Novak Djokovic of Serbia kisses the trophy after defeating Roger Federer of Switzerland in the final during Day Seven of the Davidoff Swiss Indoors Tennis at St Jakobshalle on November 8, 2009 in Basel, Switzerland.
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Novak Djokovic of Serbia kisses the trophy after defeating Roger Federer of Switzerland in the final during Day Seven of the Davidoff Swiss Indoors Tennis at St Jakobshalle on November 8, 2009 in Basel, Switzerland.

::

This was the only match I watched. The most interesting part of it was the 23-minute game that closed out the first set. That passage of play encapsulated their entire rivalry and demonstrates why I have a hard time watching these two play each other. It's like Raja can't positively channel his dislike of Djoke and Djoke, it seems, keeps waiting for Fed to do just that and starts falling apart himself.

It's become a rivalry that produces ugly tennis.

Still, to watch Raja dismantled in front of his hometown crowd at an event he's won three years running against a player he really doesn't like and respects even less was quite a spectacle.

Will be interesting to see where they go from here.

Andy Murray of Britain poses with the Valencia Open Throphy after defeating Mikhail Youzhny of Russia in the Valencia Open final tennis match in Valencia November 8, 2009.
Reuters

Andy Murray of Britain poses with the Valencia Open Throphy after defeating Mikhail Youzhny of Russia in the Valencia Open final tennis match in Valencia November 8, 2009.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Fernandez and Farina Receive Fed Cup Award

Mary Joe Fernandez and Silvia Farina Honored with 2009 Fed Cup Award of Excellence

http://www.tennisserver.com/turbo/images/pilotpen05/waite/Farina2.jpg
Silvia Farina (Elia)

NEWPORT, R.I., U.S.A., November 7, 2009 - The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum and the International Tennis Federation (ITF) have announced that Mary Joe Fernandez, USA Fed Cup Captain, and Silvia Farina, the player with the most Fed Cup wins in Italy's history, are the recipients of the 2009 Fed Cup Award of Excellence. Presentation of the Fed Cup Award of Excellence will be made on Sunday, November 8 in Reggio Calabria, Italy during the Fed Cup World Group Final presented by BNP Paribas and contested between USA and Italy.

Presenting the award will be ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti and Jane Brown Grimes, president emerita of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum.

"Mary Joe and Silvia have played an important role in the history and growth of the Fed Cup, with Mary Joe leading Team USA to their first final in nine years and Silvia posting such tremendous results for Italy over the years," said ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti. "They have both been active contributors to the Fed Cup and we are honored today to present them with the 2009 Fed Cup Award of Excellence."

The Fed Cup Award of Excellence was inaugurated by the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the International Tennis Federation in 2001. The Fed Cup Award of Excellence is presented to a person who represents the ideals and spirit of the Fed Cup competition and must be a member of a past or present Fed Cup team.

Current Team USA Captain Mary Joe Fernandez was a member of the 1996 winning Fed Cup team. During her career, Fernandez had seven WTA singles victories, 17 doubles titles and was ranked as high as No. #4 in the world. Fernandez captured two Grand Slam doubles victories (1996 French Open with Lindsay Davenport and 1991 Australian Open with Patty Fendick). In addition, she was the runner-up in three Grand Slam singles tournaments. Fernandez has two Olympic gold medals, won in partnership with Gigi Fernández. Fernandez retired in 2000 and is currently a commentator for ESPN.

Italy's Silvia Farina reached a career high world ranking of No. 11 in 2002. She captured three singles victories and 11 doubles victories during her career. In addition, she represented Italy on nine Fed Cup teams and three Olympic teams. Farina has a record 23 Fed Cup victories, more than any other Italian player in Fed Cup history.

Past recipients of the Fed Cup Award of Excellence are Spain's Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario and Conchita Martinez in 2001; Great Britain's Virginia Wade in 2002; Larisa Savchenko of Latvia in 2003; Olga Morozova of Russia in 2004; Françoise "Frankie" Dürr of France in 2005; Sabine Appelmans of Belgium in 2006; Lea Pericoli of Italy in 2007; and Miguel Margets of Spain in 2008.

The 2009 World Group Fed Cup Final presented by BNP Paribas will be contested in Calabria, Italy between USA and Italy on November 7 - 8. The tournament will be streamed live on www.fedcup.tv

Fed Cup Final Open Thread

REGGIO CALABRIA, ITALY - NOVEMBER 07: USA team during the national anthems at the Final of the Fed Cup World Group between Italy and the USA at Circolo Tennis Rocco Polimeni on November 7, 2009 in Reggio Calabria, Italy.
Getty

USA team during the national anthems at the Final of the Fed Cup World Group between Italy and the USA at Circolo Tennis Rocco Polimeni on November 7, 2009 in Reggio Calabria, Italy.

::

Italy leads USA 1-0. I haven't checked the scores, but that would mean Flavia Pennetta had her way with Alexa Glatch. Melanie Oudin just broke Francesca Schiavone in the fourth game of the second rubber.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Quote For The Day

"It's in the hands of the Grand Slam administrator, who I believe has now completed his investigation and will be making a ruling within the next two weeks. That's what we have been told -- that Serena would hear, we would hear. We really have not gone down that path of making a judgment as to what would be right or wrong at this point. She was defaulted out of the singles and she has apologized sincerely. So we'll just have to see what the Grand Slam administrator comes to the Grand Slam committee chairs with. I think Serena is very anxious to hear." --Lucy Garvin, USTA President

Face Of The Day

Leonardo Mayer of Argentina, reacts during the ATP 500 World Tour Valencia Open tennis tournament against Andy Murray of Britain at the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, in Valencia, Spain, Thursday Nov. 5, 2009. Andy Murray beat  Leonardo Mayer 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
AP

Leonardo Mayer of Argentina, reacts during the ATP 500 World Tour Valencia Open tennis tournament against Andy Murray of Britain at the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, in Valencia, Spain, Thursday Nov. 5, 2009.

::

Singles - Second Round
[1] A Murray (GBR) d L Mayer (ARG) 64 36 63
[2] N Davydenko (RUS) d J Monaco (ARG) 63 75
[4] F Verdasco (ESP) d J Tipsarevic (SRB) 63 63
[7] T Robredo (ESP) d F Lopez (ESP) 46 63 64
A Montanes (ESP) d [8] D Ferrer (ESP) w/o (hamstring)
M Youzhny (RUS) d P Cuevas (URU) 62 26 61

Doubles - Quarterfinals
[3] F Cermak (CZE) / M Mertinak (SVK) d J Coetzee (RSA) / S Huss (AUS) 36 64 13-11
V Hanescu (ROU) / H Tecau (ROU) d P Cuevas (URU) / J Monaco (ARG) 75 61
M Granollers (ESP) / T Robredo (ESP) d M Knowles (BAH) / M Llodra (FRA) 75 64

::

Davidoff Swiss Indoors Basel

Singles - Second Round
[2] N Djokovic (SRB) d J Hernych (CZE) 60 60
[4] [WC] M Cilic (CRO) d V Troicki (SRB) 76(7) 67(8) 76(6) - saved 3 M.P.
[6] S Wawrinka (SUI) d J Nieminen (FIN) 75 26 61
R Gasquet (FRA) d J Isner (USA) 46 76(9) 62 - saved 2 M.P.
[Q] E Korolev (RUS) d J Chardy (FRA) 64 76(1)
[WC] M Chiudinelli (SUI) d [Q] M Lammer (SUI) 26 63 63

Doubles - Quarterfinals
[1] D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) d J Cerretani (USA) / A Qureshi (PAK) 64 64
C Kas (GER) / V Troicki (SRB) d S Lipsky (USA) / F Polasek (SVK) 64 62
M Melo (BRA) / A Sa (BRA) d L Dlouhy (CZE) / P Kohlschreiber (GER) 63 64

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Outrageous

US Open semi-finalist Yanina Wickmayer and her Belgian compatriot Xavier Malisse were on Thursday handed one-year bans for falling foul of doping regulations, the Belga news agency reported.

Wickmayer, the world number 18, was suspended by the Flemish Doping Tribunal (VDT) for failing to fulfil [sic] the controversial "whereabouts rule" while Malisse was also punished for missing a drugs test.

Both players can appeal their suspensions to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The suspension was announced despite 20-year-old Wickmayer currently playing in the Tournament of Champions event in Bali where on Friday she would be attempting to reach the semi-finals.

Wickmayer was accused of failing on three occasions to fulfil [sic] the ADAMS (Anti-Doping Administration and Management System) under which athletes are obliged to tell national anti-doping authorities where they will be at a chosen hour each day for a three-month period.

The sanctions came as a surprise - only last month, it was expected that the two players would escape with just a reprimand.

Malisse, 29, is currently 95 in the world, having been at 19 in 2002. He has won three titles in his career.


Color me curious that two Belgian players who haven't even tested positive for anything are banned for a year by a Flemish Doping Tribunal from the sport simply for not reporting whereabouts or missing a test mere weeks before another controversial Belgian player returns to the tour.

Can't say I'm a fan of either player -- didn't even know Malisse was still playing -- but this seems like overkill.

Actually, I think it's outrageous.

Wickmayer, who's contesting that other event that has no business on the WTA calendar, said she would immediately appeal.

Roland Garros To Move?

http://static.squidoo.com/resize/squidoo_images/-1/draft_lens3372182module21542712photo_1237373637roland-garros.jpg

I hope the new stadium, if built, has lights.

The federation announced this year a project to build a new center court with a retractable roof that could be in use by 2013 or 2014.

The new 14,600-seat stadium would be located just under 500 yards from the current center court and surrounded by two other smaller, covered arenas at a cost of $177 million.

The project is reportedly facing opposition from green members of the city council and residents living near the stadium. Paris city hall said it remained committed to the project.

“Paris city hall and its political majority wants the French Open to stay in Paris,” city hall said in a statement. “We are well aware of the necessity for the French tennis federation to modernize its facilities to stay competitive. We want to find a solution in this area.”

Ysern said the federation has the right to use Roland Garros until 2015.

“We have already injected a lot of money, an architect has been appointed and has already started his works. We can’t lose our time. We have to build,” Ysern said.

The FFT chose architect Marc Mimram, who designed the overpass that connects France and Germany across the Rhine River in Strasbourg.

Ysern added the FFT would pursue other options—including the possibility of moving the tournament away from its historical site—in case the new stadium project falls through.

“We are thinking about the impact of such a relocation,” Ysern said. “When you want something and you understand it’s not sure that you are going to get it, you have to think about other options.”

The FFT hasn’t determined a site yet but it would be difficult to build a new arena in Paris itself, with the organizers probably being forced to consider a move toward the suburbs.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

No Title Sponsor?

Would love to be a fly on the wall for these negotiations.

"The deadline to respond to the renewal is the end of this year," Aldo Liguori, Sony Ericsson's corporate vice-president and head of global communications, told reporters on the final day of the $4.5 million Tour Championships.

"We still have a little bit of time left. I can certainly confirm we are looking at it very carefully. We are looking at our sponsorship seriously.

"We haven't made any decision yet, and all options are open. We will announce the decision alongside our partner at the appropriate time. That's all that I can say today because as of today we've not made any decision."

Monday, November 02, 2009

Basel And Valencia Open Thread

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 02:  Roger Federer of Switzerland receives an award for his 3 previous wins in Basel before his match against Olivier Rochus of Belgium during Day One of the Davidoff Swiss Indoors Tennis at St Jakobshalle on November 2, 2009 in Basel, Switzerland.
Getty

Roger Federer of Switzerland receives an award for his 3 previous wins in Basel before his match against Olivier Rochus of Belgium during Day One of the Davidoff Swiss Indoors Tennis at St Jakobshalle on November 2, 2009 in Basel, Switzerland.

::

The world No. 1 is back.

Andy Murray
is back.

The season is too long.

Have at it.

Andre Agassi And Doping II

This is not a dead issue.

"We take it extremely seriously if anyone has taken anything on the banned list of drugs, whether it is believed to be performance-enhancing or not," Howman told the Sunday Telegraph.

Last week's admission by Agassi that he took crystal meth and then deceived the authorities by declaring that he had fallen prey to "spiked soda" will not be allowed to rest by Wada.

The agency has an eight-year statute of limitations and cannot punish the player now he has retired, but Howman is demanding that the ATP and ITF take action. He wants the governing bodies to investigate whether he "lied on oath" after he failed the drugs test in 1997.

"Wada's position is simple," said Howman. "The tennis authorities should investigate a possible breach of the law by Agassi, if he lied on oath about this, and also a possible breach of the law by his lawyers. If his lawyers knew at the time he was lying, then that is extremely serious.

"There are limitations over what he can do, but we don't believe this is a dead issue. We believe the authorities should be investigating the possibility of perjury."

Wada are due to send out letters to the authorities this week.


I don't see how WADA can really do anything since it didn't have jurisdiction over the case in 1997, but it sure doesn't appear as though it wants to be disregarded.

Quote For The Day

"So back to my first question: What’s special about Serena’s game? There are many elements you could point to, of course, but what struck me in Doha was how the normal rules of the sport don’t seem to apply to her. She can run through an approach shot and still put it right where she wants it. She can hit a backhand winner with her body completely open and parallel to the net. She can make perfectly solid contact with a ball even she's off balance. She can get to a short ball a second late and find a way to flip it inside-out for a surprisingly angled winner.

"Her ability to do this is generally chalked up to the vague and faintly insulting term “athleticism.” And that’s got a lot to do with it, even if it is a cliché. It was said that Boris Becker couldn’t put two service tosses in a row anywhere near each other, but it didn’t matter, he was such an athlete that he just went up and crushed the ball, wherever it happened to be—the normal rules didn’t apply to him. But when it comes to the Williamses, I also think of something Andy Roddick said about the way the sisters trained as kids in Florida. He said that no one worked more diligently or hit balls with more purpose or dedication than they did. What seems like talent or god-given athleticism in a top player is always the product of work as well, work that was done long before we saw that player on TV. Serena is still living off of it. Whatever position she finds herself in as she sets up for a shot, her ability to make something out of it, to hit the ball well, remains automatic.

(...)

After a week of wild and painful drama in Doha, I found myself thinking...[w]hy can’t we have more serves like this? Why can’t we have more solid and impressive tennis? Maybe we will next year. Until then, I’m happy to leave 2009 with a reminder, six weeks after she was at her worst at the U.S. Open, of how good the women's game can look when Serena Williams is at her best." --Steve Tignor

Indoor Champions

I kicked the ATP to the curb to cover the Sony Ericsson Championships, but the beloved-by-all Marat Safin played his last match in Russia, bowing to the eventual champion, a few veterans took titles, a young qualifier won his second, and another Argentinean announced himself.



Seventh seed Jurgen Melzer ended a 21-year wait for a homegrown champion at the Bank Austria Tennis Trophy Sunday in Vienna as he defeated top seed Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-3 in the final of the ATP World Tour 250 indoor hard-court tennis tournament on November 1, 2009.

Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia kisses his trophy after winning his Lyon Open final tennis match against Mickael Llodra of France in Lyon November 1, 2009.
Reuters

Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia kisses his trophy after winning his Lyon Open final tennis match against Michael Llodra of France in Lyon November 1, 2009.

Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine holds up the trophy after defeating Horacio Zeballos of Argentina in the men's final match at the St.Petersburg Open tennis tournament November 1, 2009.
Reuters

Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine holds up the trophy after defeating Horacio Zeballos of Argentina in the men's final match at the St.Petersburg Open tennis tournament November 1, 2009.

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This week, Roger Federer, despite rumors he was going to rest the rest of the season, returns to action to defend his title at his hometown tournament in Basel and Andy Murray descends upon Valencia to take on the Spanish stars in a new old event.