Friday, March 28, 2008

poor Farewell Tour start

Some time ago the former world number 1 and three-time French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten said that year 2008 would be his last on the ATP. The decision was probably mostly due to the fact that his career had mightily slowed down in the previous years because of hip surgeries he underwent in 2002 and 2004.

In an interview back in 2007 Kuerten said he would love to play some farewell events to "try and relive some of those great moments". We bet his fans appreciate that idea, but in the upcoming tournaments Guga will have to try a little harder than he did yesterday in Miami, where he was defeated in the 1st round by Sebastien Grosjean.

Kuerten plans on making the 2008 French Open the final event of his career.

PS. Obviously the tennis world will miss the amiable Brazilian, but at least in one sense Kuerten already has a worthy succesor: the hair ;)


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Oops Jelena!!! WTF???

Jelena Jankovic has lately shown more than good tennis. The spectators were shocked when the world No.3 decided to change her underwear on the tennis court.

U can saftely say the ones, who were on Jelena's match that day, got a little extra for what they believed they had paid for... ;P

On the other hand, it's difficult to name a tennis player who is doing more for promoting tennis than Jelena right now!


Sunday, March 23, 2008

my, my, who would expect THAT!

Both 2008 Australian Open Champions fell in the semis of the Pacific Life Open.

This was an afternoon the public will long remember. And not only because it was absolutely sun-drenched and most of them were probably in a near-sunstoke state,
but because of a certain performance by a 98th ranked player.. Now you might say that Federer did not play his best - ok, but you have to admit that the way Mardy Fish set the tone during his semifinal against the world number 1 was really impressive:
hitting the ball early, going for winners, consistency throughout the game... Long story short: The Roger Federer had to say adieu in just over an hour.

After his winning match Fish said: "It feels pretty good". Oh, we bet it does!

In the ladies event Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated Maria Sharapova, thus ending her compatriot's All Perfect Start of the 2008 Season.

Sharapova had a 18-match winning streak this season and she hadn't been defeated not even once! Until this fatal semifinal.. but don't worry Maria, it's all probably just because you forgot your Lady Speed Stick that day!


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Blockbuster coming up..?

What a relief! James Blake defeated Carlos Moya thus becoming the all-american hope after A-Rod's crash.
Meanwhile Djoko cruised past Kohlschreiber and David Ferrer said good-bye after losing to Hyung-Taik Lee in a third set tb.
In a different match Stanislas Wawrinka ended Marcos Baghdatis' Indian Wells career. Interestingly enough, earlier in the week the two played doubles together and lost in a first round match against the invincible american duo bryan&bryan. First friends, then foes - you might say;)

In the ladies event the favourites have been dominating with both Serbians cruising through just like their fellow countryman Novak.

So anyway
probably the most interesting thing about yesterday's results
is not a match that was actually played, but a date that has been set up:
Rafael Nadal of Spain
to play
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France

Though the score is 1:1 and the Spaniard defeated the Frenchman at US Open 2007 in straight sets, Nadal definitely has a lot on his mind before the 4th round clash. After all he was one of tsonga's victims in this year's Aussie Open. Moreover, the pressure really has to be on Rafa, cause he is the defending champion.
How will the world number 2 cope with this? Is Tsonga still the Tsunami-Tsonga we know from January?
the bookies generally have it in favour for Nadal at the rate of 1.7
(whilst at 1.95 in favour for Tsonga) and we, tennis fans from around the world, have to wait till Wednesday to find out. Let's just hope the match will live up to expectations and that maybe we'll get to see some of those shots (from both players) :


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

UK: Hingis will play, Black may not

You may ask yourself:
"Did I missed out on some ban-cases lately?"
"Did Hingis eventually win her doping-case?"
"When the heck did Cara Black fail a doping test?"
Here is the clarification:

The former world No.1 Martina Hingis retired last year after being tested positive for cocaine (after losing her 3rd round match to Laura Granville at Wimbledon 2007). The swiss player received a two-year ban.

Although the five time Grand Slam champion can't play any matches on the WTA Tour, she is allowed to play exhibitions. That's why Hingis decided to take her chance and participate in the Wimbledon warm-up tournament in Liverpool, an invitational event, that is not part of the WTA Tour. Tournament director Anders Borg said

"I have heard a lot about Liverpool over the years and all the fine work they have done up there to develop tennis in a region that is mostly famous for football," . said Hingis

"I am very much looking forward to playing the event and to visit all the things that have made Liverpool the European Capital of Culture."

Tournament director Anders Borg said: "It is a great boost for us to have Martina playing in Liverpool. She still has a lot to offer the world of tennis and we are just very pleased we can take advantage of that."

***While Hingis, the banned player may play in UK, there is a possibility the current doubles No.1 player in the world Cara Black may not be allowed to.
The Zimbabwean may not be able to defend her Wimbledon title, because the british government is considering to ban any Zimbabwean from competing at a sports event in the UK.
This is of course the most radical way of preventing the Zimbabwean cricket team from touring England next summer.

Although Cara Black hasn't done anything wrong, the situation could have it's effects on the tennis world. For the prolific tennis-players sake, let's hope none of this will happen, 'coz it would be a great shame!


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Don't make a village, stay in the village

Boris Becker has advised world tennis No.1 Roger Federer to live in the athletes' village at the Olympics in Beijing rather than seek more private quarters away from the Games.

Federer said this week he was unsure whether to stay with his fellow athletes after experiencing difficulties in Athens in 2004.

But Becker, a gold medallist in Barcelona in 1992, said he should only consider staying apart as a last resort.

"That was our trick in Barcelona, staying at the Olympic village," Becker, who won gold in the doubles with Michael Stich, said in an interview with Reuters.

"To get into the right frame of mind, to understand what the Olympics is all about, you should try to be as often as you can in the village, to mingle with the other athletes. I think that gives you a much bigger motivation.

"I'd absolutely recommend that Federer stays there."

"But let's say he should have a bed in the Swiss quarter and maybe if it's really terrible his girlfriend should have a bed ready in a five-star hotel next door. That would be the ideal choice."

Though Becker was no.1 in the world and has won 6 Grand Slams, he looks at his gold medal as one of his greatest achievements.

"The older I get the more important it becomes," Becker said. "I was in the team four times and I got hurt three times. The one time in Barcelona in 1992 it was in August, I lost singles early. My only chance was with Michael Stich."

"We were not best friends but we realised that if we could stick together we could go all the way. Now looking back it stands out as one of my great victories."


Monday, March 3, 2008

Thank U 4 everything Vera!

After winning Dubai Elena Dementieva had many reasons to be happy.
Not only did she beat the No.2 and No.3 player in the world, she also made a successful return to the worlds Top 10. On top of it Dementieva recieved a check for a quarter million dollars for the tournament win. Finishing the final against Kuznetsova with a spectacular forehand crosscourt, Lena spontaneously kissed the ground. She was ecstatic.

Still, tough, she seemed to be speechless, Dementieva knew exactly who too thank for all what she has achieved. She gave all the credit to her mother - Vera, who is travelling with Lena to every tournament the Russian is participating in. Vera Dementieva is listed as Elena's couch and is sitting in the crowd and tensly watching every match of her daughter.

"She is the most important person in my life and all that I have today I owe it to her. I love to see her smile and it is a real pleasure for me to see that she is happy," Elena said.

"She has sacrificed so much for my sake and I know that she is more tense than I am," she joked.

It's a very moving story - the child reaches for her dreams with the help and support of his mother, but the Argwus-Team found some evidence, that the coin always has two sides and it ain't always that pretty as it all seems. Looking at this picture you get an impression, what exactly Elena means by saying "sacrifice"...

And if she really so deeply loves to see her mother smile, then why does she scream at her after every forehand or backhand, that lands wide... ???


K-Swiss - Keep it pure

K-Swiss introduces a new tagline "Keep it pure".
Anna Kournikova, Tommy Haas, Mardy Fish and Alona Bondarenko are now the subjects of a new ad campaign created by Toth Imaging for K-Swiss under the theme “Keep It Pure”Richard Phibbs has photographed the tennis-players, who are now wearing this independent brand. The ads feature two images of each athlete (action shots and stylized portraits) and use no copy other than the tagline. K-Swiss has spent $15-20 million annually in measured media in recent years, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

The company has struggled of late but vowed that changes in products, design and the star-studded marketing push from Toth would spur a turnaround.


How Tzipora Obziler became a mother

If you're asking yourself "when the heck did this happen???", the answer is "a month after Wimbledon last June."
If you're wondering "hey, didn't she lose a three-setter in the 1st round to the eventual first-time quarterfinalist Michaella Krajicek back then???", the answer is "yes, she also played the whole build-up the US Open!"

How is all this possible?

See, the thing is - it was not Tzipora Obziler who gave birth, but Hadas, her partner of 13 years. As far as Obziler is concerned, she has always been as much Lihi’s mother as Hadas. But it is only now, following a ruling by the Israeli Supreme Court, that she can be officially recognised as Lihi’s parent.

The court ruled in December that the Interior Ministry must register a biological mother’s female partner as a child’s second parent. According to the pressure group New Family: Organisation for Family Rights, there are an estimated 2,000 Israeli lesbian couples raising children together in Israel. Obziler is one of 30 lesbians to have begun the registration process.

Tzipi is now one of only three mother's, who are ranked in the TOP 150 in the WTA Rankings.


Cinderella story for Mark?

The two-time Grand Slam finalist Mark Philippoussis is planning a comeback. Aware of the fact, that his tennis career might soon be over, the Scud is giving himself one more shot in order to end up his career on a high.
"I just want to play one more great match or have a great tournament," he said.

"The thing is to win one more Davis Cup. That would be the Cinderella story."

Philippoussis has moved back to Melbourne to aid his rehabilitation from a fifth major injury -- this time torn cartilage in his right knee - suffered in the lead-up to the Australian Open. The crutches will be off in three weeks.

"Not being able to do much, you do a lot of thinking and I know deep in my heart I want to give it one more go. I just need to get strong for myself so I can surf and do things without pain and then slowly build up to get back on the court." said the Aussie.

Let's hope Mark has more luck with his tennis, than with his reality show "Age of love"...


Pierce back at Roland Garros

Former world No.3 Mary Pierce is planning a comeback on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour.
According to L'Equipe she has a green light from her doctors! She is still searching for a physical trainer. Her brother, David, will be her tennis trainer.

Pierce's in Paris now. She 's training physically and hopes to be back for the French Open. She's convinced she will play quickly at a high level. She said she's very confident!

The Frenchwoman was for a long time in serious doubt if she could ever play tennis again. After defeating Ai Sugiyama in October 2006 in Linz Pierce was leading Vera Zvonareva 6-4, 6-5 in the second round when Pierce ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee. She had held three match points before the injury.

Pierce underwent a successful operation in December 2006 and missed all of 2007. Currently rehabilitating her knee in Vail, Colorado she expects to return to the tour in 2008. Not ready to retire, she stated that she still has things she would like to accomplish, including playing the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.


Sunday, March 2, 2008

Federer unsure about the Olympics

When the 2008 season started Roger Federer had two goals - finally win the French Open (in order to achieve the career Grand Slam) and collect the gold medal at the Olympics in Beijing.After surprisingly losing to Tomas Berdych in the Athens Olympics in 2004, the current world No.1 showed how dissapointed he was with this loss, but now he has cast doubt on whether he would play in the Beijing Olympic Games in August.
"It was quite difficult in Athens," Federer said. "Taking the bus and not being in control of my own schedule, and many people recognising me in the village.

"It was not as enjoyable as Sydney, which I loved. I still have not made up my mind (whether to play in Beijing)," he added, perhaps concerned as to whether there would be traffic and commuting problems for visiting athletes.

Asked about the inconvenience of being so often recognised, Federer elaborated by saying: "Every time I go to eat everyone taps on your shoulder. I don't mind it but I wish it was different one day of the week."

So there we are - Roger is tired of the starlite starlife, but still plans to play for another 10 years.
Maybe it's time to face the facts Roger - you're don't want to play in Beijing, coz you're affraid that you might never gonna be an olympic champion, so maybe you should also avoid the French Open! We all know, you're never gonna make it happen there...


Maradona made Starace lose

The Italian Potito Starace has lambasted former idol Diego Maradona for insulting him during his quarter-final loss to Argentina's David Nalbandian in the Buenos Aires Open. Argentine soccer legend Maradona was supporting his compatriot Nalbandian from the stands but Starace, a fan of Maradona's former team Napoli, was appalled by his conduct.

"Maradona insulted me as soon as the match began," Starace told Italy's Radio Kiss Kiss on Saturday.

"Diego made me lose my head, I went to the umpire and I said to him: 'Either you throw him out or I'll go bash a racket in his teeth'."

World No 35 Starace became increasingly irate during his 4-6 7-6 6-4 defeat.

"I have always been a big fan of Napoli and Maradona and before the match I told journalists I would like to meet him. But I was very disappointed by his behaviour," he said."I know that at the end of the match he came down to the dressing rooms but I had already left because I was very angry."

Maradona led his country to World Cup glory in 1986 but has caused controversy throughout his life and been dogged by drugs and health problems.


Re-born Ginepri with new coach

Former US Open semifinalist Robby Ginepri is now working with Jose Higueras. The former top ten player runs a training center in Pam Springs is a fan of hard work and so he encourages Ginepri to put more hours in the gym and on the court training."I think I'm better overall than in '05," Ginepri told reporters, referring to the stellar season that has been his yardstick ever since. "I attacked that whole match. When you're feeling like that, it's easier to take risks."

"Robby needed focus and discipline," Jim Courier said. "He's a very gifted athlete, but he was, self-admittedly, floating and wondering how he was going to resurrect himself. Robby's an unfinished product, and Jose is one of the best at finishing players."

"I had my doubts that he was going to go through with it," Higueras said. "But he's a good competitor. He doesn't like to lose. There's no reason he can't get back [to the top 20] unless there's a lack of doing the things on a daily basis that I think professional tennis players should do."Ginepri isn't a natural net player, but "he should be able to use his court position and good ground strokes and rally pretty confidently," the coach said. "I want him going to net more, not to intercept but with an advantage."

"He was working his tail off," Patrick McEnroe said. "He was grinding away with the boys and when he wasn't doing that, he was off at the gym or doing extra drills with my assistant, Jay Berger. He was obviously in great shape, and there's no doubt that Jose has gotten his work ethic back going.

"Robby's in that mid-age range where you realize you've been around for four or five years, you've had a couple good years and a couple of terrible ones, and you think, what am I going to do to maximize these next few years? Jose was the perfect guy for him."
Ginepri, who played a couple of Davis Cup matches in early 2004, said the trip was important for him. "Sitting there on the sidelines watching the matches and being intense with them every single point is definitely a feeling that kind of brought me back to life a little bit more," he said in San Jose last week.

Before any newfound fitness, technique or confidence could be put into play, however, there was another setback. Illness and a neck injury knocked Ginepri out of qualifying for two Australian Open lead-up tournaments and short-circuited his plans to start the year strongly Down Under.
His ranking plummeted to a five-year low of No. 171. "It was definitely disheartening," he said.

"The more matches I get, the more confidence I'm going to build, and obviously when you have confidence, it's a lot easier to play and take care of matches, take care of points and do the right things on the court that you've trained to do," Ginepri said before beating Blake.
"When he's playing his best, Robby plays a style similar to Agassi -- taking the ball early off both wings, returning very well, constantly putting pressure on his opponent with aggressive, high-percentage tennis from the baseline," McEnroe said.

Ginepri is training with Higueras again this week, and the coach said things are going well. "In San Jose, he tasted that feeling of winning again," he said. "That doesn't come for free. I hope he understands that he wouldn't have gotten there without what he's been going through the last few months."


Hewitt angry about lies

Australians best, Lleyton Hewitt has lashed out at the media over the amount of coverage given to his soap-star wife Bec and their young daughter.

"We are on the front cover of a certain level of magazine every week," Hewitt told The Times newspaper.

"The last story was 'Bec's Breakdown', full of lies and made-up quotes, but then a lot of people believe it.

"It's hard to deal with it all, which is why I don't like having to leave them alone."

"Whatever people might think, I'm really a shy, down-to-earth lad who just likes being with my mates and whose favourite way of spending a weekend is a family barbecue."

Hewitt's outburst comes amid reports Bec Hewitt was spotted leaving the Nine Network's Sydney studios, sparking speculation her husband could be one of the first celebrities profiled in the new series of This Is Your Life.


Clijsters becomes mummy

Former World No.1 Kim Clijsters gave on Wednesday birth to a daughter. Clijsters and her husband, American basketball player Brian Lynch, named the baby Jada. "The parents and the baby are in great shape,'' spokesman Jeroen Jespers said. According Clijsters' Web site, the baby, born at a hospital in Tongeren, weighed 3.035 kilograms (6.69 pounds) and measured 51 centimeters (20.08 inches).
Clijsters, who has reached the top of the tables in summer of 2003, won 34 titles in her career. This includes one US Open title in 2005 and two Masters Cup's. The 24-year old Belgium retired last year after losing in Warsaw to Julia Vakulenko in the 2nd round. She said she wanted to focus a new life with Lynch, who plays in the Belgian league.

Congrats Kim!!!