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Archive for April 7th, 2008

Nadal defends Federer – again. How long can he keep this up, before his nose turns brown?

Posted by tennisplanet on April 7, 2008

Rafael Nadal, of Spain, acknowledges the fans after being defeated by Nikolay Davydenko 6-4, 6-2  at the finals match at the Sony Ericsson Open tennis tournament in Key Biscayne, Fla., Sunday, April 6, 2008.  

Nadal on Federer’s recent losses: “I think Roger is not in that moment, but, you know, it’s very tough be all the time at 100%.  He has for last four or five years unbelievable records. Right now he’s not doing bad. He’s doing semifinals in Australia and semifinals Indian Wells. Here, quarterfinals.
For sure, for us [it’s] not normal [to] watch Roger lose in these tournaments, but he’s a human person. Anything can happen, because the levels always are very close.Roger has a special ability and always win the important matches and win in the difficult moments. For that reason, I think it’s not fair right now we speak bad about Roger.”

 

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So where do the top three jokers stand before the crucial clay season starts?

Posted by tennisplanet on April 7, 2008

Jokers Titles Ranking Points ATP race Earnings-YTD Tourna played Best result Match record
Federer 0 6600  160  $527,010 4 Semis-2 11-4
Nadal 0 5930   249  $841,397 6 Final-2  21-6 
Djokovic  4785   331  $1,876,806 6 Winner-2  17-4 
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               

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Murray drops out of top 20. From Louise. Thanks.

Posted by tennisplanet on April 7, 2008

Louise 

Murray has dropped out of the world 20

The British number one’s loss to Mario Ancic in Miami means he drops nine places to 22nd in the world rankings.

However, the 20-year-old is ranked in eighth place in the ATP Race, which is based on his performances in 2008.

Murray has two ATP tournaments to his name this year, winning the Qatar Open and Open 13 in Marseille.

I’m happy with the way that it’s gone, I just need to be a bit more consistent

Andy Murray

“I missed the next four months last year because of injury so I haven’t got any ranking points to defend and each week my ranking is going to move up for the next four months, so it doesn’t really worry me too much,” said Murray.

“It’s been a bit inconsistent but I’ve won two tournaments and beaten Roger Federer so it’s been a good start in patches.

“Some of the matches haven’t been good, I’ve lost a lot of close matches. But I’m happy with the way that it’s gone, I just need to be a bit more consistent.”

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Bigger balls and bigger racket – yeah, that’s exactly what the Americans need. Did that mean what I wanted it to mean?

Posted by tennisplanet on April 7, 2008

In the photo provided by the U.S. Tennis Association, James Blake of the U.S. Davis Cup team hits a shot with an oversized racket during a Tennis Block Party at Hanes Park in Winston-Salem, N.C., Sunday, April 6, 2008. The U.S. team plays France in Winston-Salem in a Davis Cup match beginning Friday.  

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Interesting article on current points ranking. From cms. Thanks.

Posted by tennisplanet on April 7, 2008

cms

Interesting article on current points ranking and upcoming events:

http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,23502694-11088,00.html

ROGER Federer’s once unassailable rankings lead over Rafael Nadal has again been slashed as an end to the Swiss champion’s reign as world No. 1 looms. Without a title this season, Federer’s lead of 3900 points 16 months ago has been cut to only 670. Federer’s inability to defend the points he collected last season for winning the Australian Open and Dubai has seen Nadal erode an impregnable buffer.

Nadal, also without a title in 2008, could have reduced the leeway to 520 points had he beaten Nikolay Davydenko at the Miami Masters final. But the Spaniard, soon to face claycourt rankings pressure, was thumped 6-4 6-2 in 82 minutes yesterday. “For me to beat Nadal in the final, first time in my career, I think it’s crazy,” Davydenko said. One of the consolations for Nadal was a 175-point rankings points gain.

Novak Djokovic, the man many believe will leapfrog Federer and Nadal, remains within striking distance as conjecture about Federer’s form intensifies.

Holding a 1400-point buffer at the start of the season, Federer, who has been No. 1 since February 2004 — 219 weeks — is without a title four months into the season for the first time since 2000. He is unlikely to be overtaken by Nadal before Wimbledon, but a poor showing on European claycourts could accelerate the fall.

Federer performed brilliantly – although overshadowed by Nadal’s third French Open crown – on clay last season to reach finals in Monte Carlo and Paris, while also winning Hamburg. Nadal cannot improve his claycourt points unless he wins in Hamburg. Last year he posted victories in Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Rome and Paris. If Federer stumbles at Wimbledon, Nadal might still need at least to reach a third All England Club final to overtake the Swiss.

Djokovic could be the stalker, with a handful of mixed results to defend before the end of the season. The Serb has 4785 points and is third behind Federer (6600) and Nadal (5930). The Australian Open champion will be under pressure to defend semi-final appearances at the French Open and Wimbledon and reaching the US Open final.

But there is a string of rankings-rich events between now and November’s Tennis Masters Cup in which Djokovic could make ground.

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Miami 08 QF Federer vs Roddick. From Sarah. Thanks.

Posted by tennisplanet on April 7, 2008

Sarah

Miami 08 QF Federer vs Roddick

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKOZKl9Vr9M&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22CTWJtOPcc&feature=related

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Stupid lame tricks.

Posted by tennisplanet on April 7, 2008

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Djokovic out, Federer in at Estoril.

Posted by tennisplanet on April 7, 2008

Roger Federer, of Switzerland, returns the ball to Andy Roddick,of the United States, during a quarterfinals match at the Sony Ericsson Open tennis tournament in Key Biscayne, Fla., Thursday, April 3, 2008.  

For the first time in his career Federer has decided to play at Estoril. Good move, Roger. You need to continue this aggressive mind set throughout this year to catch up with others on the tour, by electing to play at as many events as you can, within reason and under doctor’s supervision if mono is still lurking.

Other notable players include Davydenko, Karlovic, Mahut and Volandri with Djokovic deciding to withdraw. Djokovic is the defending champion here.

However all three cats will be in action at Monte Carlo, Rome, Hamburg and Roland Garros.

Roger Federer of Switzerland returns a shot against Robin Soderling of Sweden during day eight of the Sony Ericsson Open at the Crandon Park Tennis Center on March 31, 2008 in Key Biscayne, Florida.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images) 

This lets Federer get an early start on clay specially when you have nothing else to do after being eliminated early in the quarters at Miami. If he had done this in February, he might have had a much better result in March.

Unless he improves his court coverage alongwith physical fitness in a hurry, this match play BS may not complete the whole circle. But it is a step in the right direction.

Although his confidence should be shot going onto clay, having performed miserably on his favorite surface, he knows winning Roland Garros can still salvage most of the damage his career has had this season. Not to mention the GOAT title.

Rafael Nadal, of Spain, holds up his trophy after being defeated by Nikolay Davydenko, of Russia, 6-4, 6-2 during a finals match at the Sony Ericsson Open tennis tournament in Key Biscayne, Fla., Sunday, April 6, 2008.  

But unless Nadal falters in a big way or tires himself early like he did at Hamburg last year AND Djokovic does not make serious inroads, Federer’s chances are not looking good. Duh!!!!!!

But this is one place he is not expected to do well, so he will have the liberty to play a little more of his natural game without the shackles of ‘must win’ monster. But that will come into play when all the big dogs are in the house, not at Estoril.

Federer may have played his last four tournaments without the doctor’s complete clearance. If he did, he achieved his goal: Gaining enough points to secure his No. 1 rank from being taken over before he recovered fully.

If he is to be believed that he is feeling better and is improving AND if it starts to show with convincing wins on clay, he may have saved his No. 1 rank by playing at half mast so far. Maybe his goal was to get as many points as he can with no concern to how many titles he won, given his physical condition. He is hoping his normal fitness returns in time for him to bounce back by mid season to reverse whatever transpired in the first half of the year.

We all know his priorities: No. 1 rank, Roland Garros, Grand Slams, Olympics, titles…….

Hamburg and Roland Garros are the two main events Federer is most likely to lose big if he goes out early. But Nadal has to win Rome, Monte Carlo and Roland Garros. That’s not easy to do for two straight years.

Nadal will have gained nothing if he wins all three again, unless Federer falters early, likelihood of which is higher than it has ever been with so small a margin between him and Federer for the top rank.

This is time when both camps are sitting with paper and pencil to deny each other the clay fruit and more.

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Challenging the hegemony of the ATP and other stories. From Katie. Thanks.

Posted by tennisplanet on April 7, 2008

Katie

Challenging the hegemony of the ATP and other stories.

From The Times
April 4, 2008
Make or break for tennis at South Beach
Neil Harman, Tennis Correspondent, Key Biscayne, Florida

We ought to be trapped in eternal happiness when the tour decamps to the land of balmy breezes and boisterous bistros. They have all been in town, Roger, Rafa, Novak, Serena, Venus and Justine. The sport does not get off on itself any more than it does during these 12 days when tennis goes all South Beach in the Miami sunshine, but beneath the palms where the deals are done and scores settled, all is far from well.

In domestic terms, the vagaries of Andy Murray’s form are uppermost in many minds, the LTA, the domestic governing body, is striving to deliver on its blueprint and an announcement is planned for the next couple of weeks to disclose which company (or companies) is prepared to invest cold, hard cash in British tennis at a time when every sponsor’s pound has to be prised from their grasp. What happens next could be make or break.

Further afield, traces of goodwill are in scant supply, for the sport is embroiled in any number of disputes that are tearing at its spirit. The three elements that give rise to enormous cause for concern – largely, but not exclusively, in the men’s game – are match-fixing, tournament manipulation and trust in the leadership.

For a start, Nikolay Davydenko of Russia has been left to roast too long on the spit of suspicion because a match in which he retired hurt against Martin Vassallo Arguello of Argentina in Poland last August inspired unprecedented betting interest. His agony should be over. Guilty or not guilty? Put the man out of his misery.

One hears that one of the five Italian players who have been suspended and fined for having laid bets on matches is considering taking the ATP, the men’s governing body, to court, which could get as messy as the case that has already cost £5 million, in which the ATP sought to demote and move the Masters in Hamburg, formerly the German Open, but which remains undecided on the files of the District Court of Delaware, lining the pockets of American lawyers. If the ATP loses, it will be akin to an admission that the men’s game cannot be led, for if a governing body is not allowed to take decisions it believes will benefit the sport, what can it do? The ATP probably thought that Hamburg would roll over and accept its fate but that did not happen. They dug in. The essence of their case was that the ATP made an anti-competitive decision “so as to establish a favoured class of tournaments, in which they (the ATP) have a significant proprietary interest, while relegating all of the other member tournaments to a disfavoured status.”

This inertia has inspired leading players, including Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, to the fore, to ask their representatives on the board – there are three who represent the players and three from the tournament side – not to nod Etienne de Villiers, the chairman, through when his contract comes up for renewal later this year. The players – at least three quarters of the top 20 have signed a letter doing the rounds here – want to see more candidates interviewed. In short, they want De Villiers to be challenged – and strongly.

De Villiers was recruited from The Walt Disney Company on a mandate for change after years of stagnation but not everyone who says they are committed to change, actually want it at all. It was intriguing that, at a players’ meeting at the end of last year when De Villiers unveiled a 30 per cent increase in prize money on the tour for 2009, it was received with yawning indifference.

The much vaunted tennis roadmap for 2009, with its tournament re-structuring, is in a state of limbo. Madrid’s Caja Magica, a shiny new facility that has been promised a clay-court event in May, had had its ribbon cut, but if Hamburg wins its case and stays put, Ion Tiriac, the Romanian former tennis professional and coach and multi-millionaire Madrid kingmaker, could be left with an empty arena. It would be back to the courts – and not the ones on which the sport is played.

The scene is one of constant disruption. In Britain, the creation of more events ought to be the priority and yet, at the lower levels, the base is being eroded. What will happen when the LTA unveils its new partners we cannot know but Dee Dutta, who has stepped aside as corporate vice president and head of marketing of Sony Ericsson, the umbrella sponsor of the women’s tour and tournament sponsor here, does so with one piece of business sadly unfinished.

“I wanted Britain to be the place where we located our biggest European tournament,” he said, “but it became too difficult to negotiate. People there said, what about 2009, or 2010, but we did not know whether Sony Ericsson would still be in tennis then. I said ‘give me a deal now’ but there was never a commercial willingness to engage. That was very frustrating, so I went after Miami and look what we’ve done with this event. And yet [our headquarters are] in the UK, it was a natural fit. Other sports are talking to us now.”

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