Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Davis Cup Final Update 9/30/2008

by Savannah

The Argentine Davis Cup team, led by David Nalbandian and with the support of Captain Mancini put on a full court press against the AAT, the Argentine tennis federation, and have apparently won round one of their battle as to where the final will be held.

Davis Cup - Argentina nominates indoor venue
Eurosport - Tue, 30 Sep 14:08:00 2008

The Argentine Tennis Association has nominated the indoor Estadio Orfeo Superdomo in Cordoba as its preferred venue for the Davis Cup finals in November.

Argentina have previous only hosted Davis Cup clashes on claycourts but the AAT has chosen the carpeted venue for the final in a bid to remove Spain's main strength.

"In order of preference, Cordoba has been chosen, with the Estadio Orfeo the first choice to be the venue of the final of the World Group," the AAT said.

"As an alternative to be considered by the ITF [International Tennis Federation], the Estadio Islas Malvinas in Mar del Plata was nominated. The AAT board decided to prioritise the sporting advantage."

The Estadio Islas Malvinas is also an indoor venue.

The ITF must now approve the venue before it can be confirmed. But while they generally require a venue with a seating capacity of at least 12,000, the Cordoba venue can only hold 8,000.

The AAT also announced they are looking at ways of expanding the capacity for the final which is due to be held from November 21-23.

David Nalbandian had already said he would prefer Cordoba to host the final.

"Cordoba has the best conditions compared with the others," Nalbandian said last week. "I was born in this province so I would love to play here, but there are a lot of other factors to be considered and we are working to choose the right option."
Pippa Davis Eurosport

The ITF has stated that it will look for stadiums that can seat a minimum of 12,000. Both sites chosen are below that capacity. If the ITF nixes both locations it remains to be seen whether the event will by default be held at the Parque Roca, site of the semi final tie against Russia. The Argentines want an indoor arena with a pretty fast carpet. To turn Parque Roca into an indoor arena an already intact roof would have to be imported and the clay court covered.

One of the papers in Argentina is reporting that the surface will be "composcushion" a surface made by a Spanish company named Composan. It is said to be an acrylic material set on an asphalt agglomerate base. It is also known as Tennislife cushion. Depending on your source it's a hardcourt(ATP) and not a carpet or a fast indoor surface (ITF).

I'm no expert but that surface in Bangkok was playing very fast. There's also the surface the United States used in Winston Salem against Spain. That was compared to an ice skating rink.

Tennis Talk

I wonder what location and surface will be chosen for the United States vs Switzerland next March? Both teams are good on fast courts. Neither is great on red clay. There is talk that the site may be Chicago, Illinois in the midwestern United States.

I also wonder what team Patrick McEnroe will field. Does he go with the future and keep
Sam Querrey on the team or will he go back to James Blake who thrives on a hard court?

Oh, and for those who are wondering there's been no new news from Srdjan Djokovic about how the ITF is picking on Serbia and by extension his son.

Idle Chit Chat

From the New York Daily News
Maria Sharapova has a new boyfriend: Charlie Ebersol, son of NBC Sports chairman Dick. But that didn't stop the tennis hottie from putting herself up for auction at the Bryan Brothers' All-Star Tennis Smash charity event last weekend. Despite Sharapova's joke that "My boyfriend will outbid you," one lucky guy won a date with the bombshell - for just $10,000.

Camilla Belle is shooting a movie so it's not clear if Maria's bff was there. I mean with Ana Ivanovic getting all the boy friend press down to looking worn out saying goodbye in a Beijing hotel lobby something had to be done no? Just sayin'. I hope this one lasts longer than her other relationships.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Davis Cup Final Update, A Look Back, and some Tennis Talk 9/29/08

by Savannah

Here is a machine translation of an article that appeared in the Argentine newspaper Clarin. I did a little cleaning up.

The Falkland Islands Polideportivo de Mar del Plata has every chance of becoming the seat of the Davis Cup final. Today, in addition, it supports a budget of $ 10 million to bring Daniel Scioli, the governor of Buenos Aires.

According to Clarin could find out, the International Tennis Federation (FIT) to the ball Orfeo in Cordoba. However, complying with the request of the players and the captain, tomorrow the Argentine Tennis Association (AAT) sent by fax to London bunker of FIT, the order of Cordoba as the venue with the alternative of Mar del Plata. The members of the FIT will insist on their rejection of Orpheus and then have to travel to Mar del Plata to see the headquarters on Tuesday and give final approval.

The hall has a capacity to house 7200 people, but the engineers who built in 1995 for the Pan American Games and to have the proposal to enlarge it and bring it closer to the 12 thousand calls a rule that the FIT. To do so placed a ring whose cost is estimated at 5 million pesos and added that 3160 places. To reach the required figure is achicarán the spaces between the seats and this configuration change will give it to other stadium seating 1800. "We are in time to make changes because the work takes 45 days," he told this newspaper yesterday, the mayor of Mar del Plata Gustavo Pulti.

To launch its candidacy, Mar del Plata made a strategic alliance with Tandil, the city in which Juan Martin Del Potro was born, a hero in the semifinal against Russia. "We are competing on an equal footing with the other headquarters," said Pulti. And then he added on the back of Scioli: "Your support in structural and political terms it is very important. In the economic sphere is responsible for seeking private sponsorship."

Artentina is set to make it's choice public today.

Tennis Talk

Carlos Rodriguez on the WTA

"It's a sign. She's (Jelena Jankovic) a good player, but when you see Maria Sharapova and the Williams sisters, they not only win Grand Slams, but they have the charisma. They give something extra, not only hitting balls. There's more behind them."

"I have a lot of respect for the other players, but outside of the Willamses and Sharapova, the rest are still really poor," Rodriguez said.
"I think Ana (Ivanovic) can do big things, but she needs more maturity," Rodriguez said. "It's very difficult for a player to learn what to do when she's in trouble. Ivanovic is not able to have a Plan B or C to solve the situations, and she loses complete control. The coach can help with this, but in the end, it's up to the player to find for herself what possibilities will work. The coach can only help you to a certain point."

Rodriguez spent a little time this past summer working with former world No. 4 Anna Chakvetadze but couldn't make it work with the Russian, who has spiraled downward to No. 12. On the outside, Chakvetadze appears to have all the ingredients that Rodriguez would like: foot speed, soft hands, the ability to take the ball on the rise and smarts. But he couldn't get through to the 21-year-old.

"Anna seems like she wants to work, but I told her, at the end of the day, deep inside of you, you don't want to try to go further and to push yourself more to succeed," he said. "I cannot help you if you don't have the will to do something, even if I'm the best or worst coach in the world. She has the talent. But she's really confused as to what she needs to do to succeed to do to become a No. 1 or No. 2 player in the world. She's not ready to make the sacrifices it takes to go to the top, there's not question about it. A champion is one inside and outside the court, and when you take Anna outside the court, she's really a disaster."

Somewhat incredibly, Rodriguez tabbed Nicole Vaidisova as the young player with the most potential. The Czech has the height, power and ball-striking capabilities to do major damage and has reached two Grand Slam semifinals, but the 19-year-old has had a depressing year, falling to No. 22 in the rankings. Vaidisova doesn't always play smart or look motivated.

"She's amazing," Rodriguez said. "It comes back to the entourage she has around her. It's so important. When you are talking mental, these girls are very strong, but when you are talking emotional, it's very hard. The emotional takes over the mental and she completely loses the way. It's a pity. I hope someone can take care of her because she's charismatic and is a really good player, but her emotional (state) and the intelligence is not that good."

I actually agree with Rodriguez on Nicole Vaidisova. Sometimes staring success in the face is just as hard as staring it's opposite down. For the full article go Here

The Rearview Mirror
Thanks to ©Kourtin' Karen here are some final images and comments on the Spain vs United States Davis Cup tie in Madrid. Those seats look painful!


I guess the people watching have to suffer as much as the bulls!

Las Ventas inside and out.

Winners 9/28/08

by Savannah

He did it. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga won his first Main Tour tournament by beating nemesis Novak Djokovic in straight sets, 7-6(4), 6-4 and avenging his loss in Melbourne earlier this year.

In Beijing Andy Roddick won over Dudi Sela 6-4, 6-7, 6-3.

Jelena Jankovic easily overcame Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-2

Meanwhile is Seoul Maria Kirilenko defeated Samantha Stosur 2-6, 6-1, 6-4.
Doubles Winners

Lukas Dlouhy and Leander Paes Bangkok 2008 Champions


The team of Stephen Huss of Australia and Ross Hutchins of Great Britain are the men's champions.

For the WTA Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain and Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark took home the doubles trophy.

In Seoul Hsieh Su-Wei and Chang Chia-Jung won the trophy.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Idle Chit Chat 9/27/2008

by Savannah

The epitaphs are already being written for Etienne de Villiers who is leaving his post as of December. Steve Tignor wrote this one
De Villiers did a better job than you might think. His push for round robins was a failure, but his push for instant replay was a success. He brought the season-ending Masters Cup from Shanghai to London in 2009 and was rewarded with a title sponsorship from (still solvent) Barclay's. He also made the Masters Series schedule, a major complaint among players, less burdensome: The finals were cut from best-of-five sets to best-of-three and the pre-Roland Garros clay-court events went from three to two.

For these things he was destroyed: In 2006, Federer and Nadal spoke publicly about their anger over his demotion of Monte Carlo and Hamburg; Nikolay Davydenko called him "Walt Disney"; this year all of the top 20 players demanded that the ATP consider other candidates for his job before rehiring him; and the Hamburg organizers brought a lawsuit that could have bankrupted the tour.

Looking back, it's clear that De Villiers was unlucky that his term coincided with the peak of Federer's reign. From 2005 to 2007, the Swiss' domination on court made him a kind of unelected president of the sport. If you wanted to do something new, you wanted him on board. The problem was that Federer is a stubborn, outspoken traditionalist. He was against round robins, instant replay and the unilateral demotion of Monte Carlo; he even mused wistfully about the days of grueling three-out-of-five setters in Masters finals.

De Villiers came in with big ideas and ended up nibbling at the edges -- he couldn't even demote Hamburg without risking the entire organization. The ATP board may now want to go with someone who isn't an outsider; U.S. Open tournament director Arlen Kantarian's name has been mentioned, but the job may be a step down for him.

Brings a tear to your eyes doesn't it? I wasn't aware that getting rid of one pre Roland Garros clay event was on the players list of concerns. No one except American players were complaining about the Masters Events being five sets. Hamburg sued because the fix was in and they were playing by a set of rules that were no longer relevant. Tignor should mention that the schedule now favors hard court events such as the US Open series that takes place before the US Open, and the new Asian hard court swing. It should be mentioned that the back to back American spring hardcourt events as well as the back to back Masters events in Canada and Ohio at the height of summer remain untouched.
Just sayin'.

As for Arlen Kantarian taking over De Villiers position Tignor is being disingenuous. Kantarian is not only the TD for the US Open. As this article from Tennis-x a year ago announces Kantarian is also CEO of USTA Professional Tennis.

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y, October 4, 2007--The United States Tennis Association today announced that Arlen Kantarian has been named Chief Executive Officer, Professional Tennis. In this role, Kantarian will continue to lead the USTA's Professional Tennis operations, and serve as the lead executive overseeing the USTA's involvement in the professional sport, including the US Open, US Open Series, USTA Pro Tour events, U.S. Davis Cup, Fed Cup, and Olympic teams, and the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

In addition, Kantarian will oversee the development of a new USTA elite player development program, focused on identifying and developing the next generation of American champions. Kantarian will assume responsibility for this new program effective December 1, and has initiated a worldwide search for the head of the elite player development program.

"I couldn't be more pleased to acknowledge Arlen Kantarian's many contributions to the USTA" said Jane Brown Grimes, Chairman of the Board and President of the USTA. "Arlen's unique talents have made the US Open the highest attended annual sporting event in the world and the US Open Series one of the most successful breakthroughs for the sport. With the USTA's commitment to developing strong American competitors and Arlen's proven track record of success, we are pleased that he will now oversee the elite player development program, and a pipeline to future American champions."

I've always felt the goal of "Brave New World" was to do organizationally what the USTA hasn't been able to do on the tennis courts - dominate tennis once again. Putting Kantarian in charge of the ATP would be tantamount to having the fox guard the chicken coop. We've already seen the shenanigans the USTA pulls to make sure they get the results they want at this years US Open. Give them control of the ATP and who knows what will happen?

It's also deceiving to say Roger Federer led the charge against De Villiers. Anyone who has been paying attention knows that it was Rafael Nadal who was joined by Roger Federer who led the push back from the European players. Nikolay Davydenko was also in the vanguard. We all know what happened to Nikolay and that his attention was directed elsewhere. This was how Federer and Nadal entered Monte Carlo back in 2007 stunning the press.

I doubt if Kantarian will get the support of the European's. I'm sure he has the support of the Americans. It's going to be very interesting to see how this plays out no?

Ana and Fernando sitting in a tree...

Thanks to "Lola" tennisheads have these pictures taken Saturday morning in a Beijing hotel lobby.

Girlfriend looks whipped.

End Notes
I managed to stay up and see the Tsonga vs Monfils match. Well maybe match is the wrong word. They were both on the same court at the same time. I think Monfils must be used to waking at a later hour since Tsonga, who was wide awake, blew him off the court winning in straight sets 0 and 3. In 52 minutes. There are WTA matches that last longer.
Tsonga will face Novak Djokovic in the Final. Think Jo was on a mission?

Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated Zheng Jie in Beijing to make the final where she will face Jelena Jankovic.
Andy Roddick defeated Bjorn Phau in three sets and will face Dudi Sela in the men's final. Sela defeated Rainer Schuettler.

In Seoul Samantha Stosur will face Maria Kirilenko in the Final after blowing past Jill Craybas. Maria defeated Kaia Kanepi in her semi final match.
Maria Sharapova announced on her web site that she is finished playing for the year.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Heard Around 9/26/2008

by Savannah

Srdjan Djokovic, father of the three Djokovic brothers, is upset with the 2009 Davis Cup draw. According to Mr. Djokovic the draw was rigged against Serbia in 2008 when Serbia drew Russia in the first round, and again in 2009 where Serbia has to play Spain in Spain.

He criticizes the Serbian Tennis federation for not pushing harder for an "easier" draw. He also made this statement.

"Until 2 years ago, while he didn't have people doing this for him, Novak was getting worst schedules, they were looking at him like he was some savage from Biafra..."
Here is the quote in Serbian.
"Do pre nešto više od dve godine, dok nije imao ljude koji to rade, Novak je dobijao najlošije termine, gledali su na njega kao na divljaka iz Bijafre.
For the complete text in Serbian go HERE
I guess it never occured to Srdjan that Spain and Russia didn't just drop ship themselves into dominant Davis Cup teams. If Serbia wants to be among the elite they should have to play themselves into that position. Srdjan thinks that effective lobbying would give Serbia easier draws. Here is a machine translation of the last paragraph.
Our president left Bratislava on Sunday afternoon, he didn't even wait for matches to end. If he at least went to Madrid with few influential people and journalists to try to affect the draw with his presence. Nobody's fighting for Serbia's interests and that is why we get this treatment. And when time for DC rolls around everybody will be expecting Novak to give his 150% and beat Spain on clay". He added that Serbia's chances of beating Spain are around 2% because Novak will have to go to clay in the middle of HC season, only to go back to IW where he's defending title.

Savage from Biafra huh? Nice.

Ana Ivanovic
Well everyone had fun when the pics from the China Open players party came out. I mean here is Fernando "Africa" Verdasco getting his swerve on with Ana while Sveta pretends not to be looking.

A guys gotta try right? So how to explain this pic of Verdasco sitting with Ana's mom watching her practice? Presumably this was the next day.

A one nighter does not usually entitle someone to sit with Mom. To quote that oldie, "how long has this been going on?" I mean when last seen Ana was with Rafa and his friend Tomeu in Mallorca. Diversionary tactics? Trying to get someone jealous? I believe they're both Scorpio's. I wouldn't try that jealousy thing Ana but hey, a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do.

Oh, you thought I was going to talk about Ana's loss to Zheng Jie of China? About how she's 5 and 5 since winning the French Open? About how she's playing not to lose instead of playing to win? That her attaining the number one ranking was the worst thing that could have happened to her? Really? You thought I'd mention all of that huh?

I think this picture is cute.

Oh, and don't worry about Sveta. She seemed to be getting her groove on too.

All I know is she seems revitalized and Ferru crashed out. During his presser he said he was tired although he did say his opponent outplayed him. Uh huh.
Breaking news!

This was taken during Ana's match against Jie. Reports are he was cheering harder than Dragana.
At least Ana had someone to console her after her loss. Seems he was cheering wildly no? Where is he from again?

End Notes
I've seen those pictures. He's probably mortified.

Andy Roddick is the only men's seed to make it to the semi's at Beijing. He will play Germany's Bjorn Phau. I saw Phau play Rafa at the US Open. He's no joke. If he's not overwhelmed by the occasion he can give Andy a run for his money. Of course Andy will be serving like a mad bomber and he has a height and weight advantage over Phau.

The other semi features Dudi Sela of Israel against another German, Rainer Schuettler. Sela beat
Fernando Gonzalez and Schuettler defeated Richard Gasquet.

Jill Craybas of the United States made it to the semi finals in Seoul, South Korea. She will play Samantha Stosur. Some players simply mature later in life.

Maria Kirilenko will play Kaia Kanepi of Estonia in the other semi final match.

The match of the day will be in Bangkok, Thailand. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will play Gael Monfils for a berth in the final. Both men play free flowing, no holds barred tennis and it should be a visual treat. If both bring their "A" games, especially Monfils, the tennis should be great too. Unfortunately I won't see any of it since I'll be out all day. Bummer.

Oh yeah. The other semi features Novak Djokovic against Tomas Berdych. If Berdych doesn't roll over and play dead that should be a good match too.
If you're wondering what happened to Novak's little brother Marko don't worry. Jarkko Nieminen took him out in straights, feeding him a bagel along the way.

Davis Cup Final

Argentine tennis officials and players are still in a lather about where to play their final against Spain. The latest reports say Parque Roca, the usual locale, is definitely out because it's a clay court. David Nalbandian has been quoted as saying to hold the tie there would be handing Spain the Davis cup on a silver platter.

The locales in the running are the Orfeo in Nalbandian's home area, or the Mar del Plata located in one of Argentina's resort areas. The country's politicians have even gotten into the fray with the president Mrs. Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, weighing in behind the Orfeo. Can you imagine a tennis event in the States getting the president of the country involved as to where it will be played? Anyway the decision in Argentina has to be made by Monday.

As for where the US will play Roger Federer and his crew next year the choice is apparently between Chicago and Winston-Salem. I'm sure Andy Roddick will have a large say in where the tie is played. Last I checked he wasn't an elected official.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Davis Cup World Group Draw

by Savannah

Looks like all the hopes and dreams of tennisheads got answered.

2009 World Group Draw
The full draw for the 2009 World Group is as follows:

Argentina (s)(c)(*) v Netherlands

France (s) v Czech Republic (c)

(s)(c) v Switzerland

Croatia(s)(c)(*) v Chile

Israel v Sweden (s)(c)

Romania (c) v Russia (s)

Austria v Germany (s)(c)

Serbia v Spain(s)(c)

(s) = seeded nation
(c) = choice of ground
(*) = choice of ground decided by lot

Seeded nations according to ITF Davis Cup Nations Ranking: 1. Argentina, 2. Spain, 3. Russia, 4. USA, 5. Croatia, 6. Sweden, 7. Germany, 8. France

Unseeded nations: Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Chile, Israel, Romania, Austria, Serbia.

First round ties to be played on 6-8 March '09.

Looks like the ITF wants to follow up it's blockbuster 2008 final by starting 2009 with a bang.
Will the US team go back to James Blake, Andy Roddick, Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan or have Sam Querrey and Mardy Fish worked their way onto the squad? Will the Swiss team still be anchored by Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka? The tie will be played in the United States. Both teams play well on the concrete so the only question will be how fast the court is.

Will France field Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga? Who will Shamil Tarpishev pick for his team? Will we see a Russian team featuring Marat Safin, Dmitry Tursunov,
Igor Andreev and Igor Kunitsyn?

Will Serbia come into Spain with enough mental toughness to give Spain a run for their money? I don't see either country changing their current line ups and I don't think much guessing has to be done as to what the surface will be.

Juan Martin Del Potro
will anchor the Argentine team along with David Nalbandian who is still a top Davis Cup player. It'll be interesting who will play doubles for them.

March suddenly seems like a long way off doesn't it?

End Note
Speculation as to the surface for the Davis Cup 2008 Final continues to run wild. Argentine fans seem to think Cordoba will be the location and that indoor carpet will be the surface.
The formal announcement is set for September 29. Yahoo is reporting that the tie will be held at the Orfeo Arena in David Nalbandian's home town of Cordoba.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Heard Around 9/22/2008

by Savannah
The DC tie to be held in Argentina in November has already generated trash talk.
Juan Martin Del Potro when asked by a reporter about Rafael Nadal coming to Argentina is reported to have said "Yeah... we're gonna pull his underwear out of his ass". When asked to repeat the comment he declined.

Despite his showing in yesterday's semi Igor Andreev has been a solid member of the Russian team, their fifth set live rubber specialist so to speak. Not quite sure what happened but it looked like he wanted no part of Juan Martin and he played like it as well.

The revamped United States Davis Cup team won one rubber, the doubles, and lost all of their singles matches. Don't get me wrong, I don't think the results would've been any different had James Blake made the trip. Is PMac perhaps looking to rotate his older players out for the next generation? Who knows? Until we field a team that can play clay court tennis, and break away from some of the preconceived notions of how tennis should be played and focus on how it is being played we'll continue to have to play ties on clay overseas.

In other Davis Cup news the 2009 Davis Cup seedings are out. Here is the complete ITF announcement. All highlighting is mine.

Argentina and Spain head the seeds for the draw for the World Group of the 2009 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas, which takes place in Madrid on Tuesday 23 September at 12:30 local time (10:30 GMT).

1. Argentina
2. Spain
3. Russia
4. USA
5. Croatia
6. Sweden
7. Germany
8. France

According to the Davis Cup Regulations, the two finalist nations are seeded No. 1 and No. 2 in the World Group for the following year, and will be drawn in opposite halves. Seeds 3-8 are in accordance with the latest Davis Cup Nations Ranking. The seeded nations will be drawn against Austria, Chile, Czech Republic, Israel, Netherlands, Romania, Serbia and Switzerland.

Seeds for the Zonal Group I and Group II competitions are also based on the latest Davis Cup Nations Ranking. The Group I seeds are as follows:

1. Slovak Republic
2. Belgium
3. Great Britain
4. Belarus

Other nations: Italy, Macedonia FYR, Poland, South Africa, Ukraine

1. Australia
2. Korea, Rep.
3. India
4. Japan

Other nations: China P.R., Chinese Taipei, Kazakhstan, Thailand, Uzbekistan

1. Brazil
2. Peru

Other nations: Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay

All the draws will take place at BNP Paribas’s Madrid offices and can be heard live on Davis Cup Radio on the official Davis Cup website: www.daviscup.com.

US vs Switzerland anyone?

Idle Chit Chat

The USTA, in an effort to address some of the glaring deficiencies in American tennis has hired former Roger Federer coach Jose Higueras. According to the USTA Announcement Higueras title will be Director of Coaching for the USTA Elite Player Development program. According to the announcement

Higueras will oversee all of the program's men's and women's coaching efforts and will work at the USTA Training Centers in Boca Raton, Fla., and Carson, Calif. as well as Palm Springs, Calif., where Higueras lives. He will report to Patrick McEnroe, General Manager, Elite Player Development.

This follows Tennis Australia's recognition that clay is the best surface to learn on. I don't think the USTA will go as far as the Aussie's did though and admit that the de-emphasis of clay court training and play is the cause of the decline of Australian tennis. Then again, maybe hiring Higueras is the USTA's admission of that fact.

Svetlana Kuznetsova has relocated her training base from Barcelona to Russia and hired Olga Morozva as her new coach. Sveta says that she leaves the Sanchez Casal's organization on good terms and said it's not the end of the world that she hasn't won anything this year.

Young Marko Djokovic has a WC into the Thailand Open where Main Draw play starts Tuesday. He is the next oldest of the Djokovic brothers. There is a lot of controversy about his getting the WC though. Serbian tennis sources say he is not the top Serbian Junior, per the ITF his combined junior ranking as of September 15 2008 is 419, and that based on his play the Wild Card is not justified. His older brother is the draw for Thailand and I guess he wanted his brother there as well. His first match will be against Jarkko Nieminen.

Amelie Mauresmo went out in three sets to Dominika Cibulkova in first round play in Beijing. It hasn't been a good year for her at all.

Michaella Krajicek has hired Kim Clijster's former coach Mark Dehous to work with her through the end of the year.

Dinara Safina is giving herself a rest and withdrew from Beijing. She and her big brother will be playing Hopman cup together. Lleyton Hewitt will make his return to tennis in Perth as well. He will be paired with Casey Dellacqua.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

It's On

by Savannah

There was no dead rubber in cloudy, chilly Buenos Aires. Team Argentina needed five rubbers to defeat Team Russia and clinch a berth in the Final which will be held in December. Argentina will play host to Spain, winners over defending Davis Cup champions the United States. Details will follow but as usual tennisheads are speculating over what could be the deciding factor - the surface the tie will be played on. Team Argentina's Captain Mancini has apparently indicated the preferred surface will be indoor carpet, the surface favored by David Nalbandian. Juan Martin del Potro, the rising star of Argentine tennis, will have to prove how well he can play on the stuff during the European Indoor Season.

The site of the tie is also up in the air since David Nalbandian would prefer to have it in his native Cordoba. The size of the stadium there does not meet ITF requirements but there is always the chance Nalbandian will have his way.

Regardless of where it is held anyone who had a chance to watch any of the matches from BsAs saw what a savvy, rowdy crowd can do to players during a match. There is still lingering tension among Argentine's over the incident between Rafael Nadal and Gaston Gaudio where Rafa allegedly used an anti South American Spanish slur against Gaudio. Keep in mind this supposedly happened three years ago and the tape of the incident doesn't prove it was Rafa who said it. I heard it and listened. It's inconclusive. I'm sure the Argentine press will be reminding tennis fans of the incident. And believe me they don't need an excuse to get on someone's case. Ask Nikolay Davydenko.

Just as the official Davis Cup site says, more soon.

Addendum: From the Official Davis Cup Site

The final will...be Argentina at home to Spain over the weekend of 21-23 November. It will be another few days before the venue is confirmed, but it is likely to be in Buenos Aires, and the front-runner is the 14,000-seater Parque Roca that has hosted all Argentina’s home ties since the start of 2006. The only logistical issue is that the home nation will probably want to choose a moderately quick hard court to face Nadal and co – having waited so long for a first home final, Argentina will not want to welcome the world’s greatest claycourter on his favourite surface.

Ladie's Day

by Savannah

The WTA showcased a Tier I event in Tokyo and a Tier IV event in Guangzhou, China this week.
Tokyo was won by the woman who is still the hottest player on the planet, Dinara Safina.. Dinara beat fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova. How many different ways are there to say congratulations? I think we're going to have to learn that this is how the word looks in Cyrillic. поздравлений. Thanks Google!

The doubles event at Tokyo was won by a relatively new doubles pairing, Vania King of the United States and Nadia Petrova of Russia. An extra congratulations goes to Vania for winning her first Tier I event.

In Guangzhou another woman who is having a very good year hoisted the championship trophy.
Vera Zvonareva of Russia won her second title of the year beating local favorite Peng Shuai. поздравления Вера!

The doubles was won by the team of Maria Koryttseva of Russia and Tatiana Poutchek of Belarus in a match that featured a third set super tiebreak score of 10-8.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Champions 9/14/2008

by Savannah

Fed Cup

The Russian team, led by Shamil Tarpishev, defeated the Spanish women in what can only be described as a comprehensive beat down. I was able to watch a few matches on WebTV and could only shake my head as the Russian team used their size advantage - the average height of the Spanish team was 5'4" - and fire power to win point after point. Congratulations to Team Russia on their victory.

The Other Winners

Gilles Simon of France hoists his third championship trophy of this year, the BCR Open Romania

Patty Schnyder of Switzerland won the championship in Bali, her first title since Cincinnati in 2005. Congratulations Patty!

Wei Hsieh-Su of Taiwan(left) and Peng Shuai of China won the doubles in Bali

In a marathon the French team of Nicolas Devilder and Paul-Henri Mathieu defeated Polish top seeds Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski in an epic 7-6(4) 6-7(9) 22-20 match.

They saved a total of six match points to pull out the win. Congratulations to the French men for scoring a sweep at Bucharest.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

New Kid on the Block

by Savannah

The United States tennis establishment has been pushing Sam Querrey for some time now. He got my attention when he commented that if he lost he could just go out and drive his mother's Porsche. I've called him Kid Porsche ever since then.

Due to James Blake's requested pass on the semi final Davis Cup tie in Madrid and a few good matches on clay Sam Querrey will be a singles player next weekend, his debut on the American Davis Cup team. Here, in it's entirety, is Sam's press conference from 9/12/2008.

September 12, 2008
Sam Querrey

TIM CURRY: Thanks, everyone, for joining us today for our media conference call with Sam Querrey, who is scheduled to make his U.S. Davis Cup debut next week in Madrid when the reigning champion U.S. team meets Spain in the semifinals on a temporary red clay tennis court built inside a bullfighting ring that will host about 21,000 fans each day. Sam will be the 135th member of the U.S. Davis Cup team in the competition's 108-year history and the first U.S. Davis Cup rookie since February 2004, when Robby Ginepri played in the Davis Cup first round against Austria in Uncasville, Connecticut. U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe has used the same lineup - Andy Roddick, James Blake and Bob and Mike Bryan - for the team's previous 10 Davis Cup ties dating back to the World Group playoff at Belgium in September 2005, when Sam actually was a practice partner for the first time. Sam was also a Davis Cup practice partner for the 2006 quarterfinals in Rancho Mirage, California, and was an alternate at last year's quarterfinals when Andy Roddick's availability was in question after he suffered a hamstring injury five days before the tie in Miami. We'll now up the call for questions.

Q. Sam, are you nervous?
SAM QUERREY: A little bit. Not a lot right now. But I think when I get there and actually walk out on the court for my first time, whether that's introduced or that's actually like playing my first match, I think I will get a little nervous then, yeah.

Q. How do you feel about playing your first official tie for the team on clay? It's obviously a tough situation, but it's also a pretty good situation because it's probably not going to get any more intense than it will be. What are you expecting of yourself?
SAM QUERREY: You know, yeah, it's not the easiest tie to just kind of start off your Davis Cup career with. You know, I would probably prefer a home tie on hard court. To jump in there against Spain in the semifinals, in a way it's a nice introduction to the Davis Cup. It will be tough.
But I'm sure the crowd will be into it. Hopefully I can have a good week of practice when we get there and put up a good showing and possibly win some matches.

Q. Could you talk about the circumstances when you found out that you had made it. Did Patrick call you, speak to you in person?
SAM QUERREY: Yeah, Patrick had called me - I'm trying to think - I think it was last Saturday. He told me, you know, James won't be going to Davis Cup, to be ready, you might be our guy. I'll let you know the next couple days.
For a day and a half or so I knew that I might be going. I kind of felt like a pitcher in the bullpen waiting to get a call from the coach.
I believe it was Monday morning, Patrick called me and said that James was out and you're our guy, get ready to go.

What do you take out of your experience at the Open, particularly your match against Rafa?
SAM QUERREY: You know, just got to play with that confidence. I was doing a great job that week of taking care of my body with stretching, massages, plenty of water and good food. I'm definitely going to have to keep that up to play through five-set matches on clay.
I played well against Rafa. I played him twice now. I've taken sets off him in both matches. I've got some confidence. I mean, both those matches were on hard court. Clay might be a different story. I definitely got the confidence I can play with him and possibly beat him.

Your practice as a Davis Cup practice partner, how has that prepared you for this tie?
SAM QUERREY: That's been a big help. I kind of felt how the Davis Cup atmosphere sort of the week prior to the actual matches kind of works. You know, I'm not walking in there not knowing anything. At least I know how everything works, a little bit of what to expect.

Could you tell me about your earliest Davis Cup memory. Was there one particular match or tie that really captured your attention as a kid?
SAM QUERREY: Yeah, actually before I was a Davis Cup practice partner in 2005, the only Davis Cup match that I watched was a match that I went to. I can't remember the year, but it was in Las Vegas probably between 1995, '96 or '97. I watched Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi play on the team at Caesar's Palace. That was kind of the first Davis Cup experience I had, and really the only one. So that's kind of the one that I remember, I guess.
TIM CURRY: That was the '95 semis that you saw.
SAM QUERREY: I just moved to Vegas. I remember I watched that one.

Evaluate your clay court game. The altitude there is going to be pretty good, so the ball is going to be flying a little. What do you think you need to do well against anybody you play on that surface?
SAM QUERREY: I'm definitely going to have to serve well to stay with those guys. They're the best clay-courters in the world. I'm not going to want just to every point have a 50-ball rally. I'm going to have to get some free points on my serve. That will be key for me.
You know, just got to stay in the match and not get flustered or bothered by the whole situation of it being Davis Cup, an away match with all the fans.

Q. Could you give me your thoughts on the Spanish team, what you're particularly concerned about with that team? Obviously there's one player who grabs everyone's attention, but a pretty strong team all around, as well.
SAM QUERREY: You know, they're almost a country that could put out two very good Davis Cup teams, and both teams could possibly have a chance to win the tie with Nadal, Ferrer, Almagro, Verdasco, López. You could just go down the list. You just can't prepare for Nadal and Ferrer; you got to be ready for potentially one of six guys.
So you really need to work on everything in the practice week leading up. You can't just work on playing Nadal, hitting the ball cross-court to a guy's backhand all day. You have to be ready for Almagro, be ready for the speed of Ferrer, possibly López in this altitude if they want a big serve and volleyer in there. You've got to be mentally ready to play anyone out there.

Q. How busy a schedule do you have planned through the rest of the year? I know you had an ambitious workout schedule. Are you going to up that during the off-season?
SAM QUERREY: After Madrid, with the Davis Cup, I'm planning on playing Beijing and Tokyo most likely, then coming home, and playing Lyon and Paris. Somewhat temporary, but that's kind of the schedule there.
Then, yeah, I definitely want to in November and December get an intense workout regimen going. I think I really need that to take my game to the next level, to get in the top 20. Hopefully I can get something together in regards to that.

This is a very close-knit team that's been together for a long time. Did you have any sort of trepidations about breaking that up? Obviously James wasn't fit to play. Is that a concern of yours or do you feel you have a good comfort level with the guys?
SAM QUERREY: Yeah, it's a little bit of a bummer with the team being the defending champion. You kind of want to give those four guys a shot to get their title back. But I'm close to Andy, Bob and Mike, Mardy, John Isner, Donald Young, every American player. Everyone's close. Everyone gets along. I don't think there's any hard feelings or anyone feels they don't belong. So, no, not really.

Q. I was wondering if you have maybe spoken to James or Andy or Bob or Mike about the upcoming tie?
SAM QUERREY: You know what, not really. I'm down here in Austin now practicing with Bob and Mike and Andy. We haven't really talked about it yet. Just maybe a few little things here and there, but nothing of importance.
You know, I'm sure we will once we get to Spain.

Q. What did Patrick tell you his expectations were for you?
SAM QUERREY: You know, I haven't really sat down and had like that talk with him. I've had a phone call with him. I think he expects me to go over there and put out a hundred percent effort, dive for balls if I have to, show him and everyone else how much I want to win, how much of an honor it is to play for my country.
You know, I think he expects that from all his players.

Q. When was your first time you played on a clay court? I imagine you didn't play very much as a junior growing up in the U.S. How comfortable are you on the surface?
SAM QUERREY: First time I played on it, it was during the boys 14-and-under national clay courts in Florida. So that was the first time. But I also played on it in the 16s and 18s.
I mean, before I was 18, I only played on clay a few times. I was always a hard-court guy growing up in California. Didn't have a lot of opportunity to play on clay.
But my game feels good on clay. I'm a tall guy. When the ball gets up, it's getting up into my shoulders, in my strike zone, I don't mind that. I still feel like I can get my serve through the court. You know, I'm not a great slider or anything on clay, but I definitely feel comfortable moving on it.
Overall, I'm very confident and I feel very good. I think my game suits the clay court.

Q. How do you think it will feel to compete for your country and how is it different for you being on a team as opposed to what you normally do week in and week out?
SAM QUERREY: I mean, yeah, I guess I can only explain to you what I think it will be like.
I think it will be something, you know, where deep down you'll know maybe you got to run down an extra ball, maybe you got to put out a better effort because you're not just playing for yourself, you're playing for your country. You've got the team there watching. You know, you're there to prove something and show the world and really your country how much you want to win and how much you want to get this title for them.
It's different just 'cause you're playing for everyone; you're not just playing for yourself. If I'm playing for myself, if I want to give up on a ball or a point, you can. I don't have to think about it. But if I do that there, you've got the team and really all of America. It's not just yourself out there; you're playing for everyone.

Did you play any team sports coming up?
SAM QUERREY: Yeah, I played freshman year of high school football, basketball, baseball, soccer, pretty much everything.

Do you like the team aspect?
SAM QUERREY: Love it, yeah. You know, it's not something we do all the time. When you get a chance to do it, it's a joy. If tennis can somehow throw in some more team events, I would be all for that.
TIM CURRY: Talk about your Olympic experience, Sam, representing your country earlier this summer. Will you tap in on any of that for Davis Cup?
SAM QUERREY: Yeah, that is a nice thing I did get to experience the Olympics this summer, be a part of that. I know what it feels like to kind of play for your country. We were over there in Beijing kind of as a team, similar to what the Davis Cup will be like. I kind of got a small dose of what the Davis Cup is like. I think hopefully some of that will rub off.
I somewhat know the feeling of what it feels like to play for your country rather than yourself. I think a little bit of that experience will help me out there.

Do you know who the practice partners and players are yet on this squad? How do you plan to torment them?
SAM QUERREY: From what I've heard of the practice partners, I'm not a hundred percent sure, but I believe it's Scoville Jenkins, Austin Krajicek, and David Martin.
TIM CURRY: That's correct.
SAM QUERREY: I have no idea how we're going to torment them. I'm probably not going to be the guy to come up with the plan, being that I'm kind of a rookie on the team. I don't know. Every tie so far, we've had some fun with everyone. So I'm sure that will be a better question to ask post tie.

Q. What was the worst trick played on you when you were a practice partner?
SAM QUERREY: This was in Palm Springs. I think it was Andy and James, Bob and Mike had set up a karaoke machine in the lobby of the hotel. A bus full of 200 or so USTA staff members pulled up in front of the lobby and I had to sing karaoke in front of them all.
TIM CURRY: Sam, we appreciate your time as you prepare for the trip to Spain. Also I want to make note that all three days of coverage will be live on Versus at 12 p.m. eastern Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Tennis channel will continue its Davis Cup prime time tradition, re-airing matches each night at 8 p.m. eastern time. Thanks, everyone, for joining our call.

More Davis Cup News
"Kourtin' Karen" will be filing Davis Cup reports from Madrid, Spain starting Thursday. You'll be able to link to them from this blog. I can't wait!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Heard Around 9/12/2008

by Savannah

Davydenko cleared of match-fixing

Nikolay Davydenko has been cleared of any involvement in match-fixing after a year-long investigation by the governing body of men's tennis (ATP).

The ATP investigated suspicious betting patterns surrounding Davydenko's shock defeat by Martin Vassallo Arguello at the Sopot Open in August 2007.

But they found no evidence of wrongdoing by either player."

from BBC News

Here is the full ATP statement.

12 September 2008

ATP Statement Regarding The Sopot Match Investigation

Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, U.S.A. – A fundamental role of the ATP is to ensure that men’s professional tennis continues to be free of corruption. For this reason, the ATP instigated an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the match in Sopot between Mr. Vassallo Arguello and Mr. Davydenko on 2nd August 2007. ATP can confirm today that it has concluded its investigation and found no evidence of a violation of its rules by either Mr. Arguello or Mr. Davydenko or anyone else associated with the match.

During its investigation, the ATP worked with a number of leading external integrity experts. As well as interviewing a number of individuals involved in the match and reviewing betting account details of those who wagered on the match, the investigating team also requested and reviewed records from the players and from individuals closely associated with them.

These included telephone records from individuals including Mr Vassallo Arguello and Mr Davydenko as well as members of both players’ support personnel. Certain individuals declined the ATP requests and appealed them to the independent Hearing Officer. After lengthy legal proceedings, the independent Hearing Officer directed those individuals to turn over the requested records to ATP. A number of records were received and examined, however due to the length of the legal proceedings some of the records were confirmed as having been destroyed by the relevant telephone providers in line with local data protection laws.

This confirmation means that the ATP has now exhausted all avenues of enquiry open to it and the
investigation is now concluded.

The in-depth investigation of the circumstances surrounding the Sopot match, together with the findings of the recent, independent tennis integrity review by Jeff Rees and Ben Gunn, will play a large and important role in informing and advancing the imminent creation of the tennis wide Integrity Unit and its accompanying regulatory framework which will now have responsibility for running the new global Tennis Anti-Corruption Program on behalf of the ATP, WTA, ITF and Grand Slam Committee tournaments.

ATP Statement

I'm sure no one is more relieved than Nikolay. He maintained his innocence from the beginning and has been found to be just that. He's lost a year of his professional life. For some he will always be suspect and there is nothing that can be done about that.

A lot of people forget that Nikolay was one of the four players who spoke out against Etienne de Villiers "Brave New World".

From the WTF?! Files

Thanks to Haruka and my nephew I know that there are people out there who buy sneakers with no intention of wearing them. They're collectors and have closets full of whatever sneaker is hot right now.

I was still kind of taken back when I receive an email announcing that Nike has released it's Holiday Shoes. Here is the text and pictures.

Nike 2008 Holiday Shoes (Rafa’s and Fed’s)

September 11, 2008 ·

Nike releases two new colors for this year’s holiday line in their two most popular shoes. Rafa will be wearing the new tell on navy Cages and Roger the white with navy and yellow trim Vapor V’s.

I hope this satisfies the collectors out there. I shouldn't dog you guys though. I've seen shoes that I would buy just to look at if I had the ducats. They're so beautiful why destroy them by walking in them.

Fed Cup 2009

2009 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group draws

The draw for the 2009 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas was made today at the Club de Campo in Madrid, the site of this weekend’s 2008 Fed Cup Final between Spain and Russia.

The top eight nations will compete in the World Group for a chance to lift the Fed Cup trophy, while the eight nations in World Group II will compete for promotion to the World Group in 2010. The remaining teams will compete in regional Zone Groups I, II and III.

World Group 2009 (8 nations)

1st Round
7-8 February


25-26 April


7-8 November

RUSSIA (s) (c)


USA (s) (c) *


World Group II 2009 (8 nations)

1st Round
7-8 February
Winners to play off against losers of World Group 1st Round
25-26 April
Losers to play off against Zone Group I winners
25-26 April


SERBIA (c) *



(s) = Seed
(c) = Choice of Ground
* = Choice of Ground if decided by lot

The championship between Russia and Spain begins Saturday 9/13/2008 in Madrid, Spain.

Team Spain

Team Russia

More Fashion Week

Venus and Serena at Zac Posen's show 9/11/2008. It was also announced this week that Venus will be making her first trip to the African continent. Along with her sister she will go to Nigeria right after Doha. Source
Serena has previously visited the countries of Ghana and Senegal.

The Roger Quotes

Tennisheads have been discussing comments from a TimesOnLine article made by Roger Federer seeming to show his ego as being more out of control than ever. Finally went to the article and saw the quotes in context. First of all the article is about Andy Murray and his reaction to making a Grand Slam final for the first time. Roger talks about the conversation between the two after the match was over where he gave Andy some interesting advice about trophies.

Here are the controversial comments in context. What do I think? If I'm Andy Murray I'm wondering how an article about me turned into one about the other guy.

Federer did not want to say that winning the US Open had saved his season. “That doesn't sound right,” he said. “I just know I played excellent tennis towards the end and I felt invincible again for a change.”

Before he managed his 20 minutes of shut-eye, the champion went on to the internet to study images of his performance. “I wanted to get a sense of what the fans saw,” he said. “I like to see the pictures before I go to bed. I would never have done that at Wimbledon this year. I have never seen a picture of Rafa [Nadal] holding the trophy and it's something I don't ever want to see.

“I'm still a little bit disappointed a match like that was decided at night. I understand it was appropriate to finish it because of the special occasion we were under. Fair play, the crowds were there and they wanted a proper ending. But I think more people left feeling sorry for me than they were happy for Rafa, which hurts me a little. At the same time, I appreciate that tennis went up a notch with that match and that's what I strove to do in my five years as No 1, to make tennis better, more popular and I admit that that Wimbledon final achieved all I had wanted, even if I lost it.”

Some Celeb Pics from the US Open

Star Jones and former newscaster Tom Brokaw

Former New York City Mayor David Dinkins

Former US Pro Jim Courier and date

Actors Charlize Theron and Stuart Townsend

Oscar de la Renta