From the ITF via tennis.com
Following Australia's decision not to contest its Davis Cup tie in Chennai because of security concerns, the ITF has officially declared India the winner of the zonal contest. India now advances to September's World Group playoffs.
"The ITF regrets and respectfully disagrees with the decision of Tennis Australia to default," the ITF said in a statement. "By virtue of its decision not to send a team to compete against India, Australia has forfeited the tie.
"[B]ecause of the specific concerns of Tennis Australia, the ITF [had] asked its independent security consultants, the Olive Group, to make a site visit to Chennai to investigate both the situation on the ground and to assess the security arrangements put in place by AITA [All India Tennis Asociation]. Following the site visit, the Olive Group reported that it was satisfied that the tie could go ahead as planned. Tennis Australia received a copy of the Olive Group report... Following an appeal by Tennis Australia, the ITF Board of Directors voted to uphold the decision of the Davis Cup Committee, after having received complete documentation for review."
I'm not surprised at all by this. Maybe my worldview is more jaded than others but as soon as the first appeal was filed I thought this could happen. The attack on the Sri Lankan cricket players, even though it took place in Pakistan, sent a chill through that part of the world. I totally understand where Australia is coming from but they backed themselves into a corner by raising the security issue. Once that was done their only option was to forfeit the tie.
Good luck to India in September's playoffs.
Roma Masters Draw
 NADAL, Rafael ESP vs BYE
SEPPI, Andreas ITA vs QUERREY, Sam USA
SODERLING, Robin SWE vs GRANOLLERS, Marcel ESP
QUALIFIER vs  BLAKE, James USA
 TSONGA, Jo-Wilfried FRA vs GASQUET, Richard FRA
ALMAGRO, Nicolas ESP vs GULBIS, Ernests LAT
FISH, Mardy USA vs ANDREEV, Igor RUS
BYE vs  VERDASCO, Fernando ESP
 MURRAY, Andy GBR vs BYE
KIEFER, Nicolas GER vs i]QUALIFIER[/i]
CHELA, Juan Ignacio ARG vs ROCHUS, Christophe BEL
[WC] CIPOLLA, Flavio ITA vs  CILIC, Marin CR
 GONZALEZ, Fernando CHI vs CHARDY, Jeremy FRA
TIPSAREVIC, Janko SRB vs ACASUSO, Jose ARG
BENNETEAU, Julien FRA vs MELZER, Jurgen AUT
BYE vs  DAVYDENKO, Nikolay RUS
 DEL POTRO, Juan Martin ARG vs BYE
HANESCU, Victor ROU vs TROICKI, Viktor SRB
QUALIFIER vs QUALIFIER
KUNITSYN, Igor RUS vs  WAWRINKA, Stanislas SUI
 ROBREDO, Tommy ESP vs SAFIN, Marat RUS
KOHLSCHREIBER, Philipp GER vs BOLELLI, Simone ITA
[WC] STARACE, Potito ITA vs MONTANES, Albert ESP
BYE vs  DJOKOVIC, Novak SRB
 SIMON, Gilles FRA vs BYE
[WC] FOGNINI, Fabio ITA vs [WC] VOLANDRI, Filippo ITA
QUALIFIER vs BERDYCH, Tomas CZE vs
MATHIEU, Paul-Henri FRA vs  FERRER, David ESP
 STEPANEK, Radek CZE vs SERRA, Florent FRA
QUALIFIER vs LOPEZ, Feliciano ESP
QUALIFIER vs KARLOVIC, Ivo CRO
BYE vs  FEDERER, Roger SUI
Qualifying play began today.
Fed Cup News
Both Anna Chakvetadze and Svetlana Kuznetsova were reportedly left hanging at the net by their celebrating Italian opponents Flavia Pennetta and Francesca Schiavone. DRAHMAH.
The Italians are up 2-0 over Russia.
Meanwhile Alexa Glatch of the United States bested Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic to give the United States an unexpected split of the first two singles rubbers.
You know it's the clay court season when...
The whining starts about the homogenization of surfaces. I remember a mere couple of years ago a player who was an all surface player was the ideal. Now it seems the all surface player is some kind of pariah and needs to be replaced.
As usual the whining centers around Wimbledon. The latest one comes from Victor Lamm of Tennis Week. Here's a sample.
Tennis is a unique game in many ways. It can be played indoor or outdoors; a match can span less than an hour or more than five hours; players can actually lose more points than they win yet still win the match.
One of tennis' top distinctions is that it remains one of the only significant sports played on different surfaces, which encourages diverse games styles. Or so it did.
Grass courts used to yield notoriously fast and low bounces that destabilized even the most potent baseline games.
Players couldn’t hang from the baseline for long and even the most defensive players had to serve and volley in order to stand a chance.
In the aftermath of Pete Sampras' victory over Goran Ivanisevic in a battle of big servers in the Wimbledon final, outcry grew for longer rallies on grass.
The All England Club's grass has become slower every year — as if it were a 55-year-old weekend hacker suffering from herniated discs in his back and blisters on his feet — and hard courts are getting so slow that the ball gets fluffy after a few games.
"What's disappointing about Wimbledon is how much I really don't enjoy playing on grass now because it's changed so much," said four-time Wimbledon semifinalist Tim Henman, prior to his last appearance at the grass-court Grand Slam. "The grass court has changed massively. They're so much harder and so true, the ball bounces up a lot higher. Here if you're hitting a good shot, you feel like it goes through the court. I think a combination with the grass changing to 100 percent Rye and the balls...it's so soft... the ball almost stops and sits up."
But the deeper byproduct of all these surface changes is that Grand Slam surfaces have become more consistent — and less varied — in terms of speed and bounce.
Consider that in the last 30 years 16 different men have won Roland Garros and of those 16 champions, nine never won another Grand Slam title in their career. In that same span, 14 different men have won Wimbledon and 10 of those 14 won other major titles. But only three of those Wimbledon winners — Borg, Nadal and Agassi — also reigned at Roland Garros.
YAWNNNNNNNNNN! Mr. Lamm also misses the days of hard court specialists, clay court specialists and grass court specialists. They're still around. It's just that their distribution can't be made by nationality anymore. It's kind of like The Slob assuming that because Fernando Gonzalez and Juan Martin Del Potro are from South America they're automatically clay court specialists. Gonzalez plays well on clay but he and his game are more at home on a hard court. Hard court specialists? Let's see. There's Andy Roddick, who may not play at all during the clay court season, James Blake and Mardy Fish. I give Sam Querrey and both Bob and Mike Bryan credit for playing the European clay court season. Roddick, who is playing well right now, just pulled out of Rome. Unless he plays one of the ATP 250 events leading up to Roland Garros he's skipping almost the entire season. He'll probably show up at Roland Garros since it's a Slam.
So what is it the whiners want? Do they think that certain players are not "temperamentally fit" to compete and win on certain surfaces? Should we go back to wooden racquets and ignore the effect technology has had on the sport?
I'm sure many of you saw the above picture of Rafael Nadal and Manolo Santana. Mr. Santana was donating the racquet he won Wimbledon with to Rafael's foundation. My first thought was why is Manolo giving Rafa a squash racquet?
People can talk all about the changes in the various surfaces the sport is played on but if you ignore the evolution of the racquet you're just making noise with no substance. I remember that match between Pete Sampras and Goran Ivanesivic. It was boring as hell. Is that what purists want a return to? I think not.