Monday, November 30, 2009
I was amazed at his consistency, particularly in the Federer match, he just kept going for shot after shot, I was thinking "he'll start missing those soon", but he didn't. All credit to him.
However, I also have to say, I think it's true that Federer is no longer the player he used to be. He shows glimpses of his genius, but all too often these days he looks flat. He looked flat in both the Wimbledon and US Open finals- it's a credit to his all-round credentials that these matches went to five sets. Then he plays a match like he did against Murray- in the 3rd set he looked awesome. In the match against Davy there was a moment when I thought he was going to turn the match around- remember the overhead smash he managed to hit a winner from? That was a piece of magic, but the old Federer would have finished the job.
I'm not saying he's washed up or anything, just that he's no longer the force he was (also losing the aura of invincibility). I suppose you can't stay at the top forever, but it's sad to witness this type of decline, I had to watch it happen to Stephen Hendry in the snooker, and it looks as though the same could happen here, with Del Potro, Djokovic, Murray et al taking the mantle. Time will tell.
Kim, 21, has moved out of the £5million mansion they shared in Surrey and returned home to her parents.
Her face became familiar to millions of tennis fans worldwide, especially at Wimbledon, where TV cameras picked up the emotion written on her face as she cheered him from the stands.Love lost: Friends suggest cracks began to show about the time that Kim accompanied Andy to the US Open Championships in New York in September
A friend said: ‘No one else is involved. Both Andy and Kim are saddened that the relationship is over, but they mutually felt it was time for them to part. 'They are both very young, and it is not unusual for young people to split up.’Friends suggest cracks began to show about the time that Kim accompanied Murray to the US Open Championships in New York in September.Murray’s friend said of their subsequent split: ‘There were no blazing rows, or anything like that. Kim left Andy’s house under amicable circumstances. They are still in contact with one another and remain good friends.While Murray's mother Judy watched him play in London last week, Kim was absent
‘After all, Kim has been an extremely important part of Andy’s life, and they always spent as much time together as they could.’Last week Murray, a 22-year-old multi-millionaire ranked No.4 in the world, played his first major tournament – the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London – without Kim present to support him.
Murray, who shared top billing with world No.1 Roger Federer, was watched by his mother, Judy, and ‘Team Murray’ – his coaches, trainers and physiotherapist. But Kim was at her parents’ home in West Sussex.
Murray was surprisingly eliminated in the round-robin stage – and yesterday he was unwilling to comment on the sadness in his private life. ‘Both Andy and Kim are very private people,’ said his friend.Yet only this summer Murray emphasised that he placed family and friends above his career. Having seen his own parents, Judy and Will, divorce when he was a teenager, Murray stressed: ‘I work better in a relationship.
‘At the end of the day, especially if I’ve lost a match, I don’t like talking about tennis, so it’s nice to have someone to talk to about other stuff. ‘As I have got older, having gone through my parents’ divorce, it has become important to me to work hard at having a successful relationship. I found the divorce difficult.
'Tennis is important to me, but it’s not the most important thing. My family and friends are more important. The job obviously matters, but what goes on off the court is bigger.’Andy Murray crashed out of the ATP World Tour Finals this week without Kim there to support him .Kim, who is studying English at Brighton University, was Murray’s first serious girlfriend.
Her father Nigel is head of women’s tennis in Britain and has been involved in the game all his life, so Kim appreciated the demands the profession placed on Murray.
Unlike other WAGs, she refused to become famous for simply being the girlfriend of a sports star.
‘It’s not about me, it’s about Andy,’ she said, whenever asked to discuss their relationship. She happily melted into the shadows – something Murray liked.
Yet Kim was credited with having played a significant role in improving Murray’s image and appearance over the past 18 months. She encouraged him to abandon his shaggy-dog look in favour of a sharp, modern haircut.
She willingly did Murray’s laundry, and when he chose to move from his penthouse in Wandsworth to his Surrey mansion in the week before Wimbledon, she loyally helped transport his belongings so his preparation was not disturbed.
During Wimbledon, where Murray reached the semi-finals before losing to American Andy Roddick, she shared his new house with him and his mother. ‘Kim has been a great support,’ said Judy. ‘She even helped with his laundry. The best thing she did was cut his hair – he needed it.’
Murray, winner of six tournaments this year, is widely predicted to become the first British man to win a Grand Slam championship since Fred Perry over 70 years ago. In the next week, he will fly to Miami to train for the Australian Open in mid-January. He is not returning home for Christmas, opting to travel straight to Perth to take part in an exhibition tournament in the New Year.
Yesterday Kim’s mother confirmed that her daughter had split from Murray.
Asked if it was true, Leonore Sears said at the family home in Barcombe, near Lewes, West Sussex: ‘Yes, but I am not going to comment on it.’
Sunday, November 29, 2009
So yea DP cant become No.1 by the end of AO, but can he achieve that feat by the end of FO? where Fed is defending 2000 Pts compared to Del Potro's 720.
Interesting things ahead, nobody spoke about him till the USO win that he could be the no.1 by the year 2010, but now there you go its well within reach of DP.
But saying all that DP have to win today's match first and then AO, which is no easy task, but I guess and hope DP will do it.
The 21-year-old del Potro, who failed to advance past the round-robin stage on his debut at the season finale in Shanghai last year, is the first Argentine to reach the title match since David Nalbandian lifted the trophy in 2005 – recovering from a two-set deficit to edge Roger Federer.
"It was a very, very tough match," said del Potro. "It was so close. We played unbelievable points. We served well. The difference was just a couple of points in the tie-break in the third set."
“I think it's pretty obvious losing 7-6 in the third [set] in the semi-finals here, it's pretty disappointing,” said Soderling. “It was a very tough match. Maybe I could have played a little bit better in the important moments and taken advantage of my chances. But overall, not much I could do. I don't think I did anything wrong at the end of the match; he just played a little bit better than me.”
In the final, del Potro will face Russian Nikolay Davydenko, who earlier overturned a 0-12 record against Federer to reach the final for the second year in a row. Davydenko takes a 2-1 career lead into the clash, winning the pair’s most recent encounter in straight sets in the round-robin stage at last year’s season climax.
Friday, November 27, 2009
While Davydenko and Djokovic, who earlier beat Rafael Nadal, have both compiled 2-1 match records, Davydenko has the edge over the Serbian on sets won. Davydenko has a 5-3 win-loss record in sets, while Djokovic has won one set less with a 4-3 mark. Sweden’s Soderling tops the group with a 2-1 match record and a 5-2 mark in sets won and lost.
Davydenko will now take on Group A winner Roger Federer in the first semi-final, as he bids to reach the final for the second year in a row, while Soderling faces US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro on Saturday evening.
Davydenko is yet to beat 2009 ATP World Tour Champion Federer in 12 meetings with the Swiss, but believes he can overturn that tomorrow. “Each of the 12 times I played him I came in believing I could win,” said Davydenko. “It's not like I was coming into the match and already saying I'm losing.
“But I know Federer is older, I'm also older. Maybe I am starting to play better and Federer not so good. We'll see. I played great in all three matches [this week]. I would like to play the same way as I did today, and I hope I can run well tomorrow, fast, and not make any mistakes.”
In spite of all this evidence to the contrary, I am surprised to see how many people, particularly on this board, are quick to write Rafa's tennis obituary, with the vast majority almost gleeful in tone, at his perceived demise.
Whilst I am not a massive Nadal fan, I just can't get my head around why people would act this way. He has been nothing but gracious and charming all week, in spite of his poor performances, and really deserves a lot more respect for his achievements than he is getting right now.
He's like some kind of hybrid creation. A Karlovic like serve with powerful groundies like Gonzalez and courtspeed to rival Nadal at his best. This is a rare combination and seems impossible to stop. Even for the master Federer who seems to get brutalized by the power of Del Potro's game. Watching them play you almost feel sorry for Federer who seems like a helpless bystander in the wake of Del Potro's huge game. The Argentine's only recent losses before the ATP finals had been to lowly opponents which hinted at a possible dip in motivation.
Mentally he is superior to anyone in the top ten with the possible exception of Nadal. (Who could forget the way he came from a double break down in the 3rd set to down Nadal earlier in the year?)
A fit and firing Del Potro which we are now seeing at last at the Masters Finals could be a bit like Pamela: more than a handful for any man.
Yes, the writing's on the wall: you are looking at the next world number one. The only question is how soon?
Friday, November 20, 2009
Del Potro, who stands 6’7” tall, will attempt to follow in the footsteps of John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Boris Becker, Pete Sampras, Lleyton Hewitt and Rafael Nadal, who have all completed the grass-court double - winning titles at The Queen’s Club and at Wimbledon in the same year.
"I am very happy that I will play at the AEGON Championships at the Queen's Club,” said Del Potro.
“I am determined to do well on grass in my career and this is the perfect opportunity for me to improve my game on the surface. The AEGON Championships is a big tournament, and many players have done well at Queen's in the past and then gone on to win at Wimbledon. I hope that this can happen for me also."
Tournament Director Chris Kermode was delighted to have secured Del Potro’s commitment to the tournament until 2012.
He said: “This is fantastic news for the AEGON Championships and British tennis fans. Juan Martin is one of the best and most exciting young tennis players in the world. He creates a buzz just by walking out on the court and he has an explosive game to match.”
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
With Soderling’s elevation, Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga becomes the tournament’s first-alternate.
Soderling, who will be the first Swede to play at the season finale since Thomas Johansson in 2002, this year finished in Top 10 of the South African Airways ATP Rankings for first time, highlighted by reaching his first Grand Slam final at Roland Garros and capturing his first ATP World Tour title on clay, on home soil in Bastad. He won nine matches in his first 10 tournaments through mid-May but then turned things around by compiling a 35-9 match record over the remainder of the season, which included runs to the Roland Garros final, Wimbledon fourth round and the US Open quarter-finals (losing to Roger Federer each time).
Group B in the end-of-season showpiece event features former wold number one Rafael Nadal, recent Paris Masters champion Novak Djokovic, Nikolay Davydenko and late-entrant Robin Soderling.
Soderling had failed to qualify for the eight-man event but was brought in following the withdrawal of Wimbledon finalist Andy Roddick, who has not played since injuring his left knee in Shanghai last month.
Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is now on standby in case of any other withdrawals.
The top two players in each of the round robin groups advance to the semi-finals of the tournament, which starts Sunday at London's O2 Arena. The final is on November 29.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Tommy Robredo served for the match at 5-4 in the deciding set against his fellow Spaniard, but World No. 2 Nadal hit back to prevail 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 in two hours and 20 minutes Thursday at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament.
"The better new is I didn't play my best but I played much better than yesterday," said Nadal. "I felt the ball much better than yesterday. For moments, I felt I have the control of the ball. I have the chance to play big rallies without having mistakes. So that's very important for me."
Following the top-ranked Roger Federer’s shock exit to Julien Benneteau on Wednesday, Nadal could significantly close the gap on his rival at the top of the South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings – setting the stage for a dramatic showdown at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and the battle to be crowned 2009 ATP World Tour Champion.
Coming into the BNP Paribas Masters, World No. 1 Federer led his rival by 1,495 points in the South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings, but could see his lead cut to a mere 305 points should Nadal capture his sixth tour-level title of the season this week. An undefeated champion at the eight-player season finale, which begins 22 November in London, would gain 1,500 rankings points.
The 23-year-old Nadal is bidding to win his 16th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophy, the same amount as Federer and just one less than all-time leader Andre Agassi. On his debut appearance in Paris (Bercy) two years ago, he advanced to the final where he lost to David Nalbandian. The Mallorcan is also chasing his 400th tour-level match win and currently stands on a 398-87 mark.
Nadal takes a 3-1 career lead into his quarter-final clash with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who earlier defeated French compatriot Gilles Simon in straight sets. In their most recent clash at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in February, Nadal prevailed in three close sets.
"He's playing really well," Nadal said of the Frenchman. "Sure, he's playing at home in good conditions for him - indoor, fast court, France - so probably he's gonna be the favourite tomorrow. But that's the tennis. I'm gonna try to play better, to play my match."
World No. 4 Andy Murray was less fortunate as No. 14-ranked Radek Stepanek recovered from a disastrous start to defeat the fourth seed 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.
In a 23-minute first set, Murray broke serve twice as he raced out to a 5-0 score line and swiftly wrapped up a one-set lead. Stepanek was quick to respond though, attacking Murray at every opportunity and reaping the rewards with a service break in the second game of the second set.
The Czech took the initiative early in the deciding set, breaking to lead 2-0 and again later for a 5-2 advantage. Murray was able to recoup one of the breaks as Stepanek faltered in the eighth game, but the Karvina native made no such mistake at the second time of asking and served out victory after 97 minutes.
It was Stepanek’s first victory in four meetings with Murray, and puts the right-hander into his eighth ATP World Tour quarter-final of the season. The 30 year old, who will represent his country in the Davis Cup final against Spain next month, titled at the Brisbane International (d. Verdasco) and the SAP Open (d. Fish) in San Jose at the start of the year.
The 22-year-old Murray was coming off his 14th ATP World Tour title at last week’s Valencia Open 500 (d. Youzhny), following a six-week absence from the tour with a wrist injury. The Scot will now have nine days to prepare himself for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, the elite eight-man season finale to be played at The O2 in London.
"Obviously to win a tournament after that long out was great," said Murray, reflecting on his win in Valencia. "I wanted to try and play as many matches as possible. I would have signed up for playing seven matches and winning six of them before these couple of tournaments, and it was kind of just what I needed before London. I get nine days' rest to get rid of all the niggles and stiffness. I'll be feeling good going in there, I'm sure; a lot better than I would have been if I had gone out early both weeks."
I was surprised at the way he struggled yesterday and had Almagro had a bit more composure, he would also have lost comprehensively again. So I checked the stats and the last time Nadal won a top 10 player was against Djoko in Madrid (tough match that was too).
London in 10 days time will certainly give us a better idea to where he stands amongst the top 8
Soderling avenged last month’s Proton Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur 2009 semi-final defeat against Davydenko with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 win in the pair’s fourth meeting this year. Despite hitting 11 aces and saving eight of 10 break points, Davydenko must now wait on other players results at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament if he is to qualify for the elite eight-man event at The O2 in London.
Soderling will next challenge either French wild card Arnaud Clement or ATP World Tour 2009 match-wins leader Novak Djokovic, the No. 3 seed from Serbia, in the quarter-finals.
The 25-year-old Soderling, who finished runner-up to Roger Federer at Roland Garros in June, improved to a 47-18 match record on the season. He added 90 South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings points for 3,010 points overall and remains 290 points behind No. 8-ranked Spaniard Fernando Verdasco. Davydenko, a winner of four ATP World Tour titles this year, is currently No. 7 in the year-to-date rankings with 3,630 points.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Fernando Verdasco, acclaimed for their speed around the court, admitted to feeling a little nervous themselves as they played a modified exhibition match while hurtling around Shanghai in one of the world's fastest commercial high-speed trains.
Billed as the "fastest tennis in the world," seventh-ranked Tsonga of France took on ninth-ranked Spaniard Verdasco on a mini-tennis court laid down in one of Shanghai's high-speed Maglev trains on Tuesday as it reached a cruising speed of 431 kph (268 mph) during the seven-minutes and 20-seconds it took to make the 30-kilometer (18.6-mile) trip from Longyard Rail Road station in Pudong to Pudong International Airport.
"The feeling is special because we are going faster than our serve and it's crazy," said Tsonga, who along with Verdasco is in Shanghai for the Shanghai ATP Masters 1000. "You are a little bit nervous when it's really fast."
While Verdasco enjoyed the train ride, he wasn't so sure about the standard of tennis on board.
"For the first time in tennis, nobody won," Verdasco joked. "For me, it was the first time to be (traveling in a train) over 400 (kph). If we don't crash I'm not afraid."
At the Shanghai Masters, Verdasco and Tsonga are vying to qualify for a berth at the year-end ATP World Tour Finals starting November 22 in London.
Verdasco, who reached the Australian Open semifinals in January, is currently in seventh place on the list of potential candidates to take the final three spots in the exclusive eight-man tournament.
Tsonga, who helped his cause last week when he won the Japan Open, is sitting in 10th place on the list.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
ATP World Tour No. 1 and former champion Roger Federer has confirmed he will return to compete at the Estoril Open, an ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tournament, from 1-9 May 2010.
The Swiss superstar snapped a five-month title drought by winning his 54th career ATP World Tour trophy at the Estoril Open (d. Davydenko) in May 2008, when a record 53,888 spectators visited the Estadio Nacional.
Federer is the all-time Grand Slam title-leader, having broken Pete Sampras’ record of 14 triumphs (1990-2002) at The Championships, Wimbledon, in July 2009.