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May 2, 2009

Kei Nishikori visits EA Sports studio

Recently, Kei Nishikori, the cover athlete for EA Sports Grand Slam Tennis (Japanese edition) visited the EA Sports studio in Orlando.
"I am really excited to featured in EA Sports Grand Slam Tennis," Kei said.

"I enjoy representing Japan on the court and the fact that I am now included along with both current and past players in the game is really great."

"The Grand Slams are tournaments that every tennis professional wants to win and now through the game everyone will be able to put themselves on the court and experience the excitement and joy of playing as a pro."
Kei tried his hand on the game.

He chose to play his own character and played against Pete Sampras and Rafael Nadal.

The results?

Look at Kei's reaction here. He won without breaking a sweat!

Kei has the potential to beat those big guys in real tennis matches. But he has to recover completely from the current arm injury first.

Thanks to Olivier of IMG for the photos.

(Images by Carlos Navarro/EA SPORTS)

Apr 30, 2009

The Djoke continues...

After his 'infamous' HEAD viral video, Novak Djokovic continues to crack us up at the Rome Masters.

First it was the Djoker turned Mary Poppins on court during an exhibition match.

Then, Nole must have thought he had imitated so many tennis players like Maria Sharapova and Rafael Nadal in the past, he decided to imitate his new friend, Italian showman Fiorelli instead.

Nole was a special guest on Fiorelli show last weekend.

So what happened was, before his second round match against Albert Montanes, Nole came out to the court imitating Fiorello, wearing a wig and limping along.

Of course Montanes lost 6-7 (5-7), 0-6 because he was having a hard time staying focus on court with Nole around.



Guess what, he even wear that freaking wig when meeting the kids during an off-court event!

He didn't scare off any of the kids, I hope.



(Images via menstennisforums)

Apr 29, 2009

Michael Chang, John McEnroe to lead star-studded line-up in Chengdu

From November 5 to 8, 2009, eight tennis legends will assemble at the Sichuan International Tennis Center for the Chengdu Open, Asia's only event on the 12-leg ATP Champions Tour circuit.
“Chengdu is part of an elite group of cities to host an ATP Champions Tour event and I am thrilled to say that the first five players we are announcing today are John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg, Michael Chang, Mats Wilander and Marcelo Rios,” Tournament Director Nick Freyer said.
The other three players will be announced soon.

The eight players will be divided into two groups for round-robin play, the top two players from the groups will meet in the final while the runners-up from each group will play-off for third and fourth place.
According to McEnroe, "I am extremely excited to be making my first trip to China in a very long time; this is a country that is fast becoming a major player in world tennis."

"I know that Chengdu and Sichuan Province is already famous as the home to the giant panda."

"It is a great honor for the city to host an ATP Champions Tour event. I understand the field of players is very strong and I am of course happy that my good friend Bjorn Borg will be returning to China. We always have such great matches; which are part of tennis history."
Bjorn Borg meanwhile is returning to China more than 30 years after he first played here.
"I am delighted to be returning to China, this time to the vibrant city of Chengdu, home of the famous giant panda and I really look forward to playing in the Chengdu Open," Borg said.

"It will be all the more special as my good friend John McEnroe will be joining us together with so many other Grand Slam champions."

"I look forward to playing well but also to enjoying the city and the company of the other Champions. Thank you for your vision in making this tournament possible and see you in November."
Of all the players, I believe Michael Chang will get the most attention here when they play in November.
"With the boom in tennis in China, I am happy that Chengdu has taken the bold step to host this tournament which will allow me to return to China to play official ATP tennis once more," the Taiwanese said.

"China has always held a special place in my heart."

"Since I retired from the ATP Tour, China has won medals in tennis at the Olympic Games, won titles at Wimbledon and the Australian Open and now hosts major ATP and WTA events in Beijing and Shanghai, so by hosting one of the 12 ATP Champions Tour tournaments, China now plays host to the full suite of professional tennis events."

"Although the field of players will be exceptionally strong, I will be ready to play my best and really look forward to a successful, enjoyable and high profile tournament in Chengdu."
In addition to the tennis action, the Chengdu Open will also stage clinics with many of the tournament stars to develop grassroots tennis.

The tournament is being co-organized by Chengdu Sports Bureau, Chengdu Sports Industry Co. Ltd and CCTV IMG Sports Management Company.

The tickets are not available for sale yet. But I'll keep you guys informed.

Thanks to Nick of IMG for the press release.

(Via chengduchampions.com)


Guillermo Coria retires; HCFoo is heartbroken...

After considering stepping down from tennis for months, Guillermo Coria announced his retirement from the professional tennis circuit at age 27 today.
“I didn’t feel like competing anymore,” Coria said in statements published on the Argentine Tennis Association’s website.

“I’ve made the decision I will not play again.”


“In 2005 I began to feel less and less like competing,” he said.

“My passion just wasn’t the same and it’s impossible to do things well when it’s like that. In this sport, you have to be at 100 percent,” added Coria, who is currently ranked 672.


“I’m very happy with the decision I’ve taken, since I have new projects and I will be able to spend more time with my family,” Coria said.
I'm not sure about you but it's heartbreaking for me to see him chosen this time of the year, during the Rome Masters tournament to announce his retirement.

I remembered so well the year 2005, when Coria gave such a remarkable and memorable performance at the Rome Masters final against Rafael Nadal. I sat through the entire match for an incredible 5 hours and 14 minutes! Nadal won the match 6–4, 3–6, 6–3, 4–6, 7–6(6) in the end.

Coria is also a finalist for Roland Garros in 2004 and formerly ranked third in the world.

Now leave you guys with my favourite match ever.



(Via AP)

Hooking up Rendy Lu Yen-Hsun with AirAsia

When AirAsia first announced its plan to fly to Tashkent in 2009, the first thing that came into mind was to get Asia's no.1 player Rendy Lu Yen-Hsun sponsored by the budget airline.

Esther, my regular contributor/PR woman, and I had this crazy idea: to ask AirAsia's CEO Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes for sponsorship.

Our reasons are quite simple.

The Taiwanese player is the only Asian player in the ATP top 100 (now ranked at no. 62) and he had won the Tashkent Challenger tournament last year. With more sponsorship, Rendy is able to go further up the ranking and improve in his tennis career.

And most importantly, Mr Fernandes himself loves tennis. He even involved in the CEO-Celebrity Tennis tournament last year.

So, Esther and I got the nod from Rendy's manager/brother to approach Tony and we even drafted a proposal seeking potential partnership between AirAsia and Rendy Lu.

Then surprisingly, another opportunity came by recently when AirAsia announced that they will launch its inaugural flight between Taipei and Kuala Lumpur on July 1.

We're hoping that Rendy will be chosen as an ambassador for AirAsia in Taiwan just like what he did for the recent Rafael Nadal's Lanvin perfume launch.

Tony has replied to our email saying that he will look into our proposal which has already arrived a couple of days ago via courier from Taiwan.

Hopefully we'll get some good news after this.

Chinese language ATP website launched

According to the statistics by China Tennis Association (CTA), the number of people playing tennis in China has risen to 8.12 million since '04.

To capitalise on the growing number of tennis fans in China, and the fact that China has the largest and fastest growing number of internet users in the world, ATP launched its Chinese language web site yesterday.

CEO of the ATP International Group, Brad Drewett believed there is no other perfect time than now to launch the all new Chinese language ATP World Tour website www.ATPWorldTour.com.cn and reach out to wider audience.

Personally, I don't really like the font type and font colour used in the website. Too painful for my eyes. I still prefer to get my dose of tennis info from Sina.

(Via ATP website)

Apr 28, 2009

Kei Nishikori heads back to court; finally gets to swing his racquet

Kei Nishikori is finally back on court training, with a racquet in his hands.

Looks like the Japanese tennis star is practising on red clay court preparing himself for the clay court season.

If everything goes well, he could start playing in Belgrade!

There is another great news about Kei.

He is featured on the cover of the Japanese version of EA Sports Grand Slam Tennis alongside John McEnroe and Rafael Nadal!

(Images via nickstennispicks.com, keinishikori.com)

Rome Masters: Man of the moment

Rafael Nadal arrived in Rome fresh from winning his fifth straight Barcelona Open title.

There closeup photos were taken at the press conference during day one of the Foro Italico Tennis Masters.

Everyone will be asking the same question, will he dominate here too?


(Images by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Apr 27, 2009

David Nalbandian's hips don't lie

David Nalbandian may need to go under the knife to treat his injured right hip, which according to his new coach Luis Lobo said has been a issue for the past 8 months!

Earlier last week, he withdrew from the Barcelona Open, complaining of hip pain.

His physician in Europe, Angel Cotorro, told the Argentine newspaper Clarin that Nalbandian would receive three or four days of treatment including physical therapy and medication before a decision is made on surgery.

However, questions has been raised in tennis forum as to why this injury has never been been reported or discussed before.

If Nalbandian has been suffering from the hip injury like 8 months ago, when exactly was that and during which tournament?

Now he could miss Argentina’s Davis Cup quarterfinal against the Czech Republic scheduled this July.

Hopefully he'll spend lots of time in rehabilitation and recover in time for the season ending hard court tournaments.

(Image via menstennisforums.com)

Remembering Federico Luzzi...

Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray led an all-star cast of ATP World Tour players who played exhibition matches at the Rome Masters on last weekend to raise funds for FedeLux.

Fedelux is a leukemia foundation established in the memory of former player Federico Luzzi, who died of the disease last year aged 28 last year.


Tommy Robredo, Marat Safin, Potito Starace, Andreas Seppi, Simone Bolelli and Filippo Volandri also took part in the exhibition, which was attended by Luzzi’s parents Maurizio and Paola.

Most of the players wore shirts with an image of Luzzi.
Federer said, “It was a nice match for me to play, knowing that Federico is up above watching us, having his parents here.”
Djokovic said, “We played in his honour and for the foundation that his family has created to fight against leukemia. It was very emotional for all of us who knew him. He was a very positive guy and I always remember him with a smile on his face.”
(Via ATP, Images via Forty Deuce)

Rafael Nadal takes 5th consecutive Barcelona Open

Last week, Rafael Nadal won his fifth straight Monte Carlo Masters and just yesterday he won his fifth straight Barcelona Open title, beating fellow Spaniard David Ferrer 6-2, 7-5.

I believe all Nadal's fans around the world is eager to see him win at Rome Masters, which starts today, as well as the prestigious French Open at the end of May.

Now the four-time defending French Open champion goes into the Rome Masters on a 25-match unbeaten run with only three defeats in his last 133 matches on clay.

(Images Josep Lago/AFP/Getty Images)


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