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Jun 6, 2009

Dinara Safina needs a Grand Slam title to justify no.1 rank

Dinara Safina, who is scheduled to meet fellow compatriot Svetlana Kuznetsova at the French Open final, has barely done justice to herself in her two previous appearances in a Grand Slam final.

The world no.1 was defeated by Ana Ivanovic here last year and was crushed in less than an hour by Serena Williams at this year's Australian Open.


Kuznetsova, who won the 2004 US Open, last beat Safina in the current clay-court season, winning the final in Stuttgart.

However,
Safina has won eight of their 13 meetings, including five of the last six.
''She's no.1,'' Kuznetsova said.

''She has to win it, not me. I just want to go out there and enjoy it.''
The two players, both 23, have been friends and rivals since they were juniors.
''She was a funny girl,'' Safina recalled.

''I remember her coming to the match with a two-litre Pepsi. You would look at her and think: 'No way can she win a Grand Slam one day'."

"But then she moved to Spain and changed completely. She became much more professional.''
(Via ESPN; Image via BBC Sport/AP)

Roger Federer on the verge of becoming the GOAT

Can he become the greatest player in the Open era?

Roger Federer stayed on course for a first French Open title, and a 14th Grand Slam trophy, with a thrilling recovery to beat Juan Martin Del Potro 3-6, 7-6 (2), 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 in the semifinals.

JMDP was frustrated with the outcome but he also told Roger, "Everybody wants you to lift the trophy.”

Roger will now face Roland Garros sensation Robin Soderling in Sunday's final.

Victory there will take Federer level with Pete Sampras's mark of 14 majors and make him only the sixth man to complete a career Grand Slam.

Federer will go into his fourth Roland Garros final with an advantage of 9-0 career record over Soderling.

Soderling is aiming for a Swede success.

Soderling, the shock conqueror of four-time champion Rafael Nadal, also needed five sets to reach his maiden Grand Slam final with a 6-3, 7-5, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 victory over Fernando Gonzalez.

Gonzalez was down and out of the French Open.

Federer however will not underestimate Soderling in the final.
"Soderling deserves to be there because he also beat Nadal and he was the man to beat in this tournament."
(Images via Yahoo! Sports)

Jun 5, 2009

Bob Bryan finds new joy with new partner Liezel Huber

Liezel Huber and Bob Bryan beat Vania King and Marcelo Melo 5-7, 7-6 (5), 10-7 to win the French Open mixed doubles championship.

Look at Huber's face. Haha... she doesn't look so comfortable in the beginning...

The title is Bryan’s second consecutive in mixed doubles at the French Open and his sixth Grand Slam mixed doubles title overall—each with a different partner.

“It’s gotten better and better each time,” he said.
But she began to feel comfortable and they started teasing each other...

... then she touched his face...

Bryan also has won seven men’s doubles major championships with twin brother Mike. They lost in the semifinals at Roland Garros earlier Thursday to Wesley Moodie of South Africa and Dick Norman of Belgium.

“This was a way for me to feel good, you know, to leave here with a win, leave here with a trophy, big title and a Grand Slam,” Bryan said.
... and as they walked, he put his arm on her shoulder...

... all's well ends well, and it ended with a kiss.

For Huber, it’s her first mixed doubles Grand Slam title. She has won four women’s doubles major championships.

“I’m so grateful for playing with Bob,” she said.

“I truly think we wouldn’t have won this title without him.”
(Via AP, Images by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Is Australian Open still on next year?

Oh, dear! The Australian Open is facing another blow when Qantas decided to join GE Money, Garnier and MasterCard who ended their sponsorship for the Happy Slam.

Even though the tournament is expected to announce several new partnership deals, the Qantas deal which was heavily linked to ticketing and travel-related arrangements than cash, was said to bring the total value of recently lost sponsorships to AU$10 million!

Tennis Australia declined to comment, and Qantas spokesman also reluctant to discuss whether the end of the sponsorship was related solely to the global economic crisis.


(Via theage.com.au)


Jun 4, 2009

I would love him to win but...

Who will play in the French Open final?

I'm kind of bored (not sick yet though) with all these talks about Roger Federer achieving a career Grand Slam, tying Pete Sampras all-time record of 14 major titles and being the people's choice.

"I feel it since a few years now, to be honest with you," Federer said.

"But this year even more extreme."

"When I walk on the streets or drive in the transportation or I go for dinner, everybody is like, 'This is your year. You've got to do it.' They're screaming from their scooters and out of the car. They even get out at the red lights and want me to sign an autograph or take a picture."

"It's quite incredible this last couple of weeks.
"
Alright maybe I'm saying that because I'm a Rafatard.

Or maybe I just want people to stop talking about it.

We all know very well that Federer has his best ever chance of winning the French Open, the only Grand Slam which is missing from his resume.

Hopefully Juan Martin del Potro will surprise us tomorrow, or at least put up a good fight against his idol.

In another semifinal, Fernando Gonzalez will face off with Robin Soderling,

I'm glad that Gonzalez is confident about his chance in the final.
He said, "This is a big moment in my career and I want to make the most of it. I want to think I'm a favourite because I feel fit to win my next match, and that is what I want to focus on."
(Image via BBC Sport/Getty Images)

Who wants to attend Nadal Tennis School?

Well done to Rafael Nadal for setting up a tennis school at the Anantapur Sports Village (ASV) in the southern Andhra Pradesh town.

This announcement was made recently by his mother Ana Maria Parera, who is the President of the Fundacion Rafa Nadal.
"We don’t want mega projects, but to keep our feet on the ground and do our bit,” she said of the venture, work on which will begin in September.
Nadal Tennis School is a collaboration with Fundacion Vincente Ferrer (FVF), the Spanish arm of the Rural Development Trust (RDT), an Anantapur-based NGO.

Four international class clay courts are to come up by New Year day while the academy is expected to become functional by June next year.
"There have been 135 registrations so far for admission to the academy, which will be restricted to children above eight years” said Moncho Ferrer, Associate Programme Director of RDT.

"The facility will host District, State and National-level tournaments."

"Training will be year-long as also monitoring of the progress by the academy’s inmates," he added.
The magnificent Mallorcan’s well-known fondness for children prompted him to embark on this project, Ana Maria Parera said.

Equal emphasis will be laid on education in the scheme, which it is hoped, will become residential over time.
“It is easier to teach a child through sport than without it, because children are real sponges and learn faster when having fun,” she reasoned.
(Via hindu.com)

Jun 3, 2009

Tennis chicks in bikinis: Cibulkova, Azarenka, Bondarenko, Chakvetadze in FHM mag

I totally missed this one out until I read it at GTT.

Perhaps in conjunction with the French Open, Dominika Cibulkova,
Victoria Azarenka, Alona Bondarenko, and Anna Chakvetadze agreed to pose in June's French edition of FHM, one of men's best lifestyle magazine.

I'm telling you, I totally dig Cibulkova here!


(Via gototennisblog)

Happy Birthday Rafa!

It's Rafael Nadal's birthday today!

And for the first time in so many years, Nadal has the pleasure to celebrate his birthday away from work, from Roland Garros.

There's no better video to celebrate the 23rd birthday of the great champion than this one posted on his official website.



Dominika Cibulkova dominates Maria Sharapova to reach French semis

Playing in her first quarterfinal match after a layoff of nearly 10 months, Maria Sharapova struggled through the entire match trying to win a game.

Slovakian
Dominika Cibulkova dominated Sharapova to win 6-0, 6-2 and grabbed a spot in the semifinal against top-ranked Dinara Safina, who rallied to beat Victoria Azarenka 1-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Just like Juan Martin del Potro, Cibulkova was also featured on Rolandgarros.com.

I'm reposting the Q&A here:

When did you last crack up laughing?
After the match point against Agnes Szavay (6-2 6-4). I felt like laughing and crying at the same time. It was probably just nerves.

Tell us a good film you’ve seen recently.
Benjamin Button with Brad Pitt.

Which actress would you choose to play you on screen?
Scarlett Johansson.

Who is your sporting idol?
Lance Armstrong.

What’s your favourite sport outside tennis?
Skiing and waterskiing.

What’s your favourite thing for breakfast?
Slovakian sausages. Unfortunately I have to make myself eat healthier things, like muesli.

What’s your least favourite training exercise?
Talking tactics. It drives me mad!

Which part of your game would you like to improve?
My nerves at important points. I’d like to be more relaxed and calm when finishing off matches.

What’s your favourite website?
Facebook, to keep in touch with my friends.

What’s the last thing you do before going to sleep?
I send some text messages to my friends.

What puts you in a bad mood?
Negative people.

Do you have any diva-like demands?
No, I’ve never acted like a diva. I’m too grounded for that.

What do you have on your iPod?
Kanye West and a lot of hip hop music.

What’s your favourite song right now?
Let it Rock by Kevin Rudolf and Lil Wayne.

Who’s your ideal mixed doubles partner?
Gael Monfils because I really enjoyed playing with him in last year’s Roland Garros. But my most memorable mixed doubles experience was with Dominik Hrbatý when we won the Hopman Cup for Slovakia.

What’s the worst thing that could happen to you before a match?
That I leave my rackets at the hotel or get some bad news about my family.

When was your first kiss?
I must have been 14 and it was at a tennis tournament in Slovakia. I can’t remember his name though.

Oh yes, we know Cibulkova loves Facebook.

But I don't think she will accept fans request into her personal Facebook account anymore after these photos last year.

(Via rolandgarros.com)

Jun 2, 2009

Juan Martin del Potro: Getting to know the future no.1

Many people thought it's too much for me to label Juan Martin del Potro as the future world no.1.

But why not?

Perhaps del Potro is the most underrated world no.5 player in the world.

There are so much quietness, calmness and most importantly consistency in this 20-year-old Argentine which I don't see in other players, not even Andy Murray.

So when Rolandgarros.com posted a Q&A on him, I just want to repost it back here.

I think we should get to know more about del Potro, whom I thought look like Star Trek/Heroes star Zachary Quinto.


So here you go:

What’s your favourite website?
Hotmail.

Which part of your game would you like to improve?
I’d love to have Federer’s attacking game.

What’s the last thing you do before going to sleep?
I turn off my mobile phones.

What puts you in a bad mood in the morning?
Being woken up by people shouting.

What’s your favourite thing for breakfast?
Pastries, toast with jam and Nesquik.

Who’s your favourite comedy actor?
Jim Carrey and Guillermo Francella (an Argentinean comedian).

What would be a luxury for you?
Living in Tandil, surrounded by my friends and family.

What do you have on your iPod?
Maná, Shakira, U2 and Coldplay.

What’s your song favourite song right now?
“Mando una señal" by Maná.

Who’s your ideal mixed doubles partner?
Gabriela Sabatini.

What’s the worst thing that could happen to you before a match?
I can’t stand it when people touch my rackets.

Who was your first love?
My best female friend, when I was 16.

When did you last crack up laughing?
Yesterday, with my fitness coach.

When did you last get angry?
When River Plate equalised against Boca Juniors, in the last derby.

What’s your favourite film?
I really like series, such as Prison Break.

Which actor would you choose to play you on screen?
Brad Pitt.

Who’s the nicest guy on tour?
Zabaleta.

And the nastiest?
I can’t answer that – they’d kill me [laughs]!

What’s the best concert you’ve seen?
Maná and Madonna.

Who’s your sporting idol?
Michael Jordan.

What’s your favourite sport outside tennis?
Football.

What’s your least favourite training exercise?
Jogging.

Could someone please tell del Potro the existence of Gmail?

And by the way, here's a bonus picture of del Potro (via Forty Deuce). Now don't tell me you don't find him cute.


(Via rolandgarros.com)

Serena Williams thinks WTA is better & 'cattier'

"Clearly, women's tennis is better than men's tennis. There's no comparison. I mean, I'm on the tour. We have great personalities like Jelena (Jankovic) on the tour. I mean, it's way cattier, so it's way more exciting to watch."
~ Serena Williams defended women's tennis.

Earlier this week, Jankovic confessed that she paid more attention to men's tennis.
"To be honest, I'm watching only men's tennis on TV," Jankovic said earlier this week.

"I don't really watch too much women's."

"That's why many times when I play against them, you know, many times I don't know my opponent."

"I think men's tennis is much more advanced than women's, and if I can try to learn some things and try to add that to my game would be a good advantage."

Toni Nadal calls French crowd 'stupid' after shock defeat‎

"The Parisian crowd is pretty stupid. The French resent the success of a Spaniard... To celebrate others' defeats seems like a bad philosophy."
~ Toni Nadal

Uncle Toni criticized the attitude of the French crowds, which cheered heavily for Robin Soderling instead of his nephew, Rafael Nadal the four-time defending champion at the French Open.

I guess the French people never like Spaniards since what... Napoleon Bonaparte's time?

I don't think I want to dig deep to trace the history to find out why.

Anyway, despite that comment, Uncle Toni still remain a nice guy.


Live Chat with Anna Kournikova on Tuesday (June 2, 2009)

Former Russian tennis world doubles no.1 Anna Kournikova will be hosting a live chat with her fans on June 2, 2009 on her official website.

Anna will be available to answer your questions on tennis, the WTA Tour, the French Open, her life, her recent travels overseas, her charity work, and any other questions you might have.


To participate, simply log on to www.kournikova.com from 3pm EST on Tuesday afternoon.

Please take note that a link will be posted on the homepage of the Kournikova.com website an hour before the event commences.

Alternatively, you can click the "Chat Live" link as a registered member of Anna's Official Community on SportsMates.com.

Thanks to Richie for this piece of info!

Jun 1, 2009

2009 French Open: Monday mourning cheer up

Let's put French Open disappointments aside and cheer up a bit.

Rafael Nadal finally decided to let his hair down and head for early vacation.

Roger Federer, the man to watch at Roland Garros... and I don't mean his hairy chest.

Fernando Verdasco should know that losing and that face aren't sexy.

Age is catching up with Andy Murray... according to the top players' standard, he should have at least a Grand Slam by now.

Nicolas Almagro shows he can spit better than any footballers.

The French Open should be made indoor. Go tell the Australians.

Portable milking machine for hardcore tennis moms.

For more photos go to menstennisforums.com under the thread "Funny Photos".


Rafael Nadal: It's not a tragedy

Many Rafael Nadal fans watched in horror as their tennis star defeated by Robin Soderling in the fourth round today.

Nadal’s unbeaten run at the French Open is finally over.

The four-time defending champion lost to Soderling 6-2, 6-7 (2), 6-4, 7-6 (2), ending his record 31-match winning streak at Roland Garros.

In the post-match press conference, Nadal said, "He didn't surprise me, because I know how he play, how dangerous he can be."

"I didn't play my best tennis. I didn't attack in not one moment. I play very short, and I make him very easy to play at this level."

"So when one player [is] bad, must lose. That's what happened today. I have to accept with the same calm when I win than when I lose."

"This is not a tragedy, losing here in Paris. It had to happen one day, and this is an excellent season for me."

On the crowd rooting for Soderling: "It's a shame. I mean, this tournament is so important, such a beautiful tournament for me. Well, that's the way it is. Maybe at one stage they supported Soderling more than me, and that was a bit sad."

"But I wish when I'm back they can support me a bit more in key moments."


On who might win the tournament now: "I don't know. Davydenko or Verdasco is there. Del Potro I think is there. We will see. Federer is the favorite, in my opinion."
Here's the video of Nadal at the press conference. For the complete transcript, read it here.



As for Soderling, I'm not going to comment about his devilish crap here in my blog. And for god sake, I've removed his picture.

(Via tennis.com; Images by Reuters, Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images)

May 31, 2009

2009 French Open Week 1: It's Black Sunday!

It was a Black Sunday at Roland Garros!

First, defending women's champion Ana Ivanovic went down 6-2, 6-3 to Victoria Azarenka in the fourth round.

Not long after that, it was four-time defending champion Rafael Nadal turn, who was stunned 6-2, 6-7(2), 6-4, 7-6(2) by Robin Soderling.

Labelled as one of the major upsets in French Open history, this is Nadal's first loss ever at the French Open, and his first ever loss in a best-of-five match on clay.

I guess the only person who saw this coming is Elena Dementieva, who predicted the loss earlier.

Now the French Open will have a new men's champion this year.

The pressure is on Roger Federer... or perhaps he should breathe sigh of relief now that his two main competitors on this surface are gone.

Yesterday, Novak Djokovic, a semifinalist in the last two years, bowed out in the third round after losing to no. 29 Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.

Now I need to root for someone in order to keep my interest in this year's Grand Slam.

I hope Federer or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will win.

At least Federer will get his 14th Grand Slam or Tsonga will be the first Frenchman to win at Roland Garros since Yannick Noah since 1983.

For the women's singles, I think Dinara Safina has shown enough so far that she dominates the other ladies.

Unless Maria Sharapova managed to pull off miraculous wins to the final, I'm not so keen on the women's tennis as much as I like men's tennis.

Now I need to take some time off to mourn Nadal's defeat. See you guys tomorrow.

(Images via Yahoo! Sports)


Rafael Nadal believes Richard Gasquet is innocent

Rafael Nadal and Richard Gasquet in an exhibition match in Malaysia back in 2007

Rafael Nadal expresses support for Richard Gasquet, who is facing a possible two-year ban after testing positive for cocaine.
"He's not taking cocaine. I know him. He's a good friend of mine, and I discussed this with him last week," Nadal said.

"You know what the world is like today. When you go to a party, anything can happen these days."

" If you kiss a girl who's taken cocaine, anything can happen, and that's the truth."

"That's reality, and this can destroy your career, and this is most unfair."

Wedding bells for Sania Mirza

Ahh... finally I'm back after missing from the blogosphere for a few days.

There are lots of tennis news which I need to update.

So let's get started with Sania Mirza's engagement news.

The tennis star is now engaged to Sohrab Mirza, a Hyderabad-based businessman!

Sania's family has yet to confirmed an immediate wedding date.

The two love birds, although having the same surname, are not related but have known each other for several years.

The 23-year-old Sohrab is the son of Adil Mirza and Noora Begum, the owners of Universal Bakers chain in the city of Hyderabad.

The chain has been a popular fast-food site in the city for several years now. It offers mainly pizzas, burgers and black forest cakes.

The 22-year-old Sania became the first Indian woman to win a WTA tour title and break into the World’s top 50 in 2005.

But thereafter, she has been plagued by injuries and fluctuating form.


However, she fought her way back and was able to win the Australian Open mixed doubles title along with Mahesh Bhupathi earlier this year.

She's currently back in the top 100, now ranked at no.95.

Sania's
family confirmed that the marriage plans will not affect Sania’s tennis career and that she will continue to play in all major tournaments even after marriage.

(Via nhatky.in)


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