Andy Murray runs into Richard Gasquet roadblock on route to China
- The Times
Ultimately Gasquet, a year older, more experienced in the most pressurised of situations and urged on by more than 8,000 spectators, proved more adept to cope with the situation. Gasquet won 6-3, 0-6, 6-4 to set up a semi-final today against David Nalbandian, of Argentina, with only Marcos Baghdatis, of Cyprus, who plays Rafael Nadal, of Spain, in the other semi-final, able to stop him from reaching Shanghai.
“It’s quite disappointing when you win more games and more points and don’t win,” Murray said. “At that stage it was pretty much a one-set match to go to Shanghai. Both of us clearly wanted to win.”
Martina Hingis gambles by deciding to tackle drugs charge head on
- The Times
Unorthodox Murray getting the brat pack vote - Steve Bierley, The Guardian
While qualification for the £1.8m end-of-season Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai has been the focal point of this week's BNP Paribas Masters here, the underlying talk has been of who might break up the Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal duopoly next year. Clearly Serbia's Novak Djokovic, the current world No3, has made the season's biggest leap, having reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, together with the US Open final, yet there is little doubt that the player who excites almost everybody, critics and players alike, is Scotland's Andy Murray.
France's Richard Gasquet, this year's Wimbledon semi-finalist, and at 21 years old one of the leaders of the chasing brat pack, is unequivocal. "Andy is a player I love to watch. It seems he's always able to play the right shot at the right moment. You know, many of today's players know how to hit hard left and right, and have good volleys, but Andy knows how to do everything. He's a great player."
Scandals that soil tennis' garden party - Mark Hodgkinson,
No one is suggesting that the
garden party is over for tennis as a whole. But what is clear is that
tennis' prim and proper image is currently being squelched underfoot like a
...The Year of Scandal began with the riot at January's Australian Open,
when Croatian and Serbian supporters attacked their Balkan rivals with
flagpoles and chairs. It has been one thing after another this season. But
one senior tennis official suggested that, perversely, controversy is good
for the sport. "Perhaps I shouldn't be saying this, but the news of Hingis
testing positive for cocaine is the sort of story which could make tennis
more popular," he said. "I think a few people previously saw tennis as being
quite safe and a bit dull before."
Andy Murray beaten by Gasquet fightback
- Mark Hodgkinson, The Telegraph
Although there would have been an outside chance of Murray still playing in Shanghai as an alternate if two qualifiers had pulled out, he later disclosed that going as a reserve was not his style. It has been a spirited effort by Murray to have just missed out on the VIP event, given that he missed three months with a wrist tendon injury.
Brave Murray waves goodbye to Shanghai - Steve Bierley, The Guardian
"It was a one-set match to go to Shanghai," said Murray. "Next year I'll be there."
In the last few weeks, tennis has been rocked by allegations of corruption, match-rigging and drug-taking. In fact, in the last day alone, one player has been ridiculed on court by an umpire and another, in fact a former world No1 and five-times grand-slam winner, has been accused of taking drugs. It's not just any drug, either, but that most rock 'n' roll of narcotics: cocaine.
...Perhaps it begs the question: could this be what the game needs to be reclaimed from the strawberry-and-cream-eating hordes on Henman Hill? Could it be this that makes tennis the new rock 'n' roll
Mikhail Youzhny's defeat to Nadal in yesterday's penultimate quarter-final had ensured that Fernando Gonzalez would fill the seventh berth for Shanghai and that Gasquet, Murray and Baghdatis would be fighting it out for the final place.
...Nevertheless Murray was happy with the way he had played this autumn since returning from injury.
"I think what I've done this year is unbelievable," he said. " I'm really positive about what I did at the end of the year and at the start of the year. There are so many things that I can improve on. I'm going to do that in the off-season. I'll get even fitter and stronger than I was this year."
Relentless stream of untruths and spin stabs average sporting fan in the back - The Independent
All the time we are expected to absorb, untouched, all the levels of falsity. Now poor, haunted Martina Hingis tells us that she did not take cocaine. Maybe she did, maybe she didn't.
Perhaps we have reached the point where we hardly care.
Chris Evert, one of the handful
of icons in American tennis, reacted Friday to the news that former No. 1
Martina Hingis had twice [two samples, one occasion] tested positive
for cocaine use by saying, "I'm not shocked, but I was very surprised."
"I think Martina in the past has always shown herself to be the consummate
professional," Evert said. "But since she came back [from a three-year
injury hiatus], I don't know her. I don't know her lifestyle, who she hangs
"You can't believe it, but you can't not believe it.
"You know what, I don't like to make judgments about her," said Evert. "But,
how many athletes have gone on and denied and denied and denied steroids and
stuff. The truth always comes out."
But there is a troubling aspect to all this, even for those willing to
consider that Hingis may be telling the truth. If she did not use cocaine,
she complicated her case in the court of public opinion by announcing her
second retirement on the same day she revealed the disputed drug test.
That does not mean she is lying, of course. But it does look like she is
surrendering the possibility of ever playing again without even bothering to
find out if she is formally suspended for two years by the sport's
"It is kind of a little bit strange, isn't it?" Novotna said. "But it
doesn't mean that proves her guilty."
Thoughts on Martina Hingis's announcement of her positive drug test and
retirement yesterday, from players at the Bell Challenge tournament in
"Obviously, I was stunned, just like I think everyone in the tennis world
was. . I've always liked Martina. I've always respected her a ton. . I
totally support her and I hope that everything she says is true, that she is
clear. It's horrible to have to go through. . I had talked to her a little
in Beijing [in September]. I don't know at that time what she knew and
didn't know. I knew that she was struggling with tennis and that for the
last six months she hasn't enjoyed it as much. Even before playing at
Wimbledon, I knew that her hip was bothering her. She had lost that vigour
that she had in the beginning of her comeback. I'm sure it didn't help her
decision, but I knew that she was already leaning toward not playing before
even going to Wimbledon. . I don't know all the facts. I read her statement
and that's pretty much all that I saw. . I totally believe everything she
said in the beginning [of the statement], she's always been very open and
honest. You hope with her declaration that it is 100-per-cent accurate. .
I'm sure she was smart enough to realize [the drug test report] was going to
get leaked. I would come forward if I were innocent and before someone
started hearing about it. . It looks worse if you're trying to hide
something. Everything gets out eventually - that would be my only thought on
why she did that."
One year later, Sam sits in her apartment in Tampa, Fla., her home away from
home during the long tennis season, amazed at how things can change on a
dime. She hasn't seen a gym in almost a month, sleeps 10 hours a night and
gets winded walking around the grocery store.
She hasn't picked up a racket since flying home in September from the U.S.
Open. That following morning, she was taken to the emergency room after
suffering from intense headaches. She would spend the next few nights in the
hospital, as the staff ran tests to figure out what was wrong. The first bit
of news she received was that she had contracted viral meningitis, a
diagnosis that would lead to a month of medicine and lots of rest.
But she didn't feel any better. She underwent more tests, which uncovered
more troubling news: Sam had Lyme disease. One of the fittest players on
tour, Stosur went from playing tennis four hours a day, followed by grueling
gym workouts, to staying in her apartment and struggling to find the
strength to make herself breakfast each morning.
Particpating in a promotional
event for the season-ending championships in Madrid, Henin reacted to news
of Hingis' positive test for cocaine at Wimbledon. "A story like this - that
Martina Hingis has tested positive for cocaine - cannot be good for tennis.
News like this doesn't help the sport, especially for the children who are
starting to play," she said, adding, "I don't know exactly what has
happened, I learned about from the press so I cannot say much. I don't know
the personal situation. I have to be careful because I don't know to what
extent it's true."
Ivanovic and Chavetadze also took part in the event. "I know as much as you,
I never had any reason to think this could happen, and especially with a
substance like this, which I think doesn't help anyone play better," said
"I could not believe it when I heard yesterday, I thought it was a bad
joke," said Chakvetadze.
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