LLEYTON Hewitt's career is a monument to mind conquering man's
vulnerabilities. Perennial predictions of his decline and fall always
centred on what he didn't have: size, power and the capacity to win quick,
Both had history here, but now only one has a future. The man who romanced
Melbourne two years ago on a dance to the final has rekindled that love in
Melbourne with a thrilling win over a second former Open winner in
THERE'S been some peripheral talk of her love life, her health and her
"booty", but Venus Williams doesn't seem to think her game needs a shake-on.
Relaxed and happy with her second-round 7-5, 6-4 win against France's
Camille Pin, eighth-seeded Williams spoke of a newfound wisdom about
tournament play - despite having 44 unforced errors and six double faults
and having her serve broken six times.
CASEY Dellacqua, the Australian Open's new kid in town, feels an air of
vulnerability about her third-round opponent tonight, the tournament's 2006
champion Amelie Mauresmo.
The French powerhouse, who nearly gave the game away just months ago as a
groin injury ruined her past year, admitted on Wednesday after a scratchy
second-round win over Russia's Yaroslava Shvedova that she "probably got a
little bit tight" when she was trying to close out the match.
THIS was a match between the guy with the tools for the game and the guy with the appetite for the contest. Ultimately endeavour can only take your fight so far above your weight when your opponent also doesn't lack for heart.
NOVAK Djokovic might be the entertainer, but after dismissing Italian opponent Simone Bolelli in straight sets on Vodafone Arena yesterday, the rising star politely refused all requests to serenade the packed house.
YOU don't survive for 18 years as a professional and play a now Open-era record 62 grand slam tournaments without developing some street smarts.
So, presented with a straightforward choice — either play the fool or have Roger Federer cast you in the role anyway — Fabrice Santoro dug deep into his bag of tricks and milked the cheap laughs, knowing cheap points would be much harder to come by.
COME, let's take a walk, David Attenborough-style, through the wilds of Melbourne Park. We're looking for a creature so rare, there's said to be only one left in the whole place! Shhh, go quietly now, we wouldn't want to frighten him!
ANASTASIA Rodionova has qualified as truly Australian, having failed to reach the third round of her adopted national championship. Among the local women, only Perth's Casey Dellacqua has won more than a single singles match at Melbourne Park this week, so Russian-born Rodionova should be feeling right at home.
A BIG, important day at the tennis, with almost 45,000 people at the sun-kissed courts as witnesses. The men were on show and the best player in the world put in a display so perfect it became comedy. Later, Lleyton Hewitt went bare knuckles with the champion of Uzbekistan and "Aussie Pete" Luczak put the frighteners up feisty Argentine 10th-seed David Nalbandian.
VIDEOS circulating on the internet show Greek Cypriot tennis player Marcos Baghdatis, an Australian Open crowd favourite, arm in arm with the alleged ringleader of Tuesday night's tennis confrontation, chanting anti-Turkish slogans.
Several clips on the YouTube video-sharing website show Baghdatis at a barbecue hosted by the Hellas Fan Club, whose members were at the centre of a violent clash with police at the tennis on Tuesday night. Unruly fans were hit with capsicum spray and 10 people evicted from Melbourne Park.
An Australian Turkish Cypriot community leader has called for Greek Cypriot tennis player Marcos Baghdatis to be expelled from the Australian Open for alleged racial vilification over a video showing him chanting anti-Turkish slogans.
THE one thing Svetlana Kuznetsova seemed to do more often and better on a tennis court than Venus Williams was volleying. But in their respective second round matches yesterday, Williams showed a new love for net play and, standing at 185cm, it is most intimidating.
FABRICE SANTORO is 35. He is essentially on his farewell tour of the tennis world.
This open is his 62nd Grand Slam tournament. He is known as the magician because he slices what others top spin, drop shots what others drive, dinks what others lob.
He tried all his tricks against champion Roger Federer yesterday but got a thrashing. The Frenchman could not make the world No1 disappear no matter what he diced or sliced. For the truth is that Santoro is not a magician but merely a tricky opponent.
The only magician in tennis is Federer for he does things previously thought impossible.
Between the extended, attention-grabbing rallies and the thumps on the chest and the smashed rackets, it was quite a summit meeting for day four of a Grand Slam. But that was nobody's fault but Safin's. His ranking of 58 is not high enough to allow him the luxury of a seeding and the chance to work his way comfortably into the second week.
"I'm not going to give up straight away that I'm losing to Baghdatis," said the Russian who will turn 28 this month. "The year is pretty long so I'll have my chances, that's for sure."
...Pin, ranked 90th, nearly shocked Maria Sharapova in the first round here last year before losing in the heat in a match that helped influence Tennis Australia to revise its policy for closing the retractable roofs on its show courts in high temperatures.
"I could see from the start that Venus was having a hard time," Pin said. "With girls like this with long limbs, they like to use their leverage and play the angles. I did a good job of keeping the shots into her body and in tight. But I think she reacted like a champion when she had to and played aggressively."
Heading into the first weekend, the top half of the draw is stacked. Seldom has such an illustrious (all have won or been in Grand Slam finals) group as Federer, Fernando Gonzalez, Djokovic, Hewitt, David Nalbandian, Juan Carlos Ferrero and Marcos Baghdatis been assembled in one half.
Baghdatis earned his spot in a marquee matchup against Hewitt on Saturday by defeating Marat Safin 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2 in a spellbinding duel dominated by scorching groundstrokes.
The enigmatic Safin had trained hard in preparation for the Australian Open and for the second year in a row furnished a valiant effort, which simply was not good enough against Baghdatis last night, as it was not against Andy Roddick a year ago.
Pounding the sands near Malibu helped. A couple of hours each day in the gym. All those sessions with Pete Sampras up his house in Beverly Hills. And, maybe it’s just because he likes Australia and has a coach from Melbourne.
Whatever. Sam Querrey is in the third round of the Australian for the second straight year. And, ironically, the man he beat to get there was Dmitry Tursunov who was on that losing Russian Davis Cup team up in Portland, Oregon while Querrey was doing all that training down in southern California.
The ever-rapping, self-publicizing Vince Spadea might get under some people’s skin, but give the 33-year-old huge credit for his continued commitment to the grind and his love of the big occasion on the small courts.
...“Andre Agassi won this tournament at 33, which doesn’t mean I can win this tournament, but I can achieve better things than I ever have.”
Spadea’s five-set triumphs have been remarkable. In the '99 US Open, he bested Guillermo Cañas 6-3 in the fifth and then followed it up with a 7-6(3) in the fifth win over Laurence Tielemen. At ’02 Roland Garros, he knocked out Cedric Pioline 6-4 in the fifth and then way out toward the outskirts of the facility, overcame Adrian Voinea 8-6 in the fifth as darkness fell. Let’s not forget his stopping of his own 21-match losing streak at '00 Wimbledon, when he stunned Britain and Greg Rusedski 9-7 in the fifth.
...Nadia Petrova, who knows the tour as well as anyone, says that she’s never been approached and that she knows of her none of her friends who were either.
“I’ve heard some gossip the last couple of years, but it’s not at the big tournament or big matches,” she said told TennisReporters.net. “But last year I saw some suspicious people who started traveling and coming to the tournaments. Maybe they did approach some people, or over Iinternet, but thank god I never [got called].
The trouble with the Borg comparison is that it's so basic and self-evident that you don't learn much from it. By contrast, the comparison with Jimbo goes to the heart of Nadal's game and raises interesting issues about it. The exercise is fun because it shows that Connors and Nadal are vastly different players who had a whole lot in common. How can you resist the oxymoronic?
For starters, here is what they have in common:
- Both are left-handed, with a two-handed backhand.
- Tremendous anticipation and retrieving ability.
Don't forget your passport - [Kamakshi Tandon], Tennis.com
Obziler, an almost unheard-of example of a player enjoying her best results at 34, also said there were no politics involved in her decision [to play Dubai qualifying]. “I don’t have time for this. Maybe in the future, when I’m done with the tennis, I’ll do things to be heard,” she said. “For me it’s just another tournament. The reason I’m going there is because fits in the schedule. It’s a pity to miss this kind of tournament, it’s a Tier I.” She’s not worried about her safety – “the tournament has to prepare everything. It’s their responsibility and I trust them” – and thinks she’ll be able to play and explore like the rest of the field. “I’m not sure how it’s going to be with the security, but when you get there you’re just like one of the others who are there. It’s not like it’s on my forehand saying I’m Israeli.”
...Rezai was born in France to Iranian parents, and still maintains strong ties to her homeland. She returned to Iran to train during the offseason last year but opted for Patrick Mouratoglou's academy (of Marcos Baghdatis and Jan Silva fame) this year. “It was difficult to train there because it was snowing and the conditions were very different than here,” she said.“And I’m with the family [relatives] and when you’re with the family you’re not very focused on your tennis.”
After spending some time training at altitude and taking advantage of the academy’s full team of coaches, trainers, physiotherapists and nutrionists to work on her fitness, she was able to repeatedly get in the first strike against Golovin, particularly with her more steadfast backhand. Afterwards, she was asked, “Was the win important because this is a Grand Slam or because it came against a French player?”
Because it came in a Grand Slam, she said emphatically. The question was asked because Rezai has clashed repeatedly with the French tennis federation over her father’s behaviour and has been banned from using the facilities at Roland Garros for two years. That creates an interesting situation for both Rezai and French officials. With Marion Bartoli also refusing to play Fed Cup over her father, and Golovin and Amelie Mauresmo oft-injured, Rezai’s services could be valuable to the French team. Perhaps unexpectedly, she says she’d never refuse to play if selected. It would be particularly ironic given that her ban came after her father got in a fight with French Fed Cup captain Georges Goven “You play for your country, not the captain,” she said.
Long journey Down Under worth it for unheralded Americans - Bonnie D. Ford, ESPN
"I'm not a big sightseer," said the 20-year-old from Thousand Oaks, Calif. "And sometimes when you go to Europe, you have to see the Eiffel Tower and places like that. You don't have to see anything here, and I like that."
...This continent feels comfortable to Querrey for reasons he's not particularly intent on analyzing. He likes the weather and he did allude to the fact that his coach, Grant Doyle, is Australian and has a posse of friends and family present.
"It's kind of nice, they can show me around," said Querrey, who presumably has told his escorts he doesn't want to see any large monuments.
Delic leaves it all on the court in grueling five-set loss - Bonnie D. Ford, ESPN
Roddick hopes to roll on to final - Matthew Cronin, Foxsports
Andy Roddick is helping plan a big bachelor's party for his childhood friend, Mardy Fish, in Las Vegas sometime late in the summer.
Fish is to be wed to his fiancee, "Deal or No Deal" actress /attorney Stacy Gardner, in late September, and he and his Davis Cup buddies are ready for a pre-nuptials blowout. Fish will be the first among of his Davis Cup team-playing buddies — Roddick, James Blake, the Bryan Brothers and Robby Ginepri — to tie the knot, so his friends are planning on sending him off with a bang.
"I like his fiancee and I want to stay on her good side," said Roddick, when asked about the party plans.
...What was particularly impressive about that win was that it wasn't just because of his booming serves, crushing forehands and knocking off-volleys, but because he won numerous scramble points playing defense. While Roddick is a good athlete, light feet and horizontal movement have never been his forte, but during the offseason, he went to Hawaii and worked hard with his head coach, Jimmy Connors, and trainer Doug Spreen, and it seems to be paying off.
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