Page 1

2011 Year in Review 1


2


TennisNow.com Livescores

Instruction

Opinion Pieces

Daily Video News

Gossip

Results

Statistics

Forums

Draws

Rankings

Match Analysis

Photo Gallery

TV Listings

Player Interviews Daily Updates

Blogs

Follow us on...

3


4


WHAT’S INSIDE LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

p.7

THE JOHNNY MAC QUOTEBOOK

GRADING THE FIELD

p.32-34 GREATEST OF ALL TIME

p.38-39

p.8-9

ZEN TENNIS

SLOANE STEPHENS

p.40-41

p.10-11

10 THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT SARA ERRANI

FRENCH OPEN FASHION

p.14-16

DAY BY DAY

p.20-29 THE RETURN OF THE QUEEN

p.42-43

SHOE AND RACQUET REVIEWS

p.44-47 RANKINGS

p.49

p.30-31 Editor

Theodore L. LePak ted@tennisnow.com Erwin Ong Blair Hemley

Contact Us

Writers

Nick Georgandis Erik Gudris Erwin Ong Blair Hemley Chris Oddo

To advertise with us: ads@tennisnow.com General comments or questions: media@tennisnow.com

Design

Alberto Capetillo Juan Esparza

TennisNow

200 West 39th Street, Suite No. 11 New York, NY 10018 914-595-4211


6


Letter from the Editor Bonjour mes amis! I hope you enjoyed the riveting action in Roland Garros as much as I did! This year’s French Open certainly lived up to its grand slam hype, providing us tennis fanatics with some legendary upsets, heated controversies, and smashing tennis entertainment! The excitement was so thrilling that Mother Nature decided to make it last one more day! In this edition we featured the winners of the French Open, Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova. In addition to our two featured articles, we have a day-by-day recap of the action, a piece on all the funny stuff John McEnroe has said during the French Open, a look at Sloane Stephens and Sara Errani, an on-court fashion round-up, and a breakdown of the player’s performances with our grading of the field. I’d like to welcome and thank Blair Henley, our latest addition to the team. Blair will be our new writer and contributing editor

and has done a fantastic job in her first couple weeks. Erwin Ong also deserves an acknowledgement for his innovative thinking and contributions to Tennis Now. I look forward to working with you both to expand and grow Tennis Now. I appreciate the great work from our writers Chris Oddo and Erik Gudris, who work hard to produce the enticing content we bring you in every edition. Finally, I’d like to bring attention to our graphics team, Juan and Alberto, who brilliantly showcase all the hard work of Tennis Now. We invite you to jump in and get dirty with our last look at the clay before we clean up and stroll onto the grass courts that begin our journey to Wimbledon! We hope you enjoy this issue and we look forward to bringing you more tennis coverage in the near future!

Theodore LePak Editor, Tennis Now Magazine Ted@tennisnow.com

7


The c a M y n John k o o b e Quot ­– Chris Oddo For those of us who weren’t fortunate enough to spend the last two weeks in Paris, watching world-class clay-court tennis by day and promenading in the city of lights by night, there was the next best thing: listening to the maniacal musings of one of the best tennis commentators in all the land on Tennis Channel. That’s right, I’m talking about the John Madden of tennis, a guy that has managed to parlay his loquacious lather into a second career that is every bit as successful as his first—none other than Mr. “You Cannot Be Serious!” John McEnroe. Johnny Mac was up to his usual self this weekend, offering up countless volleys of the verbal variety to Tennis Channel’s loyal viewership, and he did it all without ever stopping to think: Do I look funny on TV with this grey, untrimmed eyebrow hair growing in many different directions? Now if that’s not talent, I don’t know what is. Here’s a healthy, heaping portion of some of Johnny Mac’s best quotes of the fortnight:

8

“It’s like he could play with a blindfold on and he’ll still win the set.” -- Johnny Mac on the inspirational stylings of American Brian Baker, as Baker stormed his way back into one of the most exciting matches of the first week against Gilles Simon, at 5-1 in the 4th set. “I hate to be this complimentary of Connors, but he loved to play, and he embraced the competition more than some others – myself included – who seemed to be torturing themselves as they played.” – Johnny Mac, bushy eyebrows and all, in an interview with Bill Macatee on the Tennis Channel set. “Nadal, he punches you in the gut. Simon slaps you in the face.” – Mr. McEnroe’s observation on the peskiness of Gilles Simon, as the diminutive Frenchman eventually succeeded in breaking Brian Baker down in the aforementioned 2nd-round match. “I swear to god he looks like he’s no older than 15.” – Stating the obvious, as Tennis Channel cut to a highlight of 21-year-old David Goffin celebrating his 3rd-round win over Lukas Kubot of Poland.


“Apparently they brought the new balls in too soon. Even the linesemen are fried.” –Always willing to inject a little spontaneous humor when it comes to on-court officiating, Mr. McEnroe has a laugh when the ballboys try to introduce new balls prematurely into play at 14-13 of the fifth set during the John Isner-Paul-Henri Mathieu 2nd-round marathon. “Now I’ve seen it all...maybe he’ll hit one on his head.” – Johnny Mac, marveling at the ability of Rafael Nadal to hit a perfect touch volley from the seat of his pants during his quarterfinal match with David Ferrer. “The guy, I don’t know how he does it. He’s got that head of hair that both of us are envious of. I’ll take some of that, too.” – When it comes to self-deprecating humor while praising his friend and ex-rival Bjorn Borg at the same time, nobody is better than Mr. McEnroe. “Maybe that pink shirt will throw off Nadal’s sightlines, because there’s not much else he can do.” – Never the type of guy that would wear a pink shirt during his career (though he did wear some verrrrry tight shorts), McEnroe pokes fun at David Ferrer’s choice of secondset attire during his one-sided quarterfinal with Rafael Nadal. “Reverse psychology by Ferrer. If that’s the best he can come up with in terms of changing his game, this could be fairly short today.” – Not wanting to let the whole pink shirt thing go during what was turning out to be the most boring semifinal in the history of modern tennis, Mr. McEnroe continues to pick on Ferrer and his pink shirt.

him, testing him…beautiful job.” – Like the rest of us, Johnny Mac found it hard to contain his enthusiasm for the brilliance of Rafael Nadal’s game during the fortnight in Paris. “He’s like a buzzsaw, Nadal.” – This is just one of many flattering descriptions of Nadal that McEnroe made. Here’s another: “Playing Nadal is like walking the plank.” “This is the dilemma Americans face. They’re in Europe a long time. I know Rome’s a horrible place and Madrid and Barcelona, all these terrible places, but it gets to be that you miss home and you get out of your routine a little bit too much.” – Mr. McEnroe expressed sympathy for the plight of the young Americans who had lost their way this clay-court season. No American men made it out of the second round, and it very well could be due to all these terrible places they are forced to visit while on tour. “What was that? Was it kid’s day again? -- must be Wednesday.” – Mr. McEnroe, after hearing some strange noises coming from an outside court while calling a match. Johnny Mac enjoys letting his mind wander every once in a while during broadcasts. It’s a shame other talking heads don’t do this more often. “Who would’ve thought that we’d miss soderling? He wasn’t one of the most well-liked guys, but he threatened these guys at least, got under their skin.” – Like most of us, Mr. Mcenroe would have liked to see Rafael Nadal have a few more tense moments during the French Open. Maybe next year…

“It’s just brilliant in so many ways. Mentally, he deliberately took 35 shots. He took pace off his shots to sort of test Almagro’s nerve, because you have to generate your own pace. It’s harder to generate pace if a guy’s giving you sort of a no-speed pitch. He was just prying

9


10


Sloane Stephens 19-year old is the latest American to make a statement on tennis’ world stage. Serena’s first round French Open exit coupled with the second round demise of just about every other American woman in the draw at Roland Garros caused yet another wave of panic regarding the state of women’s tennis in the States. But as Serena and Venus Williams have shown us over the past 15 years, it only takes one or two star players to carry a country. After Sloane Stephens’ breakout performance in Paris, she’s shown that she might just have what it takes to shoulder the burden. Stephens fell 7-5, 6-4 at the hands of 28-year-old Sam Stosur in the fourth round of the French Open, and it was clear that the Australian’s experience level was the deciding factor in the tight twosetter. At 19 years old, Stephens was playing in just her fourth Grand Slam. By that same age, Serena had played in 10 Grand Slams and won her first. But as a recent Wall Street Journal piece pointed out, tennis’s notoriously short careers are getting longer by the minute. At this year’s French Open, there were 14 players in the women’s singles draw over the age of 30. In 2002 there were only five. Similar stats have been cited at the remaining three Grand Slams.

Improving her results (and her current rank of No. 70) is the first step to tennis stardom, but a bright personality doesn’t hurt either. Her comfort in the media spotlight was as entertaining as it was refreshing. Here are some gems from her French Open press conferences: On cutting out sugary sodas: “For lunch I would have a soda. And then dinner was really late, so I would go and get one before I left, and then I’d drink another one. And I was like, whoa, that’s a lot of sugar. So I stopped doing that.” On winning a couple of rounds at Roland Garros: “There’s always more. Because my mom is spoiled rotten, (I was thinking) she’s going to want to fly home first-class or something. So I got to keep winning.” On her French Open success: “Now I’m going to have more Twitter followers!” On whether she’ll be flying home first class: “Definitely, definitely.”

Unlike so many tennis phenoms who pick up a racquet as soon as they can walk, Stephens began playing tennis when she turned nine at the urging of her stepfather, Sheldon Smith, who died of cancer in 2007. That’s a late start by most standards, but with a career that could conceivably last though her mid-thirties, she has plenty of time to make her mark on the sport. And she certainly isn’t hurting in the gene department. Her father was late Patriots running back John Stephens, and her mother, Sybil Smith, was an All-American swimmer at Boston University. While some tennis parents are a hindrance rather than a help to their children’s career, Sloane has an impressive support system. When she struggled to get her rhythm in April and early May of this year, she enlisted the help of her aunt and mother, flying them out to her clay court training headquarters in Spain. “That helped me a lot, because I don’t know what was going on. ... I was having brain farts and things weren’t going my way,” Stephens said. “I was being 19, and I think now I am being 29. So I think my mom and aunt definitely helped me through the last couple of weeks. I’m very grateful for that.”

American Christina McHale is just a year older than Stephens and with three third round Grand Slam appearances and a current rank of No. 36, she’s seen more success. But as McHale upset seed after seed in her impressive run last summer, it was clear the shy teenager wasn’t incredibly comfortable with her newfound star status. “Shy” is definitely not how one would characterize Stephens. In fact, when asked to describe herself in one word, she responded: “Giggly.” Stephens has improved by a round in each of her four Grand Slam appearances, so if the pattern holds, we should see her in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. Regardless, she has shown American tennis fans that they have a player to get excited about. At this point, that’s all we can ask for.

­– Blair Henley

11


The Black Widow premium polyester string delivering ultimate spin and power. The 7 sided string profile ‘bites’ into the ball giving you access to deadly spin to blow your opponent away. Available in 16, 17, 18 gauges in 12 metre sets and 200 metre reels.

Biomimetics is the application of design and engineering inspired by nature. Dunlop sport has harnessed the power of nature to develop the ultimate range of performance strings. For details of the complete Biomimetic String range visit www.dunlopsport.com

12 12

Scan this QR Code with your mobile device to learn more about Dunlop Products

www.facebook.com/DunlopTennisUSA


CK H C LI

E RE

W I Ncquet

Ra s ’ l a d a N pro o r e A t Babola T! Drive G E CLICK HER

Gear Guide Rafael Nadal

Last year, Rafael Nadal took home his 6th French Open title after defeating Roger Federer in an almost 4 hour match. After his scintillating performance in Rome this month, the “King of Clay” will head to Paris to defend his French Open crown and aim for an unprecedented 7th title.

Nike Air Max Court Ballistec 4.3 In a red hot shade of Scarlet Fire, the Nike Air Max Courballistec 4.3 is designed to be durable with a combination of fused elements and rubber compounds placed in high-wear areas. The Courtballistec 4.3 is designed to provide traction on all surfaces, including the red clay of Roland Garros.

Racquet: Babolat Aeropro Drive GT

Nike Rafa French Crew

The Babolat Aeropro Drive GT achieves greater racquet head speed with Aeroframe construction which minimizes drag for a completely aero dynamic frame. GT technology gives Rafa the power to control the court by utilizing an advanced hybrid material.

The Spaniard continues to heat up the clay in the Nike Finals Clay Crew, in Scarlet Fire with front and back embossed graphic print. This lightweight crew is packed with performance edge too-equipped with Dri-Fit fabic, micro-perforated side panels for ventilation, and smooth, seamless shoulders.

13


French Open Fashion ­– Erwin Ong

The 2012 French Open wasn’t a fashion open – no outré outfits this year, folks – but there were still a few looks notable to mention, including Serena’s delectable Nike outfit and Samantha Stosur’s awkward Asics dress. Both Venus Williams (EleVen) and Maria Sharapova (Nike) earned our top marks overall; on the men’s side, David Ferrer’s pink Lotto crew was the boldest statement.

Serena Williams kept things short and sweet on the court, bowing out in the first round in the hands of Virginie Razzano. But before her exit, Serena wowed us with one of the fortnight’s prettiest outfits, from Nike. We’re suckers for anything that reminds us of Neapolitans (that dress!) and meringues (those earrings!); extra points for the blue scrunchie and the matching duffel.

14

Asics has to be careful about how to dress Samantha Stosur. Cibulkova’s Sam-plays-like-a-man talk aside, the Aussie doesn’t have a lot of curves and should be outfitted appropriately. This dress would have worked better in all black, if only to hide the wrinkling in the fabric detailing down the front.


Caro Wozniacki and adidas by Stella McCartney brought out bright yellow and gold separates that glowed even more against the clay courts at the French. As has been the case for McCartney’s adidas designs in recent years, they add a contrast color (a deep salmon) in the sports bra and visor. Wozniacki also timed the release of her eponymous underwear collection during Roland Garros.

Venus Williams’ unpredictable designs for her label, EleVen, landed on correct side cute for this year’s French. In a tournament where lines are everything (just ask Wozniacki about Hawkeye), Venus played with stripes in various colors to break up an otherwise simple dress. The pink sports bra is held up by crisscrossing straps, exposed by the scoop in the back.

Nike kept it classy and classic with the design and tailoring of Maria Sharapova’s French Open dress. After the tournament win, a few photos were snapped of Sharapova wearing the outfit’s matching warm-up blazer, in black.

Surprise quarterfinalist Yaroslava Shvedova did the “jock” look right, dressing up her Fila racerback tank with a headband and powder-blue Oakleys. Shvedova lost to Petra Kvitova in that round.

15


11th seed Gilles Simon wore blue adidas with orange detailing in the placket. The heavy fabric worked against the perma-popped collar effect, which the brand has successfully done in past seasons.

Janko Tipsarevic, seeded eighth at this year’s event, made it to the fourth round before falling to Nicolas Almagro. His Fila kit reminds us of screensavers. How quaint.

David Ferrer reached the semifinals of this year’s event but was no match for Rafa Nadal. Ferrer won the battle of fashion, though. His Lotto kit – in pink/black/white and white/black/pink colorways – looked much better than Nadal’s drab red Nike crew.

We look forward to the partnership between Novak Djokovic and Uniqlo (announced just before the start of the French). To start, they gave us some Japanese minimalism: a navy blue polo with red and white stripes along the shoulders. We love it.

Roger Federer confused us with the random placement of neon green in his grey Nike French Open polo.

Richard Gasquet lost to Andy Murray in the fourth round of the French. His solid-colored Lacoste polo (in red and baby blue) was punctuated by lines running across the front chest – very in-line with the energy of Lacoste’s current off-court designs.

16


Gear Guide Roger Federer

This time last year, Federer was busy putting an end to Novak Djokovic’ 43-match winning streak. The Swiss dropped Djokovic in the semifinals of the 2011 French Open, only to be defeated by Rafel Nadaql in a riveting 4-set final match. This year, the former finalist will hit the clay aiming for a comeback.

Nike Zoom Vapor 9 Tour SL Fed’s brand new edition of the Nike Zoom Vapor 9 Tour SL features a synthetic leather upper which holds up better agains the clay than the mesh of the original Vapor 9. This sleek shoe still offers adaptive fit technology and a speedy runnin-inspired design.

Racquet: Wilson Pro Staff Six.One 90BLX

Nike RF Smash Clay Polo

The Wilson Pro Staff Six.One 90 BLX is designed for enchanced feel and maximum control, featuring a legendary construction and a modern handle system. Amplifeel technology delivers a pure feel by replacing sections of the traditional foam in the handle pallet with graphite and basalt plates.

This ultra sleek polo in Anthracite with Cyber accents features a seamless design, allowing increased range of motion with reduced irritation. Also equipped with Dri-Fit UV fabric, the Smash Clay Polo wicks sweat while protecting sking from harmful UV rays.

17


18


19


Day-by-Day ­– Blair Henley

DAY 1: POOR ANDY Andy Roddick’s free fall from the Top 10 continued with his first round 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 loss to 88th-ranked Frenchman Nicolas Mahut. Perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised given that Roddick has now bowed out in the first round at Roland Garros five of the 10 times he’s played there. Mahut acknowledged that the player he faced in Paris “was not the No. 1 Roddick, the No. 1 player in the world that we know.” Despite taking two months off due to injury after the Sony Open in February, the 29-year-old only blamed his poor movement on clay for the loss. But the more telling stat was Mahut’s 13 aces to Andy’s eight. With his serve nowhere near the weapon it used to be, Roddick may struggle to regain his former glory. Currently ranked No. 30, the American will next play on grass at the Queen’s

20

Club, which begins on June 11. After Wimbledon it’s rumored that Roddick will be teaming up with Serena Williams to play mixed doubles at the Olympics, though that’s assuming Serena doesn’t decide she wants to play with someone younger and healthier. For the sake of Andy’s deflated ego, let’s hope not.

DAY 2: BOGOMOLOV JR.’S RETIREMENT HEARD ROUND THE WORLD With all of the big names that took the court on Day Two at Roland Garros, few were looking to the match between 149th-ranked Frenchman Arnaud Clement and No. 46 Alex Bogomolov Jr. of Russia to provide a whopping dose of drama. After more than four hours on the court, Bogomolov Jr. was trailing Clement 6-2, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6, 5-4 when he shocked everyone by suddenly quitting on match point down while serving. Bogomolov Jr. claimed after the match that his


leg was cramping so severely that he had no other choice but to retire. The rules state that players can have a medical timeout for cramping only during a changeover or at the end of a set. Born in Russia and raised in the U.S., Bogomolov Jr. made headlines at the end of 2011 after changing his nationality from American to Russian in order to play for Russia’s Davis Cup Team. The USTA promptly ordered Bogomolov Jr. to repay $75,000 in grant money they afforded him during his time as an “American.”

DAY 3: SERENA SUNK It’s safe to say that significant amounts of money were lost on Day Three at the French Open when “sure bet” Serena Williams inexplicably fell 4-6, 7-6, 6-3 at the hands of 111th-ranked Virginie Razzano of France. Serena looked to have a victory (albeit and ugly one) in hand after taking a 5-1 lead in the second set tiebreak. But Razzano, who lost her fiance to brain cancer just over a year ago, would not let up, winning the next six points to finish the set. At the conclusion of the match, Serena had sprayed 47 unforced errors and admitted her standard strategy of going for every shot failed her that day.

DAY 5: MARATHON MAN With Mardy Fish’s withdrawal from the French Open and Andy Roddick’s first round departure, American fans had high hopes for 6’9” John Isner. The towering 27-year-old from Georgia has proven his worth on clay with wins over Roger Federer and Spaniard Feliciano Lopez this year, but could not get the job done in his 5 hour, 41 minute second round match against Frenchman PaulHenri Mathieu. Isner saved six match points in the decisive set, but fell to the local favorite 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 18-16. Isner, ranked No. 11, won the longest match in tennis history two summers ago at Wimbledon, and will now find himself in the history books again – the 18-16 fifth set is the longest in French Open history. He has now gone to five sets in each of the four Grand Slam tournaments.

It was the first time in 46 Grand Slam tournament appearances that the younger Williams had lost in the first round. Her perfect 17-0 record on clay this spring even led tennis pundits Patrick McEnroe and Chris Evert to pick her as the probably tournament winner. Despite pulling out of the Italian Open on May 19 citing back problems, Serena uncharacteristically refused to place blame on her health following the loss, claiming she was “100 percent healthy.” With tears in her eyes, she told reporters that losing is miserable, but “things could be a lot worse.” Well said, Serena.

DAY 4: SLOW FADE FOR VENUS After Serena’s early departure, it wasn’t terribly surprising that her older sister Venus followed suit losing 6-2, 6-3 to Agnieszka Radwanska in the second round. Venus was playing in her first major tournament since withdrawing from last year’s U.S. Open in the second round, and with 33 unforced errors to Radwanska’s six, it was clear she was still shaking off the rust. Venus has struggled to return to the tour after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease last fall, and though she claims otherwise, it seems each early tournament departure is one just another stop on her “farewell tour.” With several other ventures on her plate, including a successful clothing line, it would not be surprising to hear Venus has decided to hang up her rackets. Perhaps she’ll surprise her fans with a comeback performance on the grass at Wimbledon.

21


DAY 6: SLOANE BREAKS OUT, RADWANSKA BREAKS DOWN Sloane Stephens’ smile is infectious, and after she beat Mathilde Johansson 6-3, 6-2 to become one of two Americans left standing at the French Open, fans sure got to see a lot of it. Stephens used her powerful serve and fluid groundstrokes to move into fourth round for the first time, but it wasn’t just her play that was impressive. The 19-year-old proved to be exceedingly comfortable with the media, throwing out one-liners like a salty veteran. Stephen’s win was impressive, but it wasn’t the biggest surprise of Day 6. Seeded 26th, Svetlana Kuznetsova looked like the “2009 French Open champion” version of herself as she dismantled No. 3 seed Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1, 6-2. Up until this match Radwanska was 38-7 in 2012, with six of her losses coming at the hands of former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka.

DAY 7: USA! USA! If there was an award for most valuable new U.S. citizen, unseeded Varvara Lepchenko would win the prize hands down. She took out two-time French Open finalist and 2009 champion Francesca

22

Schiavone 3-6, 6-3, 8-6 in the third round, and would eventually become the last American standing in her unlikely run to the quarterfinals. Lepchenko, currently ranked No. 61, struck 44 unforced errors in the match, but still managed to pull out an upset. A native of Uzbekistan, the 26-year-old gained U.S. citizenship last year. Caroline Wozniacki could have used a little Lepchenko magic as she continued her rankings slide with a 1-6, 7-6 (3), 3-6 loss to No. 23 seed Kaia Kanepi. The Dane lost the match and her head after arguing with the chair umpire over a controversial line call at 1-1 in the deciding set.

DAY 8: DJOKOVIC (ALMOST) DOWNED, AZARENKA OUT Down two sets to love against No. 23 seed Andreas Seppi in the fourth round, Novak Djokovic’s chances to complete the “Novak Slam” looked bleak. But the world No. 1 pulled from his reserves (again) in order to down his Italian opponent 4-6, 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-5, 6-3. Djokovic did what he had to do to win this match against a solid Seppi, but his game looked off, sloppy. Perhaps the cold, windy weather had something to do with it.


Top-seeded Azarenka couldn’t quite pull things together in her match against petite Slovakian Dominka Cibulkova, losing the match 6-2, 7-6. She was asked afterward how she would recover from the ugly loss, to which she responded sarcastically (we hope), “I am going to kill myself.” The loss also cost Azarenka her No. 1 ranking, which Sharapova now owns thanks to her trip to the finals.

DAY 9: SHVEDOVA ROCKS THE HOUSE Defending French Open champion Li Na had to feel pretty good about her chances of beating bespectacled qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova at 6-3, 2-2 in their fourth round match. That is until Shvedova, ranked No. 129, shocked her opponent (and the fans) by rattling off 10 consecutive games to win the final two sets 6-2, 6-0. Li Na, who has struggled to deal with pressure from her native China after winning the country’s only Grand Slam title last year, sprayed 41 unforced errors in the match. With the win, Shevedova became just the ninth qualifier to make it to the quarterfinals at Roland Garros. And though she reached the quarterfinals at the French Open two years ago, Shvedova is coming off an injury-riddled year in 2011 that saw her ranking dip outside of the top 200. Expect to see more out of Shvedova this summer.

DAY 10: FRENCH FAILURE Day 10 was a rough day for Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic as both were forced to climb out of a two-sets-to-love hole. Juan Martin Del Potro looked as if he might improve on his 2-11 record against the Swiss after winning a tight second set tiebreak. But after showing some rarely seen frustration, Federer came cruising back to win the match 3-6, 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-0, 6-3. Novak Djokovic found himself one set away from defeat for the second straight match -- this time against hometown hero JoWilfried Tsonga. Before play began at Roland Garros, Tsonga told media outlets that no Frenchman could win the French Open this year. Perhaps his lack of belief is what prevented the fifth-seeded Tsonga from converting one of the four match points he had in the 6-1 5-7 5-7 7-6(6) 6-1 loss. Djokovic once again proved his mental mettle, winning the marathon match despite the largely partisan crowd.

DAY 11: CONSISTENCY IS KEY Consistency was key for sixth-seeded David Ferrer in his quarterfinal match against Andy Murray. Ferrer mercilessly ran Murray side to side and relied on his “backboard” mentality to slide by the Scot 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-2. Murray ended up with 49 winners and 59 unforced errors in a match that was clearly decided on the racquet of the world No. 4. But credit to Ferrer who refused to let up when

23


24


25


26


he saw Murray repeatedly clutching his lower back throughout the match. It seemed Ferrer was too focused on booking his first semifinal spot in ten tries at Roland Garros. At 30 years old, the Spaniard seems to have plenty of gas left in the tank.

DAY 12: STUNNING SARA As the women’s semifinal matches took the court on Day 12, it was the Maria Sharapova/Petra Kvitova matchup that had everyone talking. Most fans assumed 2011 U.S. Open champion and 2009 French Open finalist Sam Stosur would breeze by the No. 21 seed Sara Errani on the other half of the draw. But the Italian powerhouse proved everyone wrong, beating sixth-seeded Stosur 7-5, 1-6, 6-3. Despite taking a beating in the second set, Errani came out firing in the third, quickly taking a 3-0 lead. Stosur leveled the match at three games apiece before a physically and mentally superior Errani clinched her place in the final.

Coming into the tournament the 5’4” Errani had a career 0-28 record against players in the top ten. That stat is a thing of the past after taking out two top ten players as well as two former French Open champions en route to the final. In fact, Errani is guaranteed to move into the hallowed top 10 herself after her virtuoso performance at Roland Garros.

DAY 13: DJOKOVIC DEFEATS FEDERER After playing two consecutive five set matches, fans caught a glimpse of something they rarely see from Novak Djokovic in his showdown with Roger Federer: fatigue. But the world no. 1 once again pulled from an unknown energy source to avenge last year’s French Open semifinal loss and take out Federer 6-4, 7-5, 6-3. It looked like Roger might put up a fight in the second set after finding himself with two break points at 4-2, but Djokovic clawed his way back in a match that saw 11 total breaks of serve. With just 17 unforced errors to Federer’s 46, Djokovic cleaned up his game significantly from his near losses in the two previous rounds and kept his hopes of completing the “Novak Slam” alive.

27


DAY 14: MASTERFUL MARIA

DAY 15: HAIL TO THE KING (OF CLAY)

Sara Errani and Maria Sharapova are both 25 years old. That may have been the only similarity between the two players as they walked out on Court Philippe Chatrier for the 2012 French Open final. At 6’2”, the second-seeded Sharapova is 10 inches taller than the diminutive Italian and has now played in 7 Grand Slam singles finals to the 21st-seeded Errani’s one. In the end it was Errani’s inexperience and Sharapova’s power that led to the Russian’s 6-3, 6-2 win.

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal were both playing for their piece of tennis history at this year’s French Open final. And for a recordbreaking seventh time at Roland Garros, it was Rafael Nadal who hoisted the trophy after the rain delayed final.

Sharapova raced off to an early 4-0 lead before Errani broke her to get on the board, but it was too little too late. Despite switching to a longer, more powerful racquet, Errani’s serve and groundstrokes looked weak matched up with Sharapova’s firepower. Five breaks of her opponent’s serve and 37 winners later, it was the new world No. 1 who finished up a perfect clay season by capturing her first French Open title and the career Grand Slam.

28

Nadal looked strong out of the gate, gaining a 3-0 lead in the first set after just 13 minutes of play. Despite fighting back with a couple breaks of his own, Djokovic would lose that set as well as the next. When Nadal went up a break and 2-0 in the third set, it seemed the world No. 1 was finished, his hopes of holding all four Slams at the same time dashed. That’s when Djokovic rattled off eight consecutive games, winning the third set and going up a break in the fourth. Then the rains came. When they resumed play the next day, Nadal broke Djokovic to knot the fourth set at 2-2. It wasn’t until 5-6 that Djokovic finally folded with a double fault on match point, giving the Spaniard a 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 win and cementing his status as the King of Clay.


29


The Return of the Queen

­– Erik Gudris

With her French Open title, Maria Sharapova relishes her return back to No. 1 after a four-year journey filled with injury and setbacks. The return of Maria Sharapova to the top of the sport has been a long time coming. It’s been almost four years to the day since the shocking announcement of Justine Henin’s retirement unexpectedly catapulted Sharapova to No. 1 status. But her reign there was short-lived: shoulder surgery sidelined her for ten months, leaving her once-bright future in question. During Maria’s slow resurgence in the rankings, other female superstars took center stage; Kim Clijsters returned from retirement to win the U.S. Open twice, Henin had a mini-comeback of her own, and Serena Williams returned to the top 10 after fighting through life-threatening health issues. Despite her three Grand Slam crowns, few thought post-surgery Sharapova belonged in the company of those women. She managed to climb from outside the top 100 into the top 20, but proceeded to hover there for nearly two years. At the time, her matches were often highlighted by erratic groundstrokes and double digit double fault totals. With her off-court deals providing a comfortable living, some wondered if her retirement was imminent. In a 2010 interview with the Guardian UK, Sharapova admitted to having thoughts about walking away from the game during that recovery period when she was harshly criticized by fans and pundits alike. But her love of competition pushed her to keep fighting for each win. She reiterated that in her post-match press conference after winning her first title at Roland Garros to complete a rare career Grand Slam. “I love my work,” she said. “I love playing tennis. I had so many outs in my career. I could have said, ‘I don’t need this. I have money. I have fame. I have victories. I have Grand Slams.’ But when your love for something is bigger than all those things, you continue to keep getting up in the morning when it’s freezing outside, when you know that it can be the most difficult day, when nothing is working, when you feel like the belief sometimes isn’t there from the outside world, and you seem so small. But you can

30

achieve great things when you don’t listen to all those things.” Her persistence was one of the primary reasons Sharapova finally won the title many thought would elude her. Clay is by no means her best surface, and despite two semifinal appearances in Paris in 2007 and 2001, there was no guarantee she could reach the final – even with Serena out of the picture. But Sharapova didn’t let that stop her from trying to snag that last piece for her Grand Slam trophy puzzle. She, along with coach Thomas Hogstedt, have focused not only on improving her serve consistency, but also her movement and fitness, leading to a payoff in Paris. “I felt like I’ve improved little by little,” she said. “There wasn’t a certain moment in my career where I thought, ‘Oh, wow, now I can do this.’ I had really difficult matches in previous years at Roland Garros, but I feel like maybe the match I ended up losing was against Justine, I was -- I took her to the third set and I had many opportunities in that third set, and she, at the time, was the best clay-court player. So, yeah, maybe that was a moment where I felt like, you know, I would have a chance one day.” With her impending marriage to pro basketball player Sasha Vujacic, Sharapova certainly must be thinking about life after tennis. But when asked to look from the start of her career through her win in Paris -- a win she admitted was her sweetest victory of all -- Sharapova remained focused on her future on the courts. “Well, it’s a long journey. It started from a very young age. It’s not over yet, you know. I’m not sitting here and saying I’m done, because I’m far from it.” Now that Sharapova has joined an elite group of players, including Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal to have earned a career Grand Slam, she has nothing left to prove. For that reason, odds are good we’ll see the Russian tennis queen win several more majors in her career.


31


GR ADING THE FIEL D ­– Erik Gudris

Once again the terre battue of Roland Garros turned unknowns into household names and well-known stars into early round casualties. Let’s see who earned the highest and lowest grades from this year’s French Open.

Maria Sharapova

Rafael Nadal

Novak Djokovic

With patience and power, Sharapova became one of the sport’s all-time greats with her command performance in Paris.

Seven times champion Nadal proved his reign in Paris will stand as one of the great achievements in all of sports.

He fell short against Nadal, but Nole’s grinding and defiant run to the finals proved why he’s still No. 1.

A

Sara Errani Playing bigger than almost everyone, the Italian surprised even herself by reaching the final. Next stop - the top ten.

32

B

A

Roger Federer

David Ferrer

Paris’ favorite son tried his best, but even Fed might admit he was lucky to reach the semis after dropping sets left and right during the two weeks.

Even “The Little Beast” couldn’t outclass Nadal. But he still proved he’s one of the best on the dirt.

B

A

B


Juan Martin Del Potro Only his aching knee prevented the gentle giant of Tandil from reaching the semis. Time will tell if he can once again reach the top five.

B

Brian Baker

David Goffin

America’s comeback kid admitted he ran out of gas against Gilles Simon after an amazing few weeks. Is he Top 20 bound?

You were man enough to admit you had Federer posters on your wall as a kid. But don’t let these two weeks in Paris be your only moment in the tennis spotlight.

B

Varvara Lepchenko

Yaroslava Shvedova

Tommy Haas

After all her personal trials to becoming a U.S. citizen, Lepchenko’s run in Paris to earn a possible Olympics team spot should inspire anyone.

Anyone who can go from the qualies to the quarters is a major player. Let’s hope you enjoy more success on the singles court.

Proving age is nothing but a number, Haas earned his way into the main draw. Is one more run at Wimbledon at hand?

B

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga Jo will be thinking about those four match points against Djokovic for some time. But he proved he can thrive on clay.

B

B

Petra Kvitova

Andy Murray

Your performance in the semis was rather lackluster. Weren’t you supposed to be No. 1 by now?

What performance was more noteworthy from Scotland’s finest? His quarterfinal run or the constant grabbing of his back to let us know how he was feeling?

B

B

B

C

33


Svetlana Kuznetsova After a classic performance against Radwanska, even Sveta admitted there’s still work to be done before she returns to her 2009 level. But will she?

C

Dominika Cibulkova Yes you got to the quarters. But perhaps you should take your loss to a Stosur like a man if you’re going to say she plays like one.

C

John Isner Yes the “clay court GOAT” hype was a bit much, but another five set marathon in the early round of a Slam is not the M.O. you want to build as the U.S. No. 1.

34

D

Sam Stosur

Victoria Azarenka

Just when we thought Sammy had conquered her mental fragility, she posts another roller coaster result when she was the favorite to reach the finals.

Even you will admit you scratched your way into the fourth round. Guess you’ll have to hold back from swirling your finger in the air for awhile.

C

Agnieszka Radwanska

Caroline Wozniacki

Why are you playing in Brussels the week before Roland Garros? It’s called schedule maintenance. Look into it.

No one expected you to do a whole lot, but asking an umpire if he’s gone to school is a tad crass, even if you are right, “Sunshine”.

D

Andy Roddick

Serena Williams

Roddick made his expected appearance at Roland Garros due to his French connections. But will this be the last time we see him in Paris?

Her emotional display after losing the second set to Virginie Razzano suggests there was more going on in her head than just worrying about the match.

F

C

D

F


Gear Guide

Maria Sharapova

Nike Lunar Speed 3

Last year, Maria Sharapova reached the semi-finals of the French Open, making it her best singles performance in the tournament since 2007. She’s seen plenty of success on clay this season. With wins at Stuttgart adn most recently in Rome, Sharapova is primed to continue her success in Paris.

The latest Nike Lunar Speed 3 Tennis Shoes add a pop of color with Scarlet Fire accents. Nike’s Flywire construction combines with Lunarlon technology to provide a comfortable performance shoe that’s responsive and lightweight.

Nike MS Statement Dress

Head Youtek IG Instinct MP

Modern and ultra-sleek, the Maria Statement Set Dress features a smooth silhouette with subtle details like bonded insets at the bodice and paneled skirt with zig-zag stitching. The black skirt is complemented by a Cargo Khaki bodice, a combo that looks great against the red clay.

Masha’s racquet of choice offers control and stability for her powerful baseline game. Innegra technology gives the Head Youtek IG Instinct Mid Plus high durability and low vibration withour the added weight, and d3O smart material adjusts its rigidity on impact for a solid feel with every shot.

35


Stay Connected facebook.com/TennisExpress twitter.com/TennisExpress youtube.com/TennisExpress

FREE SHIPPING!

ORDER TODAY SHIPS TODAY

Orders Over $75. Contiguous U.S. No Heavy/OS items.

Shop TennisExpress.com for Everything Tennis!

GI FT

Gift Cards Available $10-$500 CA RD GI FT

adidas barricade 7.0

Prince Men’s T-24

Asics Gel Resolution 4

Nike Zoom Vapor 9 Tour

$129.99

$124.95

CA RD

$99

$114.95

Try Out the Latest Racquets with the Tennis Express Online Demo Program

Babolat New Pure Drive Reg/Plus/107 $189 Roddick/Plus $195 Lite $185

Yonex Vcore Tour 97 $189 Tour 89 $189

Dunlop Biomimetic Max 200G $179

Head IG Prestige Pro $199.95 Mid/MP $199.95 S $189.95

JUNIOR GEAR

Shop our complete selection of Junior Tennis Gear at TennisExpress.com

Prince EXO3 Volkl Organix 8 Rebel 95/98 $189 300G/315G $184.99 Rebel Team 98 $169 Buy 2 or more Get $10 off each

Wilson Pro Staff BLX Six.One 90 $199 Six.One 95 $199 Six.One 100 $199

STRINGING & BALL MACHINES Shop our complete selection of Ball Machines and Stringing Machines at TennisExpress.com

adidas Barricade 7 XJ

$79.95

Babolat Junior Propulse 3 Babolat Pure Drive Roddick Jr. $104

$59.95

Wilson Pro Staff Six.One 26 BLX Junior $89

Babolat Pure Drive GT/+ $159 Roddick GT/+ $159 Lite/107 $159

Head i.S12 $84.95

Sports Tutor Tennis Tutor

$1,099

Prince O3 Speedport Black $99

adidas barricade 7.0

$119.95

Prince Ozone Four OS $129

Nike Zoom Breathe 2K11

$99.99

Gamma X-ST Stringing Machine

Prince Ozone Wilson K Factor Hybrid Spectrum OS K Six-One 95 $89.95 $129 Asics Gel Resolution 4

$114.95

$749

Wilson Pro Open BLX $149 Prince Women’s T-24

$99

SECURE PAYMENT METHODS

800.833.6615 or 713.435.4800

36

Shop TennisExpress.com


THE BIGSHOT

Gaël gets to any ball in the BigShot, the fastest shoe in tennis. Lightweight, durable and explosive with Propulsion Plate™ Technology. Go lateral. Go vertical. Go gonzo. © 2012 K•SWISS, Inc. All rights reserved.

37

37


38


GOA T When people ask me who I think the greatest player of all time is, I always hesitate. It’s a complicated issue, as many of you know. Nobody wants to step on history, and tennis evolves so much with each passing generation that it’s virtually impossible to speculate on what would happen if Roger Federer played Rod Laver or if Rafael Nadal played Bjorn Borg.

Nadal’s glorious clay-court prowess is the embodiment of his humility, of his work ethic, and the spirituality that is at his core. The fact that it is manifested more on clay than any other surface is just additional proof that Nadal resonates with the red dirt. He is at home on clay, in his comfort zone, and when he is in his comfort zone, his confidence grows.

But after witnessing Rafael Nadal’s seventh French Open title, I can say with confidence that Nadal on clay is the best player of all-time.

This year at Roland Garros, Nadal’s confidence grew to epic proportions. He took to the court like a lion that had been set free from a cage. He began dominant, losing just nine games in his first two matches, and he finished even more so, thrashing world-class players Nicolas Almagro and David Ferrer before finally knocking back the very best that world No. 1 Novak Djokovic could offer in the final.

And I dare you to argue against it. With Nadal’s most recent thrashing of the Roland Garros field, the indomitable Spaniard has pushed his all-time record at the event to a jaw-dropping 52-1. His seventh title moves him beyond Borg for the most French Open titles of all-time in the same week that he eclipsed Borg’s total career clay-court wins. I could go on and on with numerical evidence of Nadal’s shocking domination of everyone and everything that dares oppose him on the clay. I could enumerate all the scorelines, the ridiculously long winning streaks (81, best in history), the fact that he’s only lost fourteen sets in 53 matches at Roland Garros, but in reality, it’s not so much about numbers with Nadal—it’s about spirit. It’s not just that he always wins, it’s how he always wins. With brutal efficiency and stunning humility, Nadal takes the court willing to give every ounce of his being to being the best he can be. Never for a second does he let up. It’s almost as if he is in a trance. The physicality is breathtaking; the passion, mind-boggling. And yet, just when you think he’s destroying everybody he faces because he’s more talented or more fit or stronger than everybody else, he says something like this: “I don’t believe in perfection, no? I really don’t like to talk about perfection, because that, in my opinion, doesn’t exist. You can play always better.” To hear the Spaniard talk like that is to realize that Nadal’s excellence is about so much more than talent or technique or a reverse forehand or sliding on clay. No, Nadal’s excellence is comprised of an all-encompassing willingness on his part to embrace the true essence of the sport.

Nicolas Almagro, one of the world’s best clay-courters in his own right, said that he played as well as he could possibly play against Nadal in a straight-sets defeat in the quarterfinals. He even looked proud of the drubbing in the press conference. Djokovic, also felt proud to give Nadal a run for his money. “I played the best player in the world on this surface. It’s incredible what he’s achieving in his career,” said Djokovic. “I gave it all.” In a final that was a test of composure and focus as much as it was a test of shotmaking and power, Nadal staved off a spirited Djokovic comeback to reach the holy grail of clay-court tennis. There were three crucial moments in the match where each player had a chance to gain momentum after rain delays, and each time Nadal seized the opportunity. When all was said and done, Nadal lifted the Coupe des Mousquetaires high above his head for a remarkable seventh time on Monday not because of his ability as a tennis player, but because of his spiritual approach to the game and his willingness to leave no stone unturned in his quest for supremacy on the terre battue. If, as Nadal says, perfection doesn’t exist, then his title performance in Paris was perhaps as close as one can get.

­– Chris Oddo 39


“Arroga a playe for him

Zen Tennis In every match, there’s a turning point. An easy overhead shanked into the net. A crosscourt backhand that skids wider than our opponent can reach. These crucial points change the momentum of the match; they are the keys to winning and determine our character as players, as well as clutch performers in life. That’s the conventional wisdom, perpetuated by most players, the tennis media and the majority of coaches. And it’s dead wrong. In tennis, as in life, it’s always a benefit to keep your cool. Dr. Desmond Oon, USPTA Master Life Pro, former Davis Cup player for Malaysia and national tennis coach for Singapore, would like players to disregard the noise in their minds, play better tennis and enjoy the game. “No single point is bigger or smaller than the other,” says Oon, author of “Soft Tennis” and “Can Eastern Wisdom Improve Your Tennis? You Bet.” A PhD and board-certified hypnotherapist, Oon radiates Zen calmness like George Clooney oozes charm. For scoreboard-

40

watchers and others who choke at critical moments, Oon suggests watching the flight of the ball or concentrating on a full stroke and follow through instead of the score.

Zen Lesson One Breathe. Live in the Moment. This is one of many gems that intellectually, many of us know to be true. But only on the court, watching him play and listening to him guide the student, does Oon’s Zen nature reveal itself. I’m a little old to be Ralph Macchio, and we don’t do “wax on, wax off,” but the Redondo Beach, California Master Life Pro plays the part of Mr. Miyagi to perfection. At 75 he doesn’t possess the speed or power he demonstrated during his pro career in the 1960s or during his promotional tour with a young Bjorn Borg in the 1970s. But what he lacks in power he makes up for in depth, spin, placement and anticipation. There’s something about the calmness of his spirit, the consistency of his


ance is concerned with ego, and if er acts arrogantly, the tendency is m to become self-conscious” ­–Dr. Desmond Oon strokes, the solid “whump” sound each ball makes as it penetrates the court. It’s a beautiful game that few of us possess yet all of us have the potential to reach. Oon’s breathing always seemed measured with a perfect calmness, allowing him to live in the moment during the match.

Zen Lesson Two Repetition. No shortcuts. The tools of a tennis player are his strokes. Stroke development is a time-consuming activity. Oon starts his first lesson with an unusual activity, Austerity vs. Prosperity, to measure stress under pressure. With Austerity, the student starts each game at 0-30 and gets only one serve per point. During this exercise, I start out fine, falling behind 1 game to 2, but during the middle of the set, my arm gets heavy thinking about the importance of each serve. Before I know it, the set is over, 6-1 for Oon, and I’m very tired for playing just a quick set. With Prosperity, the score starts even and the student, who serves each game, gets 3 serves. For this set, I am relaxed and jump out to a lead, then cruise to a 6-3 win. The only negative is each time I get up 40-love or 30-love I let up just a little and play way too many games at deuce. “This exercise teaches patience, whether one is ahead or behind in the score line,” Oon says. “It also helps to stem out “complacency” in players, especially when they are ahead or “hopelessness” when they are well behind, or on the brink of defeat.”

Zen Lesson Three The journey of a thousand miles, begins with one step, no matter how small.

effort for every stroke, every point. “Whether it is 15-40 or 40-15, you should play with the same focus and intensity. Players who are trained in the A & P approach, develop time management skills. In other words, they learn to value the importance of playing within themselves and at their own pace. Through self-discovery they arrive at a rhythm and tempo that is well within their comfort zone. When one is comfortable and at ease, one is naturally confident. Confidence begets flow. And flow begets glow.”

After much training where confidence sets in, Oon cautions his students about the unpredictable nature of tennis. Your opponent could be playing out of his head, the net could catch all your shots and drop your opponents shots onto your court for winners. Things happen that are sometimes out of our control.

Zen Lesson Four Arrogance is the enemy of victory. “Arrogance is concerned with ego, and if a player acts arrogantly, the tendency is for him to become self-conscious,” Oon says. “A true champion is devoid of arrogance. He wins without bragging and takes defeat graciously.” Flow, enjoyment and relaxation are the ultimate goals of Oon’s lessons, but his students won’t learn anything without patience, dedication and a willingness to turn off the negative thoughts of the past and live in the present. Easier said than done, but if the perfect topspin forehand down the line, the bouncing, unreturnable kick serve or deadly drop volley, has eluded us despite years of lessons and practice, it might be worth a try. “Conquering others requires force,” Oon says. “Conquering oneself requires strength. Overcoming anything that you can see is always easier than beating something that is within you and hidden from sight.” In a tennis match, the keys to winning are calmness and repetition. A Zen-like attitude will lead to victory.

­– Robert Wynne

In other words, start improving your game today. Right now. Oon, a relentlessly positive coach who tells his 4.5 rated student he has the strokes of a 5.0 player, preaches a relaxed concentration

41


42


10

Things You May Not Know About Sara Errani

Italy’s Sara Errani may have been in the shadow of her more famous Fed Cup teammates, but the 25-year-old Errani is making a name of herself now with her trip to the finals of this year’s Roland Garros. But just how well do you know the woman who has surprised the tennis world?

Bologna Born

Errani was born on April 29, 1987 in Bologna, Italy where she still resides. She was introduced to tennis at the age of five by her father Giorgio who works selling fruits and vegetables. Her mother Fulvia is a pharmacist.

Early Years

According to her official website, Sara tried other sports including soccer and swimming before settling on tennis. At the age of 12, she travelled to the U.S. for the first time to train at the Nick Bollettieri Academy even though she didn’t speak a word of English.

Gained in Spain

Though she became the best Italian player under 18, Errani ended up training in Spain because she received more support there than from Italian tennis officials. Perhaps that’s why her favorite player is David Ferrer.

Making a Point

Errani turned pro in 2002 but it took her until 2008 to win her first WTA titles in Palermo and Potoroz. After winning in Potoroz, Errani said, “...I want to dedicate this victory to all the Italians that never believed in me as a tennis player, and always said I would never go anywhere.”

Best Year Ever

In 2012, Errani won three clay court titles including Acapulco, her favorite event according to her WTA bio, and also at Barcelona and Budapest. With her run to the finals of Roland Garros, Errani will enter the top ten for the first time in her career. She will also be Italy’s No. 1 player.

Double Trouble

Errani is also in the women’s doubles finals at Roland Garros to be contested tomorrow and it marks the first time since 2003 that a woman will contest both the singles and doubles finals in Paris. Errani won her 13th WTA doubles title in Rome earlier in May, her third title of the year with Vinci. The pair also reached the finals of the women’s doubles in Melbourne.

Fed Cup Heroine

As part of her nation’s Fed Cup team, Errani enjoyed winning with her teammates the 2009 and 2010 Fed Cup title, both times against Team USA. Italy will play USA again in the first round of Fed Cup in 2013.

Dedicated

Errani recently dedicated her two weeks in Paris to those affected by the recent earthquakes in Italy.

Streaky

Errani notched a 16-0 win streak on clay this season before losing to Agnieszka Radwanksa http://www.tennisnow.com/2010_News/ Shoes_Racquet/Agnieszka_Radwanska_Tennis.aspx in Madrid. Errani’s current win streak on clay is now 24-3 for the year.

Fun Stuff

Sara enjoys reading, watching movies, listening to music (especially pop), following soccer and basketball, playing Monopoly, cards and computer games. She describes herself as timid, happy and responsible.

­– Erik Gudris 43


RACQUET REVIEWS Every few years (and sometimes more often) we see our favorite racquet being discontinued and replaced by something new. Despite this trend, there are some lines that continue to be modified and resurrected with each new series. We are going to cover just a few of those popular families, with some that are able to trace their lineage more than two decades in the making. As the sport continues to evolve, racquets have changed a great deal from being made of graphite and fiberglass, to frames

that include anything from nanoscopic cellulose to volcanic rock. Years of progress have created a combination of nostalgia and innovation that is clearly evident in these classic-turnedmodern racquets. Whether you are a traditionalist looking to move into the net and take advantage of court positioning, or a new-school player blasting forehands from the baseline, these racquets offer the ideal framework for current-day success.

Wilson Pro-Staff Six.One 90 BLX Pros: Great control, Solid Feel, Maneuverable Cons: 90� Head Size, Low Power Level Rundown: There’s a reason Roger Feder chooses to play with the ProStaff Six.One 90. This frame offers exceptional feel with the integrated Amplifeel technology located in the handle. The open string pattern gives the user easy access to spin, while the BLX technology assists in adding feel. With a smaller head size and thinner beam, this racquet is an easy choice for advanced players who can generate their own power.

Babolat New Pure Storm Team Pros: Maneuverable, Lightweight, Access To Spin Cons: Rundown: One of the more promising transitional racquets, this frame offers outstanding maneuverability at a light weight and nice balance. Replacing the previous Carbon xTrem material, GT technology provides strength and stability. Woofer technology on the grommet sides create a more responsive feel, and ultimately increase control. Not to be slighted, this frame does well from the baseline, as well as around the net.

44


Dunlop Biomimetic 200G Pros: Great Control, Very Stable Cons: Lower Power Rundown: Compared to other Dunlop frames, this one surprises with a good amount of control without being too heavy. The Aeroskin texturing is in place for increased racquet head speed and maneuverability. Concentrated on precision, this frame allows for optimal control, but doesn’t pack too much of a punch. This classic leather grip is also in place for the traditional player.

Prince EXO3 Warrior 100 Pros: Good Power, Easy Access To Spin, Maneuverable Cons: Low Control, Low Feel Rundown: Designed to replace both the EXO3 Black and EXO3 White racquets in one shot, this frame combined cosmetics for a fairly simple design. The utilization of the EXO3 technology increasesthe sweet spot for solid contact. The head light balance and maneuverability is this frame’s highlight as hitting big from the baseline seems to be encouraged. With added power and decreased control, the Warrior 100 aims to please advanced players who enjoy hitting a big ball.

Yonex V Core Tour 89 Pros: Easy Acces To Spin, Great Control Cons: 89” Head Size, Low Power, Heavy Rundown: Wth such a small head size and low power level, this frame was constructed with the experienced player in mind. Micro Core technology is located at the top and sides of the racquet, which increases strength for enhanced stability. The isometric head actually offers exceptional forgiveness, which is almost a must for players nowadays. The comfortable head light balance is perfect for players who perfer to generate their own paper.

45


SHOE REVIEWS Whether you are looking for the latest shoe, or just the right shoe for you, the search can be daunting. Even though nothing can match the feel of trying on a shoe for yourself, we can at least help narrow the list down based on what you are looking for, whether it be ultra light weight or maximum durability. We’re taking a look at five shoes that offer a variety of options whether you are

an occasional or hardcore player. Price does not always mean performance as we show with offerings from Prince and K-Swiss that provide a cushioned feel with an easier to stomach price tag. Other options from Babolat, New Balance, and Yonex all provide something special, but as each player is different and each foot type has a different requirement, we hand off the final decision to the player.

Babolat SFX Pros: Durable, Roomy, Very cushioned Cons: Large Toe Box Not for Everyone Hardly a step down from the Propulse 3, this Babolat shoe is worth mentioning, and even owning. With a 6-month warranty guarantee, the SFX impresses with enhanced durability and Babolat’s exclusive ErgoMotion technology. Multiple layers of foam cushioning add to the custom fit and incredible comfort. The SFX also features a large toe box for the foot to move more freely and natural. A Kompressor System located in the heel provides extra cushioning and shock absorption. If you’re looking for more comfort, look no further than the Babolat SFX.

New Balance 1005 Pros: Light Weight, Very Breathable, Durable Cons: Plain Design An upgrade from the 1004, the New Balance 1005 features exceptional support and cushioning. It’s not too often you find a shoe this durable with such great cushioning. You can thank the Acteva Ultra Lite midsole and N-ergy technology, which work together near the midfoot area and heel for optimal comfort. NDurance technology provides all the traction you need on the outer sole for changing direction on court. Don’t pass up the chance to take these on court as you won’t find a shoe much more comfortable and durable than the New Balance 1005.

46


K-Swiss Big Shot Pros: Durability Guarantee, Great Traction, Cool Look Cons: Could Use More Cushioning The K-Swiss Big Shot tennis shoe has a lot to offer to the everyday player. Besides the flashy design, the Big Shot provides stellar durability thanks to Aosta 7.0; the high abrasion outsole. A Guideglide stability midsole provides improved stability and a Superfoam footbed delivers a nice cushioning system. Although it won’t be the most cushioned shoe you’ve ever worn, it doesn’t lack in comfort. A 6-month outsole guarantee insures you’ll be able to hit the courts every day in style and comfort.

Prince T-24 Pros: Very Durable, Stable, Comfortable Cons: A Little Heavy The latest shoe in the Prince T-series line, the T-24 impresses with the best in durability without sacrificing comfort. The Archbridge TPU shank provides midfoot stability while the forefoot straps hug the foot for increased stability and a more custom fit. A herringbone tread pattern provides above-average traction, while a Shock Eraser cushion is in place at the heel for grinding on the court in comfort. Although it is a little heavy at close to 17 ounces, durability and comfort doesn’t get any better than this. Prince also offers a 6-month outsole warranty guarantee on this shoe that even advanced players won’t need.

Yonex SHT-308 Pros: Lightweight, Superior Cushioning, Great Traction Cons: No Durability Guarantee, Love or Hate Looks Rundown: The SHT-307 was one of the best all-around shoes we’ve ever tried, and Yonex actually made it better. The lateral stability was improved with an external TPU heel cradle, and the Y-Strap is now integrated inside the shoe rather than being on the outside. Not wanting to mess too much with a good thing, the Power Cushion remains for a comfortable and responsive ride. With everything that is good about this shoe, it definitely has a distinctive look, one which some players may not appreciate.

47


Gear Guide

Juan Martin Del Potro Juan Martin Del Potro has seen some rocky results at the French Open- his best was in 2009 when he reached the semifinals. After undergoing wrist surgery in 2010 and sustaining a hip injury the following year, Delpo is back and in better health. He will return to the tournament hoping for his first ever French Open title.

Nike Zoom breathe 2K11 In an understated shade of Neutral Grey, the Nike Zoom Breathe 2K11’s deliver the ultimate combinations of power and speed. Equipped with Lunarlon technology and a Nike Zoom cushioning system, these shoes offer comfort and stability too.

Racquet: Wilson Juice Pro BLX

Nike Rafa French Crew

The Wilson Juice Pro BLX packs plenty of power while offering a blend of feel and stability. A redesigned handle system equipped with Amplifeel technology significantly reduces harsh vibrations and creates an pure feel.

Delpo can’t be missed, sporting an eye-catching shade of Cyber. The Advantage Tread Crew features embossed graphic print on the front, and innovtive shoulder seam construction, designed to enhance range of motion and minimize irritation.

48


RANKINGS As of 06/11/12

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Djokovic, Novak Nadal, Rafael Federer, Roger Murray, Andy Tsonga, Jo-Wilfried Ferrer, David Berdych, Tomas Tipsarevic, Janko Del Potro, Juan Martin Isner, John Almagro, Nicolas Fish, Mardy Simon, Gilles Monaco, Juan Monfils, Gael Verdasco, Fernando Lopez, Feliciano Nishikori, Kei Gasquet, Richard Dolgopolov, Alexandr Raonic, Milos Granollers, Marcel Wawrinka, Stanislas Seppi, Andreas Cilic, Marin

SRB ESP SUI GBR FRA ESP CZE SRB ARG USA ESP USA FRA ARG FRA ESP ESP JPN FRA UKR CAN ESP SUI ITA CRO

12,280 10,060 9,310 6,980 5,230 5,180 4,685 3,200 3,180 2,655 2,605 2,535 2,525 2,115 1,805 1,765 1,725 1,645 1,600 1,585 1,540 1,520 1,505 1,490 1,460

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Sharapova, Maria Azarenka, Victoria Radwanska, Agnieszka Kvitova, Petra Stosur, Samantha Williams, Serena Wozniacki, Caroline Bartoli, Marion Kerber, Angelique Errani, Sara Li, Na Cibulkova, Dominika Zvonareva, Vera Ivanovic, Ana Lisicki, Sabine Kanepi, Kaia Pennetta, Flavia Petkovic, Andrea Kirilenko, Maria Vinci, Roberta Safarova, Lucie Jankovic, Jelena Petrova, Nadia Hantuchova, Daniela Goerges, Julia

RUS BLR POL CZE AUS USA DEN FRA GER ITA CHN SVK RUS SRB GER EST ITA GER RUS ITA CZE SRB RUS SVK GER

9490 8800 7230 6895 6180 5700 4366 4070 4055 3350 3245 3180 3160 3070 2697 2519 2470 2421 2295 2165 2085 2080 2005 1950 1945

49


Roland Garros was hit by pouring rain, but the King of Clay Rafael Nadal wouldn’t let a little rain stop his reign.

50


51


Italian Sara Errani falls to the ground in celebration after defeating Australian Sam Stosur in the semifinals 5-7, 6-1, 3-6.

52


53


Jo Wilfried Tsonga takes a deep breath during the changeover after the fourth set in his match against Novak Djokovic. Tsonga failed to capitalize on four match points against Djokovic in the fourth and would end up losing the match 6-1, 5-7, 5-7, 7-6(6), 6-1.

54


55


Serbia’s Novak Djokovic is given balls as he plays against Italy’s Andreas Seppi during their Men’s Singles 4th Round tennis match. After losing the first two games Djokovic steped his game up and squeaked by Seppi 4-6, 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-5, 6-3.

56


57


Maria Sharapova holds her trophy with the Eiffel Tower in the background after winning her first French Open.

58


59


Close up on Rafael Nadal during his finals match against Novak Djokovic.

60


61


Rafael Nadal poses with the Spanish flag, his French Open trophy, and the Eiffel Tower.

62


63

Roland Garros Review  

Rafael Nadal Hail To The King